The effect of plasticizers on the erosion and mechanical properties of polymeric films

Cheryl L. Rabek, Rachel Van Stelle, Thomas D. Dziubla, David A. Puleo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cellulose acetate phthalate and Pluronic F-127 combined together (70:30 wt:wt) create a rigid, surface-eroding association polymer. To impart flexibility into the polymer system and allow for a drug delivery film that can contour to varying wound shapes, plasticizers were added. Triethyl citrate or tributyl citrate was combined with cellulose acetate phthalate and Pluronic F-127 at 0, 10, or 20 wt%. Mechanical analysis was performed on the films as they were prepared and following a 2-h incubation in phosphate-buffered saline. Tensile tests showed that higher plasticizer content increased the % elongation but decreased the elastic modulus and ultimate tensile strength. The effect triethyl citrate had on the % elongation was twice as much than that of tributyl citrate. After incubation, % elongation, elastic modulus, and ultimate tensile strength all increased because plasticizer leached out of the films. Microcomputed tomography and scanning electron microscopy were performed on the samples both before and after incubation to determine how erosion and leaching of plasticizer affected the interior and exterior structure of the films. Porosity increased as plasticizer content increased; however, plasticizer content did not have a significant effect on the rate of erosion. The mechanical properties of cellulose acetate phthalate-Pluronic films can be adjusted by the type and amount of plasticizer added to the system and therefore can be tailored for different drug delivery applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-789
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Applications
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the NIH (DE019645 and AR060964) and NSF (EPS-0814194 and EEC-0851716). CR was supported by NSF IGERT (DGE-0653710).


  • Drug delivery film
  • cellulose acetate phthalate
  • erosion
  • plasticizer
  • tensile testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of plasticizers on the erosion and mechanical properties of polymeric films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this