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Polymers, Volume 10, Issue 2 (February 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Acrylated Chitosan Nanoparticles with Enhanced Mucoadhesion
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 106; doi:10.3390/polym10020106
Received: 26 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of acrylate modification on the mucoadhesion of chitosan at the nanoscale. Nanoparticles were fabricated from acrylated chitosan (ACS) via ionic gelation with tripolyphosphate and were characterized in terms of size, zeta potential, stability,
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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of acrylate modification on the mucoadhesion of chitosan at the nanoscale. Nanoparticles were fabricated from acrylated chitosan (ACS) via ionic gelation with tripolyphosphate and were characterized in terms of size, zeta potential, stability, and nanoparticle yield. Chitosan (CS) nanoparticles, serving as a control, were fabricated using the same procedure. The mucoadhesion of the nanoparticles was evaluated using the flow-through method after different incubation periods. The retention percentages of ACS nanoparticles were found to be significantly higher than those of CS nanoparticles, for all studied time intervals. An additional indication for the increased mucoadhesion of ACS nanoparticles was the increase in particle size obtained from the mucin particle method, in which mucin and nanoparticles are mixed at different ratios. NMR data verified the presence of free acrylate groups on the ACS nanoparticles. Thus, the improved mucoadhesion could be due to a Michael-type addition reaction between the nanoparticles and thiol groups present in mucin glycoprotein, in addition to entanglements and hydrogen bonding. Overall, ACS nanoparticles exhibit enhanced mucoadhesion properties as compared to CS nanoparticles and could be used as vehicles for drug delivery systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Demonstrating the Influence of Physical Aging on the Functional Properties of Shape-Memory Polymers
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 107; doi:10.3390/polym10020107
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 13 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
Polymers that allow the adjustment of Shape-Memory properties by the variation of physical parameters during programming are advantageous compared with their counterparts requiring synthesis of new material. Here, we explored the influence of hydrolytic (physical) aging on the Shape-Memory properties of the polyetherurethane
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Polymers that allow the adjustment of Shape-Memory properties by the variation of physical parameters during programming are advantageous compared with their counterparts requiring synthesis of new material. Here, we explored the influence of hydrolytic (physical) aging on the Shape-Memory properties of the polyetherurethane system Estane, programmed in repeated thermomechanical cycles under torsional load. We were able to demonstrate that physical aging occurred through water adsorption influencing the existing free volume of the samples as well as the functional properties of Estane. Dynamic Mechanical Thermal Analysis determined the glass transition temperatures of dry and hydrolytically aged samples. According to our results, Estane takes up to 3 wt % water for two weeks (at an ambient temperature of θ = 20 °C). The glass transition temperatures of dry samples decreased within this period from 55 to 48 °C as a consequence of a plasticization effect. Next, for both samples, six subsequent thermomechanical cycles under torsional loading conditions were performed. We were able to confirm that hydrolytically aged samples showed higher shape recovery ratios of Rr ≥ 97%, although dry samples revealed better shape fixity values of about 98%. Moreover, it was observed that the shape fixity ratio of both dry and hydrolytically (physically) aged samples remained almost unchanged even after six successive cycles. Besides this, the shape recovery ratio values of the aged samples were nearly unaltered, although the shape recovery values of the dry samples increased from Rr = 81% in the first cycle to 96% at the end of six repeated cycles. Further, the evolution of the free volume as a function of temperature was studied using Positron Annihilation Lifetime Spectroscopy. It was shown that the uptake of two other organic solvents (acetone and ethanol) resulted in much higher specific free volume inside the samples and, consequently, a softening effect was observed. We anticipate that the presented approach will assist in defining design criteria for self-sufficiently moving scaffolds within a knowledge-based development process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape Memory Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Electrosprayed Core–Shell Composite Microbeads Based on Pectin-Arabinoxylans for Insulin Carrying: Aggregation and Size Dispersion Control
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 108; doi:10.3390/polym10020108
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 19 January 2018 / Published: 23 January 2018
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Abstract
Aggregation and coalescence are major drawbacks that contribute to polydispersity in microparticles and nanoparticles fabricated from diverse biopolymers. This study presents the evaluation of a novel method for the direct, electrospray-induced fabrication of small, CaCl2/ethanol-hardened low methoxy pectin/arabinoxylans composite microbeads. The
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Aggregation and coalescence are major drawbacks that contribute to polydispersity in microparticles and nanoparticles fabricated from diverse biopolymers. This study presents the evaluation of a novel method for the direct, electrospray-induced fabrication of small, CaCl2/ethanol-hardened low methoxy pectin/arabinoxylans composite microbeads. The electrospray method was evaluated to control particle size by adjusting voltage, flux, and crosslinking solution content of CaCl2/ethanol. A bead diameter of 1µm was set as reference to test the capability of this method. Insulin was chosen as a model carried molecule. Statistical analysis was a central composite rotatable design (CCRD) with a factorial arrangement of 24. The variables studied were magnitude and particle size dispersion. For the determination of these variables, light diffraction techniques, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and confocal laser scanning microscopy were used. Major interaction was found for ethanol and CaCl2 as well as flow and voltage. Stable spherical structures of core–shell beads were obtained with neither aggregation nor coalescence for all treatments where ethanol was included in the crosslinking solution, and the average diameter within 1 ± 0.024 μm for 11 KV, 75% ethanol with 11% CaCl2, and flow of 0.97 mL/h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Core-Shell Structured Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Collagen-Coated Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/Hydroxyapatite Scaffold Incorporated with DGEA Peptide for Synergistic Repair of Skull Defect
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 109; doi:10.3390/polym10020109
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The treatment of large-area bone defects remains a challenge; however, various strategies have been developed to improve the performances of scaffolds in bone tissue engineering. In this study, poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/hydroxyapatite (PLGA/HA) scaffold was coated with Asp-Gly-Glu-Ala (DGEA)-incorporated collagen for the repair of
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The treatment of large-area bone defects remains a challenge; however, various strategies have been developed to improve the performances of scaffolds in bone tissue engineering. In this study, poly(lactide-co-glycolide)/hydroxyapatite (PLGA/HA) scaffold was coated with Asp-Gly-Glu-Ala (DGEA)-incorporated collagen for the repair of rat skull defect. Our results indicated that the mechanical strength and hydrophilicity of the PLGA/HA scaffold were clearly improved and conducive to cell adhesion and proliferation. The collagen-coated scaffold with DGEA significantly promoted the repair of skull defect. These findings indicated that a combination of collagen coating and DGEA improved scaffold properties for bone regeneration, thereby providing a new potential strategy for scaffold design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Scaffolds for Biomedical Application)
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Open AccessArticle Epitaxial Crystallization Behavior of Poly(butylene adipate) on Orientated Poly(butylene succinate) Substrate
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 110; doi:10.3390/polym10020110
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
The crystallization behavior of poly(butylene adipate) (PBA) in the sheared PBS/PBA blend, as well as on highly orientated poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) substrate, was studied by means of DSC, POM, Raman microscopy, and XRD. The results showed that the pre-existing orientated PBS crystals exhibit
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The crystallization behavior of poly(butylene adipate) (PBA) in the sheared PBS/PBA blend, as well as on highly orientated poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) substrate, was studied by means of DSC, POM, Raman microscopy, and XRD. The results showed that the pre-existing orientated PBS crystals exhibit a very strong nucleation ability toward PBA as reflected by the increased crystallization temperature and the occurrence of heteroepitaxy and transcrystallization of PBA on the PBS substrate. The epitaxial crystallization of PBA on the PBS substrate results in the formation of α-form PBA crystals in any crystallization conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable and Biobased Polyesters)
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Open AccessArticle Enhanced Solubilization of Fluoranthene by Hydroxypropyl β-Cyclodextrin Oligomer for Bioremediation
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 111; doi:10.3390/polym10020111
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 20 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
Fluoranthene (FT) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), consisting of naphthalene and benzene rings connected by a five-member ring. It is widespread in the environment. The hydrophobicity of FT limits its availability for biological uptake and degradation. In this study, hydroxypropyl β-cyclodextrin oligomers
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Fluoranthene (FT) is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), consisting of naphthalene and benzene rings connected by a five-member ring. It is widespread in the environment. The hydrophobicity of FT limits its availability for biological uptake and degradation. In this study, hydroxypropyl β-cyclodextrin oligomers (HP-β-CD-ol) were synthesized with epichlorohydrin (EP), while the solubility enhancement of FT by HP-β-CD-ol was investigated in water. The synthesized HP-β-CD-ol was characterized by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry (MS), 1H NMR, and 13C NMR spectroscopy. The solubility of FT increased 178-fold due to the complex formation with HP-β-CD oligomers. The inclusion complexes of FT/HP-β-CD-ol were analyzed using Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and Nuclear Overhauser Effect Spectroscopy Nuclear magnetic resonance (NOESY NMR) spectroscopy. On the basis of these results, HP-β-CD-ol is recommended as a potential solubilizer for the development of PAH removal systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polysaccharides)
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Open AccessArticle Novel Biological Hydrogel: Swelling Behaviors Study in Salt Solutions with Different Ionic Valence Number
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 112; doi:10.3390/polym10020112
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, poly γ-glutamic acid/ε-polylysine (γ-PGA/ε-PL) hydrogels were successful prepared. The γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels could be used to remove Na+, Ca2+, and Cr3+ from aqueous solution and were characterized by scanning electron microscopy. The performance of hydrogels were
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In this paper, poly γ-glutamic acid/ε-polylysine (γ-PGA/ε-PL) hydrogels were successful prepared. The γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels could be used to remove Na+, Ca2+, and Cr3+ from aqueous solution and were characterized by scanning electron microscopy. The performance of hydrogels were estimated under different ionic concentration, temperature, and pH. The results showed that the ionic concentration and the pH significantly influenced the swelling capacity of γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels. The swelling capacities of γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels were decreased with the increase of the ionic concentration. However, the swelling capacity of the γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogel was increased with the increase of the pH. The swelling kinetics indicated that γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels presented a more limited swelling degree in metal ion solutions with higher ionic valence numbers than in ion solutions with lower ionic valence numbers. However, the swelling kinetics of γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels showed that they proposed a satisfactory description in NaCl and CaCl2 solutions. The adsorption process was fitted with a pseudo-second-order rate equation model. Moreover, the desorption kinetics of γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels showed that they could release most of the adsorption ions. Considering the biocompatibility, biodegradability, and ionic-sensitive properties, we propose that these γ-PGA/ε-PL hydrogels have high potential to be used in environmental protection, medical treatment, and other related fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogels in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine)
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Open AccessArticle Adsorption of Anionic Polyacrylamide onto Coal and Kaolinite Calculated from the Extended DLVO Theory Using the van Oss-Chaudhury-Good Theory
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 113; doi:10.3390/polym10020113
Received: 8 December 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
The dispersion behavior of particles is of great significance in selective flocculation flotation. The interfacial interaction between coal and the main impurity mineral (kaolinite) particles with the effect of an anionic polyacrylamide (PAM A401) was explored by the extended Derjagin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory. The
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The dispersion behavior of particles is of great significance in selective flocculation flotation. The interfacial interaction between coal and the main impurity mineral (kaolinite) particles with the effect of an anionic polyacrylamide (PAM A401) was explored by the extended Derjagin–Landau–Verwey–Overbeek (DLVO) theory. The involved surface free energy components of fine mineral particles were estimated using the van Oss-Chaudhury-Good theory and Washburn equation. After adsorption of PAM A401, the range and absolute value of the hydrophobic interaction VHA of the coal particles decreased, the electrostatic repulsive potential increased, and the total potential energy changed from −1.66 × 105 to −4.03 × 104 kT at the separation distance of 5 nm. For interactions between the kaolinite and coal particles after PAM A401 adsorption, the electrostatic repulsive potential increased and the hydrophilic repulsive potential energy decreased. The energy barrier at the separation distance of 0.2 nm decreased from 2.78 × 104 to 2.29 × 104 kT. The total potential energy between the kaolinite and coal particles after PAM A401 adsorption was still repulsive, and the range of the repulsive interaction increased from ~0.05 to 47 nm to ~0.05 to 50 nm. The total potential energy of the coal particles after PAM A401 adsorption was still attractive. This behavior of coal and kaolinite particles with the effect of PAM A401 indicates the possibility of enhanced fine coal separation by the method of selective flocculation flotation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Clay (Nano)Composites)
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Open AccessArticle Shape Memory Behavior of PET Foams
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 115; doi:10.3390/polym10020115
Received: 14 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 25 January 2018
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Abstract
Shape memory properties of PET (polyethylene-terephthalate) foams have been evaluated for two different foam densities. Samples were subjected to multiple memory-recovery cycles along three different directions to measure the effect of foam anisotropy on static mechanical and shape memory properties. The memory cycle
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Shape memory properties of PET (polyethylene-terephthalate) foams have been evaluated for two different foam densities. Samples were subjected to multiple memory-recovery cycles along three different directions to measure the effect of foam anisotropy on static mechanical and shape memory properties. The memory cycle was performed by uniaxial compression tests at room temperature. Despite these severe conditions, PET foams demonstrated very good shape memory behavior with shape recovery always higher than 90%. Due to cycling, the mechanical performance of foam samples is partially reduced, mainly along the extrusion direction of the foam panels. Despite this loss of static performance, shape memory properties are only partially affected by thermo-mechanical cycles. The maximum reduction is 10% for shape fixity and 3% for shape recovery. The experimental results are particularly interesting considering that compression tests were undertaken at room temperature. Indeed, PET foams seem to be optimal candidates for self-repairing structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape Memory Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle A New Route for Preparation of Hydrophobic Silica Nanoparticles Using a Mixture of Poly(dimethylsiloxane) and Diethyl Carbonate
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 116; doi:10.3390/polym10020116
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Organosilicon layers chemically anchored on silica surfaces show high carbon content, good thermal and chemical stability and find numerous applications as fillers in polymer systems, thickeners in dispersing media, and as the stationary phases and carriers in chromatography. Methyl-terminated poly(dimethylsiloxanes) (PDMSs) are typically
