The effect of physical aging on both the water transport properties and the mechanical properties of glassy cellulose acetate was investigated. Results indicate a reduction in the mechanical rate of relaxation as well as a reduction in the water permeability as the glass ages. A model which describes the low-frequency relaxation behavior of condensed, amorphous systems is used to quantitate the mechanical relaxation data. Systematic changes in key parameters from this model signify alterations in the microscopic or short-range structure as the glass physically ages. Predictions from this model correlate quite closely with the observed water permeability reductions and thus indicate that the transport properties of glassy polymers are dependent on the structure of the glass. This approach may provide further insight into the effects of nonequilibrium behavior on pharmaceutically important properties and may serve as a basis for predicting aging and permeability changes in controlled-release dosage forms
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