Biodegradation of poly(ester urethanes) under simulated composting conditions
Polimery 2012, No 11/12, 852
Polyurethanes synthesized in a two-step polyaddition process of trimethylhexamethylene diisocyanate (TMDI), poly(e-caprolactone) diols with different molecular weights (PCL 750, PCL 1250) and glycerol (GLI) were biodegraded under simulated composting conditions with the use of vermiculite as an inert solid medium. Biodegradation process was carried out over a period of 42—106 days. The degree of biodegradation was determined on the basis of weight loss of the samples as well as the changes in the roughness parameters and surface free energy components (SEP). The mechanical properties of the samples before and after degradation were also determined. Additionally, changes in the surface appearance of the samples after composting at simulated conditions were documented using both optical and confocal microscopy. It was found that even after six weeks of biodegradation a significant deterioration of the samples took place.