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Organosilicon layers chemically anchored on silica surfaces show high carbon content, good thermal and chemical stability and find numerous applications as fillers in polymer systems, thickeners in dispersing media, and as the stationary phases and carriers in chromatography. Methyl-terminated poly(dimethylsiloxanes) (PDMSs) are typically considered to be inert and not suitable for surface modification because of the absence of readily hydrolyzable groups. Therefore, in this paper, we report a new approach for surface modification of silica (SiO2) nanoparticles with poly(dimethylsiloxanes) with different lengths of polymer chains (PDMS-20, PDMS-50, PDMS-100) in the presence of diethyl carbonate (DEC) as initiator of siloxane bond splitting. Infrared spectroscopy (IR), elemental analysis (CHN), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), rotational viscosity and contact angle of wetting were employed for the characterization of the raw fumed silica and modified silica nanoparticles. Elemental analysis data revealed that the carbon content in the grafted layer is higher than 8 wt % for all modified silicas, but it decreases significantly after sample treatment in polar media for silicas which were modified using neat PDMS. The IR spectroscopy data indicated full involvement of free silanol groups in the chemisorption process at a relatively low temperature (220 °C) for all resulting samples. The contact angle studies confirmed hydrophobic surface properties of the obtained materials. The rheology results illustrated that fumed silica modified with mixtures of PDMS-x/DEC exhibited thixotropic behavior in industrial oil (I-40A), and exhibited a fully reversible nanostructure and shorter structure recovery time than nanosilicas modified with neat PDMS. The obtained results from AFM and TEM analysis revealed that the modification of fumed silica with mixtures of PDMS-20/DEC allows obtaining narrow particle size distribution with uniform dispersity and an average particle size of 15–17 nm. The fumed silica nanoparticles chemically modified with mixtures of PDMS-x/DEC have potential applications such as nanofillers of various polymeric systems, thickeners in dispersing media, and additives in coatings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Siloxane-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Structural, Mechanical, and Transport Properties of Electron Beam-Irradiated Chitosan Membranes at Different Doses
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 117; doi:10.3390/polym10020117
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Chitosan powder irradiated by electron beam at different doses, up to 250 kGy, was used to prepare membranes for drug release applications. The irradiation effect on the molecular weight of powder chitosan, the characteristics of the prepared membranes, and their transport of sulfamerazine
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Chitosan powder irradiated by electron beam at different doses, up to 250 kGy, was used to prepare membranes for drug release applications. The irradiation effect on the molecular weight of powder chitosan, the characteristics of the prepared membranes, and their transport of sulfamerazine sodium salt (SULF) were investigated. The effect of the addition of glutaraldehyde (GLA) as a crosslinking agent in the chitosan solution used for the preparation of the membranes was also studied. A decrease in the chitosan molecular weight with the increase in the irradiation dose was observed, while the membranes prepared with the irradiated chitosan at higher dose exhibited lower swelling. However, an opposite behavior was detected when the membranes were prepared with GLA-crosslinked chitosan. A GLA crosslinking agent reduced the crystallinity of the chitosan membranes and the swelling, whereas the water contact angle and SULF transport increased with the increase in the irradiation dose. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Studies of Interfacial Interaction between Polymer Components on Helical Nanofiber Formation via Co-Electrospinning
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 119; doi:10.3390/polym10020119
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Helical fibers in nanoscale have been of increasing interest due to their unique characteristics. To explore the effect of polymer type on helical fiber formation, three polymer systems, Poly(m-phenylene isophthalamide) (Nomex)/polyurethane (TPU), polystyrene (PS)/TPU and polyacrylonitril (PAN)/TPU are used to fabricate
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Helical fibers in nanoscale have been of increasing interest due to their unique characteristics. To explore the effect of polymer type on helical fiber formation, three polymer systems, Poly(m-phenylene isophthalamide) (Nomex)/polyurethane (TPU), polystyrene (PS)/TPU and polyacrylonitril (PAN)/TPU are used to fabricate helical nanofibers via co-electrospinning. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Zeta potential were employed to investigate the interfacial interaction between the two phases of the polymer system. The larger rigidity differential of Nomex and TPU leads to a larger interfacial interaction. The hydrogen bonds help to increase the interfacial interaction between Nomex and TPU components. The attractive force between the chloride-ions contained in Nomex molecules and the free charges on the solution surface lead to a longitudinal interfacial interaction in the Nomex/TPU system. The analysis results provide the explanation of the experimental results that the Nomex/TPU system has the greatest potential for producing helical nanofibers, while the PS/TPU and PAN/TPU systems cannot fabricate helical fibers effectively. This study based on the interfacial interaction between polymer components provides an insight into the mechanism of helical fiber formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Textile and Textile-Based Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Nucleation Enhancement in Stereodefective Poly(l-lactide) by Free Volume Expansion Resulting from Low-Temperature Pressure CO2 Preconditioning
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 120; doi:10.3390/polym10020120
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 15 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
Nucleation enhancement in a highly stereodefective poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) with an optical purity of 88% by low-temperature pressure (0 and 35 °C under 2 MPa) CO2 preconditioning was investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), infrared (IR) spectroscopy, polarized optical microscopy (POM)
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Nucleation enhancement in a highly stereodefective poly(l-lactide) (PLLA) with an optical purity of 88% by low-temperature pressure (0 and 35 °C under 2 MPa) CO2 preconditioning was investigated using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), infrared (IR) spectroscopy, polarized optical microscopy (POM) as well as positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy (PALS). Despite the preconditioning of the melt-quenched films for 2 h, IR results indicated that no trace of mesophase was generated and the samples remained in the glassy state. However, judging from the results of DSC, IR, and POM, when compared to the untreated sample, both the treated ones showed a significantly enhanced crystal nucleation effect, resulting in the corresponding greatly enhanced crystallization kinetics. Moreover, owing to the existence of the retrograde vitrification, the conditions of the previous low-pressure CO2 conditioning affected the nucleation enhancement effect. When compared to the case of 35 °C, the much lower temperature of 0 °C was more effective for nucleation enhancement. The PALS results indicated that the enlarged free volume, which resulted from the CO2 conditioning, largely accounted for the formation of locally ordered structures, providing many more potential nucleation sites for forming critical nuclei and thus the resulting enhanced crystallization kinetics in glassy PLLA. The present results have implications in understanding the nucleation enhancement effect, in particular in stereodefective PLLA systems, which possess extremely low crystallization ability and are thus probably too problematic to be evaluated by conventional methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phase Behavior in Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Photovoltaic Properties of P3HT:IC60BA through the Incorporation of Small Molecules
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 121; doi:10.3390/polym10020121
Received: 8 January 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
We investigated the role of a functional solid additive, 2,3-dihydroxypyridine (DHP), in influencing the optoelectronic, morphological, structural and photovoltaic properties of bulk-heterojunction-based polymer solar cells (BHJ PSCs) fabricated using poly(3-hexylthiophene): indene-C60 bisadduct (P3HT:IC60BA) photoactive medium. A dramatic increase in the
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We investigated the role of a functional solid additive, 2,3-dihydroxypyridine (DHP), in influencing the optoelectronic, morphological, structural and photovoltaic properties of bulk-heterojunction-based polymer solar cells (BHJ PSCs) fabricated using poly(3-hexylthiophene): indene-C60 bisadduct (P3HT:IC60BA) photoactive medium. A dramatic increase in the power conversion efficiency (~20%) was witnessed for the BHJ PSCs treated with DHP compared to the pristine devices. A plausible explanation describing the alignment of pyridine moieties of DHP with the indene side groups of IC60BA is presented with a view to improving the performance of the BHJ PSCs via improved crystalline order and hydrophobicity changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Energy Applications)
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Open AccessArticle The Dispersion of Pulp-Fiber in High-Density Polyethylene via Different Fabrication Processes
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 122; doi:10.3390/polym10020122
Received: 13 December 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
In this study, a pulp beating machine was used to premix the pulp fibers with high density polyethylene (HDPE) particles in water. The wet or pre-dried pulp fiber/HDPE mixture was then melt-compounded by a twin screw extruder. For further improving the dispersion of
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In this study, a pulp beating machine was used to premix the pulp fibers with high density polyethylene (HDPE) particles in water. The wet or pre-dried pulp fiber/HDPE mixture was then melt-compounded by a twin screw extruder. For further improving the dispersion of pulp fiber, some mixture was forced to pass through the twin-screw extruder twice. The resulting mixture was compression molded to the composite. The fiber distribution was observed by the aid of an optic and scanning electron microscope. The mechanical and rheological properties and creep resistance of the composites were characterized. Test results demonstrate that when the wet pulp fiber/HDPE mixture was subjected to pre-pressing and oven drying prior to extrusion compounding, the resulting composites exhibited homogeneous fiber distribution, superior flexural property, creep-resistance, and high storage modulus. Particularly, its flexural strength and modulus were 57% and 222% higher, respectively, than that of the neat HDPE, while the composites prepared without pre-dried were 19% and 100% higher, respectively. Drying the wet mixture in advance is more effective than re-passing through the extruder for improving the fiber dispersion and composite performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Olefin Polymerization and Polyolefin)
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Open AccessArticle Ionic Liquid-Based Thermoplastic Solid Electrolytes Processed by Solvent-Free Procedures
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 124; doi:10.3390/polym10020124
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 12 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 26 January 2018
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Abstract
A series of thermoplastic polymer electrolytes have been prepared employing poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) as a polymer matrix, bis(trifluoromethane sulfonimide) (LiTFSI), and different room-temperature ionic liquids (RTIL) with bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (FSI) or TFSI anions. This formulation makes them safe and non-flammable. The electrolytes have been
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A series of thermoplastic polymer electrolytes have been prepared employing poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) as a polymer matrix, bis(trifluoromethane sulfonimide) (LiTFSI), and different room-temperature ionic liquids (RTIL) with bis(fluorosulfonyl)imide (FSI) or TFSI anions. This formulation makes them safe and non-flammable. The electrolytes have been processed in the absence of solvents by melt compounding at 120 °C, using sepiolite modified with d-α-tocoferol-polyethyleneglycol 1000 succinate (TPGS-S) as a physical cross-linker of PEO. Several concentrations of RTILs, lithium salt, and TPGS-S have been tested in order to obtain the highest ionic conductivity (σ) without losing electrolytes’ mechanical stability. The materials’ rheology and ionic conductivity have been extensively characterized. The excellent crosslinking ability of TPGS-S makes the electrolytes behave as thermoplastic materials, even those with the highest liquid concentration. The electrolytes with the highest concentrations of FSI anion present a σ over 10−3 S·cm−1 at 25 °C and close to 10−2 S·cm−1 at 70 °C, and notably behave as solids at temperatures up to 90 °C despite over 65 wt % of their formulation being liquid. The electrolytes thus obtained are safe solid thermoplastics prepared by industrially scalable procedures and are suitable for energy storage devices, proving the adequacy of polymer-based materials as solid electrolytes for batteries or supercapacitors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Curing Rate on the Microstructure and Macroscopic Properties of Epoxy Fiberglass Composites
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 125; doi:10.3390/polym10020125
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 27 January 2018
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Abstract
Curing rates of an epoxy amine system were varied via different curing cycles, and glass-fiber epoxy composites were prepared using the same protocol, with the aim of investigating the correlation between microstructure and composite properties. It was found that the fast curing cycle
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Curing rates of an epoxy amine system were varied via different curing cycles, and glass-fiber epoxy composites were prepared using the same protocol, with the aim of investigating the correlation between microstructure and composite properties. It was found that the fast curing cycle resulted in a non-homogenous network, with a larger percentage of a softer phase. Homogenized composite properties, namely storage modulus and quasi-static intra-laminar shear strength, remained unaffected by the change in resin microstructure. However, fatigue tests revealed a significant reduction in fatigue life for composites cured at fast curing rates, while composites with curing cycles that allowed a pre-cure until the critical gel point, were unaffected by the rate of reaction. This result was explained by the increased role of epoxy microstructure on damage initiation and propagation in the matrix during fatigue life. Therefore, local non-homogeneities in the epoxy matrix, corresponding to regions with variable crosslink density, can play a significant role in limiting the fatigue life of composites and must be considered in the manufacturing of large scale components, where temperature gradients and significant exotherms are expected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation, Characterization, and Performance Evaluation of Polysulfone Hollow Fiber Membrane with PEBAX or PDMS Coating for Oxygen Enhancement Process
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 126; doi:10.3390/polym10020126
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 16 January 2018 / Accepted: 18 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
Air pollution is a widely discussed topic amongst the academic and industrial spheres as it can bring adverse effects to human health and economic loss. As humans spend most of their time at the office and at home, good indoor air quality with
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Air pollution is a widely discussed topic amongst the academic and industrial spheres as it can bring adverse effects to human health and economic loss. As humans spend most of their time at the office and at home, good indoor air quality with enriched oxygen concentration is particularly important. In this study, polysulfone (PSF) hollow fiber membranes fabricated by dry-jet wet phase inversion method were coated by a layer of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) or poly(ether block amide) (PEBAX) at different concentrations and used to evaluate their performance in gas separation for oxygen enrichment. The surface-coated membranes were characterized using SEM and EDX to determine the coating layer thickness and surface chemical properties, respectively. Results from the gas permeation study revealed that the PSF membrane coated with PDMS offered higher permeance and selectivity compared to the membrane coated with PEBAX. The best performing PDMS-coated membrane demonstrated oxygen and nitrogen gas permeance of 18.31 and 4.01 GPU, respectively with oxygen/nitrogen selectivity of 4.56. Meanwhile, the PEBAX-coated membrane only showed 12.23 and 3.11 GPU for oxygen and nitrogen gas, respectively with a selectivity of 3.94. It can be concluded the PDMS coating is more promising for PSF hollow fiber membrane compared to the PEBAX coating for the oxygen enrichment process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Inverted Organic Solar Cells with Low-Temperature Al-Doped-ZnO Electron Transport Layer Processed from Aqueous Solution
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 127; doi:10.3390/polym10020127
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 28 January 2018
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Abstract
The aqueous-based Zn-ammine complex solutions represent one of the most promising routes to obtain the ZnO electron transport layer (ETL) at a low temperature in inverted organic solar cells (OSCs). However, to dope the ZnO film processed from the Zn-ammine complex solutions is
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The aqueous-based Zn-ammine complex solutions represent one of the most promising routes to obtain the ZnO electron transport layer (ETL) at a low temperature in inverted organic solar cells (OSCs). However, to dope the ZnO film processed from the Zn-ammine complex solutions is difficult since the introduction of metal ions into the Zn-ammine complex is a nontrivial process as ammonium hydroxide tends to precipitate metal salts due to acid-base neutralization reactions. In this paper, we investigate the inverted OSCs with Al-doped-ZnO ETL made by immersion of metallic Al into the Zn-ammine precursor solution. The effects of ZnO layer with different immersion time of Al on film properties and solar cell performance have been studied. The results show that, with the Al-doped-ZnO ETL, an improvement of the device performance could be obtained compared with the device with the un-doped ZnO ETL. The improved device performance is attributed to the enhancement of charge carrier mobility leading to a decreased charge carrier recombination and improved charge collection efficiency. The fabricated thin film transistors with the same ZnO or AZO films confirm the improved electrical characteristics of the Al doped ZnO film. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Solar Cells)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Ethylene Glycol Methacrylate to the Hydration and Transition Behaviors of Thermo-Responsive Interpenetrating Polymeric Network Hydrogels
