Synthesis and characterization of biodegradable poly(butylene succinate-co-butylene fumarate)s
A series of aliphatic biodegradable polyesters modified with fumaric residues was synthesized by transesterification in the melt of dimethyl succinate, dimethyl fumarate and 1,4-butanediol. The amount of unsaturation, originating from the fumaric acid residues in the polyesters chains was varied from 5 to 20 mol%. The molecular structure and composition of the polyesters were determined by 1H NMR spectroscopy. The effects of the content of fumaric residues on the thermal and thermo-oxidative properties of the synthesized polyesters were investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis. The degree of crystallinity was determined by DSC and wide angle X-ray scattering. The degrees of crystallinity of the unsaturated copolyesters were reduced, while the melting temperatures were higher in comparison to poly(butylene succinate). Biodegradation of the synthesized copolyesters was estimated in enzymatic degradation tests using a buffer solution with Rhizopus arrhizus lipase at 37 °C. Although the degree of crystallinity of the copolyesters decreases slightly with increasing unsaturation, the biodegradation is not enhanced suggesting that not only the chemical structure and molecular stiffness but also the morphology of the spherulites has an influence on the biodegradation properties. The highest biodegradability was observed for the copolyesters containing 5 and 10 mol% of fumarate units.