Chitin is known to be natural polymer and it is non-toxic, biodegradable and biocompatible. The chitin-g-poly(ɛ-caprolactone) (chitin-g-PCL) copolymer was prepared by the ring-opening polymerization of ɛ-caprolactone onto chitin gel in the presence of tin(II) 2-ethylhexanoate catalyst by bulk polymerization method under homogeneous system. The prepared copolymer were characterized by FT-IR, 13C NMR, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential thermal analysis (DTA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), solubility and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The degree of substitution of chitin-g-PCL copolymer was found to be 0.48. The TGA analysis showed that chitin-g-PCL was slightly less thermal stability than original chitin. It was due to the grafting of PCL reduced the crystalline structure of chitin. DTA analysis of chitin-g-PCL showed the two exothermic peaks between 300 and 400°C. The first peak at 342°C was due to chitin peak and the second peak was due to PCL. These results suggested that chitin and PCL chains were mixed well at a molecular level. The XRD pattern analysis of chitin-g-PCL showed a weak and broader peak, which demonstrated that the conjugation of PCL with chitin suppressed the crystallization of both chitin and PCL to some extent. The SEM studies showed that the chitin gel seems have a smooth surface morphology, but the chitin-g-PCL showed slightly rough morphology due to the grafting of PCL into chitin. The surface morphology studies also confirmed the grafting reaction.
Dr. Jayakumar Rangasamy and Tamura, H., “Synthesis, Characterization and Thermal Properties of Chitin-g-poly(ɛ-caprolactone) Copolymers by Using Chitin Gel”, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, vol. 43, pp. 32 - 36, 2008.