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Materials, Volume 11, Issue 3 (March 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Complex plasmonic nanocomposites have a great potential in a wide range of applications ranging [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Application of Silver Nanostructures Synthesized by Cold Atmospheric Pressure Plasma for Inactivation of Bacterial Phytopathogens from the Genera Dickeya and Pectobacterium
Materials 2018, 11(3), 331; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030331
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 16 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
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Abstract
Pectinolytic bacteria are responsible for significant economic losses by causing diseases on numerous plants. New methods are required to control and limit their spread. One possibility is the application of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) that exhibit well-established antibacterial properties. Here, we synthesized AgNPs, stabilized
[...] Read more.
Pectinolytic bacteria are responsible for significant economic losses by causing diseases on numerous plants. New methods are required to control and limit their spread. One possibility is the application of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) that exhibit well-established antibacterial properties. Here, we synthesized AgNPs, stabilized by pectins (PEC) or sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), using a direct current atmospheric pressure glow discharge (dc-APGD) generated in an open-to-air and continuous-flow reaction-discharge system. Characterization of the PEC-AgNPs and SDS-AgNPs with UV/Vis absorption spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and selected area electron diffraction revealed the production of spherical, well dispersed, and face cubic centered crystalline AgNPs, with average sizes of 9.33 ± 3.37 nm and 28.3 ± 11.7 nm, respectively. Attenuated total reflection-Fourier transformation infrared spectroscopy supported the functionalization of the nanostructures by PEC and SDS. Antibacterial activity of the AgNPs was tested against Dickeya spp. and Pectobacterium spp. strains. Both PEC-AgNPs and SDS-AgNPs displayed bactericidal activity against all of the tested isolates, with minimum inhibitory concentrations of 5.5 mg∙L−1 and 0.75–3 mg∙L−1, respectively. The collected results suggest that the dc-APGD reaction-discharge system can be applied for the production of defined AgNPs with strong antibacterial properties, which may be further applied in plant disease management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomaterials and Materials for Translational Research)
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Open AccessArticle Electrochemical Study of Polymer and Ceramic-Based Nanocomposite Coatings for Corrosion Protection of Cast Iron Pipeline
Materials 2018, 11(3), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030332
Received: 29 October 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 18 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
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Abstract
Coating is one of the most effective measures to protect metallic materials from corrosion. Various types of coatings such as metallic, ceramic and polymer coatings have been investigated in a quest to find durable coatings to resist electrochemical decay of metals in industrial
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Coating is one of the most effective measures to protect metallic materials from corrosion. Various types of coatings such as metallic, ceramic and polymer coatings have been investigated in a quest to find durable coatings to resist electrochemical decay of metals in industrial applications. Many polymeric composite coatings have proved to be resistant against aggressive environments. Two major applications of ferrous materials are in marine environments and in the oil and gas industry. Knowing the corroding behavior of ferrous-based materials during exposure to these aggressive applications, an effort has been made to protect the material by using polymeric and ceramic-based coatings reinforced with nano materials. Uncoated and coated cast iron pipeline material was investigated during corrosion resistance by employing EIS (electrochemical impedance spectroscopy) and electrochemical DC corrosion testing using the “three electrode system”. Cast iron pipeline samples were coated with Polyvinyl Alcohol/Polyaniline/FLG (Few Layers Graphene) and TiO2/GO (graphene oxide) nanocomposite by dip-coating. The EIS data indicated better capacitance and higher impedance values for coated samples compared with the bare metal, depicting enhanced corrosion resistance against seawater and “produce water” of a crude oil sample from a local oil rig; Tafel scans confirmed a significant decrease in corrosion rate of coated samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wear-Corrosion Synergy, Nanocoating and Control of Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis, Characterization and In Vitro Study of Synthetic and Bovine-Derived Hydroxyapatite Ceramics: A Comparison
Materials 2018, 11(3), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030333
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 7 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 25 February 2018
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Abstract
The physicochemical properties and biological behavior of sintered-bovine-derived hydroxyapatite (BHAp) are here reported and compared to commercial synthetic-HAp (CHAp). Dense ceramics were sintered for 2 h and 4 h at 1200 °C to investigate their microstructure–structure–in-vitro behavior relationship for both HAp ceramics. Densification
[...] Read more.
The physicochemical properties and biological behavior of sintered-bovine-derived hydroxyapatite (BHAp) are here reported and compared to commercial synthetic-HAp (CHAp). Dense ceramics were sintered for 2 h and 4 h at 1200 °C to investigate their microstructure–structure–in-vitro behavior relationship for both HAp ceramics. Densification was directly proportional to sintering time, showing a grain coarsening behavior with a greater effect on BHAp. Lattice parameters, crystallite size, cell volume and Ca/P ratio were determined by Rietveld refinement of X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns using GSAS®. Ionic substitutions (Na+, Mg2+, CO32−) related to BHAp structure were associated with their position changes in the vibrational modes and correlated with the structural parameters obtained from the XRD analysis. Variations in the structural parameters and surface morphology were also evaluated after different soaking periods in simulated body fluid, which is associated with the formation of bone-like apatite layer and thus bioactivity. Mitochondrial activity (MTS) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assays showed that the material released by the ceramics does not induce toxicity after exposure in human fetal osteoblastic (hFOB) cells. Furthermore, no statistically significant differences were found between the HAp obtained from different sources. These results show that BHAp can be used with no restrictions for the same biomedical applications as CHAp. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bone Substitute Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Efficiency Evaluation of Food Waste Materials for the Removal of Metals and Metalloids from Complex Multi-Element Solutions
Materials 2018, 11(3), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030334
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
Recent studies have shown the potential of food waste materials as low cost adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals and toxic elements from wastewater. However, the adsorption experiments have been performed in heterogeneous conditions, consequently it is difficult to compare the efficiency
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Recent studies have shown the potential of food waste materials as low cost adsorbents for the removal of heavy metals and toxic elements from wastewater. However, the adsorption experiments have been performed in heterogeneous conditions, consequently it is difficult to compare the efficiency of the individual adsorbents. In this study, the adsorption capacities of 12 food waste materials were evaluated by comparing the adsorbents’ efficiency for the removal of 23 elements from complex multi-element solutions, maintaining homogeneous experimental conditions. The examined materials resulted to be extremely efficient for the adsorption of many elements from synthetic multi-element solutions as well as from a heavy metal wastewater. The 12 adsorbent surfaces were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and showed different types and amounts of functional groups, which demonstrated to act as adsorption active sites for various elements. By multivariate statistical computations of the obtained data, the 12 food waste materials were grouped in five clusters characterized by different elements’ removal efficiency which resulted to be in correlation with the specific adsorbents’ chemical structures. Banana peel, watermelon peel and grape waste resulted the least selective and the most efficient food waste materials for the removal of most of the elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle New Insights into Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 via Fabricating Magnetic Photocatalyst Material BiVO4/Mn1−xZnxFe2O4
Materials 2018, 11(3), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030335
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 13 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
BiVO4/Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 was prepared by the impregnation roasting method. XRD (X-ray Diffractometer) tests showed that the prepared BiVO4 is monoclinic crystal, and the introduction of Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 does
[...] Read more.
BiVO4/Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 was prepared by the impregnation roasting method. XRD (X-ray Diffractometer) tests showed that the prepared BiVO4 is monoclinic crystal, and the introduction of Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 does not change the crystal structure of BiVO4. The introduction of a soft-magnetic material, Mn1−xZnxFe2O4, was beneficial to the composite photocatalyst’s separation from the liquid solution using an extra magnet after use. UV-vis spectra analysis indicated that Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 enhanced the absorption intensity of visible light for BiVO4. EIS (electrochemical impedance spectroscopy) investigation revealed that the introduction of Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 enhanced the conductivity of BiVO4, further decreasing its electron transfer impedance. The photocatalytic efficiency of BiVO4/Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 was higher than that of pure BiVO4. In other words, Mn1−xZnxFe2O4 could enhance the photocatalytic reaction rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photocatalysis for Wastewater Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle Bond–Slip Relationship for CFRP Sheets Externally Bonded to Concrete under Cyclic Loading
Materials 2018, 11(3), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030336
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this paper was to explore the bond–slip relationship between carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) sheets and concrete under cyclic loading through experimental and analytical approaches. Modified beam tests were performed in order to gain insight into the bond–slip relationship under static
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The objective of this paper was to explore the bond–slip relationship between carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) sheets and concrete under cyclic loading through experimental and analytical approaches. Modified beam tests were performed in order to gain insight into the bond–slip relationship under static and cyclic loading. The test variables are the CFRP-to-concrete width ratio, and the bond length of the CFRP sheets. An analysis of the test results in this paper and existing test results indicated that the slope of the ascending segment of the bond–slip curve decreased with an increase in the number of load cycles, but the slip corresponding to the maximum shear stress was almost invariable as the number of load cycles increased. In addition, the rate of reduction in the slope of the ascending range of the bond–slip curve during cyclic loading decreased as the concrete strength increased, and increased as the load level or CFRP-to-concrete width ratio enhanced. However, these were not affected by variations in bond length if the residual bond length was longer than the effective bond length. A bilinear bond–slip model for CFRP sheets that are externally bonded to concrete under cyclic loading, which considered the effects of the cyclic load level, concrete strength, and CFRP-to-concrete ratio, was developed based on the existing static bond–slip model. The accuracy of this proposed model was verified by a comparison between this proposed model and test results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Strain-Compensated InGaAsP Superlattices for Defect Reduction of InP Grown on Exact-Oriented (001) Patterned Si Substrates by Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition
Materials 2018, 11(3), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030337
Received: 28 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
We report on the use of InGaAsP strain-compensated superlattices (SC-SLs) as a technique to reduce the defect density of Indium Phosphide (InP) grown on silicon (InP-on-Si) by Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD). Initially, a 2 μm thick gallium arsenide (GaAs) layer was
[...] Read more.
