Influence of annealing and biaxial expansion on the properties of Poly-l-lactic) medical tubing.
Healy, Andrew V.
Gately, Noel M.
Lyons, John G.
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Poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) is one of the most common bioabsorbable materials in the medical device field. However, its use in load-bearing applications is limited due to its inferior mechanical properties when compared to many of the competing metal-based permanent and bioabsorbable materials. The objective of this study was to directly compare the influence of both annealing and biaxial expansion processes to improve the material properties of PLLA. Results showed that both annealing and biaxial expansion led to an overall increase in crystallinity and that the crystallites formed during both processes were in the ’ and forms. 2D-WAXS patterns showed that the preferred orientation of crystallites formed during annealing was parallel to the circumferential direction. While biaxial expansion resulted in orientation in both axial and circumferential directions, with relatively equal sized crystals in both directions, Da (112 Å) and Dc (97 Å). The expansion process had the most profound e ect on mechanical performance, with a 65% increase in Young’s modulus, a 45% increase in maximum tensile stress and an 18-fold increase in strain at maximum load. These results indicate that biaxially expanding PLLA at a temperature above Tcc is possible, due to the high strain rates associated with stretch blow moulding.
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