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 128; doi:10.3390/polym10020128
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 21 January 2018 / Accepted: 22 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
The influence of ethylene glycol methacrylate (EGMA) to the hydration and transition behaviors of thermo-responsive interpenetrating polymeric network (IPN) hydrogels containing sodium alginate, N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm), and EGMA were investigated. The molar ratios of NIPAAm and EGMA were varied from 20:0 to 19.5:0.5
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The influence of ethylene glycol methacrylate (EGMA) to the hydration and transition behaviors of thermo-responsive interpenetrating polymeric network (IPN) hydrogels containing sodium alginate, N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPAAm), and EGMA were investigated. The molar ratios of NIPAAm and EGMA were varied from 20:0 to 19.5:0.5 and 18.5:1.5 in the thermo-responsive alginate-Ca2+/P(NIPAAm-co-EGMA) IPN hydrogels. Due to the more hydrophilicity and high flexibility of EGMA, the IPN hydrogels exhibited higher lower critical solution temperature (LCST) and lower glass transition temperature (Tg) when the ratio of EGMA increases. The swelling/deswelling kinetics of the IPN hydrogels could be controlled by adjusting the NIPAAm/EGMA molar ratio. A faster water uptake rate and a slower water loss rate could be realized by increase the amount of EGMA in the IPN hydrogel (the shrinking rate constant was decreased from 0.01207 to 0.01195 and 0.01055 with the changing of NIPAAm/EGMA ratio from 20:0, 19.5:0.5 to 18.5:1.5). By using 2-Isopropylthioxanthone (ITX) as a photo initiator, the obtained alginate-Ca2+/P(NIPAAm-co-EGMA360) IPN hydrogels were successfully immobilized on cotton fabrics. The surface and cross section of the hydrogel were probed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). They all exhibited a porous structure, and the pore size was increased with the amount of EGMA. Moreover, the LCST values of the fabric-grafted hydrogels were close to those of the pure IPN hydrogels. Their thermal sensitivity remained unchanged. The cotton fabrics grafted with hydrogel turned out to be much softer with the continuous increase of EGMA amount. Therefore, compared with alginate-Ca2+/PNIPAAm hydrogel, alginate-Ca2+/P(NIPAAm-co-EGMA360) hydrogel is a more promising candidate for wound dressing in the field of biomedical textile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart and Functional Elastomers, Hydrogels, and Ionogels)
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Open AccessArticle Permeability and Selectivity of PPO/Graphene Composites as Mixed Matrix Membranes for CO2 Capture and Gas Separation
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 129; doi:10.3390/polym10020129
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 22 January 2018 / Accepted: 24 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
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Abstract
We fabricated novel composite (mixed matrix) membranes based on a permeable glassy polymer, Poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO), and variable loadings of few-layer graphene, to test their potential in gas separation and CO2 capture applications. The permeability, selectivity and diffusivity of different gases as
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We fabricated novel composite (mixed matrix) membranes based on a permeable glassy polymer, Poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide) (PPO), and variable loadings of few-layer graphene, to test their potential in gas separation and CO2 capture applications. The permeability, selectivity and diffusivity of different gases as a function of graphene loading, from 0.3 to 15 wt %, was measured at 35 and 65 °C. Samples with small loadings of graphene show a higher permeability and He/CO2 selectivity than pure PPO, due to a favorable effect of the nanofillers on the polymer morphology. Higher amounts of graphene lower the permeability of the polymer, due to the prevailing effect of increased tortuosity of the gas molecules in the membrane. Graphene also allows dramatically reducing the increase of permeability with temperature, acting as a “stabilizer” for the polymer matrix. Such effect reduces the temperature-induced loss of size-selectivity for He/N2 and CO2/N2, and enhances the temperature-induced increase of selectivity for He/CO2. The study confirms that, as observed in the case of other graphene-based mixed matrix glassy membranes, the optimal concentration of graphene in the polymer is below 1 wt %. Below such threshold, the morphology of the nanoscopic filler added in solution affects positively the glassy chains packing, enhancing permeability and selectivity, and improving the selectivity of the membrane at increasing temperatures. These results suggest that small additions of graphene to polymers can enhance their permselectivity and stabilize their properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Graphene-Polymer Composites)
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Open AccessArticle Thermal and Calorimetric Evaluations of Polyacrylonitrile Containing Covalently-Bound Phosphonate Groups
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 131; doi:10.3390/polym10020131
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 20 January 2018 / Accepted: 21 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
One of the effective ways to enhance flame retardance of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is through a reactive route, primarily developed in our laboratories, which involved chemical modification reactions utilising phosphorus-containing comonomers. In the present study, diethyl(acryloyloxymethyl)phosphonate (DEAMP) and diethyl(1-acryloyloxyethyl)phosphonate (DE1AEP) were synthesised and copolymerised
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One of the effective ways to enhance flame retardance of polyacrylonitrile (PAN) is through a reactive route, primarily developed in our laboratories, which involved chemical modification reactions utilising phosphorus-containing comonomers. In the present study, diethyl(acryloyloxymethyl)phosphonate (DEAMP) and diethyl(1-acryloyloxyethyl)phosphonate (DE1AEP) were synthesised and copolymerised with acrylonitrile (AN), under radical initiation in an inert atmosphere, in aqueous slurries. The thermal degradation and combustion characteristics as well as the extent of flame retardation were mainly assessed with the aid of various thermo-analytical and calorimetric techniques. It was found that the incorporation of phosphonate groups in polymeric chains of PAN resulted in improved flame-retardant characteristics. Furthermore, it was observed that the actual chemical environment of the phosphorus atom in the acrylic phosphonate modifying groups has little effect on the overall thermal degradation and combustion behaviours of the modified PAN systems. It was also observed that the predominant mode of flame retardance occurred in the condensed phase. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Statistical Design of Experimental and Bootstrap Neural Network Modelling Approach for Thermoseparating Aqueous Two-Phase Extraction of Polyhydroxyalkanoates
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 132; doi:10.3390/polym10020132
Received: 28 November 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
At present, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have been considered as a promising alternative to conventional plastics due to their diverse variability in structure and rapid biodegradation. To ensure cost competitiveness in the market, thermoseparating aqueous two-phase extraction (ATPE) with the advantages of being mild and
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At present, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have been considered as a promising alternative to conventional plastics due to their diverse variability in structure and rapid biodegradation. To ensure cost competitiveness in the market, thermoseparating aqueous two-phase extraction (ATPE) with the advantages of being mild and environmental-friendly was suggested as the primary isolation and purification tool for PHAs. Utilizing two-level full factorial design, this work studied the influence and interaction between four independent variables on the partitioning behavior of PHAs. Based on the experimental results, feed forward neural network (FFNN) was used to develop an empirical model of PHAs based on the ATPE thermoseparating input-output parameter. In this case, bootstrap resampling technique was used to generate more data. At the conditions of 15 wt % phosphate salt, 18 wt % ethylene oxide–propylene oxide (EOPO), and pH 10 without the addition of NaCl, the purification and recovery of PHAs achieved a highest yield of 93.9%. Overall, the statistical analysis demonstrated that the phosphate concentration and thermoseparating polymer concentration were the most significant parameters due to their individual influence and synergistic interaction between them on all the response variables. The final results of the FFNN model showed the ability of the model to seamlessly generalize the relationship between the input–output of the process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Bioseparations)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation and Characterization of Graphene Oxide-Modified Sapium sebiferum Oil-Based Polyurethane Composites with Improved Thermal and Mechanical Properties
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 133; doi:10.3390/polym10020133
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 28 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
Bio-based polyurethane (PU) composites with superior thermal and mechanical properties have received wide attention. This is due to the recent rapid developments in the PU industry. In the work reported here, novel nano-composites with graphene oxide (GO)-modified Sapium sebiferum oil (SSO)-based PU has
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Bio-based polyurethane (PU) composites with superior thermal and mechanical properties have received wide attention. This is due to the recent rapid developments in the PU industry. In the work reported here, novel nano-composites with graphene oxide (GO)-modified Sapium sebiferum oil (SSO)-based PU has been synthesized via in situ polymerization. GO, prepared using the improved Hummers method from natural graphene (NG), and SSO-based polyol with a hydroxyl value of 211 mg KOH/g, prepared by lipase hydrolysis, were used as raw materials. The microstructures and properties of GO and the nano-composites were both characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and tensile tests. The results showed that GO with its nano-sheet structure possessed a significant number of oxygen-containing functional groups at the surface. The nano-composites containing 1 wt % GO in the PU matrix (PU1) exhibited excellent comprehensive properties. Compared with those for pure PU, the glass transition temperature (Tg) and initial decomposition temperature (IDT) of the PU1 were enhanced by 14.1 and 31.8 °C, respectively. In addition, the tensile strength and Young’s modulus of the PU1 were also improved by 126% and 102%, respectively, compared to the pure PU. The significant improvement in both the thermal stability and mechanical properties for PU/GO composites was attributed to the homogeneous dispersion and good compatibility of GO with the PU matrix. The improvement in the properties upon the addition of GO may be attributable to the strong interfacial interaction between the reinforcing agent and the PU matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Based Resins and Crosslinked Polymers from Renewable Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of the Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Polymer Inclusion Membranes (PIMs) on Zinc Ion Separation from Aqueous Solutions
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 134; doi:10.3390/polym10020134
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 26 January 2018 / Published: 30 January 2018
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Abstract
The transport of Zn(II) ions across polymer inclusion membranes (PIMs) with acetylacetone (ACAC) or di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid (D2EHPA) as carriers was studied. Polymeric membranes consisting of polyvinylchloride (PVC) as the support, bis(2-ethylhexyl)adipate (DAO) as plasticizer, and ACAC or D2EHPA
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The transport of Zn(II) ions across polymer inclusion membranes (PIMs) with acetylacetone (ACAC) or di(2-ethylhexyl)phosphoric acid (D2EHPA) as carriers was studied. Polymeric membranes consisting of polyvinylchloride (PVC) as the support, bis(2-ethylhexyl)adipate (DAO) as plasticizer, and ACAC or D2EHPA as ion carriers were investigated. The highest recovery factors for Zn(II) ions were observed in the case of a membrane containing 20% acac (99.6%) and 60% D2EHPA (56.3%). The prepared PIMs were examined using atomic force microscopy (AFM) techniques. Their mechanical properties were also determined. The influence of membrane morphology and mechanical properties on the zinc transport process was discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle Paper Electrodes Coated with Partially-Exfoliated Graphite and Polypyrrole for High-Performance Flexible Supercapacitors
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 135; doi:10.3390/polym10020135
Received: 11 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 25 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Flexible paper electrodes for supercapacitors were prepared with partially-exfoliated graphite and polypyrrole as the active materials. Graphite was coated on paper with pencil drawing and then electrochemically exfoliated using the cyclic voltammetry (CV) technique to obtain the exfoliated graphite (EG)-coated paper (EG-paper). Polypyrrole
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Flexible paper electrodes for supercapacitors were prepared with partially-exfoliated graphite and polypyrrole as the active materials. Graphite was coated on paper with pencil drawing and then electrochemically exfoliated using the cyclic voltammetry (CV) technique to obtain the exfoliated graphite (EG)-coated paper (EG-paper). Polypyrrole (PPy) doped with β-naphthalene sulfonate anions was deposited on EG-paper through in-situ polymerization, leading to the formation of PPy-EG-paper. The as-prepared PPy-EG-paper showed a high electrical conductivity of 10.0 S·cm−1 and could be directly used as supercapacitor electrodes. The PPy-EG-paper electrodes gave a remarkably larger specific capacitance of 2148 F∙g−1 at a current density of 0.8 mA∙cm−2, compared to PPy-graphite-paper (848 F∙g−1). The capacitance value of PPy-EG-paper could be preserved by 80.4% after 1000 charge/discharge cycles. In addition, the PPy-EG-paper electrodes demonstrated a good rate capability and a high energy density of 110.3 Wh∙kg−1 at a power density of 121.9 W∙kg−1. This work will pave the way for the discovery of efficient paper-based electrode materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soft Materials and Systems)
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Open AccessArticle PNIPAM-MAPOSS Hybrid Hydrogels with Excellent Swelling Behavior and Enhanced Mechanical Performance: Preparation and Drug Release of 5-Fluorouracil
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 137; doi:10.3390/polym10020137
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) is a widely-studied polymers due to its excellent temperature sensitivity. PNIPAM-MAPOSS hybrid hydrogel, based on the introduction of acrylolsobutyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (MAPOSS) into the PNIPAM matrix in the presence of polyethylene glycol, was prepared via radical polymerization. The
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Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAM) is a widely-studied polymers due to its excellent temperature sensitivity. PNIPAM-MAPOSS hybrid hydrogel, based on the introduction of acrylolsobutyl polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (MAPOSS) into the PNIPAM matrix in the presence of polyethylene glycol, was prepared via radical polymerization. The modified hydrogels exhibited a thick, heterogeneous porous structure. PEG was used as a pore-forming agent to adjust the pore size. MAPOSS reduced the swelling ratios of gels, and decreased the LCST, causing the hydrogels to shrink at lower temperatures. However, its hydrophobicity helped to improve the temperature response rate. The incorporation of rigid MAPOSS into the polymer network greatly increased the compressive modulus of the hydrogel. It is worth noting that, by adjusting the amount of MAPOSS and PEG, the hydrogel could have both ideal mechanical properties and swelling behavior. In addition, hydrogel containing 8.33 wt % MAPOSS could achieve stable and sustained drug release. Thus, the prepared PNIPAM-MAPOSS hybrid hydrogel can serve as drug carrier for 5-fluorouracil and may have potential application in other biomedical fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Siloxane-Based Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Axial Behavior of Circular HPFRCC Members Externally Confined with FRP Sheets
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 138; doi:10.3390/polym10020138
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 31 January 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to identify the axial behavior characteristics of FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) confined circular HPFRCC (high performance fiber reinforced cementitious composite) members under compression. The test program comprised of 24 circular specimens with an average compressive strength of
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The aim of this paper is to identify the axial behavior characteristics of FRP (fiber reinforced polymer) confined circular HPFRCC (high performance fiber reinforced cementitious composite) members under compression. The test program comprised of 24 circular specimens with an average compressive strength of 102.7 MPa, including 21 carbon FRP (CFRP) confined (2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 layers) and three unconfined specimens. Transverse confinement generated by external FRP sheets resulted with a remarkable enhancement in axial strength and deformability, which is extremely important to resist seismic actions. The higher was the thickness of FRP confinement, the larger was the ultimate strain (εcu) and peak compressive strength (f′cc) of externally confined HPFRCC. When compared to FRP confined conventional concrete, different axial and lateral deformation characteristics were seen in FRP jacketed HPFRCC members. Higher strength and steel fiber presence in HPFRCC limited the lateral deformations which resulted with reduced strain efficiency with respect to conventional concrete. After presenting the experimental work, performance and accuracy of several available models proposed for predicting the axial behavior of FRP jacketed concrete were evaluated in a comparative manner. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "SMAR 2017")