We report on the use of InGaAsP strain-compensated superlattices (SC-SLs) as a technique to reduce the defect density of Indium Phosphide (InP) grown on silicon (InP-on-Si) by Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD). Initially, a 2 μm thick gallium arsenide (GaAs) layer was grown with very high uniformity on exact oriented (001) 300 mm Si wafers; which had been patterned in 90 nm V-grooved trenches separated by silicon dioxide (SiO2) stripes and oriented along the [110] direction. Undercut at the Si/SiO2 interface was used to reduce the propagation of defects into the III–V layers. Following wafer dicing; 2.6 μm of indium phosphide (InP) was grown on such GaAs-on-Si templates. InGaAsP SC-SLs and thermal annealing were used to achieve a high-quality and smooth InP pseudo-substrate with a reduced defect density. Both the GaAs-on-Si and the subsequently grown InP layers were characterized using a variety of techniques including X-ray diffraction (XRD); atomic force microscopy (AFM); transmission electron microscopy (TEM); and electron channeling contrast imaging (ECCI); which indicate high-quality of the epitaxial films. The threading dislocation density and RMS surface roughness of the final InP layer were 5 × 108/cm2 and 1.2 nm; respectively and 7.8 × 107/cm2 and 10.8 nm for the GaAs-on-Si layer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Carboxylic Terminated Thermo-Responsive Copolymer Hydrogel and Improvement in Peptide Release Profile
Materials 2018, 11(3), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030338
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
To improve the release profile of peptide drugs, thermos-responsive triblock copolymer poly (ε-caprolactone-co-p-dioxanone)-b-poly (ethylene glycol)-b-poly (ε-caprolactone-co-p-dioxanone) (PECP) was prepared and end capped by succinic anhydride to give its carboxylic terminated derivative. Both PCEP block copolymer and its end group modified derivative showed temperature-dependent
[...] Read more.
To improve the release profile of peptide drugs, thermos-responsive triblock copolymer poly (ε-caprolactone-co-p-dioxanone)-b-poly (ethylene glycol)-b-poly (ε-caprolactone-co-p-dioxanone) (PECP) was prepared and end capped by succinic anhydride to give its carboxylic terminated derivative. Both PCEP block copolymer and its end group modified derivative showed temperature-dependent reversible sol-gel transition in water. The carboxylic end group could significantly decrease the sol-gel transition temperature by nearly 10 °C and strengthen the gel due to enhanced intermolecular force among triblock copolymer chains. Furthermore, compared with the original PECP triblock copolymer, HOOC–PECP–COOH copolymer displayed a retarded and sustained release profile for leuprorelin acetate over one month while effectively avoiding the initial burst. The controlled release was believed to be related to the formation of conjugated copolymer-peptide pair by ionic interaction and enhanced solubility of drug molecules into the hydrophobic domains of the hydrogel. Therefore, carboxyl terminated HOOC–PECP–COOH hydrogel was a promising and well-exhibited sustained release carrier for peptide drugs with the advantage of being able to develop injectable formulation by simple mixing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Critical Current Simulation and Measurement of Second Generation, High-Temperature Superconducting Coil under External Magnetic Field
Materials 2018, 11(3), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030339
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper studies the critical current of second generation, high temperature superconducting coils under an external magnetic field experimentally and numerically. Two identical coils with different coated conductors are fabricated and tested under a direct current (DC) magnetic field along the axis of
[...] Read more.
This paper studies the critical current of second generation, high temperature superconducting coils under an external magnetic field experimentally and numerically. Two identical coils with different coated conductors are fabricated and tested under a direct current (DC) magnetic field along the axis of the coil. Then, a numerical model in cylindrical coordinates based on a sheet current model is built by taking the measured magnetic field dependency to analyze the current distribution and magnetic field distribution. The simulated critical currents of the coils under the DC magnetic field have good agreement with the measured results. We find that under the in-phase field, the critical current decreases as the magnetic field in the innermost turn is enhanced by the external field. Meanwhile, the anti-phase external field increases the critical current a bit at first, then decreases the critical current. We further discuss the critical current criteria of the coils, showing that the parallel field plays a more important role in critical current determination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle High Efficient Reduction of Graphene Oxide via Nascent Hydrogen at Room Temperature
Materials 2018, 11(3), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030340
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
To develop a green and efficient method to synthesize graphene in relative milder conditions is prerequisite for graphene applications. A chemical reducing method has been developed to high efficiently reduce graphene oxide (GO) using Fe2O3 and NH3BH3
[...] Read more.
To develop a green and efficient method to synthesize graphene in relative milder conditions is prerequisite for graphene applications. A chemical reducing method has been developed to high efficiently reduce graphene oxide (GO) using Fe2O3 and NH3BH3 as catalyst and reductants, respectively. During the process, environmental and strong reductive nascent hydrogen were generated surrounding the surface of GO sheets by catalyst hydrolysis reaction of NH3BH3 and were used for reduction of GO. The reduction process was studied by ultraviolet absorption spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectrum. The structure and morphology of the reduced GO were characterized with scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Compared to metal (Mg/Fe/Zn/Al) particles and acid system which also use nascent hydrogen to reduce GO, this method exhibited higher reduction efficiency (43.6%). Also the reduction was carried out at room temperature condition, which is environmentally friendly. As a supercapacitor electrode, the reversible capacity of reduced graphene oxide was 113.8 F g−1 at 1 A g−1 and the capacitance retention still remained at 90% after 200 cycles. This approach provides a new method to reduce GO with high reduction efficiency by green reductant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Carbon Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Six Different Silicones In Vitro for Application as Glaucoma Drainage Device
Materials 2018, 11(3), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030341
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
Silicones are widely used in medical applications. In ophthalmology, glaucoma drainage devices are utilized if conservative therapies are not applicable or have failed. Long-term success of these devices is limited by failure to control intraocular pressure due to fibrous encapsulation. Therefore, different medical
[...] Read more.
Silicones are widely used in medical applications. In ophthalmology, glaucoma drainage devices are utilized if conservative therapies are not applicable or have failed. Long-term success of these devices is limited by failure to control intraocular pressure due to fibrous encapsulation. Therefore, different medical approved silicones were tested in vitro for cell adhesion, cell proliferation and viability of human Sclera (hSF) and human Tenon fibroblasts (hTF). The silicones were analysed also depending on the sample preparation according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The surface quality was characterized with environmental scanning electron microscope (ESEM) and water contact angle measurements. All silicones showed homogeneous smooth and hydrophobic surfaces. Cell adhesion was significantly reduced on all silicones compared to the negative control. Proliferation index and cell viability were not influenced much. For development of a new glaucoma drainage device, the silicones Silbione LSR 4330 and Silbione LSR 4350, in this study, with low cell counts for hTF and low proliferation indices for hSF, and silicone Silastic MDX4-4210, with low cell counts for hSF and low proliferation indices for hTF, have shown the best results in vitro. Due to the high cell adhesion shown on Silicone LSR 40, 40,026, this material is unsuitable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Microstructure Evolution during Dissimilar Friction Stir Welding of AA7003-T4 and AA6060-T4
Materials 2018, 11(3), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030342
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
In this work, the dissimilar joint of AA7003-T4 and 6060-T4 alloy has been produced by friction stir welding (FSW). The microstructure was examined by optical microscope (OM), electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the mechanical properties of the joint
[...] Read more.
In this work, the dissimilar joint of AA7003-T4 and 6060-T4 alloy has been produced by friction stir welding (FSW). The microstructure was examined by optical microscope (OM), electron back scattered diffraction (EBSD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and the mechanical properties of the joint were investigated. It is demonstrated that sound dissimilar joint can be produced through FSW. In the nugget; precipitations dissolve into the matrix and η′ reprecipitate subsequently; and the elongated aluminum grains are replaced by fine and equiaxed grains due to dynamic recrystallization (DRX). In the heat affected zone (HAZ), coarse β′ and η precipitates are formed and the aluminum grains are coarser as compared to the base materials. In the thermo-mechanical affected zone (TMAZ), equiaxed and elongated grains coexist due to incomplete DRX. The ultimate tensile strength of the dissimilar joint is 159.2 MPa and its elongation is 10.4%. The weak area exists in the HAZ of 6060 alloy, which is placed in the retreating side during FSW. The correlations between the microstucture and mechanical properties of the dissimilar joint are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication of Completely Polymer-Based Solar Cells with p- and n-Type Semiconducting Block Copolymers with Electrically Inert Polystyrene
Materials 2018, 11(3), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030343
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
PDF Full-text (3124 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
It is widely recognized that fullerene derivatives show several advantages as n-type materials in photovoltaic applications. However, conventional [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) exhibits weak absorption in the visible region, and poor morphological stability, due to the facile aggregation. For further improvement of
[...] Read more.
It is widely recognized that fullerene derivatives show several advantages as n-type materials in photovoltaic applications. However, conventional [6,6]-phenyl-C61-butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) exhibits weak absorption in the visible region, and poor morphological stability, due to the facile aggregation. For further improvement of the device performance and durability, utilization of n-type polymeric materials instead of PCBM is considered to be a good way to solve the problems. In this study, we fabricated completely polymer-based solar cells utilizing p- and n-type block copolymers consisting of poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) and poly{[N,N′-bis(2-octyldodecyl)naphthalene-1,4,5,8-bis(dicarboximide)-2,6-diyl]-alt-5,5′-(2,2′-bithiophene)} [P(NDI2OD-T2)], respectively, containing common polystyrene (PSt) inert blocks, which decreased the size of phase separated structures. Electron mobility in synthesized P(NDI2OD-T2)-b-PSt film enhanced by a factor of 8 compared with homopolymer. The root mean square roughness of the blend film of two block copolymers (12.2 nm) was decreased, compared with that of the simple homopolymers blend (18.8 nm). From the current density-voltage characteristics, it was confirmed that the introduction of PSt into both P3HT and P(NDI2OD-T2) improves short-circuit current density (1.16 to 1.73 mA cm−2) and power-conversion efficiency (0.24% to 0.32%). Better performance is probably due to the uniformity of the phase separation, and the enhancement of charge mobility. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Investigation of Zinc and Phosphorus Elements Incorporated into Micro-Arc Oxidation Coatings Developed on Ti-6Al-4V Alloys
Materials 2018, 11(3), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030344
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 19 February 2018 / Accepted: 20 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
In order to clarify the mechanism that zinc and phosphorus elements entering the micro-arc oxidation (MAO) coatings developed on Ti-6Al-4V alloys, anodic coatings containing different zinc and phosphorus were fabricated using an orthogonal experiment of four factors with three levels in an electrolyte
[...] Read more.
In order to clarify the mechanism that zinc and phosphorus elements entering the micro-arc oxidation (MAO) coatings developed on Ti-6Al-4V alloys, anodic coatings containing different zinc and phosphorus were fabricated using an orthogonal experiment of four factors with three levels in an electrolyte containing EDTA-ZnNa2, KOH, and phytic acid. Surface morphology, element composition, chemical state and phase structure of MAO coatings were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The concentrations of zinc and phosphorus in the electrolyte were analyzed by an inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The results show that zinc and phosphorus elements in MAO coatings exist in the form of Zn3(PO4)2. Phytic acid is the most important factor on both zinc and phosphorus contents of MAO coatings. With the increase of phytic acid concentration or the decrease of KOH concentration, the contents of zinc and phosphorus in MAO coatings present a similarly increasing tendency. Our results indicate that phosphorus takes part in coating formation mainly by diffusion, while zinc enters into MAO coatings with phosphorus from phytic acid. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Current Modulation of a Heterojunction Structure by an Ultra-Thin Graphene Base Electrode
Materials 2018, 11(3), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030345
Received: 26 January 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
Graphene has been proposed as the current controlling element of vertical transport in heterojunction transistors, as it could potentially achieve high operation frequencies due to its metallic character and 2D nature. Simulations of graphene acting as a thermionic barrier between the transport of
[...] Read more.
