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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2018, Article ID 8796583, 15 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/8796583
Research Article

Degradation Behavior of Electrospun PLA and PLA/CNT Nanofibres in Aqueous Environment

1Department of Heat Engineering and Environment Protection, Faculty of Metals Engineering and Industrial Computer Science, AGH University of Science and Technology, 30 Mickiewicza Avenue, 30-059 Krakow, Poland
2Laryngology Department, School of Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, 20 Francuska Str., 40-752 Katowice, Poland
3Department of Biomaterials, Faculty of Materials Science and Ceramics, AGH University of Science and Technology, 30 Mickiewicza Avenue, 30-059 Krakow, Poland

Correspondence should be addressed to Stanislaw Blazewicz; lp.ude.hga@wezalb

Received 29 November 2017; Revised 10 February 2018; Accepted 22 February 2018; Published 1 April 2018

Academic Editor: Silvia Licoccia

Copyright © 2018 Anna Magiera et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The aim of the work was to compare the degradation behavior of electrospun nanofibres obtained from pure poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and modified with carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in aqueous environment. The nanofibres in the form of mats were manufactured using the electrospinning technique (ES) with potential biomedical application. To investigate the degradation behavior, one-component and composite (containing CNTs) nanofibres were compared using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), water contact angle measurements, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and mechanical testing. The changes in their morphology, structure, and selected physical and mechanical properties during incubation up to 14 days were analysed. Two types of CNTs differing in concentration of surface functional groups were used to modify the PLA nanofibres. PLA and composite nanofibres (PLA + CNT) during incubation underwent swelling and partial degradation due to the penetration of water into polymer matrix. Changes in the mechanical properties of composite mats were higher than those observed for pure PLA mats. After 14-day incubation, samples retained from 47 to 78% of their initial tensile strength, higher for PLA samples. Morphological changes in pure PLA nanofibres were more dynamic than in composite nanofibres. No significant changes in crystallinity, wettability, and porosity of the samples occurred.