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Open AccessArticle PLA Melt Stabilization by High-Surface-Area Graphite and Carbon Black
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 139; doi:10.3390/polym10020139
Received: 31 December 2017 / Revised: 24 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
Small amounts of carbon nanofillers, specifically high-surface-area graphite (HSAG) and more effectively carbon black (CB), are able to solve the well-known problem of degradation (molecular weight reduction) during melt processing, for the most relevant biodegradable polymer, namely poly(lactic acid), PLA. This behavior is
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Small amounts of carbon nanofillers, specifically high-surface-area graphite (HSAG) and more effectively carbon black (CB), are able to solve the well-known problem of degradation (molecular weight reduction) during melt processing, for the most relevant biodegradable polymer, namely poly(lactic acid), PLA. This behavior is shown by rheological measurements (melt viscosity during extrusion experiments and time sweep-complex viscosity) combined with gel permeation chromatography (GPC) experiments. PLA’s molecular weight, which is heavily reduced during melt extrusion of the neat polymer, can remain essentially unaltered by simple compounding with only 0.1 wt % of CB. At temperatures close to polymer melting by compounding with graphitic fillers, the observed stabilization of PLA melt could be rationalized by scavenging traces of water, which reduces hydrolysis of polyester bonds. Thermogravimetric analyses (TGA) indicate that the same carbon fillers, on the contrary, slightly destabilize PLA toward decomposition reactions, leading to the loss of volatile byproducts, which occur at temperatures higher than 300 °C, i.e., far from melt processing conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Surface Hydrophilicity of Poly(l-Lactide) Acid Polymer Film Changes the Human Adult Adipose Stem Cell Architecture
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 140; doi:10.3390/polym10020140
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
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Abstract
Current knowledge indicates that the molecular cross-talk between stem cells and biomaterials guides the stem cells’ fate within a tissue engineering system. In this work, we have explored the effects of the interaction between the poly(l-lactide) acid (PLLA) polymer film and
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Current knowledge indicates that the molecular cross-talk between stem cells and biomaterials guides the stem cells’ fate within a tissue engineering system. In this work, we have explored the effects of the interaction between the poly(l-lactide) acid (PLLA) polymer film and human adult adipose stem cells (hASCs), focusing on the events correlating the materials’ surface characteristics and the cells’ plasma membrane. hASCs were seeded on films of pristine PLLA polymer and on a PLLA surface modified by the radiofrequency plasma method under oxygen flow (PLLA+O2). Comparative experiments were performed using human bone-marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) and human umbilical matrix stem cells (hUCMSCs). After treatment with oxygen-plasma, the surface of PLLA films became hydrophilic, whereas the bulk properties were not affected. hASCs cultured on pristine PLLA polymer films acquired a spheroid conformation. On the contrary, hASCs seeded on PLLA+O2 film surface maintained the fibroblast-like morphology typically observed on tissue culture polystyrene. This suggests that the surface hydrophilicity is involved in the acquisition of the spheroid conformation. Noteworthy, the oxygen treatment had no effects on hBM-MSC and hUCMSC cultures and both stem cells maintained the same shape observed on PLLA films. This different behavior suggests that the biomaterial-interaction is stem cell specific. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Site-Specific DBCO Modification of DEC205 Antibody for Polymer Conjugation
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 141; doi:10.3390/polym10020141
Received: 14 January 2018 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
The design of multifunctional polymer-based vectors, forming pDNA vaccines, offers great potential in cancer immune therapy. The transfection of dendritic immune cells (DCs) with tumour antigen-encoding pDNA leads to an activation of the immune system to combat tumour cells. In this work, we
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The design of multifunctional polymer-based vectors, forming pDNA vaccines, offers great potential in cancer immune therapy. The transfection of dendritic immune cells (DCs) with tumour antigen-encoding pDNA leads to an activation of the immune system to combat tumour cells. In this work, we investigated the chemical attachment of DEC205 antibodies (aDEC205) as DC-targeting structures to polyplexes of P(Lys)-b-P(HPMA). The conjugation of a synthetic block copolymer and a biomacromolecule with various functionalities (aDEC205) requires bioorthogonal techniques to avoid side reactions. Click chemistry and in particular the strain-promoted alkyne-azide cycloaddition (SPAAC) can provide the required bioorthogonality. With regard to a SPAAC of both components, we firstly synthesized two different azide-containing block copolymers, P(Lys)-b-P(HPMA)-N3(stat) and P(Lys)-b-P(HPMA)-N3(end), for pDNA complexation. In addition, the site-specific incorporation of ring-strained dibenzocyclooctyne (DBCO) moieties to the DEC205 antibody was achieved by an enzymatic strategy using bacterial transglutaminase (BTG). The chemical accessibility of DBCO molecules within aDEC205 as well as the accessibility of azide-functionalities on the polyplex’ surface were investigated by various SPAAC experiments and characterized by fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Therapy and Diagnostics)
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Open AccessArticle Study on the Nanomechanical and Nanotribological Behaviors of PEEK and CFRPEEK for Biomedical Applications
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 142; doi:10.3390/polym10020142
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
This study was to investigate the nanomechanical and nanotribological properties of polyether ether ketone (PEEK)-based composites for biomedical applications and to gain a fundamental understanding of the effects of carbon fibers in carbon-fiber-reinforced PEEK (CFRPEEK) on the mechanical properties and wear performance in
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This study was to investigate the nanomechanical and nanotribological properties of polyether ether ketone (PEEK)-based composites for biomedical applications and to gain a fundamental understanding of the effects of carbon fibers in carbon-fiber-reinforced PEEK (CFRPEEK) on the mechanical properties and wear performance in a microscale. Nanoindentation tests with a Berkovich indenter and nanoscratch experiments with a diamond stylus were performed on PEEK and CFRPEEK samples. The nanowear features and mechanisms of the tested samples were analyzed using 3D white-light interfering profilometry and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The obtained results indicated that the reinforced carbon fibers increased the nanohardness and elastic modulus and decreased the friction coefficient and wear rate of PEEK. Different to many existing studies where a constant load was used in a nanoscratch test and the normal load was a key factor influencing the scratch performances of the tested specimens, stick–slip phenomena were observed on both PEEK and CFRPEEK in the nanoscratch tests with load increasing progressively. In constant load conditions, it was found that the major nanowear mechanisms of PEEK are adhesion, abrasion, and plastic deformation, while the nanowear mechanisms of CFRPEEK are dominated by severe adhesive wear, abrasive wear and mild fatigue. CFRPEEK has demonstrated superior nanomechanical and nanotribological performances, and hence can be considered a potential candidate for biomedical applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Vacuum Thermoforming Process: An Approach to Modeling and Optimization Using Artificial Neural Networks
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 143; doi:10.3390/polym10020143
Received: 16 December 2017 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
In the vacuum thermoforming process, the group effects of the processing parameters, when related to the minimizing of the product deviations set, have conflicting and non-linear values which make their mathematical modelling complex and multi-objective. Therefore, this work developed models of prediction and
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In the vacuum thermoforming process, the group effects of the processing parameters, when related to the minimizing of the product deviations set, have conflicting and non-linear values which make their mathematical modelling complex and multi-objective. Therefore, this work developed models of prediction and optimization using artificial neural networks (ANN), having the processing parameters set as the networks’ inputs and the deviations group as the outputs and, furthermore, an objective function of deviation minimization. For the ANN data, samples were produced in experimental tests of a product standard in polystyrene, through a fractional factorial design (2k-p). Preliminary computational studies were carried out with various ANN structures and configurations with the test data until reaching satisfactory models and, afterwards, multi-criteria optimization models were developed. The validation tests were developed with the models’ predictions and solutions showed that the estimates for them have prediction errors within the limit of values found in the samples produced. Thus, it was demonstrated that, within certain limits, the ANN models are valid to model the vacuum thermoforming process using multiple parameters for the input and objective, by means of reduced data quantity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model-Based Polymer Processing)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation and Characterization of Porous Core-Shell Fibers for Slow Release of Tea Polyphenols
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 144; doi:10.3390/polym10020144
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 2 February 2018
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Abstract
This study focused on the fabrication, characterization, and release properties of electrospun tea polyphenol (TPP) loaded porous core-shell structured fibers. The morphology, structure and properties of the electrospun TPP loaded porous core-shell fibers were investigated by a combination of Fourier transformation infrared spectroscopy
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This study focused on the fabrication, characterization, and release properties of electrospun tea polyphenol (TPP) loaded porous core-shell structured fibers. The morphology, structure and properties of the electrospun TPP loaded porous core-shell fibers were investigated by a combination of Fourier transformation infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), contact angle (CA) measurements, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), etc. In addition, the cumulative drug release rate of TPP loaded porous core-shell fibers was determined by ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometer, and the release mechanism was investigated using Fickian diffusion equation, which would provide the theoretical basis for future study. The results showed TPP loaded porous core-shell structured fibers were successfully prepared by coaxial electrospinning, and the porous structure of the core-shell fibers could further enlarge the specific surface area, enhance the hydrophobic properties, and improve the drug release properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospinning of Nanofibres)
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Open AccessArticle Preloading Effect on Strengthening Efficiency of RC Beams Strengthened with Non- and Pretensioned NSM Strips
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 145; doi:10.3390/polym10020145
Received: 2 January 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 3 February 2018
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Abstract
The near surface mounted (NSM) technique has been shown to be one of the most promising methods for upgrading reinforced concrete (RC) structures. Many tests carried out on RC members strengthened in flexure with NSM fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) systems have demonstrated greater strengthening
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The near surface mounted (NSM) technique has been shown to be one of the most promising methods for upgrading reinforced concrete (RC) structures. Many tests carried out on RC members strengthened in flexure with NSM fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) systems have demonstrated greater strengthening efficiency than the use of externally-bonded (EB) FRP laminates. Strengthening with simultaneous pretensioning of the FRP results in improvements in the serviceability limit state (SLS) conditions, including the increased cracking moment and decreased deflections. The objective of the reported experimental program, which consisted of two series of RC beams strengthened in flexure with NSM CFRP strips, was to investigate the influence of a number of parameters on the strengthening efficiency. The test program focused on an analysis of the effects of preloading on the strengthening efficiency which has been investigated very rarely despite being one of the most important parameters to be taken into account in strengthening design. Two preloading levels were considered: the beam self-weight only, which corresponded to stresses on the internal longitudinal reinforcement of 25% and 14% of the yield stress (depending on a steel reinforcement ratio), and the self-weight with the additional superimposed load, corresponding to 60% of the yield strength of the unstrengthened beam and a deflection equal to the allowable deflection at the SLS. The influence of the longitudinal steel reinforcement ratio was also considered in this study. To reflect the variability seen in existing structures, test specimens were varied by using different steel bar diameters. Finally, the impact of the composite reinforcement ratio and the number of pretensioned FRP strips was considered. Specimens were divided into two series based on their strengthening configuration: series “A” were strengthened with one pretensioned and two non-pretensioned carbon FRP (CFRP) strips, while series “B” were strengthened with two pretensioned strips. Experimental tests illustrated promising results at ultimate and serviceability limit state conditions. A significant gain of the load bearing capacity, in the range between 56% and 135% compared to the unstrengthened beams, was obtained. Tensile rupture of the NSM CFRP strips was achieved, confirming full utilization of the material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "SMAR 2017")
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Open AccessArticle Color Attributes of Colored-Yarn Mixed Woven Fabrics Made of Raw-White Warps and Multicolored Wefts and Based on Weft-Backed Structures
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 146; doi:10.3390/polym10020146
Received: 16 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
This paper reports the development of colored-yarn mixed woven fabrics by using raw white warps and multicolored-wefts, as well as a study of the influential factors on the color attributes of the resultant fabrics. Weft yarns in six colors, together with the white
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This paper reports the development of colored-yarn mixed woven fabrics by using raw white warps and multicolored-wefts, as well as a study of the influential factors on the color attributes of the resultant fabrics. Weft yarns in six colors, together with the white warp yarns, were used to create a series of fabric colors. Two types of new weft-backed structures were designed to assign the desired wefts for color mixing, as well as to reduce the white warp floats on the surface and thus, the lightness of the fabric. The effects of the proportion of yarn color components, weft density, and the introduction of black weft floats on the color attributes of fabrics, were investigated. The results show that through varying the proportion of mixing yarn color components, via fabric structure, a series of mixed red-blue and green-yellow colors for fabrics are created, respectively. Colored yarn mixed fabric presents a lowered lightness after a middle regulating layer is introduced into the structure. Compared to fabrics with a lower density, higher density fabrics possess lower lightness, higher redness and blueness in the blue-red fabrics, and higher greenness and yellowness in the yellow-green fabric. The lightness of fabric lowers after adding black yarn. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Textile and Textile-Based Materials)
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Open AccessArticle An Investigation and Comparison of the Blending of LDPE and PP with Different Intrinsic Viscosities of PET
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 147; doi:10.3390/polym10020147
Received: 5 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
The blending of aliphatic polyolefins and aromatic poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) based on different intrinsic viscosities (IV) was conducted in a torque rheometer. The comparison of blend components in terms of low density polythene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP) in blending with PET was investigated,
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The blending of aliphatic polyolefins and aromatic poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) based on different intrinsic viscosities (IV) was conducted in a torque rheometer. The comparison of blend components in terms of low density polythene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP) in blending with PET was investigated, and the effects of the IV and proportion of PET on polymer blends are discussed in detail. Polymer blends with or without compatibilizer were examined by using a differential scanning calorimeter, thermogravimetric analyzer, rotary rheometer, field-emission scanning electron microscopy and a universal testing machine. It was found that the blending led to an increase in processability and a decrease in thermal stability for blends. The morphological analysis revealed that the incompatibility of blends was aggravated by a higher IV of PET, while this situation could be improved by the addition of compatibilizer. Results showed that there was an opposite effect for the tensile strength and the elongation at break of the polymer blend in the presence of a compatibilizer, wherein the influence of IV of PET was complicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Evolution of Filament-Shaped Porous Structure in Polycarbonate by Stretching under Carbon Dioxide
