Polyurethane Dispersions with Peptide Corona: Facile Synthesis of Stimuli-Responsive Dispersions and Films.

PMID 26158378


Peptide-polymer hybrid particles of submicron size yielding stimuli-responsive macroscopic films are presented. A thermoplastic polyurethane (PU) carrying polysiloxane and polyester soft segments serves as core material to obtain flexible, yet semicrystalline films with temperature-sensitivity. The synthesis is based on the high-sheer emulsification of isocyanate-terminated PU prepolymers, which in our model system purposefully lack any ability of colloidal self-stabilization. While emulsification in water leads to immediate coagulation, stable dispersions of polyurethane nanoparticles were formed in aqueous solutions of a hydrolyzed protein from wool. A comparison of dispersion and film properties to nonreactive, otherwise identical dispersions suggests covalent attachment of the peptide to the PU backbone. We show that the colloidal stability of the hybrid particles is completely governed by the peptide corona, and hence pH-triggered coagulation can be employed to induce particle deposition and film formation. Differential scanning calorimetry confirms partial crystallinity in the film and reveals strongly modified crystallization behavior due to the peptide.