Novative Biomaterials Based on Chitosan and Poly(ε-Caprolactone): Elaboration of Porous Structures
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The swelling capability of chitosan was explored in order to use water both, as volatile plasticizer and as pore-forming agent. Chitosan powder was swelled in acidic aqueous solution and melt blended with poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL). After stabilization at 57% RH and 25 °C, samples suffered a water mass loss of around 30 wt% without dimensions variation. Despite the low miscibility of these biopolymers, quite homogeneous dispersion of chitosan within the polyester matrix was obtained. Some interactions between both biopolymers could be observed. To obtain chitosan phase with a thermoplastic-like behaviour, the plasticization effect was also studied by the addition of 25 wt% glycerol as non volatile plasticizer. The equilibrium moisture content of samples increased with the incorporation of glycerol due to its hydrophilic nature. Morphology, thermal and mechanical properties of the blends were determined after stabilization. The preparation of rich PCL blends allowed the formation of macroporous structures since samples were not contracted after water loss and stabilization. These biomaterials with such a porous structure could be used for biomedical applications.