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 148; doi:10.3390/polym10020148
Received: 19 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
We found that a filament-shaped porous structure with periodic distance was obtained in polycarbonate for optical disk grade (OD-PC) film by stretching under compressed carbon dioxide (CO2). The evolution of the characteristic porous structure was investigated by in situ observation during
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We found that a filament-shaped porous structure with periodic distance was obtained in polycarbonate for optical disk grade (OD-PC) film by stretching under compressed carbon dioxide (CO2). The evolution of the characteristic porous structure was investigated by in situ observation during the stretching under compressed CO2 and the optical microscopic observation of the stretched specimen. The voids were obtained under high CO2 pressure as in the case of elevated temperature, suggesting that the evolution of the voids was caused by crazing due to chain disentanglement by accelerated molecular motion owing to the plasticization effect of CO2. The filament-shaped voids were initiated at around the yielding point and increased continuously by nucleation in the matrix around the surface of the pre-existing voids. The shape of the voids did not change to an ellipsoidal one during stretching due to suppression of the craze opening by the hydrostatic pressure effect. The stretching of the CO2-absorbed depressurized OD-PC revealed that the initiation of the voids was not only caused by the plasticization effect, but the hydrostatic pressure effect was also required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Plasticizers for Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Proteins as Nano-Carriers for Bioactive Compounds. The Case of 7S and 11S Soy Globulins and Folic Acid Complexation
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 149; doi:10.3390/polym10020149
Received: 28 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 5 February 2018
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Abstract
Isolated 7S and 11S globulins obtained from defeated soy flour were complexated with folic acid (FA) in order to generate nano-carriers for this important vitamin in human nutrition. Fluorescence spectroscopy and dynamic light scattering were applied to follow the nano-complexes formation and for
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Isolated 7S and 11S globulins obtained from defeated soy flour were complexated with folic acid (FA) in order to generate nano-carriers for this important vitamin in human nutrition. Fluorescence spectroscopy and dynamic light scattering were applied to follow the nano-complexes formation and for their characterization. Fluorescence experimental data were modeled by the Stern-Volmer and a modified double logarithm approach. The results obtained confirmed static quenching. The number of binding sites on the protein molecule was ~1. The values obtained for the binding constants suggest a high affinity between proteins and FA. Particle size distribution allowed to study the protein aggregation phenomenon induced by FA bound to the native proteins. Z-average manifested a clear trend to protein aggregation. 11S-FA nano-complexes resulted in more polydispersity. ζ-potential of FA nano-complexes did not show a remarkable change after FA complexation. The biological activity of nano-complexes loaded with FA was explored in terms of their capacity to enhance the biomass formation of Lactobacillus casei BL23. The results concerning to nano-complexes inclusion in culture media showed higher bacterial growth. Such a result was attributed to the entry of the acid by the specific receptors concomitantly by the peptide receptors. These findings have technological impact for the use of globulins-FA based nano-complexes in nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and food industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Biopolymer)
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Open AccessArticle Facile Synthesis, Characterization of Poly-2-mercapto-1,3,4-thiadiazole Nanoparticles for Rapid Removal of Mercury and Silver Ions from Aqueous Solutions
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 150; doi:10.3390/polym10020150
Received: 23 December 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
Industrial pollution by heavy metal ions such as Hg2+ and Ag+ is a universal problem owing to the toxicity of heavy metals. In this study, a novel nano-adsorbent, i.e., poly-2-mercapto-1,3,4-thiadiazole (PTT), was synthesized and used to selectively adsorb mercury and silver
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Industrial pollution by heavy metal ions such as Hg2+ and Ag+ is a universal problem owing to the toxicity of heavy metals. In this study, a novel nano-adsorbent, i.e., poly-2-mercapto-1,3,4-thiadiazole (PTT), was synthesized and used to selectively adsorb mercury and silver ions from aqueous solutions. PTT nanoparticles were synthesized via chemical oxidative dehydrogenation polymerization under mild conditions. Oxidant species, medium, monomer concentration, oxidant/monomer molar ratio, and polymerization temperature were optimized to obtain optimum yields. The molecular structure and morphology of the nanoparticles were analyzed by ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization/time-of-flight (MALDI/TOF) mass and X-ray photoelectron (XPS) spectroscopies, wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD), theoretical calculations and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), respectively. It was found that the polymerization of 2-mercapto-1,3,4-thiodiazole occurs through head-to-tail coupling between the S(2) and C(5) positions. The PTT nanoparticles having a peculiar synergic combination of four kinds of active groups, S–, –SH, N–N, and =N– with a small particle size of 30–200 nm exhibit ultrarapid initial adsorption rates of 1500 mg(Hg)·g−1·h−1 and 5364 mg(Ag)·g−1·h−1 and high adsorption capacities of up to 186.9 mg(Hg)·g−1 and 193.1 mg(Ag)·g−1, becoming ultrafast chelate nanosorbents with high adsorption capacities. Kinetic study indicates that the adsorption of Hg2+ and Ag+ follows the pseudo-second-order model, suggesting a chemical adsorption as the rate-limiting step during the adsorption process. The Hg2+ and Ag+-loaded PTT nanoparticles could be effectively regenerated with 0.1 mol·L−1 EDTA or 1 mol·L−1 HNO3 without significantly losing their adsorption capacities even after five adsorption–desorption cycles. With these impressive properties, PTT nanoparticles are very promising materials in the fields of water-treatment and precious metals recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer-Based Nano-Sorbent Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Sortase-Mediated Ligation of Purely Artificial Building Blocks
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 151; doi:10.3390/polym10020151
Received: 9 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
Sortase A (SrtA) from Staphylococcus aureus has been often used for ligating a protein with other natural or synthetic compounds in recent years. Here we show that SrtA-mediated ligation (SML) is universally applicable for the linkage of two purely artificial building blocks. Silica
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Sortase A (SrtA) from Staphylococcus aureus has been often used for ligating a protein with other natural or synthetic compounds in recent years. Here we show that SrtA-mediated ligation (SML) is universally applicable for the linkage of two purely artificial building blocks. Silica nanoparticles (NPs), poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide) are chosen as synthetic building blocks. As a proof of concept, NP–polymer, NP–NP, and polymer–polymer structures are formed by SrtA catalysis. Therefore, the building blocks are equipped with the recognition sequence needed for SrtA reaction—the conserved peptide LPETG—and a pentaglycine motif. The successful formation of the reaction products is shown by means of transmission electron microscopy (TEM), matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-ToF MS), and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The sortase catalyzed linkage of artificial building blocks sets the stage for the development of a new approach to link synthetic structures in cases where their synthesis by established chemical methods is complicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Hybrid Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of Load on the Thermal Expansion Behavior of T700 Carbon Fiber Bundles
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 152; doi:10.3390/polym10020152
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
T700 carbon fiber bundles (CFBs) are the primary material used for manufacturing cable-net in a deployable antenna. In this paper, the relationships between the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of T700 CFBs and the experimental load were investigated. The microstructure of T700 CFBs
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T700 carbon fiber bundles (CFBs) are the primary material used for manufacturing cable-net in a deployable antenna. In this paper, the relationships between the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of T700 CFBs and the experimental load were investigated. The microstructure of T700 CFBs was analyzed with Raman spectra and XRD before and after the thermomechanical test. The measured results indicated that the T700 CFBs that were parallel to the axis had negative expansion characteristics when in a temperature range of −150–+150 °C. The thermal strain that occurred during the heating and the cooling thermal cycles had an unclosed curve that served as the loop. When the thermal cycles were the same, the position of the strain loop and the length of the sample exhibited regular change. The average of the CTEs decreased as the experimental load increased. The microstructural analysis suggested that the degree of structural order and the degree of orientation along the fiber axis improved with the experimental load increase. The change of microstructure parameters could be the primary cause of the negative CTE’s variation within the T700 CFBs. The experimental results provide some guidelines for improving the cable-net material selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Textile and Textile-Based Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Silk Fibroin/Polyvinyl Pyrrolidone Interpenetrating Polymer Network Hydrogels
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 153; doi:10.3390/polym10020153
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 4 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
Silk fibroin hydrogel is an ideal model as biomaterial matrix due to its excellent biocompatibility and used in the field of medical polymer materials. Nevertheless, native fibroin hydrogels show poor transparency and resilience. To settle these drawbacks, an interpenetrating network (IPN) of hydrogels
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Silk fibroin hydrogel is an ideal model as biomaterial matrix due to its excellent biocompatibility and used in the field of medical polymer materials. Nevertheless, native fibroin hydrogels show poor transparency and resilience. To settle these drawbacks, an interpenetrating network (IPN) of hydrogels are synthesized with changing ratios of silk fibroin/N-Vinyl-2-pyrrolidonemixtures that crosslink by H2O2 and horseradish peroxidase. Interpenetrating polymer network structure can shorten the gel time and the pure fibroin solution gel time for more than a week. This is mainly due to conformation from the random coil to the β-sheet structure changes of fibroin. Moreover, the light transmittance of IPN hydrogel can be as high as more than 97% and maintain a level of 90% within a week. The hydrogel, which mainly consists of random coil, the apertures inside can be up to 200 μm. Elastic modulus increases during the process of gelation. The gel has nearly 95% resilience under the compression of 70% eventually, which is much higher than native fibroin gel. The results suggest that the present IPN hydrogels have excellent mechanical properties and excellent transparency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Protein Biopolymer)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation and Properties of High Solid Content and Low Viscosity Waterborne Polyurethane—Acrylate Emulsion with a Reactive Emulsifier
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 154; doi:10.3390/polym10020154
Received: 1 December 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 1 February 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
High solid content waterborne polyurethane-acrylate (WPUA) emulsions have been successfully synthesized in two steps. Firstly, we prepared a waterborne polyurethane emulsion, then reacted it with acrylate monomer by emulsion polymerization using the semi-continuous seeded method. The effects of the type and amount of
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High solid content waterborne polyurethane-acrylate (WPUA) emulsions have been successfully synthesized in two steps. Firstly, we prepared a waterborne polyurethane emulsion, then reacted it with acrylate monomer by emulsion polymerization using the semi-continuous seeded method. The effects of the type and amount of emulsifier, the amount of dimethylolpropionic acid (DMPA), the choice of capping group, the ratio of PU/PA, and the method of adding a water-soluble monomer to the properties of the composite emulsion were investigated. The reactive emulsifier replaced the traditional emulsifier and there were no metal ions introduced to the reaction, whether by the emulsifier or the initiator. Through a variety of tests, we proved that the prepared emulsion has the advantages of small particle size, narrow distribution, good stability, good performance of the film, and solid content of 46%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Catechol End-Functionalized Polylactide by Organocatalyzed Ring-Opening Polymerization
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 155; doi:10.3390/polym10020155
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
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Abstract
There is a great interest in incorporating catechol moieties into polymers in a controlled manner due to their interesting properties, such as the promotion of adhesion, redox activity or bioactivity. One possibility is to incorporate the catechol as end-group in a polymer chain
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There is a great interest in incorporating catechol moieties into polymers in a controlled manner due to their interesting properties, such as the promotion of adhesion, redox activity or bioactivity. One possibility is to incorporate the catechol as end-group in a polymer chain using a functional initiator by means of controlled polymerization strategies. Nevertheless, the instability of catechol moieties under oxygen and basic pH requires tedious protection and deprotection steps to perform the polymerization in a controlled fashion. In the present work, we explore the organocatalyzed synthesis of catechol end-functional, semi-telechelic polylactide (PLLA) using non-protected dopamine, catechol molecule containing a primary amine, as initiator. NMR and SEC-IR results showed that in the presence of a weak organic base such as triethylamine, the ring-opening polymerization (ROP) of lactide takes place in a controlled manner without need of protecting the cathechol units. To further confirm the end-group fidelity the catechol containing PLLA was characterized by Cyclic Voltammetry and MALDI-TOF confirming the absence of side reaction during the polymerization. In order to exploit the potential of catechol moieties, catechol end-group of PLLA was oxidized to quinone and further reacted with aliphatic amines. In addition, we also confirmed the ability of catechol functionalized PLLA to reduce metal ions to metal nanoparticles to obtain well distributed silver nanoparticles. It is expected that this new route of preparing catechol-PLLA polymers without protection will increase the accessibility of catechol containing biodegradable polymers by ROP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Developments in Ring-Opening Polymerization)
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Open AccessArticle Compression Creep and Thermal Ratcheting Behavior of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE)
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 156; doi:10.3390/polym10020156
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract
The characterization of thermal ratcheting behavior of high density polyethylene (HDPE) material coupled with compressive creep is presented. The research explores the adverse influence of thermal cycling on HDPE material properties under the effect of compressive load, number of thermal cycles, creep time
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The characterization of thermal ratcheting behavior of high density polyethylene (HDPE) material coupled with compressive creep is presented. The research explores the adverse influence of thermal cycling on HDPE material properties under the effect of compressive load, number of thermal cycles, creep time period, and thermal ratcheting temperature range. The compressive creep analysis of HDPE shows that the magnitude of creep strain increases with increase in magnitude of applied load and temperature, respectively. The creep strain value increased by 7 and 28 times between least and maximum applied temperature and load conditions, respectively. The creep modulus decreases with increase in compressive load and temperature conditions. The cumulative deformation is evident in the HDPE material, causing a reduction in the thickness of the sample under thermal ratcheting. The loss of thickness increases with increase in the number of thermal cycles, while showing no sign of saturation. The thermal ratcheting strain (TRS) is influenced dominantly by the applied load condition. In addition, the TRS decreases with increase in creep time period, which is cited to the extended damage induced due creep. The results highlight the need for improved design standard with inclusion of thermal ratcheting phenomenon for HDPE structures particularly HDPE bolted flange joint. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Cyclodextrins (β and γ) and l-Arginine on Stability and Functional Properties of Mucoadhesive Buccal Films Loaded with Omeprazole for Pediatric Patients
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 157; doi:10.3390/polym10020157
Received: 13 January 2018 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract
Omeprazole (OME) is employed for treating ulcer in children, but is unstable and exhibits first pass metabolism via the oral route. This study aimed to stabilize OME within mucoadhesive metolose (MET) films by combining cyclodextrins (CD) and l-arginine (l-arg) as
[...] Read more.
