A series of novel random copolymers of poly(butylene 1,4- cyclohexanedicarboxylate) (PBCE) containing triethylene glycol sub-unit (P(BCEmTECEn)) were synthesized and characterized in terms of molecular and solid-state properties, among these barrier properties to different gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide). In addition, biodegradability studies both in soil and in compost and ecotoxicological analysis, by means of the Lepidium sativum test, have been conducted. The copolymers displayed a high and similar thermal stability with respect to PBCE. At room temperature, all the copolymers appeared as semicrystalline materials: the main effect of copolymerization was a lowering of crystallinity degree (χc) and a decrease of the melting temperature compared to the parent homopolymer. The Baur's equation well described the Tm-composition data. Final properties and biodegradation rate of the materials under study were strictly dependent on copolymer composition and χc. As a matter of fact, hydrophilicity regularly increased with the increasing of TECE mol%, due to the PEG-like portion. The elastic modulus and the elongation to break decreased and increased, respectively, as TECE unit content was increased. As to the barrier properties, the selectivity ratios for the examined samples increased with the increasing of TECE mol%, confirming the correlation between the permeability and the chemical composition. The copolymers with lower TECE unit content (up to 30 mol%) showed improved barrier properties with respect to polylactide films tested under the same conditions. Lastly, the biodegradation rate of P(BCEmTECEn) copolymers increased with the increasing of TECE mol%, while PBCE remained almost undegraded in the explored conditions. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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