Hydrolytic degradation of polyglycolic acid: Tensile strength and crystallinity study
The hydrolytic degradation of polyglycolic acid (PGA) was studied by examining the changes of tensile strength and the level of crystallinity of the suture material. It was found that the breaking stress decreased from 6.369 × 10−1 at 0 day to 3.97 × 10−3 Newton/Tex at 49 days. The sigmodial shape of the stress–strain curves gradually disappeared with increase in the duration of in vitra degradation. The endpoint titration method used to assess the degree of degradation beyond the period of measurable tensile strength showed that the percent of PGA degraded were 42, 56, and 70% at 49, 60, and 90 days, respectively. The level of crystallinity of PGA at various durations of degradation exhibited an initial increase in the degree of crystallinity from 40% at 0 day to an upper limit of 52% at 21 days, then gradual decrease to 23% at 90 days. This observation is essentially parallel to hydrolysis of cellulose and polyethylene terephthalate. The concept of microfibrillar structure of fibers provides the basis for the proposed degradation mechanism of PGA in vitro. It is believed that degradation proceeds through two main stages which are different in rate of degradation.