Graphene has been proposed as the current controlling element of vertical transport in heterojunction transistors, as it could potentially achieve high operation frequencies due to its metallic character and 2D nature. Simulations of graphene acting as a thermionic barrier between the transport of two semiconductor layers have shown cut-off frequencies larger than 1 THz. Furthermore, the use of n-doped amorphous silicon, (n)-a-Si:H, as the semiconductor for this approach could enable flexible electronics with high cutoff frequencies. In this work, we fabricated a vertical structure on a rigid substrate where graphene is embedded between two differently doped (n)-a-Si:H layers deposited by very high frequency (140 MHz) plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. The operation of this heterojunction structure is investigated by the two diode-like interfaces by means of temperature dependent current-voltage characterization, followed by the electrical characterization in a three-terminal configuration. We demonstrate that the vertical current between the (n)-a-Si:H layers is successfully controlled by the ultra-thin graphene base voltage. While current saturation is yet to be achieved, a transconductance of ~230 μ S was obtained, demonstrating a moderate modulation of the collector-emitter current by the ultra-thin graphene base voltage. These results show promising progress towards the application of graphene base heterojunction transistors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in 2D Nanomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Residual Tensile Strength and Bond Properties of GFRP Bars after Exposure to Elevated Temperatures
Materials 2018, 11(3), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030346
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
The use of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) bars in reinforced concrete members enhances corrosion resistance when compared to traditional steel reinforcing bars. Although there is ample research available on the behavior of FRP bars and concrete members reinforced with FRP bars under elevated
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The use of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) bars in reinforced concrete members enhances corrosion resistance when compared to traditional steel reinforcing bars. Although there is ample research available on the behavior of FRP bars and concrete members reinforced with FRP bars under elevated temperatures (due to fire), there is little published information available on their post-fire residual load capacity. This paper reports residual tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, and bond strength (to concrete) of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) bars after exposure to elevated temperatures of up to 400 °C and subsequent cooling to an ambient temperature. The results showed that the residual strength generally decreases with increasing temperature exposure. However, as much as 83% of the original tensile strength and 27% of the original bond strength was retained after the specimens were heated to 400 °C and then cooled to ambient temperature. The residual bond strength is a critical parameter in post-fire strength assessments of GFRP-reinforced concrete members. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Facile Strategy to Enhance the Dielectric and Mechanical Properties of MWCNTs/PVDF Composites with the Aid of MMA-co-GMA Copolymer
Materials 2018, 11(3), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030347
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
A facile strategy is adopted to prepare carboxylic functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotube (c-MWCNT) modified high dielectric constant (high-k) poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) composites with the aid of methyl methacrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate copolymer (MG). The MG is miscible with PVDF and the epoxy groups
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A facile strategy is adopted to prepare carboxylic functionalized multiwalled carbon nanotube (c-MWCNT) modified high dielectric constant (high-k) poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) composites with the aid of methyl methacrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate copolymer (MG). The MG is miscible with PVDF and the epoxy groups of the copolymer can react with the carboxylic groups of c-MWCNT, which induce the uniform dispersion of c-MWCNT and a form insulator layer on the surface of c-MWCNT. The c-MWCNTs/MG/PVDF composites with 8 vol % c-MWCNT present excellent dielectric properties with high dielectric constant (~448) and low dielectric loss (~2.36) at the frequency of 1 KHz, the dielectric loss is much lower than the c-MWCNT/PVDF composites without MG. The obvious improvement in dielectric properties ascribes to the existence of MG, which impede the direct contact of c-MWCNTs and PVDF and avoid the formation of conductive network. Therefore, we propose a practical and simple strategy for preparing composites with excellent dielectric properties, which are promising for applications in electronics devices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Comparison of Commercial Calcium Hydroxide Pastes for Prolonged Antibacterial Effect using a Colourimetric Assessment
Materials 2018, 11(3), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030348
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
The anti-microbial activity of calcium hydroxide pastes used in endodontics is dependent on establishing high levels of hydroxyl ions in dentine. This study investigated hydroxyl ion diffusion from different commercial calcium hydroxide pastes using a novel colourimetric method. In this method, human tooth
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The anti-microbial activity of calcium hydroxide pastes used in endodontics is dependent on establishing high levels of hydroxyl ions in dentine. This study investigated hydroxyl ion diffusion from different commercial calcium hydroxide pastes using a novel colourimetric method. In this method, human tooth roots were stained with anthocyanin dye, which changed their colour according to the local pH conditions. Prepared root canals were filled with pastes formulated with the vehicle of water (Pulpdent™, Calasept Plus™), polyethylene glycol (PEG) (Calmix™) or a mixture of water, PEG and ibuprofen (Odontocide™). The changes in dye colour at fixed distances from the canal wall were monitored using standardised digital photography over a period of 3 weeks. A repeated measures analysis tracked changes in each root from baseline. Release of hydroxyl ions varied between the different commercial compositions containing water or PEG as solvents. The colour changes in the dentine, due to released hydroxyl ions, were greatest and more prolonged for completely non-aqueous compositions, when using PEG 400 as the vehicle. When water was present in the product, the duration of the pH changes was shorter. This was attributed to the presence of hydroxyl ions in the water (the common-ion effect) and a more vigorous buffering of hydroxyl ions by dentine proteins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dental Biomaterials 2017)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Bioactive Glass-Ceramic Foam Scaffolds from ‘Inorganic Gel Casting’ and Sinter-Crystallization
Materials 2018, 11(3), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030349
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
Highly porous bioactive glass-ceramic scaffolds were effectively fabricated by an inorganic gel casting technique, based on alkali activation and gelification, followed by viscous flow sintering. Glass powders, already known to yield a bioactive sintered glass-ceramic (CEL2) were dispersed in an alkaline solution, with
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Highly porous bioactive glass-ceramic scaffolds were effectively fabricated by an inorganic gel casting technique, based on alkali activation and gelification, followed by viscous flow sintering. Glass powders, already known to yield a bioactive sintered glass-ceramic (CEL2) were dispersed in an alkaline solution, with partial dissolution of glass powders. The obtained glass suspensions underwent progressive hardening, by curing at low temperature (40 °C), owing to the formation of a C–S–H (calcium silicate hydrate) gel. As successful direct foaming was achieved by vigorous mechanical stirring of gelified suspensions, comprising also a surfactant. The developed cellular structures were later heat-treated at 900–1000 °C, to form CEL2 glass-ceramic foams, featuring an abundant total porosity (from 60% to 80%) and well-interconnected macro- and micro-sized cells. The developed foams possessed a compressive strength from 2.5 to 5 MPa, which is in the range of human trabecular bone strength. Therefore, CEL2 glass-ceramics can be proposed for bone substitutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Glasses 2017)
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Open AccessArticle Fabrication and Anti-Oxidation Ability of SiC-SiO2 Coated Carbon Fibers Using Sol-Gel Method
Materials 2018, 11(3), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030350
Received: 21 January 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
The paper proposed a method to improve the anti-oxidation performance of carbon fibers (CF) at high temperature environment by coating silicon dioxide (SiO2) and silicon carbide (SiC). The modified sol-gel method had been used to ensure the proper interface between fibers
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The paper proposed a method to improve the anti-oxidation performance of carbon fibers (CF) at high temperature environment by coating silicon dioxide (SiO2) and silicon carbide (SiC). The modified sol-gel method had been used to ensure the proper interface between fibers and coating. We used polydimethylsiloxane and ethyl orthosilicate to make stable emulsion to uniformly disperse SiC nanoparticles. The modified SiO2/SiC coating had been coated on CF successfully. Compared with the untreated CF, the coated fibers started to be oxidized around 900 °C and the residual weight was 57% at 1400 °C. The oxidation mechanism had been discussed. The structure of SiC/SiO2 coated CF had been characterized by scanning electron microscope and X-ray diffraction analysis. Thermal gravimetric analysis was used to test the anti-oxidation ability of CF with different coatings. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Optical Properties of Complex Plasmonic Materials Studied with Extended Effective Medium Theories Combined with Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis
Materials 2018, 11(3), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030351
Received: 5 February 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
In this study we fabricate gold nanocomposites and model their optical properties. The nanocomposites are either homogeneous films or gratings containing gold nanoparticles embedded in a polymer matrix. The samples are fabricated using a recently developed technique making use of laser interferometry. The
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In this study we fabricate gold nanocomposites and model their optical properties. The nanocomposites are either homogeneous films or gratings containing gold nanoparticles embedded in a polymer matrix. The samples are fabricated using a recently developed technique making use of laser interferometry. The gratings present original plasmon-enhanced diffraction properties. In this work, we develop a new approach to model the optical properties of our composites. We combine the extended Maxwell–Garnett model of effective media with the Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA) method and compute both the absorption spectra and the diffraction efficiency spectra of the gratings. We show that such a semi-analytical approach allows us to reproduce the original plasmonic features of the composites and can provide us with details about their inner structure. Such an approach, considering reasonably high particle concentrations, could be a simple and efficient tool to study complex micro-structured system based on plasmonic components, such as metamaterials. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Polyurethanes Crosslinked with Poly(vinyl alcohol) as a Slowly-Degradable and Hydrophilic Materials of Potential Use in Regenerative Medicine
Materials 2018, 11(3), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030352
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
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Abstract
Novel, slowly-degradable and hydrophilic materials with proper mechanical properties and surface characteristics are in great demand within the biomedical field. In this paper, the design, synthesis, and characterization of polyurethanes (PUR) crosslinked with poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) as a new proposition for regenerative medicine
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Novel, slowly-degradable and hydrophilic materials with proper mechanical properties and surface characteristics are in great demand within the biomedical field. In this paper, the design, synthesis, and characterization of polyurethanes (PUR) crosslinked with poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) as a new proposition for regenerative medicine is described. PVA-crosslinked PURs were synthesized by a two-step polymerization performed in a solvent (dimethylsulfoxide, DMSO). The raw materials used for the synthesis of PVA-crosslinked PURs were poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), 1,6-hexamethylene diisocyanate (HDI), and PVA as a crosslinking agent. The obtained materials were studied towards their physicochemical, mechanical, and biological performance. The tests revealed contact angle of the materials surface between 38–47° and tensile strength in the range of 41–52 MPa. Mechanical characteristics of the obtained PURs was close to the characteristics of native human bone such as the cortical bone (TSb = 51–151 MPa) or the cancellous bone (TSb = 10–20 MPa). The obtained PVA-crosslinked PURs did not show significant progress of degradation after 3 months of incubation in a phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Accordingly, the obtained materials may behave similar to slowly-degradable materials, which can provide long-term physical support in, for example, tissue regeneration, as well as providing a uniform calcium deposition on the material surface, which may influence, for example, bone restoration. A performed short-term hemocompatibility study showed that obtained PVA-crosslinked PURs do not significantly influence blood components, and a cytotoxicity test performed with the use of MG 63 cell line revealed the great cytocompatibility of the obtained materials. According to the performed studies, such PVA-crosslinked PURs may be a suitable proposition for the field of tissue engineering in regenerative medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Innovative Chemical Process for Recycling Thermosets Cured with Recyclamines® by Converting Bio-Epoxy Composites in Reusable Thermoplastic—An LCA Study
