Cross-linked degradable poly(β-thioester) networks via amine-catalyzed thiol-ene click polymerization

J. Vandenbergh, M. Peeters, T. Kretschmer, Patrick Wagner, T. Junkers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A set of binary and ternary biodegradable cross-linked poly(β-thioester) networks have been synthesized via thiol-ene Michael additions, by reacting combinations of dithiols, diacrylates and multifunctional cross-linkers. Insoluble binary thermoset networks and soluble ternary branched polymers with broad molar mass distributions are obtained in a facile manner after polymerization at room temperature for only few minutes. The networks display excellent thermal stability up to 250 °C and exhibit low glass transition temperatures. The soluble branched polymers show degradation of the polyester backbone upon chemical degradation by acidic and basic solutions. Finally, the (bio)degradability of ternary PBT polymer films is examined via quartz crystal microbalance measurements. Weight loss is measured as a function of time upon exposure to phosphate buffers at different pH. PBTs carrying apolar chain segments display surface degradation, while PBTs with more polar ethylene glycol segments allow for swelling in aqueous solution, which is reflected in concomitant surface and bulk degradation of the materials. Because of their biodegradability, these easy to synthesize poly(β-thioesters) networks are considered to be suitable candidates to use in future biomedical or ecological applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3525-3532
Number of pages8
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2014


  • Thiol-ene reaction
  • quartz crystal microbalance
  • degradable networks


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