Omeprazole (OME) is employed for treating ulcer in children, but is unstable and exhibits first pass metabolism via the oral route. This study aimed to stabilize OME within mucoadhesive metolose (MET) films by combining cyclodextrins (CD) and l-arginine (l-arg) as stabilizing excipients and functionally characterizing for potential delivery via the buccal mucosa of paediatric patients. Polymeric solutions at a concentration of 1% w/w were obtained by dispersing the required weight of metolose in 20% v/v ethanol as solvent at a temperature of 40 °C using polyethylene glycol (PEG 400) (0.5% w/w) as plasticizer. The films were obtained by drying the resulting polymer solutions at in an oven at 40 °C. Textural (tensile and mucoadhesion) properties, physical form (differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy), residual moisture content (thermogravimetric analysis (TGA)) and surface morphology (scanning electron microscopy (SEM)) were investigated. Optimized formulations containing OME, CDs (β or γ) and l-arg (1:1:1) were selected to investigate the stabilization of the drug. The DSC, XRD, and FTIR showed possible molecular dispersion of OME in metolose film matrix. Plasticized MET films containing OME:βCD:l-arg 1:1:1 were optimum in terms of transparency and ease of handling and therefore further functionally characterized (hydration, mucoadhesion, in vitro drug dissolution and long term stability studies). The optimized formulation showed sustained drug release that was modelled by Korsmeyer–Peppas equation, while the OME showed stability under ambient temperature conditions for 28 days. The optimized OME loaded MET films stabilized with βCD and l-arg have potential for use as paediatric mucoadhesive buccal delivery system, which avoids degradation in the stomach acid as well as first pass metabolism in the liver. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Irradiation on Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Selected Types of Polymers
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 158; doi:10.3390/polym10020158
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
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Abstract
This article deals with the influence of electron-beam radiation on the micro-mechanical, thermo-mechanical, and structural properties of selected polymers. In the search for the desired improvement of polymers, it is possible to use, inter alia, one particular possible modification—Namely, crosslinking—Which is a process
[...] Read more.
This article deals with the influence of electron-beam radiation on the micro-mechanical, thermo-mechanical, and structural properties of selected polymers. In the search for the desired improvement of polymers, it is possible to use, inter alia, one particular possible modification—Namely, crosslinking—Which is a process during which macromolecular chains start to connect to each other and, thus, create the spatial network in the structure. In the course of the treatment of the ionizing radiation, two actions can occur: crosslinking and scission of macromolecules, or degradation. Both these processes run in parallel. Using the crosslinking technology, standard and technical polymers can acquire the more “expensive” high-tech polymeric material properties and, thus, replace these materials in many applications. The polymers that were tested were selected from across the whole spectra of thermoplastics, ranging from commodity polymers, technical polymers, as well as high-performance polymers. These polymers were irradiated by different doses of beta radiation (33, 66, 99, 132, 165, and 198 kGy). The micro-mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties of these polymers were measured. When considering the results, it is obvious that irradiation acts on each polymer differently but, always when the optimal dose was found, the mechanical properties increased by up to 36%. The changes of micro-mechanical and thermo-mechanical properties were confirmed by structural measurement when the change of the micro-hardness and modulus corresponded to the crystalline phase change as determined by X-ray and gel content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Model-Based Polymer Processing)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation of 2-Aminothiazole-Functionalized Poly(glycidyl methacrylate) Microspheres and Their Excellent Gold Ion Adsorption Properties
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 159; doi:10.3390/polym10020159
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
A new adsorbent(A-PGMA) has been synthesized via functionalizing poly(glycidyl methacrylate) microsphere with 2-aminothiazole and used to adsorb gold ions from aqueous solutions. The adsorbent was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), Zeta potential, scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared
[...] Read more.
A new adsorbent(A-PGMA) has been synthesized via functionalizing poly(glycidyl methacrylate) microsphere with 2-aminothiazole and used to adsorb gold ions from aqueous solutions. The adsorbent was characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET), Zeta potential, scanning electron microscope (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The influence factors such as the pH value of the solution, the initial gold ion concentration and the contact time were examined. Simultaneously, the adsorption process of the gold ion on A-PGMA fitted well with the Langmuir and pseudo-second-order models, respectively. The results showed that the maximum adsorption capacity was 440.54 mg/g and the equilibrium time of adsorption was about 3 h under pH 4. Moreover, the adsorbent has a high reusability after five cycles and good selectivity from coexisting ions, including Zn(II), Mg(II), Cu(II), Ge(IV) and B(III). The adsorption mechanisms of gold ions were ion exchange and chelation between the sulfur and nitrogen groups on the surface of A-PGMA and AuCl4. Therefore, the adsorbent has a great potential for adsorption of gold ions from aqueous solutions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Production and Characterization of a Clotrimazole Liposphere Gel for Candidiasis Treatment
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 160; doi:10.3390/polym10020160
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
This study describes the design and characterization of a liposphere gel containing clotrimazole for the treatment of Candida albicans. Lipospheres were produced by the melt-dispersion technique, using a lipid phase constituted of stearic triglyceride in a mixture with caprylic/capric triglyceride or an
[...] Read more.
This study describes the design and characterization of a liposphere gel containing clotrimazole for the treatment of Candida albicans. Lipospheres were produced by the melt-dispersion technique, using a lipid phase constituted of stearic triglyceride in a mixture with caprylic/capric triglyceride or an alkyl lactate derivative. The latter component was added to improve the action of clotrimazole against candida. The liposphere morphology and dimensional distribution were evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. Clotrimazole release kinetics was investigated by an in vitro dialysis method. An anticandidal activity study was conducted on the lipospheres. To obtain formulations with suitable viscosity for vaginal application, the lipospheres were added to a xanthan gum gel. The rheological properties, spreadability, leakage, and adhesion of the liposphere gel were investigated. Clotrimazole encapsulation was always over 85% w/w. The anticandidal study demonstrated that the encapsulation of clotrimazole in lipospheres increased its activity against Candida albicans, especially in the presence of the alkyl lactate derivative in the liposphere matrix. A dialysis method demonstrated that clotrimazole was slowly released from the liposphere gel and that the alkyl lactate derivative further controlled clotrimazole release. Adhesion and leakage tests indicated a prolonged adhesion of the liposphere gel, suggesting its suitability for vaginal application. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Time-Resolving Study of Stress-Induced Transformations of Isotactic Polypropylene through Wide Angle X-ray Scattering Measurements
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 162; doi:10.3390/polym10020162
Received: 3 January 2018 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
The development of a highly oriented fiber morphology by effect of tensile deformation of stereodefective isotactic polypropylene (iPP) samples, starting from the unoriented γ form, is studied by following the transformation in real time during stretching through wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) measurements.
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The development of a highly oriented fiber morphology by effect of tensile deformation of stereodefective isotactic polypropylene (iPP) samples, starting from the unoriented γ form, is studied by following the transformation in real time during stretching through wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS) measurements. In the stretching process, after yielding, the initial γ form transforms into the mesomorphic form of iPP through mechanical melting and re-crystallization. The analysis of the scattering invariant measured in the WAXS region highlights that the size of the mesomorphic domains included in the well oriented fiber morphology obtained at high deformations increases through a process which involves the coalescence of the small fragments formed by effect of tensile stress during lamellar destruction with the domain of higher dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Surface-Engineered Nanocontainers Based on Molecular Self-Assembly and Their Release of Methenamine
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 163; doi:10.3390/polym10020163
Received: 23 January 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
The mixing of polymers and nanoparticles is opening pathways for engineering flexible composites that exhibit advantageous functional properties. To fabricate controllable assembling nanocomposites for efficiently encapsulating methenamine and releasing them on demand, we functionalized the surface of natural halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) selectively with
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The mixing of polymers and nanoparticles is opening pathways for engineering flexible composites that exhibit advantageous functional properties. To fabricate controllable assembling nanocomposites for efficiently encapsulating methenamine and releasing them on demand, we functionalized the surface of natural halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) selectively with polymerizable gemini surfactant which has peculiar aggregation behavior, aiming at endowing the nanomaterials with self-assembly and stimulative responsiveness characteristics. The micromorphology, grafted components and functional groups were identified using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The created nanocomposites presented various characteristics of methenamine release with differences in the surface composition. It is particularly worth mentioning that the controlled release was more efficient with the increase of geminized monomer proportion, which is reasonably attributed to the fact that the amphiphilic geminized moieties with positive charge and obvious hydrophobic interactions interact with the outer and inner surface in different ways through fabricating polymeric shell as release stoppers at nanotube ends and forming polymer brush into the nanotube lumen for guest immobilization. Meanwhile, the nanocomposites present temperature and salinity responsive characteristics for the release of methenamine. The combination of HNTs with conjugated functional polymers will open pathways for engineering flexible composites which are promising for application in controlled release fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stimuli Responsive Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Dynamics of a Complex Multilayer Polymer Network: Mechanical Relaxation and Energy Transfer
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 164; doi:10.3390/polym10020164
Received: 25 November 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, we focus on the mechanical relaxation of a multilayer polymer network built by connecting identical layers that have, as underlying topologies, the dual Sierpinski gasket and the regular dendrimer. Additionally, we analyze the dynamics of dipolar energy transfer over a
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In this paper, we focus on the mechanical relaxation of a multilayer polymer network built by connecting identical layers that have, as underlying topologies, the dual Sierpinski gasket and the regular dendrimer. Additionally, we analyze the dynamics of dipolar energy transfer over a system of chromophores arranged in the form of a multilayer network. Both dynamical processes are studied in the framework of the generalized Gaussian structure (GSS) model. We develop a method whereby the whole eigenvalue spectrum of the connectivity matrix of the multilayer network can be determined iteratively, thereby rendering possible the analysis of the dynamics of networks consisting of a large number of layers. This fact allows us to study in detail the crossover from layer-like behavior to chain-like behavior. Remarkably, we highlight the existence of two bulk-like behaviors. The theoretical findings with respect to the decomposition of the intermediate domain of the relaxation quantities, as well as the chain-like behavior, are well supported by experimental results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Anion-Controlled Architecture and Photochromism of Naphthalene Diimide-Based Coordination Polymers
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 165; doi:10.3390/polym10020165
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 8 February 2018
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Abstract
Three new cadmium coordination polymers, namely [Cd(NO3)2(DPNDI)(CH3OH)]·CH3OH (1), [Cd(SCN)2(DPNDI)] (2), and [Cd(DPNDI)2(DMF)2]·2ClO4 (3) (DPNDI = N,N-di(4-pyridyl)-1,4,5,8-naphthalene diimide, DMF =
[...] Read more.
Three new cadmium coordination polymers, namely [Cd(NO3)2(DPNDI)(CH3OH)]·CH3OH (1), [Cd(SCN)2(DPNDI)] (2), and [Cd(DPNDI)2(DMF)2]·2ClO4 (3) (DPNDI = N,N-di(4-pyridyl)-1,4,5,8-naphthalene diimide, DMF = N,N-dimethylformamide) have been synthesized by reactions of DPNDI with Cd(NO3)2, Cd(SCN)2, and Cd(ClO4)2, respectively. Compound 1 is a one-dimensional coordination polymer with strong lone pair-π interactions between the coordinated NO3 anions and the imide ring of DPNDI; while 2 is a two-dimensional network with a (4, 4) net topology. In the case of 3, due to the presence of uncoordinated perchlorate counter ions, it exhibits a non-interpenetrated square-grid coordination polymer containing one-dimensional rhomboid channels. The structural diversity in these compounds is attributed to different coordination abilities and geometries of counter anions. Due to the presence of electron-deficient NDI moiety, the photochromic behavior of these compounds was studied. Interestingly, only compounds 1 and 3 exhibit color changes under light irradiation. The influence of the anions on the photochromism process of the NDI-based materials has been discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coordination Polymer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effect of WS2 Inorganic Nanotubes on Isothermal Crystallization Behavior and Kinetics of Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 166; doi:10.3390/polym10020166
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
Nanocomposites of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and tungsten disulfide inorganic nanotubes (INT-WS2) were prepared by blending in solution, and the effects of INT-WS2 on the isothermal crystallization behavior and kinetics of PHBV were investigated for the first time. The isothermal
[...] Read more.
Nanocomposites of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and tungsten disulfide inorganic nanotubes (INT-WS2) were prepared by blending in solution, and the effects of INT-WS2 on the isothermal crystallization behavior and kinetics of PHBV were investigated for the first time. The isothermal crystallization process was studied in detail using various techniques, with emphasis on the role of INT-WS2 concentration. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized optical microscopy (POM) showed that, in the nucleation-controlled regime, crystallization rates of PHBV in the nanocomposites are influenced by the INT-WS2 loading. Our results demonstrated that low loadings of INT-WS2 (0.1–1.0 wt %) increased the crystallization rates of PHBV, reducing the fold surface free energy by up to 24%. This is ascribed to the high nucleation efficiency of INT-WS2 on the crystallization of PHBV. These observations facilitate a deeper understanding of the structure-property relationships in PHBV biopolymer nanocomposites and are useful for their practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Poly(butylene 2,5-thiophenedicarboxylate): An Added Value to the Class of High Gas Barrier Biopolyesters
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 167; doi:10.3390/polym10020167
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
Many efforts are currently devoted to the design and development of high performance bioplastics to replace traditional fossil-based polymers. In response, this contribution presents a new biobased aromatic polyester, i.e., poly(butylene 2,5-thiophenedicarboxylate) (PBTF). Here, PBTF is characterized from the molecular, thermo-mechanical and structural
[...] Read more.