Materials 2018, 11(3), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030353
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
An innovative recycling process for thermoset polymer composites developed by Connora Technologies (Hayward, CA, USA) was studied. The process efficacy has already been tested, and it is currently working at the plant level. The main aspect investigated in the present paper was the
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An innovative recycling process for thermoset polymer composites developed by Connora Technologies (Hayward, CA, USA) was studied. The process efficacy has already been tested, and it is currently working at the plant level. The main aspect investigated in the present paper was the environmental impact by means of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method. Because of the need to recycle and recover materials at their end of life, the Connora process creates a great innovation in the market of epoxy composites, as they are notoriously not recyclable. Connora Technologies developed a relatively gentle chemical recycling process that induces the conversion of thermosets into thermoplastics. The LCA demonstrated that low environmental burdens are associated with the process itself and, furthermore, impacts are avoided due to the recovery of the epoxy-composite constituents (fibres and matrix). A carbon fibre (CF) epoxy-composite panel was produced through Vacuum Resin Transfer Moulding (VRTM) and afterwards treated using the Connora recycling process. The LCA results of both the production and the recycling phases are reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Composites: Preparation, Properties, and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Nanotubes Reinforced Maleic Anhydride-Modified Xylan-g-Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) Hydrogel with Multifunctional Properties
Materials 2018, 11(3), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030354
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
Introducing multifunctional groups and inorganic material imparts xylan-based hydrogels with excellent properties, such as responsiveness to pH, temperature, light, and external magnetic field. In this work, a composite hydrogel was synthesized by introducing acid treated carbon nanotubes (AT-CNTs) into the maleic anhydride modified
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Introducing multifunctional groups and inorganic material imparts xylan-based hydrogels with excellent properties, such as responsiveness to pH, temperature, light, and external magnetic field. In this work, a composite hydrogel was synthesized by introducing acid treated carbon nanotubes (AT-CNTs) into the maleic anhydride modified xylan grafted with poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (MAX-g-PNIPAM) hydrogels network. It was found that the addition of AT-CNTs affected the MAX-g-PNIPAM hydrogel structure, the swelling ratio and mechanical properties, and imparted the hydrogel with new properties of electrical conductivity and near infrared region (NIR) photothermal conversion. AT-CNTs could reinforce the mechanical properties of MAX-g-PNIPAM hydrogels, being up to 83 kPa for the compressive strength when the amount was 11 wt %, which was eight times than that of PNIPAM hydrogel and four times than that of MAX-g-PNIPAM hydrogel. The electroconductibility was enhanced by the increase of AT-CNTs amounts. Meanwhile, the composite hydrogel also exhibited multiple shape memory and NIR photothermal conversion properties, and water temperature was increased from 26 °C to 56 °C within 8 min under the NIR irradiation. Thus, the AT-CNTs reinforced MAX-g-PNIPAM hydrogel possessed promising multifunctional properties, which offered many potential applications in the fields of biosensors, thermal-arrest technology, and drug-controlled release. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Enhanced Charge Extraction of Li-Doped TiO2 for Efficient Thermal-Evaporated Sb2S3 Thin Film Solar Cells
Materials 2018, 11(3), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030355
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
We provided a new method to improve the efficiency of Sb2S3 thin film solar cells. The TiO2 electron transport layers were doped by lithium to improve their charge extraction properties for the thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 solar cells.
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We provided a new method to improve the efficiency of Sb2S3 thin film solar cells. The TiO2 electron transport layers were doped by lithium to improve their charge extraction properties for the thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 solar cells. The Mott-Schottky curves suggested a change of energy band and faster charge transport in the Li-doped TiO2 films. Compared with the undoped TiO2, Li-doped mesoporous TiO2 dramatically improved the photo-voltaic performance of the thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 thin film solar cells, with the average power conversion efficiency (PCE) increasing from 1.79% to 4.03%, as well as the improved open-voltage (Voc), short-circuit current (Jsc) and fill factors. The best device based on Li-doped TiO2 achieved a power conversion efficiency up to 4.42% as well as a Voc of 0.645 V, which are the highest values among the reported thermal-evaporated Sb2S3 solar cells. This study showed that Li-doping on TiO2 can effectively enhance the charge extraction properties of electron transport layers, offering a new strategy to improve the efficiency of Sb2S3-based solar cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles on the Sulfate Attack upon Ordinary Portland Cement and Slag-Blended Mortars
Materials 2018, 11(3), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030356
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
In this study, the effects of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles on the sulfate attack resistance of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and slag-blended mortars were investigated. OPC and slag-blended mortars (OPC:Slag = 50:50) were made with water to binder ratio of 0.4
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In this study, the effects of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles on the sulfate attack resistance of ordinary Portland cement (OPC) and slag-blended mortars were investigated. OPC and slag-blended mortars (OPC:Slag = 50:50) were made with water to binder ratio of 0.4 and a binder to sand ratio of 1:3. TiO2 was added as an admixture as 0%, 3%, 6%, 9% and 12% of the binder weight. Mortar specimens were exposed to an accelerated sulfate attack environment. Expansion, changes in mass and surface microhardness were measured. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Thermogravimetry Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC) tests were conducted. The formation of ettringite and gypsum crystals after the sulfate attack were detected. Both these products had caused crystallization pressure in the microstructure of mortars and deteriorated the mortars. Our results show that the addition of nano-TiO2 accelerated expansion, variation in mass, loss of surface microhardness and widened cracks in OPC and slag-blended mortars. Nano-TiO2 containing slag-blended mortars were more resistant to sulfate attack than nano-TiO2 containing OPC mortars. Because nano-TiO2 reduced the size of coarse pores, so it increased crystallization pressure due to the formation of ettringite and gypsum thus led to more damage under sulfate attack. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Photoactive Nanomaterials in Degradation of Pollutants)
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Open AccessArticle Mapping the Galvanic Corrosion of Three Metals Coupled with a Wire Beam Electrode: The Influence of Temperature and Relative Geometrical Position
Materials 2018, 11(3), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030357
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
The local electrochemical properties of galvanic corrosion for three coupled metals in a desalination plant were investigated with three wire-beam electrodes as wire sensors: aluminum brass (HAl77-2), titanium (TA2), and 316L stainless steel (316L SS). These electrodes were used with artificial seawater at
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The local electrochemical properties of galvanic corrosion for three coupled metals in a desalination plant were investigated with three wire-beam electrodes as wire sensors: aluminum brass (HAl77-2), titanium (TA2), and 316L stainless steel (316L SS). These electrodes were used with artificial seawater at different temperatures. The potential and current–density distributions of the three-metal coupled system are inhomogeneous. The HAl77-2 wire anodes were corroded in the three-metal coupled system. The TA2 wires acted as cathodes and were protected; the 316L SS wires acted as secondary cathodes. The temperature and electrode arrangement have important effects on the galvanic corrosion of the three-metal coupled system. The corrosion current of the HAl77-2 increased with temperature indicating enhanced anode corrosion at higher temperature. In addition, the corrosion of HAl77-2 was more significant when the HAl77-2 wires were located in the middle of the coupled system than with the other two metal arrangement styles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Structure Analysis and Characterization)
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Open AccessArticle Tribological and Wear Performance of Nanocomposite PVD Hard Coatings Deposited on Aluminum Die Casting Tool
Materials 2018, 11(3), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030358
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
In the aluminum die casting process, erosion, corrosion, soldering, and die sticking have a significant influence on tool life and product quality. A number of coatings such as TiN, CrN, and (Cr,Al)N deposited by physical vapor deposition (PVD) have been employed to act
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In the aluminum die casting process, erosion, corrosion, soldering, and die sticking have a significant influence on tool life and product quality. A number of coatings such as TiN, CrN, and (Cr,Al)N deposited by physical vapor deposition (PVD) have been employed to act as protective coatings due to their high hardness and chemical stability. In this study, the wear performance of two nanocomposite AlTiN and AlCrN coatings with different structures were evaluated. These coatings were deposited on aluminum die casting mold tool substrates (AISI H13 hot work steel) by PVD using pulsed cathodic arc evaporation, equipped with three lateral arc-rotating cathodes (LARC) and one central rotating cathode (CERC). The research was performed in two stages: in the first stage, the outlined coatings were characterized regarding their chemical composition, morphology, and structure using glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and X-ray diffraction (XRD), respectively. Surface morphology and mechanical properties were evaluated by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and nanoindentation. The coating adhesion was studied using Mersedes test and scratch testing. During the second stage, industrial tests were carried out for coated die casting molds. In parallel, tribological tests were also performed in order to determine if a correlation between laboratory and industrial tests can be drawn. All of the results were compared with a benchmark monolayer AlCrN coating. The data obtained show that the best performance was achieved for the AlCrN/Si3N4 nanocomposite coating that displays an optimum combination of hardness, adhesion, soldering behavior, oxidation resistance, and stress state. These characteristics are essential for improving the die mold service life. Therefore, this coating emerges as a novelty to be used to protect aluminum die casting molds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surface Modification to Improve Properties of Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Performance of Iron Oxide-Coated Ceramsite in a Biotrickling Filter for Nitric Oxide Removal under Thermophilic Conditions
Materials 2018, 11(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030359
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
A novel medium consisting of iron oxide-coated porous ceramsite (modified ceramsite) was investigated for NO removal under thermophilic conditions in this study. We used a surface coating method with FeCl3·6H2O as the modifier. When ceramsite was calcined for 4
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A novel medium consisting of iron oxide-coated porous ceramsite (modified ceramsite) was investigated for NO removal under thermophilic conditions in this study. We used a surface coating method with FeCl3·6H2O as the modifier. When ceramsite was calcined for 4 h at 500 °C, the surface pH value decreased to 3.46, which is much lower than the isoelectric point of ceramsite, ensuring its surface was electropositive. The surface of modified ceramsite changed from two- to three-dimensional and exhibited excellent adsorption behavior to assist microbial growth; the maximum dry weight of the biofilm was 1.28 mg/g. It only took 8 days for the biofilter constructed from the modified ceramsite to start up, whereas that packed with commercial ceramsite took 22 days. The NO removal efficiency of the biofilter did not decrease apparently at high NO inlet concentration of above 1600 mg/m3 and maintained an average value of above 90% during the whole operation period. Additionally, the morphological observation showed that the loss of the surface coating was not obvious, and the coating properties remained stable during long-term operation. The maximum NO inlet loading of the biotrickling filter was 80 g/(m3·h) with an average removal efficiency of 91.1% along with a quick start-up when using the modified ceramsite filler. Thus, modified ceramsite can be considered a very effective medium in biotrickling filters for NO removal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Porous Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Rough Titanium Oxide Coating Prepared by Micro-Arc Oxidation Causes Down-Regulation of hTERT Expression, Molecular Presentation, and Cytokine Secretion in Tumor Jurkat T Cells
