Macromolecules, 2017, vol 50, 14, pp. 5425-5433
We successfully developed an effective strategy for preparing poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) material with exceptionally high crystallinity (94.4% from density data) and melting point (∼136 °C) from its urea inclusion complex under normal air pressure for the first time. The strategy consists of three steps: co-electrospinning PBS with urea, thermal treatment, and coalescence of PBS in water. Electrospinning provides well physical mixing between PBS and urea. Thermal treatment causes the assembly of PBS and urea and leads to formation of their inclusion complex, in which PBS chains are separately isolated in urea channels. During the coalescing process the isolated and ordered PBS chains formed crystals with lamellar thickness larger than 26 nm—larger than 5-fold of common PBS crystal—after removing host urea frames. PBS crystals obtained with such high crystallinity and melting point are proved to be the extended-chain crystals (ECCs). Comparative study reveals that the electrospinning and thermal treatment process are necessary in this strategy for preparation of ECC although many other methods can be also used to obtain inclusion complex. Further study shows that the strategy is also feasible for obtaining ECCs of other aliphatic polyesters.