Poly(hexano-6-lactone) (PCL*) fibers were enzymatically degraded by a hydrolase in vitro. The extent of degradation of PCL fibers was examined by weight loss, mechanical properties loss such as tensile strength and ultimate elongation decreases, and visual observations by scanning electron microscopy. The in vitro degradation of PCL fibers was carried out using a lipoprotein lipase
(Lipase-PS) as a hydrolase. The kinetic study on the weight loss of PCL fiber accompanying the enzymatic degradation suggested that the degradation of PCL fibers gradually takes place from the surface, not bulk degradation. The rate of degradation was found to depend on draw ratio and crystallinity of the PCL fibers. The strength loss of PCL fibers in the course of degradation took place faster than the weight loss of PCL fibers. Sonic velocity measurements as well as dynamic mechanical properties of PCL fibers were also examined as a function of weight loss of sample fibers with Lipase-PS treatments. It was shown that sonic velocity and value of loss tangent d changed steeply for undrawn PCL fiber in the first step with enzymatic digestion.
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