Density: 1.0-1.2 g/ml
Chemical Names: Poly(ε-caprolactone)
Appearance: White particles
Minimal order quantity: 20 gram
Polycaprolactone (PCL) is a polyester with a low melting point, often used to produce specialty polyurethanes. It is a synthetic aliphatic polyester that naturally degrades after about six weeks when composted. PCL is also FDA approved for use in the human body. Compared to other polyesters, it offers very slow degradation.
Degradation occurs by hydrolysis in the human body, allowing it to be used for long-term implantable devices. Proteobacteria and firmicutes degrade PCL. When used as an additive in resins, it enhances the toughness, tear strength, and flexibility of the material. It may also be added to PVC as a polymeric plasticizer to increase flexibility.
Along with slow degradation, PCL has good resistance to oil, water, and solvents, especially when used to produce polyurethane. The characteristics of PCL also provide high compatibility with other materials. PCL may easily be mixed with starch to reduce its cost and improve biodegradability.
The high strength and slow degradation of PCL make it useful in a variety of fields. It is often used to enhance other materials, such as PVC or polyurethanes, and provides a suitable feedstock for 3D printers. PCL is also used in the hobbyist market to produce very tough plastic with nylon-like properties. However, the main applications of PCL are found in the medical field.
PCL is frequently used in long-term implants and as a drug delivery system. PCL is FDA approved for drug delivery, sutures, and adhesion barriers. For drug delivery, PCL is used to create PCL beads to encapsulate the drug, allowing for targeted delivery and controlled release. PCL-based products may be used to stimulate collagen production when used for facial filling. It may also provide scaffolding for tissue repair. In the dentistry field, PCL is a primary component for dental splints and as filling for root canals. When used as a dental splint, dentists may heat the material to soften it for retreatment.