Unraveling the correlations between conformation, lubrication, and chemical stability of bottlebrush polymers at interfaces
Article [Accepted Manuscript]
Is part ofBiomacromolecules ; vol. 18, no 12, p.4002–4010
Publisher(s)American Chemical Society
In the present study, we monitored the conformation and chemical stability of a hydrophilic bottlebrush (BB) polymer in pure water and buffered saline solutions. We correlated these parameters to lubricating and wear protecting properties. Using the Surface Forces Apparatus (SFA), we show that the BB polymer partially adsorbs on mica surfaces and extends half its contour length toward the aqueous media. This conformation gives rise to a strong repulsive interaction force when surfaces bearing BB polymer chains are pressed against each other. Analysis of these repulsive forces demonstrated that the adsorbed polymer chains could be described as end-attached elastic rods. After 2 months of aging at temperatures ranging from 4 to 37 °C, partial scission of the BB polymer's lateral chains was observed by Gel Permeation Chromatography with a half-life time of the polymer of at least two years. The thickness of the BB polymer layer assessed by SFA appeared to quickly decrease with aging time and temperature which was mainly caused by the adsorption to the substrate of the released lateral chains. The gradual loss of the BB polymer lateral chains did not impact significantly the tribological properties of the BB polymer solution nor its wear protection capacity. The friction coefficient between mica surfaces immersed in the BB polymer solution was = 0.031 ± 0.002, and was independent of the aging conditions and remained constant up to an applied pressure P = 15 atm. Altogether, this study demonstrates that besides the gradual loss of lateral chains, the BB polymer is still able to perform adequately as a lubricant and wear protecting agent over a time period suitable for in vivo administration.
Faivre, J., Shrestha, B. R., Xie, G., Delair, T., David, L., Matyjaszewski, K., & Banquy, X. (2017). Unraveling the Correlations between Conformation, Lubrication, and Chemical Stability of Bottlebrush Polymers at Interfaces. Biomacromolecules, 18(12), 4002-4010.