Many efforts are currently devoted to the design and development of high performance bioplastics to replace traditional fossil-based polymers. In response, this contribution presents a new biobased aromatic polyester, i.e., poly(butylene 2,5-thiophenedicarboxylate) (PBTF). Here, PBTF is characterized from the molecular, thermo-mechanical and structural point of view. Gas permeability is evaluated at different temperatures, in the range below and above glass transition, providing a full insight into the performances of this material under different operating conditions, and demonstrating the superior gas barrier behavior of PBTF with respect to other polyesters, such as PEF and PET. The combination of calorimetric and diffractometric studies allows for a deep understanding of the structure of PBTF, revealing the presence of a not-induced 2D-ordered phase (meso-phase), responsible for its outstanding gas permeability behavior. The simple synthetic strategy adopted, the exceptional barrier properties, combined with the interesting mechanical characteristics of PBTF open up new scenarios in the world of green and sustainable packaging materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Packaging Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Crystallization Kinetics of Polyamide 12 during Selective Laser Sintering
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 168; doi:10.3390/polym10020168
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 25 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
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Abstract
Selective laser sintering (SLS) of thermoplastic materials is an additive manufacturing process that overcomes the boundary between prototype construction and functional components. This technique also meets the requirements of traditional and established production processes. Crystallization behavior is one of the most critical properties
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Selective laser sintering (SLS) of thermoplastic materials is an additive manufacturing process that overcomes the boundary between prototype construction and functional components. This technique also meets the requirements of traditional and established production processes. Crystallization behavior is one of the most critical properties during the cooling process and needs to be fully understood. Due to the huge influence of crystallization on the mechanical and thermal properties, it is important to investigate this process more closely. A commercial SLS polyamide (PA12) powder was measured with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to model a wider temperature range. To model isothermal crystallization between 160 and 168 °C, the Avrami model was used to determine the degree of crystallization. For non-isothermal crystallization between 0.2 and 20 K/min, different models were compared including the Ozawa, Jeziory, and Nakamura equations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fatigue and Durability of Laminated Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer Straps for Bridge Suspenders
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 169; doi:10.3390/polym10020169
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 31 January 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
Steel cables and suspenders in bridges are at high risk of corrosion-fatigue and in some cases of fretting-fatigue in their anchorages. These factors greatly limit the service stresses of a specific cable system and involve expensive protection measures. In order to investigate the
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Steel cables and suspenders in bridges are at high risk of corrosion-fatigue and in some cases of fretting-fatigue in their anchorages. These factors greatly limit the service stresses of a specific cable system and involve expensive protection measures. In order to investigate the above limitations, the fretting fatigue behaviour of pin-loaded carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) straps was studied as models for corrosion-resistant bridge suspenders. Two types of straps were tested: small model straps with a sacrificial CFRP ply and large full-scale straps. In a first phase, five fully laminated and carbon pin-loaded CFRP model straps were subjected to an ultimate tensile strength test. Thereafter, and in order to assess their durability, 20 model straps were subjected to a fretting fatigue test, which was successfully passed by 4 straps. An S-N curve was generated for a load ratio of 0.1 and a frequency of 10 Hz. In a second phase, one full-scale strap was tested for its ultimate tensile strength and two full-scale straps were fatigue-tested. The influence of fretting fatigue loading on the residual mechanical properties of the straps was also assessed, and although fretting fatigue represented an important limitation for laminated CFRP straps, it could be shown that the investigated CFRP tension members can compete with the well-established steel suspenders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from "SMAR 2017")
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Open AccessArticle Preparation of Protein Molecular-Imprinted Polysiloxane Membrane Using Calcium Alginate Film as Matrix and Its Application for Cell Culture
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 170; doi:10.3390/polym10020170
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
Bovine serum albumin (BSA) molecular-imprinted polysiloxane (MIP) membrane was prepared by sol-gel technology, using silanes as the functional monomers, BSA as the template and CaAlg hydrogel film as the matrix. The stress-strain curves of wet CaAlg membrane and molecular-imprinted polysiloxane membrane were investigated.
[...] Read more.
Bovine serum albumin (BSA) molecular-imprinted polysiloxane (MIP) membrane was prepared by sol-gel technology, using silanes as the functional monomers, BSA as the template and CaAlg hydrogel film as the matrix. The stress-strain curves of wet CaAlg membrane and molecular-imprinted polysiloxane membrane were investigated. We evaluate the adsorption and recognition properties of MIP membrane. Results showed that the adsorption capacity of BSA-imprinted polysiloxane for BSA reached 28.83 mg/g, which was 2.18 times the non-imprinted polysiloxane (NIP) membrane. The adsorption rate was higher than that of the protein-imprinted hydrogel. BSA-imprinted polysiloxane membrane could identify the protein template from competitive proteins such as bovine hemoglobin, ovalbumin and bovine γ-globulin. In order to obtain the biomaterial that can promote cell adhesion and proliferation, fibronectin (FN)-imprinted polysiloxane (FN-MIP) membrane was obtained by using fibronectin as the template, silanes as functional monomers, and CaAlg hydrogel membrane as the substrate or matrix. The FN-MIP adsorbed more FN than NIP. The FN-imprinted polysiloxane membrane was applied to culture mouse fibroblast cells (L929) and the results proved that the FN-MIP had a better effect on cell adhesion than NIP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Hyperbranched Glycopolymers of 2-(α-d-Mannopyranose) Ethyl Methacrylate and N,N’-Methylenebisacrylamide: Synthesis, Characterization and Multivalent Recognitions with Concanavalin A
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 171; doi:10.3390/polym10020171
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 10 February 2018
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Abstract
A series of novel hyperbranched poly[2-(α-d-mannopyranosyloxy) ethyl methacrylate-co-N,N’-methylenebisacrylamide] (HPManEMA-co-MBA) are synthesized via a reversible addition fragmentation polymerization (RAFT). The dosage ratios of linear and branch units are tuned to obtain different degree of
[...] Read more.
A series of novel hyperbranched poly[2-(α-d-mannopyranosyloxy) ethyl methacrylate-co-N,N’-methylenebisacrylamide] (HPManEMA-co-MBA) are synthesized via a reversible addition fragmentation polymerization (RAFT). The dosage ratios of linear and branch units are tuned to obtain different degree of branching (DB) in hyperbranched glycopolymers. The DB values are calculated according to the content of nitrogen, which are facilely determined by elemental analysis. The lectin-binding properties of HPManEMA-co-MBA to concanavalin A (ConA) are examined using a turbidimetric assay. The influence of defined DB value and molecular weight of HPManEMA-co-MBA on the clustering rate is studied. Notably, HPManEMA-co-MBAs display a low cytotoxicity in the MTT assay, thus are potential candidates for biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrophilic Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Microencapsulated Comb-Like Polymeric Solid-Solid Phase Change Materials via In-Situ Polymerization
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 172; doi:10.3390/polym10020172
Received: 4 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
To enhance the thermal stability and permeability resistance, a comb-like polymer with crystallizable side chains was fabricated as solid-solid phase change materials (PCMs) inside the cores of microcapsules and nanocapsules prepared via in-situ polymerization. In this study, the effects on the surface morphology
[...] Read more.
To enhance the thermal stability and permeability resistance, a comb-like polymer with crystallizable side chains was fabricated as solid-solid phase change materials (PCMs) inside the cores of microcapsules and nanocapsules prepared via in-situ polymerization. In this study, the effects on the surface morphology and microstructure of micro/nanocapsules caused by microencapsulating different types of core materials (i.e., n-hexadecane, ethyl hexadecanoate, hexadecyl acrylate and poly(hexadecyl acrylate)) were systematically studied via field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM). The confined crystallization behavior of comb-like polymer PCMs cores was investigated via differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). Comparing with low molecular organic PCMs cores, the thermal stability of PCMs microencapsulated comb-like polymer enhanced significantly, and the permeability resistance improved obviously as well. Based on these resultant analysis, the microencapsulated comb-like polymeric PCMs with excellent thermal stability and permeability resistance showed promising foreground in the field of organic solution spun, melt processing and organic coating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tailored Polymer Synthesis by Advanced Polymerization Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle Study about Mechanical Property and Machinability of Polyimide
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 173; doi:10.3390/polym10020173
Received: 30 December 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
Polyimide (PI) is a kind of polymer material with properties of high heat-resistance and good mechanical strength. As a special engineering material, it has been widely used in the fields of aviation, nanotechnology, etc. PI has been regarded as one of the most
[...] Read more.
Polyimide (PI) is a kind of polymer material with properties of high heat-resistance and good mechanical strength. As a special engineering material, it has been widely used in the fields of aviation, nanotechnology, etc. PI has been regarded as one of the most promising engineering plastics in the future. Therefore, further research must be made on its mechanical properties and machinability of the PI, especially in ultra-precision machining. In this paper, both of the mechanical properties and machinability have been studied respectively. Through the nanoindentation experiment, the nanoindentation hardness and elastic modulus of PI are analyzed. Also, the single point diamond turning (SPDT) experiment is conducted to show that the form accuracy and surface roughness of PI surface can reach a submicron degree in peak-to-valley (PV) and a nanometer scale in surface roughness (Ra) respectively. The results demonstrate that the PI possesses good mechanical properties and machinability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Emerging Polymers with Unprecedented Networks)
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Open AccessArticle Optimizing Circulating Tumor Cells’ Capture Efficiency of Magnetic Nanogels by Transferrin Decoration
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 174; doi:10.3390/polym10020174
Received: 24 November 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
Magnetic nanogels (MNGs) are designed to have all the required features for their use as highly efficient trapping materials in the challenging task of selectively capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the bloodstream. Advantageously, the discrimination of CTCs from hematological cells, which is
[...] Read more.
Magnetic nanogels (MNGs) are designed to have all the required features for their use as highly efficient trapping materials in the challenging task of selectively capturing circulating tumor cells (CTCs) from the bloodstream. Advantageously, the discrimination of CTCs from hematological cells, which is a key factor in the capturing process, can be optimized by finely tuning the polymers used to link the targeting moiety to the MNG. We describe herein the relationship between the capturing efficiency of CTCs with overexpressed transferrin receptors and the different strategies on the polymer used as linker to decorate these MNGs with transferrin (Tf). Heterobifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG) linkers with different molecular weights were coupled to Tf in different ratios. Optimal values over 80% CTC capture efficiency were obtained when 3 PEG linkers with a length of 8 ethylene glycol (EG) units were used, which reveals the important role of the linker in the design of a CTC-sorting system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advance of Polymers Applied to Biomedical Applications: Biointerface)
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Open AccessArticle Formulation of Carbopol®/Poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s Mucoadhesive Tablets for Buccal Delivery of Hydrocortisone
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 175; doi:10.3390/polym10020175
Received: 25 December 2017 / Revised: 29 January 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 11 February 2018
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Abstract
Poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) has become an excellent alternative to the use of poly(ethylene glycol) in pharmaceutical formulations due to its valuable physicochemical and biological properties. This work presents a formulation of poorly-water soluble drug, hydrocortisone, using interpolymer complexes and physical blends of poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s and two
[...] Read more.
Poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) has become an excellent alternative to the use of poly(ethylene glycol) in pharmaceutical formulations due to its valuable physicochemical and biological properties. This work presents a formulation of poorly-water soluble drug, hydrocortisone, using interpolymer complexes and physical blends of poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s and two Carbopols® (Carbopol 974 and Carbopol 971) for oromucosal administration. The swelling, hydrocortisone release and mucoadhesive properties of a series of tablet formulations obtained by combination of different Carbopols with poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline)s of different molecular weights have been evaluated in vitro. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Functionalization of Graphene Oxide with Low Molecular Weight Poly (Lactic Acid)
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 177; doi:10.3390/polym10020177
Received: 27 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 4 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, the hydroxyl groups on the surface of graphene oxide (GO) were used to initiate the ring-opening polymerization of a lactic acid O-carboxyanhydride. GO grafted with poly (l-lactic acid) molecular chains (GO-g-PLLA) was prepared. Lactic acid
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In this paper, the hydroxyl groups on the surface of graphene oxide (GO) were used to initiate the ring-opening polymerization of a lactic acid O-carboxyanhydride. GO grafted with poly (l-lactic acid) molecular chains (GO-g-PLLA) was prepared. Lactic acid O-carboxyanhydride has a higher polymerization activity under mild polymerization conditions. Thus, the functionalization of the polymer chains and obtaining poly (lactic acid) (PLLA) was easily achieved by ring-opening polymerization with 4-dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP) as the catalyst. The results showed that with this method, PLLA can be rapidly grafted to the surface of GO in one step. As a result, the chemical structure of the GO surface was altered, improving its dispersion in organic solvents and in a PLLA matrix, as well as its bonding strength with the PLLA interface. We then prepared GO/PLLA and PLLA/GO-g-PLLA composite materials and investigated the differences in their interfacial properties and mechanical properties. GO-g-PLLA exhibited excellent dispersion in the PLLA matrix and formed excellent interfacial bonds with PLLA through mechanical interlocking, demonstrating a significant enhancement effect compared to PLLA. The water vapor and oxygen permeabilities of the GO-g-PLLA/PLLA composite decreased by 19% and 29%, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Biocompatible Porous Polyester-Ether Hydrogel Scaffolds with Cross-Linker Mediated Biodegradation and Mechanical Properties for Tissue Augmentation
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 179; doi:10.3390/polym10020179
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 4 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
Porous polyester-ether hydrogel scaffolds (PEHs) were fabricated using acid chloride/alcohol chemistry and a salt templating approach. The PEHs were produced from readily available and cheap commercial reagents via the reaction of hydroxyl terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) derivatives with sebacoyl, succinyl, or trimesoyl chloride
[...] Read more.
