Poly-L-lactide (PLLA) is one of the most significant members of a group of polymers regarded as bioresorbable. The degradation of PLLA proceeds through hydrolysis of the ester linkages in the polymer's backbone; however, the time for the complete resorption of orthopaedic devices manufactured from PLLA is known to be in excess of five years in a normal physiological environment. To evaluate the degradation of PLLA in an accelerated time period, PLLA pellets were processed by compression moulding into tensile test specimens, prior to being sterilized by ethylene oxide gas (EtO) and degraded in a phosphate-buffered solution (PBS) at both 50Â°C and 70Â°C. On retrieval, at predetermined time intervals, procedures were used to evaluate the material's molecular weight, crystallinity, mechanical strength, and thermal properties. The results from this study suggest that at both 50Â°C and 70Â°C, degradation proceeds by a very similar mechanism to that observed at 37Â°C in vitro and in vivo. The degradation models developed also confirmed the dependence of mass loss, melting temperature, and glass transition temperature (Tg) on the polymer's molecular weight throughout degradation. Although increased temperature appears to be a suitable method for accelerating the degradation of PLLA, relative to its physiological degradation rate, concerns still remain over the validity of testing above the polymer's Tg and the significance of autocatalysis at increased temperatures.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering