French researchers develop polymers that degrade in water in a week

June 6, 2022 |

In France, in a new study published in Nature Communications on May 24, 2022, a research team from the CNRS and the University of Paris-Saclay was able to develop new polymers that degrade in water in one week, a record time.

Thanks to a polymerization technique making it possible to design macromolecules with a controlled and homogeneous architecture, CNRS researchers at the Institut Galien Paris-Saclay (CNRS/Université Paris-Saclay), have synthesized a highly degradable polymer material. By inserting a fragile monomer into the polyacrylamide, a polymer commonly used in many industrial sectors, it can, depending on the nature of the added monomer, either become soluble in water, or have an adjustable solubility depending on the temperature, especially around that of the human body.

How degradable are they? In water, they can degrade by more than 70% in the space of a week, compared to several months or even years for the current reference biodegradable polymers, such as PLA or PCL for example.

Thanks to the characteristics of these new polymers and their ease of synthesis, the research team believes that they could be used to deliver drugs by formulating these polymers in the form of heat-sensitive nanoparticles capable of solubilizing at body temperature. Such chemistry should also make it possible to prepare degradable surfactants for water treatment by flocculation, which is a process widely used in drinking water treatment plants.

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Category: Research

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