Porous polyester-ether hydrogel scaffolds (PEHs) were fabricated using acid chloride/alcohol chemistry and a salt templating approach. The PEHs were produced from readily available and cheap commercial reagents via the reaction of hydroxyl terminated poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) derivatives with sebacoyl, succinyl, or trimesoyl chloride to afford ester cross-links between the PEG chains. Through variation of the acid chloride cross-linkers used in the synthesis and the incorporation of a hydrophobic modifier (poly(caprolactone) (PCL)), it was possible to tune the degradation rates and mechanical properties of the resulting hydrogels. Several of the hydrogel formulations displayed exceptional mechanical properties, remaining elastic without fracture at compressive strains of up to 80%, whilst still displaying degradation over a period of weeks to months. A subcutaneous rat model was used to study the scaffolds in vivo and revealed that the PEHs were infiltrated with well vascularised tissue within two weeks and had undergone significant degradation in 16 weeks without any signs of toxicity. Histological evaluation for immune responses revealed that the PEHs incite only a minor inflammatory response that is reduced over 16 weeks with no evidence of adverse effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogels in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine)
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Open AccessArticle Elucidation of Spatial Distribution of Hydrophobic Aromatic Compounds Encapsulated in Polymer Micelles by Anomalous Small-Angle X-ray Scattering
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 180; doi:10.3390/polym10020180
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 12 February 2018
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Abstract
Spatial distribution of bromobenzene (BrBz) and 4-bromophenol (BrPh) as hydrophobic aromatic compounds incorporated in polymer micelles with vesicular structure consisting of poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(tert-butyl methacrylate) (PEG-b-PtBMA) in aqueous solution is investigated by anomalous small-angle X-ray scattering (ASAXS) analyses
[...] Read more.
Spatial distribution of bromobenzene (BrBz) and 4-bromophenol (BrPh) as hydrophobic aromatic compounds incorporated in polymer micelles with vesicular structure consisting of poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(tert-butyl methacrylate) (PEG-b-PtBMA) in aqueous solution is investigated by anomalous small-angle X-ray scattering (ASAXS) analyses near Br K edge. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) intensities from PEG-b-PtBMA micelles containing BrBz and BrPh were decreased as the energy of incident X-ray approached to Br K edge corresponding to the energy dependence of anomalous scattering factor of Br. The analysis for the energy dependence of SAXS profiles from the PEG-b-PtBMA micelles containing BrBz revealed that BrBz molecules were located in hydrophobic layer of PEG-b-PtBMA micelles. On the contrary, it was found by ASAXS that BrPh existed not only in the hydrophobic layer but also in the shell layer. Since ASAXS analysis successfully accomplished to visualize the spatial distribution of hydrophobic molecules in polymer micelles, it should be expected to be a powerful tool for characterization of drug delivery vehicles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Micelles)
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Open AccessArticle Polycomplexes of Hyaluronic Acid and Borates in a Solid State and Solution: Synthesis, Characterization and Perspectives of Application in Boron Neutron Capture Therapy
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 181; doi:10.3390/polym10020181
Received: 5 January 2018 / Revised: 3 February 2018 / Accepted: 10 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
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Abstract
In this report, we propose a new polyborate fragment synthesis strategy along the whole chain of the polysaccharide hyaluronic acid (HA) to produce boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) compounds. Under high pressure and deformatory solid-state conditions, polymolecular system formation takes place due to
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In this report, we propose a new polyborate fragment synthesis strategy along the whole chain of the polysaccharide hyaluronic acid (HA) to produce boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) compounds. Under high pressure and deformatory solid-state conditions, polymolecular system formation takes place due to association of phase-specific transition components into a more or less distinct microscopic organization. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy shows that HA and polyborates form a network of cyclic polychelate complexes. HA acts as a multidentate ligand using carboxylic and hydroxyl proton donor groups to link oxygen atoms in B–O–B bonds and borate-anions B–O(−): O–H···O, O–H···(−)O. With free electron pairs in heteroatoms –O(:)···B, –N(:)···B, HA can act simultaneously as an electron donor. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) with 13C and 1H reveals a preserved complex interaction after both solubilizing and attenuating the HA-polyborate system. Stability of the product in water, low cost, ease of synthesis and scalability of manufacturing indicate that HA-polyborate complexes might have advantages over current chemotherapeutic approaches in creating therapeutic agents for BNCT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Hybrid Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Coordination Polymers Based on Phthalic Acid and Aminopyrazine Ligands: On the Importance of N–H···π Interactions
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 182; doi:10.3390/polym10020182
Received: 12 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
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Abstract
Two new Co(II) and Cu(II) coordination polymers, {Co(HL1)2(μ-L2)(H2O)2}n (1) and {[Cu(HL1)2(μ-L2)H2O]·H2O}n (2) (H2L1 =
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Two new Co(II) and Cu(II) coordination polymers, {Co(HL1)2(μ-L2)(H2O)2}n (1) and {[Cu(HL1)2(μ-L2)H2O]·H2O}n (2) (H2L1 = Phthalic acid and L2 = 2-aminopyrazine), have been synthesized by slow evaporation of solvent and characterized by IR spectroscopic, elemental, single-crystal X-ray diffraction and thermal analysis. X-ray results indicate that in both the polymers, phthalate acts as a monodentate ligand and the aminopyrazine ligand is responsible for the formation of the infinite one-dimensional chain structure. The solid-state structures are stabilized through hydrogen bonds and N‒H···π interactions by generating two-dimensional layered structures. Finally, the non-covalent interactions have been studied energetically and using Bader’s theory of atoms in molecules by means of Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations. The influence of the metal coordination on the strength of the interaction has been studied using molecular electrostatic potential surface calculations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coordination Polymer)
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Open AccessCommunication Carbon-Based Nanomaterials from Biopolymer Lignin via Catalytic Thermal Treatment at 700 to 1000 °C
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 183; doi:10.3390/polym10020183
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
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Abstract
We report the preparation of carbon-based nanomaterials from biopolymer kraft lignin via an iron catalytic thermal treatment process. Both the carbonaceous gases and amorphous carbon (AC) from lignin thermal decomposition were found to have participated in the formation of graphitic-carbon-encapsulated iron nanoparticles (GCEINs).
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We report the preparation of carbon-based nanomaterials from biopolymer kraft lignin via an iron catalytic thermal treatment process. Both the carbonaceous gases and amorphous carbon (AC) from lignin thermal decomposition were found to have participated in the formation of graphitic-carbon-encapsulated iron nanoparticles (GCEINs). GCEINs originating from carbonaceous gases have thick-walled graphitic-carbon layers (10 to 50) and form at a temperature of 700 °C. By contrast, GCEINs from AC usually have thin-walled graphitic-carbon layers (1 to 3) and form at a temperature of at least 800 °C. Iron catalyst nanoparticles started their phase transition from α-Fe to γ-Fe at 700 °C, and then from γ-Fe to Fe3C at 1000 °C. Furthermore, we derived a formula to calculate the maximum number of graphitic-carbon layers formed on iron nanoparticles via the AC dissolution-precipitation mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lignin Polymers: Structures, Reactions and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle Microencapsulation of Phosphorylated Human-Like Collagen-Calcium Chelates for Controlled Delivery and Improved Bioavailability
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 185; doi:10.3390/polym10020185
Received: 6 February 2018 / Revised: 6 February 2018 / Accepted: 7 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Abstract
The bioavailability of Phosphorylated Human-like Collagen-calcium chelates (PHLC-Ca) as calcium supplement is influenced by the extremely low pH and proteolytic enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract. This study addresses these issues by microencapsulation technology using alginate (ALG) and chitosan (CS) as wall materials. The
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The bioavailability of Phosphorylated Human-like Collagen-calcium chelates (PHLC-Ca) as calcium supplement is influenced by the extremely low pH and proteolytic enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract. This study addresses these issues by microencapsulation technology using alginate (ALG) and chitosan (CS) as wall materials. The different ratio of ALG to PHLC-Ca on microcapsules encapsulation efficiency (EE) and loading capacity (LC) was evaluated and 1:1/2 was selected as the optimal proportion. The microcapsules were micron-sized and spherical in shape. PHLC-Ca was successfully entrapped into the matrix of ALG through forming intermolecular hydrogen bonding or other interactions. The confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) indicated that CS was coated on ALG microspheres. The MTT assay exhibited that CS/ALG-(PHLC-Ca) microcapsules extracts were safe to L929. The animal experiment showed that CS/ALG-(PHLC-Ca) microcapsules was superior to treating osteoporosis than PHLC-Ca. These results illustrated that the bioavailability of PHLC-Ca was improved by microencapsulated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Therapy and Diagnostics)
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Open AccessArticle Rheological Behavior of Amino-Functionalized Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Polyacrylonitrile Concentrated Solutions and Crystal Structure of Composite Fibers
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 186; doi:10.3390/polym10020186
Received: 6 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Abstract
The rheological behavior of amino-functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (amino-CNTs)/polyacrylonitrile (PAN) concentrated solutions in the dimethyl sulphoxide solvent and the effects of the amino-CNTs on the PAN precursor fibers by wet-spinning method were investigated. The amino-CNT/PAN concentrated solutions prepared by in situ solution polymerization
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The rheological behavior of amino-functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (amino-CNTs)/polyacrylonitrile (PAN) concentrated solutions in the dimethyl sulphoxide solvent and the effects of the amino-CNTs on the PAN precursor fibers by wet-spinning method were investigated. The amino-CNT/PAN concentrated solutions prepared by in situ solution polymerization with homogeneous dispersion of amino-CNTs have higher complex viscosity, storage modulus and loss modulus as compared to the control PAN concentrated solutions containing 22% PAN polymer by mass. The composite fibers with amino-CNTs of 1 wt % have lower degree of crystallization, crystal size and crystal region orientation compared to the control PAN precursor fibers. However, the amino-CNT/PAN composite fibers with diameter of about 10.5 μm exhibit higher mechanical properties than the control PAN precursor fibers with diameter of about 8.0 μm. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis demonstrated that the cyclization reaction in composite fibers have broad exothermic temperature range and low exothermic rate. These results indicate that the addition of amino-CNTs into PAN precursor fibers is beneficial to controlling the process of thermal stabilization and obtaining the higher performance of composite fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Emerging Polymers with Unprecedented Networks)
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Open AccessArticle Conjugate of PAMAM Dendrimer, Doxorubicin and Monoclonal Antibody—Trastuzumab: The New Approach of a Well-Known Strategy
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 187; doi:10.3390/polym10020187
Received: 18 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Abstract
The strategy utilizing trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER-2), as a therapeutic agent in HER-2 positive breast cancer therapy seems to have advantage over traditional chemotherapy, especially when given in combination with anticancer drugs. However, the effectiveness
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The strategy utilizing trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against human epidermal growth receptor 2 (HER-2), as a therapeutic agent in HER-2 positive breast cancer therapy seems to have advantage over traditional chemotherapy, especially when given in combination with anticancer drugs. However, the effectiveness of single antibody or antibody conjugated with chemotherapeutics is still far from ideal. Antibody–dendrimer conjugates hold the potential to improve the targeting and release of active substance at the tumor site. In the present study, we developed and synthesized PAMAM dendrimer–trastuzumab conjugates carrying doxorubicin (dox) specifically to cells overexpressing HER-2. 1HNMR, FTIR and RP-HPLC were used to characterize the products and analyze their purity. Toxicity of PAMAM–trastuzumab and PAMAM–dox–trastuzumab conjugates compared with free trastuzumab and doxorubicin towards HER-2 positive (SKBR-3) and negative (MCF-7) human breast cancer cell lines was determined using MTT assay. Furthermore, the cellular uptake and cellular localization were studied by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, respectively. A cytotoxicity profile of above mentioned compounds indicated that conjugate PAMAM–dox–trastuzumab was more effective when compared to free drug or the conjugate PAMAM–trastuzumab. Moreover, these results reveal that trastuzumab can be used as a targeting agent in PAMAM–dox–trastuzumab conjugate. Therefore PAMAM–dox–trastuzumab conjugate might be an interesting proposition which could lead to improvements in the effectiveness of drug delivery systems for tumors that overexpress HER-2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Therapy and Diagnostics)
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Open AccessArticle Tuning Light Emission towards White Light from a Naphthalenediimide-Based Entangled Metal-Organic Framework by Mixing Aromatic Guest Molecules
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 188; doi:10.3390/polym10020188
Received: 29 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Abstract
Taking advantage of the outstanding properties of a naphthalenediimide-based entangled porous coordination polymer, a simple strategy for the achievement of white light emission is herein presented. The dynamic structural transformation of the [Zn2(bdc)2(dpNDI)]n metal-organic framework enhances the interactions
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Taking advantage of the outstanding properties of a naphthalenediimide-based entangled porous coordination polymer, a simple strategy for the achievement of white light emission is herein presented. The dynamic structural transformation of the [Zn2(bdc)2(dpNDI)]n metal-organic framework enhances the interactions with aryl-guests giving rise to different luminescence colors upon UV (ultraviolet) illumination. Thus, through the rational selection of those small aromatic guest molecules with different electron donor substituents at the appropriate proportion, the emission color was tuned by mixture ratio of guest molecules and even white light emission was achieved. Furthermore, domains in large crystals with a complementary response to linearly polarized light were noticed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Optical Applications)
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Open AccessArticle α-Cyclodextrins Polyrotaxane Loading Silver Sulfadiazine
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 190; doi:10.3390/polym10020190 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
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Abstract
As a drug carrier, polyrotaxane (PR) has been used for targeted delivery and sustained release of drugs, whereas silver sulfadiazine (SD-Ag) is an emerging antibiotic agent. PR was synthesized by the use of α-cyclodextrin (CD) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), and a specific antibacterial
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As a drug carrier, polyrotaxane (PR) has been used for targeted delivery and sustained release of drugs, whereas silver sulfadiazine (SD-Ag) is an emerging antibiotic agent. PR was synthesized by the use of α-cyclodextrin (CD) and poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), and a specific antibacterial material (PR-(SD-Ag)) was then prepared by loading SD-Ag onto PR with different mass ratios. The loading capacity and the encapsulation efficiency were 90% at a mass ratio of 1:1 of PR and SD-Ag. SD-Ag was released stably and slowly within 6 d in vitro, and its cumulative release reached more than 85%. The mechanism of PR loading SD-Ag might be that SD-Ag attached to the edge of α-CD through hydrogen bonding. PR-(SD-Ag) showed a higher light stability than SD-Ag and held excellent antibacterial properties against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host-Guest Polymer Complexes)
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