Materials 2018, 11(3), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030360
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
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Abstract
The response of the human Jurkat T cell leukemia-derived cell line (Jurkat T cells) after 24 h of in vitro exposure to a titanium substrate (12 × 12 × 1 mm3) with a bilateral rough (Ra = 2.2–3.7 μm)
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The response of the human Jurkat T cell leukemia-derived cell line (Jurkat T cells) after 24 h of in vitro exposure to a titanium substrate (12 × 12 × 1 mm3) with a bilateral rough (Ra = 2.2–3.7 μm) titanium oxide coating (rTOC) applied using the micro-arc method in a 20% orthophosphoric acid solution was studied. A 1.5-fold down-regulation of hTERT mRNA expression and decreases in CD3, CD4, CD8, and CD95 presentation and IL-4 and TNFα secretion were observed. Jurkat T cell inactivation was not correlated with the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and was not mediated by TiO2 nanoparticles with a diameter of 14 ± 8 nm at doses of 1 mg/L or 10 mg/L. The inhibitory effect of the rTOC (Ra = 2.2–3.7 μm) on the survival of Jurkat T cells (Spearman’s coefficient rs = −0.95; n = 9; p < 0.0001) was demonstrated by an increase in the necrotic cell count among the cell population. In turn, an elevation of the Ra index of the rTOC was accompanied by a linear increase (r = 0.6; p < 0.000001, n = 60) in the magnitude of the negative electrostatic potential of the titanium oxide surface. Thus, the roughness of the rTOC induces an electrostatic potential and decreases the viability of the immortalized Jurkat T cells through mechanisms unrelated to ROS generation. This may be useful for replacement surgery applications of rough TiO2 implants in cancer patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metals Functionalization via Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Study of Ferroelectric and Piezoelectric Properties of BNT-BKT-BT Ceramics near the Phase Transition Zone
Materials 2018, 11(3), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030361
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
We report a comprehensive comparative study of ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of BNT-BKT-BT ceramics through the MPB (morphotropic phase boundary) zone, from the rhombohedral to the tetragonal phases in the system (97.5−x)(Bi0.5Na0.5)TiO3 + x(Bi0.5
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We report a comprehensive comparative study of ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties of BNT-BKT-BT ceramics through the MPB (morphotropic phase boundary) zone, from the rhombohedral to the tetragonal phases in the system (97.5−x)(Bi0.5Na0.5)TiO3 + x(Bi0.5K0.5)TiO3 + 2.5(BaTiO3), where x = 0 to 24.5 mol %. The structural transitions were studied by XRD patterns and Raman spectra. The MPB was confirmed between x = 10 and 12.5 mol % BKT. The dielectric/ferroelectric/piezoelectric properties of the BNT-BKT-BT system are maximized in the MPB region exhibiting a dielectric constant of 1506, a remanent polarization of 34.4 μC/cm2, a coercive field = 36.9 kV/cm, and piezoelectric values of d33 = 109 pC/N, kt = 0.52, and kp = 0.24. Changes in microstructure as a function of BKT content are also presented and discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Novel Precursor-Derived Meso-/Macroporous TiO2/SiOC Nanocomposites with Highly Stable Anatase Nanophase Providing Visible Light Photocatalytic Activity and Superior Adsorption of Organic Dyes
Materials 2018, 11(3), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030362
Received: 26 December 2017 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
PDF Full-text (9289 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Titania (TiO2) is considered to have immense potential as a photocatalyst, the anatase phase in particular. There have been numerous attempts to push the limits of its catalytic activity to higher wavelengths to harness the visible electromagnetic radiation. Most of the
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Titania (TiO2) is considered to have immense potential as a photocatalyst, the anatase phase in particular. There have been numerous attempts to push the limits of its catalytic activity to higher wavelengths to harness the visible electromagnetic radiation. Most of the investigations till date have been restricted to fine-tuning the bandgap by doping, control of defect chemistry at the surface and several to first principle simulations either with limited success or success at the cost of complexities in processing. Here, we report a simple and elegant way of preparing ceramics through precursor chemistry which involves synthesis of macroporous and mesoporous nanocomposites with in situ formation of TiO2 nanocrystals into a robust and protecting SiOC matrix. The in situ nanoscaled TiO2 is anatase of size 9–10 nm, which is uniformly distributed in an amorphous SiOC matrix forming a new generation of nanocomposites that combine the robustness, structural stability and durability of the SiOC matrix while achieving nanoscaled TiO2 functionalities. The stabilization of the anatase phase even at temperature as high as 1200 °C was evident. With an average pore size of 6.8 nm, surface area of 129 m2/g (BET) and pore volume of 0.22 cm3/g (BET), mesoporosity was achieved in the nanocomposites. The composites exhibited visible light photocatalytic activity, which is attributed to the Ti–O–C/TiC bonds resulting in the reduction of band gap by 0.2 to 0.9 eV. Furthermore, the heterojunction formed between the amorphous SiOC and crystalline TiO2 is also expected to minimize the recombination rate of electron-hole pair, making these novel nanocomposites based on TiO2 extremely active in visible wavelength regime. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Derived Ceramics and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Synthesis and Effect of Hierarchically Structured Ag-ZnO Hybrid on the Surface Antibacterial Activity of a Propylene-Based Elastomer Blends
Materials 2018, 11(3), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030363
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
In this study, a hybrid Ag-ZnO nanostructured micro-filler was synthesized by the drop technique for used in plastic and medical industry. Furthermore, new antibacterial polymer nanocomposites comprising particles of Ag-ZnO up to 5 wt % and a blend of a thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer
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In this study, a hybrid Ag-ZnO nanostructured micro-filler was synthesized by the drop technique for used in plastic and medical industry. Furthermore, new antibacterial polymer nanocomposites comprising particles of Ag-ZnO up to 5 wt % and a blend of a thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer (TPO) with polypropylene were prepared using twin screw micro-compounder. The morphology and crystalline-phase structure of the hybrid Ag-ZnO nanostructured microparticles obtained was characterized by scanning electron microscopy and powder X-ray diffractometry. The specific surface area of this filler was investigated by means of nitrogen sorption via the Brunauer-Emmet-Teller method. A scanning electron microscope was used to conduct a morphological study of the polymer nanocomposites. Mechanical and electrical testing showed no adverse effects on the function of the polymer nanocomposites either due to the filler utilized or the given processing conditions, in comparison with the neat polymer matrix. The surface antibacterial activity of the compounded polymer nanocomposites was assessed against Escherichia coli ATCC 8739 and Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538P, according to ISO 22196:2007 (E). All the materials at virtually every filler-loading level were seen to be efficient against both species of bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Oxide-Based Materials: From Synthesis to Application)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Different Binders on the Roughness, Adhesion Strength, and Other Properties of Mortars with Expanded Cork
Materials 2018, 11(3), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030364
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 20 February 2018 / Accepted: 23 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
The aim of the research that is presented in this paper was to evaluate the physical and mechanical properties of heat-insulating mortars with expanded cork aggregates and different binders. In this work, the measurements of surface roughness and adhesion strength, supported by determination
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The aim of the research that is presented in this paper was to evaluate the physical and mechanical properties of heat-insulating mortars with expanded cork aggregates and different binders. In this work, the measurements of surface roughness and adhesion strength, supported by determination of basic mechanical and physical parameters, such as density, bulk density, open porosity, total porosity, absorbability, thermal conductivity coefficient, compressive strength, flexural strength, and frost resistance of mortars containing expanded oak cork, were performed. The scanning electron microscope (SEM) investigations demonstrated the microstructure, contact zone, and distribution of pores in the heat-insulating mortars containing expanded cork. The results indicated that the addition of expanded cork and different binders in heat-insulating mortars triggers changes in their roughness and adhesion strength. The SEM research confirmed the very good adhesion of the paste to the cork aggregate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recycled Materials, Eco-design and 3D Printing)
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Open AccessArticle RGB-Stack Light Emitting Diode Modules with Transparent Glass Circuit Board and Oil Encapsulation
Materials 2018, 11(3), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030365
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 1 March 2018
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Abstract
The light emitting diode (LED) is widely used in modern solid-state lighting applications, and its output efficiency is closely related to the submounts’ material properties. Most submounts used today, such as low-power printed circuit boards (PCBs) or high-power metal core printed circuit boards
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The light emitting diode (LED) is widely used in modern solid-state lighting applications, and its output efficiency is closely related to the submounts’ material properties. Most submounts used today, such as low-power printed circuit boards (PCBs) or high-power metal core printed circuit boards (MCPCBs), are not transparent and seriously decrease the output light extraction. To meet the requirements of high light output and better color mixing, a three-dimensional (3-D) stacked flip-chip (FC) LED module is proposed and demonstrated. To realize light penetration and mixing, the mentioned 3-D vertically stacking RGB LEDs use transparent glass as FC package submounts called glass circuit boards (GCB). Light emitted from each GCB stacked LEDs passes through each other and thus exhibits good output efficiency and homogeneous light-mixing characteristics. In this work, the parasitic problem of heat accumulation, which caused by the poor thermal conductivity of GCB and leads to a serious decrease in output efficiency, is solved by a proposed transparent cooling oil encapsulation (OCP) method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Manufacturing Processes and Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Microstructures and Mechanical Properties of Commercially Pure Ti Processed by Rotationally Accelerated Shot Peening
Materials 2018, 11(3), 366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030366
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
Gradient structured materials possess good combinations of strength and ductility, rendering the materials attractive in industrial applications. In this research, a surface nanocrystallization (SNC) technique, rotationally accelerated shot peening (RASP), was employed to produce a gradient nanostructured pure Ti with a deformation layer
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Gradient structured materials possess good combinations of strength and ductility, rendering the materials attractive in industrial applications. In this research, a surface nanocrystallization (SNC) technique, rotationally accelerated shot peening (RASP), was employed to produce a gradient nanostructured pure Ti with a deformation layer that had a thickness of 2000 μm, which is thicker than those processed by conventional SNC techniques. It is possible to fabricate a gradient structured Ti workpiece without delamination. Moreover, based on the microstructural features, the microstructure of the processed sample can be classified into three regions, from the center to the surface of the RASP-processed sample: (1) a twinning-dominated core region; (2) a “twin intersection”-dominated twin transition region; and (3) the nanostructured region, featuring nanograins. A microhardness gradient was detected from the RASP-processed Ti. The surface hardness was more than twice that of the annealed Ti sample. The RASP-processed Ti sample exhibited a good combination of yield strength and uniform elongation, which may be attributed to the high density of deformation twins and a strong back stress effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Highly-Bioreactive Silica-Based Mesoporous Bioactive Glasses Enriched with Gallium(III)
Materials 2018, 11(3), 367; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030367
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
Beneficial effects in bone cell growth and antibacterial action are currently attributed to Ga3+ ions. Thus, they can be used to upgrade mesoporous bioactive glasses (MBGs), investigated for tissue engineering, whenever they released therapeutic amounts of gallium ions to the surrounding medium.
