Author(s): Gartner C, Lpez BL, Sierra L, Graf R, Spiess HW,
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Abstract Modern solid-state NMR techniques, combined with X-ray diffraction, revealed the molecular origin of the difference in mechanical properties of self-associated chitosan films. Films cast from acidic aqueous solutions were compared before and after neutralization, and the role of the counterion (acetate vs Cl(-)) was investigated. There is a competition between local structure and long-range order. Hydrogen bonding gives good mechanical strength to neutralized films, which lack long-range organization. The long-range structure is better defined in films cast from acidic solutions in which strong electrostatic interactions cause rotational distortion around the chitosan chains. Plasticization by acetate counterions enhances long-range molecular organization and film flexibility. In contrast, Cl(-) counterions act as a defect and impair the long-range organization by immobilizing hydration water. Molecular motion and proton exchange are restricted, resulting in brittle films despite the high moisture content.
This article was published in Biomacromolecules
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine