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Evaluation of the biodegradability of copolyesters containing aromatic compounds by investigations of model oligomers

, : Evaluation of the biodegradability of copolyesters containing aromatic compounds by investigations of model oligomers. Journal Of Environmental Polymer Degradation. 4(1): 9-20

Model oligo esters of terephthalic acid with 1,2-ethanediol, 1,3-propanediol, and 1,4-butanediol have been investigated with regard to their biodegradability in different biological environments. Well-characterized oligomers with weight-average molar masses of from 600 to 2600 g/mol exhibit biodegradation in aqueous systems, soil, and compost at 60 degree C. SEC investigations showed a fast biological degradation of the oligomer fraction consisting of 1 or 2 repeating units, independent of the diol component used for polycondensation, while polyester oligomers with degrees of polymerization higher than 2 were stable against microbial attack at room temperature in a time frame of 2 months. At 60 degree C in a compost environment chemical hydrolysis also degrades chains longer than two repeating units, resulting in enhanced degradability of the oligomers. Metabolization of the monomers and the dimers as well by the microorganisms could be confirmed by comparing SEC measurements and carbon balances in a "Sturm test" experiment. Based on these results degradation characteristics of potential oligomer intermediates resulting from a primary chain scission from copolyesters consisting of aromatic and aliphatic dicarbonic acids can be predicted depending on their composition. These results will have an evident influence on the evaluation of the biodegradability of commercially interesting copolyesters and lead to new ways of tailor-made designing of new biodegradable materials as well.


DOI: 10.1007/bf02083878

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