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Beneficial effects in bone cell growth and antibacterial action are currently attributed to Ga3+ ions. Thus, they can be used to upgrade mesoporous bioactive glasses (MBGs), investigated for tissue engineering, whenever they released therapeutic amounts of gallium ions to the surrounding medium. Three gallium-enriched MBGs with composition (in mol %) xSiO2yCaO–zP2O5–5Ga2O3, being x = 70, y = 15, z = 10 for Ga_1; x = 80, y = 12, z = 3 for Ga_2; and x = 80, y = 15, z = 0 for Ga_3, were investigated and compared with the gallium-free 80SiO2–15CaO–5P2O5 MBG (B). 29Si and 31P MAS NMR analyses indicated that Ga3+ acts as network modifier in the glass regions with higher polymerization degree and as network former in the zones with high concentration of classical modifiers (Ca2+ ions). Ga_1 and Ga_2 exhibited a quick in vitro bioactive response because they were coated by an apatite-like layer after 1 and 3 days in simulated body fluid. Although we have not conducted biological tests in this paper (cells or bacteria), Ga_1 released high but non-cytotoxic amounts of Ga3+ ions in Todd Hewitt Broth culture medium that were 140 times higher than the IC90 of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, demonstrating its potential for tissue engineering applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from EUROMAT 2017 Conference—Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Investigations on Structural, Optical and X-Radiation Responsive Properties of a-Se Thin Films Fabricated by Thermal Evaporation Method at Low Vacuum Degree
Materials 2018, 11(3), 368; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030368
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
Amorphous selenium (a-Se) thin films with a thickness of 1200 nm were successfully fabricated by thermal evaporation at a low vacuum degree of 10−2 Pa. The structural properties involving phase and morphology showed that a-Se thin films could be resistant to 60
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Amorphous selenium (a-Se) thin films with a thickness of 1200 nm were successfully fabricated by thermal evaporation at a low vacuum degree of 10−2 Pa. The structural properties involving phase and morphology showed that a-Se thin films could be resistant to 60 °C in air. Also, a transformation to polycrystalline Selenium (p-Se) was shown as the annealing temperature rose to 62 °C and 65 °C, with obvious changes in color and surface morphology. Moreover, as the a-Se transformed to p-Se, the samples’ transmittance decreased significantly, and the band gap declined dramatically from 2.15 eV to 1.92 eV. Finally, the X-radiation response of a-Se was investigated as an important property, revealing there is a remarkable response speed of photogeneration current both X-ray on and X-ray off, with a requirement of only a very small electrical field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Thin Films)
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Open AccessArticle Real-Time Dynamic Observation of Micro-Friction on the Contact Interface of Friction Lining
Materials 2018, 11(3), 369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030369
Received: 2 February 2018 / Revised: 25 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
This paper aims to investigate the microscopic friction mechanism based on in situ microscopic observation in order to record the deformation and contact situation of friction lining during the frictional process. The results show that friction coefficient increased with the shear deformation and
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This paper aims to investigate the microscopic friction mechanism based on in situ microscopic observation in order to record the deformation and contact situation of friction lining during the frictional process. The results show that friction coefficient increased with the shear deformation and energy loss of the surfacee, respectively. Furthermore, the friction mechanism mainly included adhesive friction in the high-pressure and high-speed conditions, whereas hysteresis friction was in the low-pressure and low-speed conditions. The mixed-friction mechanism was in the period when the working conditions varied from high pressure and speed to low pressure and speed. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Novel Wearable Electrodes Based on Conductive Chitosan Fabrics and Their Application in Smart Garments
Materials 2018, 11(3), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030370
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
Smart garments, which can capture electrocardiogram signals at any time or location, can alert others to the risk of heart attacks and prevent sudden cardiac death when people are sleeping, walking, or running. Novel wearable electrodes for smart garments based on conductive chitosan
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Smart garments, which can capture electrocardiogram signals at any time or location, can alert others to the risk of heart attacks and prevent sudden cardiac death when people are sleeping, walking, or running. Novel wearable electrodes for smart garments based on conductive chitosan fabrics were fabricated by electroless plating of silver nanoparticles onto the surfaces of the fibers. The electrical resistance, which is related to the silver content of the composite fabrics, can be as low as 0.0332 ± 0.0041 Ω/sq due to the strong reactivity between amine groups and silver ions. After washing these fabrics eight times, the electrical resistance remained below 1 Ω/sq. The conductive chitosan fabrics were applied to smart garments as wearable electrodes to capture electrocardiogram signals of the human body in static state, jogging state, and running state, which showed good data acquisition ability and sensitivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Composites)
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Open AccessArticle Regulating the Emission Spectrum of CsPbBr3 from Green to Blue via Controlling the Temperature and Velocity of Microchannel Reactor
Materials 2018, 11(3), 371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030371
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 25 February 2018 / Accepted: 27 February 2018 / Published: 2 March 2018
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Abstract
The ability to precisely obtain tunable spectrum of lead halide perovskite quantum dots (QDs) is very important for applications, such as in lighting and display. Herein, we report a microchannel reactor method for synthesis of CsPbBr3 QDs with tunable spectrum. By adjusting
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The ability to precisely obtain tunable spectrum of lead halide perovskite quantum dots (QDs) is very important for applications, such as in lighting and display. Herein, we report a microchannel reactor method for synthesis of CsPbBr3 QDs with tunable spectrum. By adjusting the temperature and velocity of the microchannel reactor, the emission peaks of CsPbBr3 QDs ranging from 520 nm to 430 nm were obtained, which is wider than that of QDs obtained in a traditional flask without changing halide component. The mechanism of photoluminescence (PL) spectral shift of CsPbBr3 QDs was investigated, the result shows that the supersaturation control enabled by the superior mass and heat transfer performance in the microchannel is the key to achieve the wide range of PL spectrum, with only a change in the setting of the temperature controller required. The wide spectrum of CsPbBr3 QDs can be applied to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), photoelectric sensors, lasers, etc. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Modification of Physico-Chemical Properties of Acryl-Coated Polypropylene Foils for Food Packaging by Reactive Particles from Oxygen Plasma
Materials 2018, 11(3), 372; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030372
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 3 March 2018
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Abstract
This investigation was focused on the influence of long-living neutral reactive oxygen species on the physico-chemical properties of acryl-coated polypropylene foils for food packaging. Reactive species were formed by passing molecular oxygen through a microwave discharge and leaking it to a processing chamber
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This investigation was focused on the influence of long-living neutral reactive oxygen species on the physico-chemical properties of acryl-coated polypropylene foils for food packaging. Reactive species were formed by passing molecular oxygen through a microwave discharge and leaking it to a processing chamber of a volume of 30 L, which was pumped by a rotary pump. The density of neutral O-atoms in the chamber was tuned by adjustment of both the effective pumping speed and the oxygen leak rate. The O-atom density was measured with a catalytic probe and was between 3 × 1018 and 5 × 1019 m−3. Commercial foils of biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) coated with acrylic/ poly(vinylidene chloride) (AcPVDC) were mounted in the chamber and treated at room temperature by O atoms at various conditions, with the fluence between 1 × 1021 and 3 × 1024 m−2. The evolution of the surface wettability versus the fluence was determined by water contact angle (WCA) measurements, the formation of functional groups by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and the morphology by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The WCA dropped from the initial 75° to approximately 40° after the fluence of a few 1022 m−2 and remained unchanged thereafter, except for fluences above 1024 m−2, where the WCA dropped to approximately 30°. XPS and AFM results allowed for drawing correlations between the wettability, surface composition, and morphology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surface Modification to Improve Properties of Materials)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Salt Anions on Heavy Metal Ion Adsorption on the Example of Nickel
Materials 2018, 11(3), 373; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030373
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 3 March 2018
PDF Full-text (5334 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The biodegradable polysaccharide chitosan possesses protonated and natural amino groups at medium pH values and has therefore been used as an adsorbing material for nickel salts in water treatment. Nickel is a problematic heavy metal ion which can cause various diseases and disorders
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The biodegradable polysaccharide chitosan possesses protonated and natural amino groups at medium pH values and has therefore been used as an adsorbing material for nickel salts in water treatment. Nickel is a problematic heavy metal ion which can cause various diseases and disorders in living organisms. Here, we show the influence of oxyanions (e.g., nitrate and sulfate) to the adsorption of nickel ions. Hence, simultaneously we are addressing the increasing global problem of nitrate and sulfate ion pollution in groundwater and surface water. A series of adsorption experiments was carried out in order to determine (i) the adsorption equilibrium, (ii) the adsorption capacity in dependence on the initial nickel ion concentration, and (iii) the influence of the anion presented in solution for the adsorption capacity. Surface morphology of chitosan flakes before and after the adsorption process has been studied with SEM-EDX analysis. The chitosan flakes exhibited promising adsorption capacities of 81.9 mg·g−1 and 21.2 mg·g−1 for nickel (sulfate) and nickel (nitrate), respectively. The calculated values of Gibbs free energy change ΔG0 confirm the higher adsorption of nickel ions in presence of sulfate ions. Hence, higher anion valence leads to a higher adsorption capacity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Mechanical Properties of Optimized Diamond Lattice Structure for Bone Scaffolds Fabricated via Selective Laser Melting
Materials 2018, 11(3), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030374
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 23 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 3 March 2018
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Abstract
Developments in selective laser melting (SLM) have enabled the fabrication of periodic cellular lattice structures characterized by suitable properties matching the bone tissue well and by fluid permeability from interconnected structures. These multifunctional performances are significantly affected by cell topology and constitutive properties
