On the role of aminolysis and transesterification in the synthesis of epsilon-caprolactone and L-lactide based polyurethanes

JH de Groot*, CJ Spaans, FG Dekens, AJ Pennings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Polyurethanes based on a 50/50 copoly(L-lactide/epsilon-caprolactone) prepolymer and butanediisocyanate were made. Chain extending a diisocyanate terminated prepolymer with butanediamine was not possible due to the susceptibility of the lactide bond to aminolysis. Chain extension with butanediol resulted in a polymer with poor mechanical properties due to transesterification. When the copolymer prepolymer was chain-extended with an isocyanate terminated block, transesterification with the chain-extender was avoided and the mechanical properties were increased. When the length of the hard segments was increased the mechanical properties increased further. A L-lactide/epsilon-caprolactone based polyurethane with a tensile strength and modulus of respectively 45 MPa and 60 MPa was made. The polymer contained no poly(L-lactide) crystals and was easy to process. Compared to the high molecular weight 50/50 copoly(L-lactide/epsilon-caprolactone) the polyurethane showed better mechanical properties, is expected to have the same adhesive properties and is expected to have a slower degradation rate. These factors makes this polymer excessively useful for in-vivo tissue engineering in for instance meniscal reconstruction material, nerve guide and artificial skin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-306
Number of pages8
JournalPolymer Bulletin
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep-1998



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