A series of 66 terpolymers of dl-lactide, glycolide, and epsilon-caprolactone was synthesized for the purpose of identifying those materials which exhibited rapid degradation in vitro. Polymers having half-lives from a few weeks to several months were identified. The morphology of each material was characterized by differential scanning calorimetry. A terpolymeric composition of 60% glycolide, 30% dl-lactide, and 10% epsilon-caprolactone, which exhibited a half-life of 17 days, was selected for further investigation. The hydrophilicity of this material was increased by performing the polymerization in the presence of a polyether prepolymer, Pluronic F-68, with the motivation of concomitantly reducing cell and tissue adhesion. An increase in the hydrophilicity of the material was apparent from contact angle measurements. Copolymerization with the prepolymer also resulted in a stronger and partly crystalline material which was mechanically stable at physiological temperature in water. A slight increase was observed in the half-life of the polymer relative to the base polymer due to the presence of the prepolymer. [on SciFinder (R)]