Comparison of Cyclic and Linear Poly(lactide)s Using Small-Angle Neutron Scattering

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Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) experiments were conducted on cyclic and linear polymers of racemic and l-lactides (PLA) with the goal of comparing chain configurations, scaling, and effective polymer-solvent interactions of the two topologies in acetone-d6and THF-d8. There are limited reports of SANS results on cyclic polymers due to the lack of substantial development in the field until recently. Now that pure, well-defined cyclic polymers are accessible, unanswered questions about their rheology and physical conformations can be better investigated. Previously reported SANS experiments have used cyclic and linear polystyrene samples; therefore, our work allowed for direct comparison using a contrasting (structurally and sterically) polymer. We compared SANS results of cyclic and linear PLA samples with various microstructures and molecular weights at two different temperatures, allowing for comparison with a wide range of variables. The results followed the trends of previous experiments, but much greater differences in the effective polymer-solvent interaction parameters between cyclic and linear forms of PLA were observed, implying that the small form factor and hydrogen bonding in PLA allowed for much more compact conformations in the cyclic form only. Also, the polymer microstructure was found to influence polymer-solvent interaction parameters substantially. These results illustrate how the difference in polymer-solvent interactions between cyclic and linear polymers can vary greatly depending on the polymer in question and the potential of neutron scattering as a tool for identification and characterization of the cyclic topology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11051-11058
Number of pages8
Issue number24
Early online date13 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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