Solvent-free synthesis of biostable segmented polyurethane shape memory polymers for biomedical applications

Maryam Ramezani, Dariya Getya, Ivan Gitsov, Mary Beth Browning Monroe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biostable shape memory polymers that remain stable in physiological conditions are beneficial for user-defined shape recovery in response to a specific stimulus. For potential commercialization and biocompatibility considerations, biomaterial synthesis must be simple and scalable. Hence, a library of biostable and cytocompatible shape memory polymers with tunable thermomechanical properties based on hard segment content was synthesized using a solvent-free method. Polymer surface chemistry, thermomechanical and shape memory properties, and biostability were assessed. We also investigated the effects of processing methods on thermomechanical and shape memory properties. All polymers showed high glass transition temperatures (>50 °C), which indicates that their temporary shape could be preserved after implantation. Polymers also demonstrate high shape fixity (73-80%) and shape recovery (93-95%). Minimal mass loss (<5%) was observed in accelerated oxidative (20% H2O2) and hydrolytic (0.1 M NaOH) media. Additionally, minimal shape recovery (∼0%) occurred in programmed samples with higher hard segment content that were stored in degradation media. After 40 days of storage in media, programmed samples recovered their primary shapes upon heating to temperatures above their transition temperature. Annealing to above the polymer melting point and solvent casting of polymers improved shape memory and thermal properties. To enable their potential use as biomaterial scaffolds, fiber formation of synthesized polyurethanes was compared with those of samples synthesized using a previously reported solvent-based method. The new method provided polymers that can form fibrous scaffolds with improved mechanical and shape memory properties, which is attributed to the higher molecular weight and crystalline content of polymers synthesized using the new, solvent-free approach. These biostable segmented polyurethanes could be coupled with a range of components that respond to specific stimuli, such as enzymes, magnetic field, pH, or light, to enable a specific shape change response, which could be coupled with drug and/or bioactive material delivery in future work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1217-1231
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 19 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


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