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Issue 56, 2015
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A bio-friendly, green route to processable, biocompatible graphene/polymer composites

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Abstract

Graphene-based polymer composites are a very promising class of compounds for tissue engineering scaffolds. However, in general the methods of synthesis are environmentally hazardous and residual toxic materials can affect the biocompatibility significantly. In this paper a simple, scalable, environmentally-friendly, microwave-assisted synthesis is described that results in conducting graphene/polycaprolactone composites that retain the processability and biocompatibility of the pristine polymer without introducing possibly hazardous reducing agents. Composites of polycaprolactone and graphene oxide were synthesised in a single step by the ring-opening polymerisation of ε-caprolactone in the presence of dispersed graphene oxide nanosheets under microwave irradiation. The graphene oxide provides a nucleation centre for the crystallisation of the polymer resulting in polymer-functionalised nanosheets. During polymerisation, the graphene oxide was also reduced to conducting graphene. The resulting graphene/polymer composites were comparable to composites prepared by blending previously highly chemically reduced graphene into polycaprolactone, and they could be easily dispersed in a number of solvents or melt extruded for further processing. These three-dimensional melt extruded materials showed excellent biocompatibility and are promising substrates for tissue engineering scaffolds.

Graphical abstract: A bio-friendly, green route to processable, biocompatible graphene/polymer composites

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
21 Apr 2015
Accepted
12 May 2015
First published
12 May 2015

RSC Adv., 2015,5, 45284-45290
Article type
Paper

A bio-friendly, green route to processable, biocompatible graphene/polymer composites

E. Murray, S. Sayyar, B. C. Thompson, R. Gorkin III, D. L. Officer and G. G. Wallace, RSC Adv., 2015, 5, 45284
DOI: 10.1039/C5RA07210G

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