Many publications have examined the biodegradable polymer poly(propylene fumerate) (PPF) for use in tissue engineering applications. We have examined a similar crosslinkable polymer system, poly(propylene fumerate)-co-(propylene maleate) (PPFcPM), derived from maleic anhydride (MA) and 1,2-propanediol (PD). Two methods were examined in order to synthesis the copolymer. In the first case, the reaction was carried out at high temperature (250°C) under nitrogen using tosic acid as the catalyst. Only PPF was identified due to the thermal isomerization of the maleate groups to the more stable fumerate group. In the second case, toluene was used as the solvent to azeotropically (85 °C) remove water and drive the acid catalyzed esterification reaction. In the lower temperature case, a small amount of fumerate (<30%) was identified. Both polymer systems had glass transition temperatures (Tg) below room temperature. The PPFcPM copolymer was electrospun and crosslinked in situ to form porous micro- and nano fiber mats. Initial biocompatibility studies have also been preformed.
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