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Dendritic Lamellar Assembly in Solution-Cast Poly(L-lactic acid) Spherulites

Abstract

Poly(L-lacic acid) (PLLA) interacting with solvents of different interaction strength crystallizes, upon solvent evaporation, into spherulites of various birefringence patterns. Top surface-relief morphologies in correlations with interior lamellae assembly in solvent-evaporated PLLA confined in films were probed using atomic-force, scanning electron, and polarized-light microscopy techniques. For PLLA crystallized upon solvent evaporation, the types of solvent, solvent evaporation rate and evaporation temperature lead to a wide varieties of morphologies with complex optical birefringence patterns. For PLLA crystallized by solvent evaporation with tetrahydrofuran (THF) as solvent and evaporation kept in open atmosphere, PLLA exhibits one-ring to two-ring birefringence-banded morphology at 26-30oC, whose its lattice belongs to α-crystals without occurrence of complexation with any solvent molecules. When PLLA is cast from solvents other than THF or temperatures outside the range of 26-30oC, no banded spherulites could be formed. The topography of the banded PLLA spherulites demonstrates the dendritic petal-like lamellae are arranged in multi-layered tree-branch patterns; in addition, inside the spherulites, lamellae are arranged in radial direction, and reveal a layered structure from lateral view.

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Jul 2017, accepted on 08 Sep 2017 and first published on 08 Sep 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CE01378G
Citation: CrystEngComm, 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Dendritic Lamellar Assembly in Solution-Cast Poly(L-lactic acid) Spherulites

    H. Chen and E. M. Woo, CrystEngComm, 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CE01378G

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