Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, Vol.43, No.22, 5449-5457, 2005
Synthesis, crystallization, and morphology of star-shaped poly(epsilon-caprolactone)
Six-arm star-shaped poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (sPCL) was successfully synthesized via the ring-opening polymerization of epsilon-caprolactone with a commercial dipentaerythritol as the initiator and stannous octoate (SnOct(2)) as the catalyst in bulk at 120 degrees C. The effects of the molar ratios of both the monomer to the initiator and the monomer to the catalyst on the molecular weight of the polymer were investigated in detail. The molecular weight of the polymer linearly increased with the molar ratio of the monomer to the initiator, and the molecular weight distribution was very low (weight-average molecular weight/number-average molecular weight = 1.05-1.24). However, the molar ratio of the monomer to the catalyst had no apparent influence on the molecular weight of the polymer. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis indicated that the maximal melting point, cold crystallization temperature, and degree of crystallinity of the sPCL polymers increased with increasing molecular weight, and crystallinities of different sizes and imperfect crystallization possibly did not exist in the sPCL polymers. Furthermore, polarized optical microscopy analysis indicated that the crystallization rate of the polymers was in the order of linear poly(E-caprolactone) (LPCL) > sPCL5 > sPCL1 (sPCL5 had a higher molecular weight than both sPCL1 and LPCL, which had similar molecular weights). Both LPCL and sPCL5 exhibited a good spherulitic morphology with apparent Maltese cross patterns, whereas sPCL1 showed a poor spherulitic morphology. (c) 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.