Poly(2-methoxyethyl acrylate) (PMEA) shows excellent blood compatibility because of the existence of intermediate water. Various modifications of PMEA by changing its main or side chain's chemical structure allowed tuning of the water content and the blood compatibility of numerous novel polymers. Here, we exploit a possibility of manipulating the surface hydration structure of PMEA by incorporation of small amounts of hydrophobic fluorine groups in MEA polymers using atom-transfer radical polymerization and the (macro) initiator concept. Two kinds of fluorinated MEA polymers with similar molecular weights and the same 5.5 mol % of fluorine content were synthesized using the bromoester of 2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8-pentadecafluoro-1-octanol (F15) and poly(2,2,2-trifluoroethyl methacrylate) (PTFEMA) as (macro) initiators, appearing liquid and solid at room temperature, respectively. The fibrinogen adsorption of the two varieties of fluorinated MEA polymers was different, which could not be explained only by the bulk hydration structure. Both polymers show a nanostructured morphology in the hydrated state with different sizes of the features. The measured elastic modulus of the domains appearing in atomic force microscopy and the intermediate water content shed light on the distinct mechanism of blood compatibility. Contact angle measurements reveal the surface hydration dynamics - while in the hydrated state, F15-b-PMEA reorients easily to the surface exposing its PMEA part to the water, the small solid PTFEMA block with high glass-transition temperature suppresses the movement of PTFEMA-b-PMEA and its reconstruction on the surface. These findings illustrate that in order to make a better blood compatible polymer, the chains containing sufficient intermediate water need to be mobile and efficiently oriented to the water surface.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry