A series of novel biomedical TPCUs with different percentages of hard segment and a silicone component in the soft segment were synthesized in a multi-stage one-pot method. The kinetic profiles of the urethane formation in TPCU-based copolymer systems were monitored by rheological, in line FTIR spectroscopic (React IR) and real-time calorimetric (RC1) methods. This process-analytically monitored multi step synthesis was successfully used to optimize the production of medical-grade TPCU elastomers on preparative scale (in lots of several kg) with controlled molecular structure and mechanical properties. Various surface and bulk analytical methods as well as systematic studies of the mechanic response of the elastomer end-products towards compression and tensile loading were used to estimate the bio-stability of the prepared TPCUs in vitro after 3 months. The tests suggested that high bio-stability of all polyurethane formulations using accelerating in vitro test can be attributed to the synthetic design as well as to the specific techniques used for specimen preparation, namely: (i) the annealing for reducing residual polymer surface stress and preventing IES, (ii) stabilization of the morphology by long-time storage of the specimens after processing bevor being immersed in the test liquids, (iii) purification by extraction to remove the shot chain oligomers which are the most susceptible to degradation. All mechanical tests were performed on cylindrical and circular disc specimens for modelling the thickness of the meniscus implants under application-relevant stress conditions.
© 2018 the author(s), published by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston
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