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Developments in selective laser melting (SLM) have enabled the fabrication of periodic cellular lattice structures characterized by suitable properties matching the bone tissue well and by fluid permeability from interconnected structures. These multifunctional performances are significantly affected by cell topology and constitutive properties of applied materials. In this respect, a diamond unit cell was designed in particular volume fractions corresponding to the host bone tissue and optimized with a smooth surface at nodes leading to fewer stress concentrations. There were 33 porous titanium samples with different volume fractions, from 1.28 to 18.6%, manufactured using SLM. All of them were performed under compressive load to determine the deformation and failure mechanisms, accompanied by an in-situ approach using digital image correlation (DIC) to reveal stress–strain evolution. The results showed that lattice structures manufactured by SLM exhibited comparable properties to those of trabecular bone, avoiding the effects of stress-shielding and increasing longevity of implants. The curvature of optimized surface can play a role in regulating the relationship between density and mechanical properties. Owing to the release of stress concentration from optimized surface, the failure mechanism of porous titanium has been changed from the pattern of bottom-up collapse by layer (or cell row) to that of the diagonal (45°) shear band, resulting in the significant enhancement of the structural strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Porous Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Design and 4D Printing of Cross-Folded Origami Structures: A Preliminary Investigation
Materials 2018, 11(3), 376; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030376
Received: 19 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 3 March 2018
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Abstract
In 4D printing research, different types of complex structure folding and unfolding have been investigated. However, research on cross-folding of origami structures (defined as a folding structure with at least two overlapping folds) has not been reported. This research focuses on the investigation
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In 4D printing research, different types of complex structure folding and unfolding have been investigated. However, research on cross-folding of origami structures (defined as a folding structure with at least two overlapping folds) has not been reported. This research focuses on the investigation of cross-folding structures using multi-material components along different axes and different horizontal hinge thickness with single homogeneous material. Tensile tests were conducted to determine the impact of multi-material components and horizontal hinge thickness. In the case of multi-material structures, the hybrid material composition has a significant impact on the overall maximum strain and Young’s modulus properties. In the case of single material structures, the shape recovery speed is inversely proportional to the horizontal hinge thickness, while the flexural or bending strength is proportional to the horizontal hinge thickness. A hinge with a thickness of 0.5 mm could be folded three times prior to fracture whilst a hinge with a thickness of 0.3 mm could be folded only once prior to fracture. A hinge with a thickness of 0.1 mm could not even be folded without cracking. The introduction of a physical hole in the center of the folding/unfolding line provided stress relief and prevented fracture. A complex flower petal shape was used to successfully demonstrate the implementation of overlapping and non-overlapping folding lines using both single material segments and multi-material segments. Design guidelines for establishing cross-folding structures using multi-material components along different axes and different horizontal hinge thicknesses with single or homogeneous material were established. These guidelines can be used to design and implement complex origami structures with overlapping and non-overlapping folding lines. Combined overlapping folding structures could be implemented and allocating specific hole locations in the overall designs could be further explored. In addition, creating a more precise prediction by investigating sets of in between hinge thicknesses and comparing the folding times before fracture, will be the subject of future work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue NextGen Materials for 3D Printing)
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Open AccessArticle Enhancement of Inverted Polymer Solar Cells Performances Using Cetyltrimethylammonium-Bromide Modified ZnO
Materials 2018, 11(3), 378; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030378
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 4 March 2018
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Abstract
In this study, the performance and stability of inverted bulk heterojunction (BHJ) polymer solar cells (PSCs) is enhanced by doping zinc oxide (ZnO) with 0–6 wt % cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) in the sol-gel ZnO precursor solution. The power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the
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In this study, the performance and stability of inverted bulk heterojunction (BHJ) polymer solar cells (PSCs) is enhanced by doping zinc oxide (ZnO) with 0–6 wt % cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) in the sol-gel ZnO precursor solution. The power conversion efficiency (PCE) of the optimized 3 wt % CTAB-doped ZnO PSCs was increased by 9.07%, compared to a PCE of 7.31% for the pristine ZnO device. The 0–6 wt % CTAB-doped ZnO surface roughness was reduced from 2.6 to 1 nm and the number of surface defects decreased. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy binding energies of Zn 2p3/2 (1021.92 eV) and 2p1/2 (1044.99 eV) shifted to 1022.83 and 1045.88 eV, respectively, which is related to strong chemical bonding via bromide ions (Br) that occupy oxygen vacancies in the ZnO lattice, improving the PCE of PSCs. The concentration of CTAB in ZnO significantly affected the work function of PSC devices; however, excessive CTAB increased the work function of the ZnO layer, resulting from the aggregation of CTAB molecules. In addition, after a 120-hour stability test in the atmosphere with 40% relative humidity, the inverted device based on CTAB-doped ZnO retained 92% of its original PCE and that based on pristine ZnO retained 68% of its original PCE. The obtained results demonstrate that the addition of CTAB into ZnO can dramatically influence the optical, electrical, and morphological properties of ZnO, enhancing the performance and stability of BHJ PSCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Mechanical Properties of PVPPA Welded Joints of 7075 Aluminum Alloy by PWHT
Materials 2018, 11(3), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030379
Received: 3 February 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
In this study, 7075 aluminum alloy with a thickness of 10 mm was successfully welded with no obvious defects by pulsed variable polarity plasma arc (PVPPA) welding. The mechanical properties of PVPPA welded joints have been researched by post weld heat treatment (PWHT).
[...] Read more.
In this study, 7075 aluminum alloy with a thickness of 10 mm was successfully welded with no obvious defects by pulsed variable polarity plasma arc (PVPPA) welding. The mechanical properties of PVPPA welded joints have been researched by post weld heat treatment (PWHT). The results indicate that the heat treatment strongly affects the mechanical properties of the welded joints. The tensile strength and the microhardness of the welded joints gradually improved with the increase of the solution temperature. With the increase of the solution time, the tensile strength, and microhardness first dramatically increased and then decreased slightly. The best tensile strength of 537.5 MPa and the microhardness of 143.7 HV were obtained after 490 °C × 80 min + 120 °C × 24 h, and the strength was nearly 91.2% of that of the parent metal, and increased about 35% compared with as-welded. The improvement of strength and microhardness was mainly due to the precipitation of η′ phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Manufacturing Processes and Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Multi-Scale Modeling for Predicting the Stiffness and Strength of Hollow-Structured Metal Foams with Structural Hierarchy
Materials 2018, 11(3), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030380
Received: 24 January 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
This work was inspired by previous experiments which managed to establish an optimal template-dealloying route to prepare ultralow density metal foams. In this study, we propose a new analytical–numerical model of hollow-structured metal foams with structural hierarchy to predict its stiffness and strength.
[...] Read more.
This work was inspired by previous experiments which managed to establish an optimal template-dealloying route to prepare ultralow density metal foams. In this study, we propose a new analytical–numerical model of hollow-structured metal foams with structural hierarchy to predict its stiffness and strength. The two-level model comprises a main backbone and a secondary nanoporous structure. The main backbone is composed of hollow sphere-packing architecture, while the secondary one is constructed of a bicontinuous nanoporous network proposed to describe the nanoscale interactions in the shell. Firstly, two nanoporous models with different geometries are generated by Voronoi tessellation, then the scaling laws of the mechanical properties are determined as a function of relative density by finite volume simulation. Furthermore, the scaling laws are applied to identify the uniaxial compression behavior of metal foams. It is shown that the thickness and relative density highly influence the Young’s modulus and yield strength, and vacancy defect determines the foams being self-supported. The present study provides not only new insights into the mechanical behaviors of both nanoporous metals and metal foams, but also a practical guide for their fabrication and application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Porous Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Recyclable Aggregates of Mesoporous Titania Synthesized by Thermal Treatment of Amorphous or Peptized Precursors
Materials 2018, 11(3), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030381
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
Recyclable aggregates of mesoporous titania with different anatase–rutile ratios have been prepared by thermal treatments of either amorphous or peptized precursors. These last two have been obtained by hydrolysis of either Ti(OC2H5)4 or of Ti(OC2H5
[...] Read more.
Recyclable aggregates of mesoporous titania with different anatase–rutile ratios have been prepared by thermal treatments of either amorphous or peptized precursors. These last two have been obtained by hydrolysis of either Ti(OC2H5)4 or of Ti(OC2H5)4 in mixture with 5 mol % Zr(OC3H7)4 at room temperature in the presence of NH4OH as a catalyzing agent. The anatase–rutile ratio, the recyclable aggregates of the nano-sized particles, the mesoporosity, the surface area and the crystallinity of the resulting crystallized products of titania can be controlled by the synthesis parameters including: concentration of ammonia catalyst, stirring time and concentration of the peptizing HNO3, drying method of peptized precursors, calcination temperature, and finally the ramp rate up to the titania crystallization temperature. A broad range of synthesis parameters control the crystal sizes of titania particles produced. This allows catalyst preparation with very different crystal size, surface area, anatase to rutile crystal ratio and various mesoporous structures. Drying by lyophilization of precursors reduce the aggregation of the primary particles giving micro-/macroporous structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Porous Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Sonication-Induced Modification of Carbon Nanotubes: Effect on the Rheological and Thermo-Oxidative Behaviour of Polymer-Based Nanocomposites
Materials 2018, 11(3), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030383
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this work is the investigation of the effect of ultrasound treatment on the structural characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and the consequent influence that the shortening induced by sonication exerts on the morphology, rheological behaviour and thermo-oxidative resistance of ultra-high
[...] Read more.
