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Modelling pH-optimized degradation of microgel-functionalized polyesters

: Bürgermeister, L.; Hermann, M.; Feher, K.; Molano Lopez, C.; Pich, A.; Hannen, J.; Vogt, F.; Schulz, W.

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Journal of healthcare engineering. Online journal 2016 (2016), Art. 8125416, 8 pp.
ISSN: 2040-2295
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer ILT ()

We establish a novel mathematical model to describe and analyze pH levels in the vicinity of poly(N-vinylcaprolactam-co-acetoacetoxyethyl methacrylate-co-N-vinylimidazole) (VCL/AAEM/VIm) microgel-functionalized polymers during biodegradation. Biodegradable polymers, especially aliphatic polyesters (polylactide/polyglycolide/polycaprolactone homo- and copolymers), have a large range of medical applications including delivery systems, scaffolds, or stents for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Most of those applications are limited by the inherent drop of pH level during the degradation process. The combination of polymers with VCL/AAEM/VIm-microgels, which aims at stabilizing pH levels, is innovative and requires new mathematical models for the prediction of pH level evaluation. The mathematical model consists of a diffusion-reaction PDE system for the degradation including reaction rate equations and diffusion of acidic degradation products into the vicinity. A system of algebraic equations is coupled to the degradation model in order to describe the buffering action of the microgel. The model is validated against the experimental pH-monitored biodegradation of microgel-functionalized polymer foils and is available for the design of microgel-functionalized polymer components.