Drawn gelatin films with improved mechanical properties
Chain anisotropic distribution in gelatin films has been obtained by uniaxial stretching at constant relative humidity, followed by air drying and successive cross-linking with glutaraldehyde. The drawn samples have been characterized by mechanical tests, differential scanning calorimetry and scanning electron microscopy. The Young’s modulus, E, and the stress at break, σb, increase linearly with the draw ratio and reach values which are about five times those characteristic of undrawn samples. Furthermore, on stretching the alignment of the gelatin strands along the direction of deformation increases while the thickness of the layers decreases significantly. The renaturation level, that is the fraction of gelatin in a collagen-like structure, has been calculated as the ratio between the melting enthalpy of gelatin samples and that of tendon collagen. The results indicate that the improvement of mechanical properties achieved by drawn gelatin is closely related to the renaturation level. The experimental approach utilized to induce segmental orientation in gelatin films, allows to obtain anisotropic materials with improved mechanical properties in the direction of deformation, and can be usefully applied in the preparation of biomaterials.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 19, Issue 24, December 1998, Pages 2335-2340