The aim of this work is the investigation of the effect of ultrasound treatment on the structural characteristics of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and the consequent influence that the shortening induced by sonication exerts on the morphology, rheological behaviour and thermo-oxidative resistance of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)-based nanocomposites. First, CNTs have been subjected to sonication for different time intervals and the performed spectroscopic and morphological analyses reveal that a dramatic decrease of the CNT’s original length occurs with increased sonication time. The reduction of the initial length of CNTs strongly affects the nanocomposite rheological behaviour, which progressively changes from solid-like to liquid-like as the CNT sonication time increases. The study of the thermo-oxidative behaviour of the investigated nanocomposites reveals that the CNT sonication has a detrimental effect on the thermo-oxidative stability of nanocomposites, especially for long exposure times. The worsening of the thermo-oxidative resistance of sonicated CNT-containing nanocomposites could be attributed to the lower thermal conductivity of low-aspect-ratio CNTs, which causes the increase of the local temperature at the polymer/nanofillers interphase, with the consequent acceleration of the degradative phenomena. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Production of Low Cost Carbon-Fiber through Energy Optimization of Stabilization Process
Materials 2018, 11(3), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030385
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To produce high quality and low cost carbon fiber-based composites, the optimization of the production process of carbon fiber and its properties is one of the main keys. The stabilization process is the most important step in carbon fiber production that consumes a
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To produce high quality and low cost carbon fiber-based composites, the optimization of the production process of carbon fiber and its properties is one of the main keys. The stabilization process is the most important step in carbon fiber production that consumes a large amount of energy and its optimization can reduce the cost to a large extent. In this study, two intelligent optimization techniques, namely Support Vector Regression (SVR) and Artificial Neural Network (ANN), were studied and compared, with a limited dataset obtained to predict physical property (density) of oxidative stabilized PAN fiber (OPF) in the second zone of a stabilization oven within a carbon fiber production line. The results were then used to optimize the energy consumption in the process. The case study can be beneficial to chemical industries involving carbon fiber manufacturing, for assessing and optimizing different stabilization process conditions at large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Simulation of Advanced Composite Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Growth Temperature on the Structural and Electrical Properties of ZrO2 Films Fabricated by Atomic Layer Deposition Using a CpZr[N(CH3)2]3/C7H8 Cocktail Precursor
Materials 2018, 11(3), 386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030386
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 March 2018 / Published: 5 March 2018
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Abstract
The effect of growth temperature on the atomic layer deposition of zirconium oxide (ZrO2) dielectric thin films that were fabricated using a CpZr[N(CH3)2]3/C7H8 cocktail precursor with ozone was investigated. The chemical, structural,
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The effect of growth temperature on the atomic layer deposition of zirconium oxide (ZrO2) dielectric thin films that were fabricated using a CpZr[N(CH3)2]3/C7H8 cocktail precursor with ozone was investigated. The chemical, structural, and electrical properties of ZrO2 films grown at temperatures from 250 to 350 °C were characterized. Stoichiometric ZrO2 films formed at 250–350 °C with an atomic ratio of O to Zr of 1.8–1.9 and a low content of carbon impurities. The film formed at 300 °C was predominantly the tetragonal crystalline phase, whereas that formed at 350 °C was a mixture of tetragonal and monoclinic phases. Electrical properties, such as capacitance, leakage current, and voltage linearity of TiN/ZrO2/TiN capacitors fabricated using the thin ZrO2 films grown at different temperatures were compared capacitor applications. The ZrO2 film grown at 300 °C exhibited low impurity content, predominantly tetragonal crystalline structure, a high dielectric permittivity of 38.3, a low leakage current of below 10−7 A/cm2 at 2 V, and low-voltage linearity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Green Synthesis of Boron Carbonitride with High Capacitance
Materials 2018, 11(3), 387; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030387
Received: 11 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 2 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
Boron carbonitrides (BCN) have attracted great interest in superhard or energy storage materials. In this work, thin BCN sheets were synthesized at 250 °C by a facile and green solvothermal method. The structure and morphology were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy,
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Boron carbonitrides (BCN) have attracted great interest in superhard or energy storage materials. In this work, thin BCN sheets were synthesized at 250 °C by a facile and green solvothermal method. The structure and morphology were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Based on the results of electrochemical experiments, the thin BCN sheet exhibited excellent capacitance performance (343.1 F/g at a current density of 0.5 A/g) and cycling stability (90%), which showed high potential applications in supercapacitors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation of Supercapacitors: New Materials and Novel Devices)
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Open AccessArticle An Optical Biosensing Strategy Based on Selective Light Absorption and Wavelength Filtering from Chromogenic Reaction
Materials 2018, 11(3), 388; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030388
Received: 12 February 2018 / Revised: 27 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 6 March 2018
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Abstract
To overcome the time and space constraints in disease diagnosis via the biosensing approach, we developed a new signal-transducing strategy that can be applied to colorimetric optical biosensors. Our study is focused on implementation of a signal transduction technology that can directly translate
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To overcome the time and space constraints in disease diagnosis via the biosensing approach, we developed a new signal-transducing strategy that can be applied to colorimetric optical biosensors. Our study is focused on implementation of a signal transduction technology that can directly translate the color intensity signals—that require complicated optical equipment for the analysis—into signals that can be easily counted with the naked eye. Based on the selective light absorption and wavelength-filtering principles, our new optical signaling transducer was built from a common computer monitor and a smartphone. In this signal transducer, the liquid crystal display (LCD) panel of the computer monitor served as a light source and a signal guide generator. In addition, the smartphone was used as an optical receiver and signal display. As a biorecognition layer, a transparent and soft material-based biosensing channel was employed generating blue output via a target-specific bienzymatic chromogenic reaction. Using graphics editor software, we displayed the optical signal guide patterns containing multiple polygons (a triangle, circle, pentagon, heptagon, and 3/4 circle, each associated with a specified color ratio) on the LCD monitor panel. During observation of signal guide patterns displayed on the LCD monitor panel using a smartphone camera via the target analyte-loaded biosensing channel as a color-filtering layer, the number of observed polygons changed according to the concentration of the target analyte via the spectral correlation between absorbance changes in a solution of the biosensing channel and color emission properties of each type of polygon. By simple counting of the changes in the number of polygons registered by the smartphone camera, we could efficiently measure the concentration of a target analyte in a sample without complicated and expensive optical instruments. In a demonstration test on glucose as a model analyte, we could easily measure the concentration of glucose in the range from 0 to 10 mM. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Microstructure Evolution of a Fe3Al Alloy during the LENS Process
Materials 2018, 11(3), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030390
Received: 1 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
A Fe3Al intermetallic alloy has been successfully prepared by the laser-engineered net shaping (LENS) process. The applied process parameters were selected to provide various cooling rates during the solidification of the laser-melted material. The macro- and microstructure and the micro- and
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A Fe3Al intermetallic alloy has been successfully prepared by the laser-engineered net shaping (LENS) process. The applied process parameters were selected to provide various cooling rates during the solidification of the laser-melted material. The macro- and microstructure and the micro- and macrotexture of Fe3Al samples were investigated. The influence of the cooling rate on grain morphology and texture is discussed. For the applied cooling rate range of 0.64 × 104 K/s–2.6 × 104 K/s, the structure is characterized by the presence of columnar grains for which the growth is directed upwards from the substrate. The intensity of the microtexture varies with the height of the sample and the cooling rate. The intensity of the texture increases with the decrease in the cooling rate. The samples that were obtained with low and medium cooling rates are characterized by the well-developed <100> and <111> macrotextures. The Fe3Al alloy that was produced with a high cooling rate did not show a specific texture, which is reflected in the fairly uniform distribution of the normalized density intensity. Only a very weak texture with a <100> type component was observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Materials Processing)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Surface Treatment of PEOT/PBT (55/45) with a Dielectric Barrier Discharge in Air, Helium, Argon and Nitrogen at Medium Pressure
Materials 2018, 11(3), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030391
Received: 9 February 2018 / Revised: 1 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
This work describes the surface modification of 300PEO-PEOT/PBT 55/45 thin films using a medium pressure dielectric barrier discharge system operated in argon, helium, nitrogen or dry air to improve cell-surface interactions of this established biomaterial. The first part of the paper describes the
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This work describes the surface modification of 300PEO-PEOT/PBT 55/45 thin films using a medium pressure dielectric barrier discharge system operated in argon, helium, nitrogen or dry air to improve cell-surface interactions of this established biomaterial. The first part of the paper describes the optimization of the plasma processing parameters using water contact angle goniometry. The optimized samples are then characterized for changes in surface topography and surface chemical composition using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XPS) respectively. For all plasma treatments, a pronounced increase in surface wettability was observed, of which the extent is dependent on the used plasma discharge gas. Except for dry air, only minor changes in surface topography were noted, while XPS confirmed that the changes in wettability were mainly chemical in nature with the incorporation of 5–10% of extra oxygen as a variety of polar groups. Similarly, for the nitrogen plasma, 3.8% of nitrogen polar groups were additionally incorporated. Human foreskin fibroblast (HFF) in vitro analysis showed that within the first 24 h after cell seeding, the effects on cell-surface interactivity were highly dependent on the used discharge gas, nitrogen plasma treatment being the most efficient. Differences between untreated and plasma-treated samples were less pronounced compared to other biodegradable materials, but a positive influence on cell adhesion and proliferation was still observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected papers from EUROMAT 2017 Conference—Biomaterials)
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Open AccessArticle Investigation on Selective Laser Melting AlSi10Mg Cellular Lattice Strut: Molten Pool Morphology, Surface Roughness and Dimensional Accuracy
Materials 2018, 11(3), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030392
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 2 March 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
AlSi10Mg inclined struts with angle of 45° were fabricated by selective laser melting (SLM) using different scanning speed and hatch spacing to gain insight into the evolution of the molten pool morphology, surface roughness, and dimensional accuracy. The results show that the average
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AlSi10Mg inclined struts with angle of 45° were fabricated by selective laser melting (SLM) using different scanning speed and hatch spacing to gain insight into the evolution of the molten pool morphology, surface roughness, and dimensional accuracy. The results show that the average width and depth of the molten pool, the lower surface roughness and dimensional deviation decrease with the increase of scanning speed and hatch spacing. The upper surface roughness is found to be almost constant under different processing parameters. The width and depth of the molten pool on powder-supported zone are larger than that of the molten pool on the solid-supported zone, while the width changes more significantly than that of depth. However, if the scanning speed is high enough, the width and depth of the molten pool and the lower surface roughness almost keep constant as the density is still high. Therefore, high dimensional accuracy and density as well as good surface quality can be achieved simultaneously by using high scanning speed during SLMed cellular lattice strut. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Electrospun Composite Liquid Crystal Elastomer Fibers
Materials 2018, 11(3), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11030393
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 25 February 2018 / Accepted: 4 March 2018 / Published: 7 March 2018
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Abstract
We present a robust method to prepare thin oriented nematic liquid crystalline elastomer-polymer (LCE-polymer) core-sheath fibers. An electrospinning setup is utilized to spin a single solution of photo-crosslinkable low molecular weight reactive mesogens and a support polymer to form the coaxial LCE-polymer fibers,
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We present a robust method to prepare thin oriented nematic liquid crystalline elastomer-polymer (LCE-polymer) core-sheath fibers. An electrospinning setup is utilized to spin a single solution of photo-crosslinkable low molecular weight reactive mesogens and a support polymer to form the coaxial LCE-polymer fibers, where the support polymer forms the sheath via in situ phase separation as the solvent evaporates. We discuss the effect of phase separation and compare two different sheath polymers (polyvinylpyrrolidone and polylactic acid), investigating optical and morphological properties of obtained fibers, as well as the shape changes upon heating. The current fibers show only irreversible contraction, the relaxation most likely being hindered by the presence of the passive sheath polymer, increasing in stiffness on cooling. If the sheath polymer can be removed while keeping the LCE core intact, we expect LCE fibers produced in this way to have potential to be used as actuators, for instance in soft robotics and responsive textiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystal-Assisted Advanced Functional Materials)
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