Study of phase separation in blends of silk fibroin and sodium alginate in solution and in solid state
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Silk fibroin (SF) and sodium alginate (SA) are natural polymers with many applications as biomaterials. It is possible to make blends with them in order to improve their properties. Those blends are partially miscible; therefore, understanding the mechanism and phase equilibrium of this system is important to better understand the interaction between these natural polymers. This work analyzed the mechanism of phase separation of SF and SA blends with different composition in solution and in the solid state (as membranes) using small angle light scattering with a He-Ne laser. Polymer interaction and conformation were investigated by Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy with Attenuated Total Reflectance (FTIR-ATR) and X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), and membrane morphology was analyzed by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). SEM images showed interpenetrated globules in the matrix. Light scattering profile for blends in solution and in the solid state showed a peak of intensity suggesting that phase separation occurs by spinodal decomposition.
KeywordsBiopolymers Phase separation Thermodynamic
We thank all financial institutions that supported this work. This project was supported by Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES - 33003017034P8) and National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq - 476046/2012-2).
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