Fibers2015, 3(4), 394-410; doi:10.3390/fib3040394 - published 5 October 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Carbon nanofibers were generated over bimetallic catalysts in an atmospheric pressure chemical vapor deposition (APCVD) reactor. Catalyst compositions of Fe 30 at%, Cu and Ni 30 at% and Cu were mechanically alloyed using high-energy ball milling over durations of 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 h. The catalyst powders were then used to produce carbon nanofibers in ethylene and hydrogen (4:1) at temperatures of 500, 550, and 600 °C. The microstructures of the catalysts were characterized as a function of milling time as well as at deposition temperature. The corresponding carbon deposition rates were assessed and are correlated to the microstructural features of each catalyst. The milling process directly determines the performance of each catalyst toward carbon deposition, and both catalysts performed comparably to those made by traditional co-precipitation methods. Considerations in miscible and immiscible nanostructured alloy systems are discussed.
Fibers2015, 3(4), 380-393; doi:10.3390/fib3040380 - published 1 October 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Novel chitosan (CS)-coated poly(l-lactic acid) (PLA) fibers (CS–PLA) were prepared by reaction of an alkali and CS under heat treatment without a chemical binder. These treatments induced hydrolysis on the PLA surface, formation of ionic bonds between the carboxyl groups of the PLA surface and the amino groups of CS, and dehydration between the carboxyls and amines. The prepared fibers were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and mechanical strength tests. The presence of CS on the fiber surface was observed by the visual test of CS–PLA with amido black 10B and confirmed by the amine ratio obtained by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The coating thickness of CS on the surface of the PLA fibers was approximately 28 nm, as determined from calculations based on the results of Kjeldahl nitrogen analysis and elemental analysis. The degradation properties of CS–PLA were also investigated. These properties were apparently enhanced by hydrophilicity resulting from the CS-coating treatment. Furthermore, braided ropes prepared using CS–PLA became tight with increasing number of core ropes. Results indicate that the objective tensile strength and flexibility of the braided rope could be controlled by adjusting the number of core fibers.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 373-379; doi:10.3390/fib3030373 - published 23 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Polyethylene has great potential as an alternative material for carbon fiber production. Polyethylene can be processed in the economic melt spinning process. These precursors are prepared for the subsequent process step of carbonization by using chemical stabilization (sulphonation). The strategy is to adjust these precursor properties by the melt spinning process, thus resulting in a precursor, which can be stabilized sufficiently by sulphonation. The objective is to find the correlation between precursor properties and the results of the sulphonation. In this paper, the chemical stabilization is described and the results of the chemical stabilization are discussed. The novelty in this paper is that the results of the sulphonation are brought in correlation with the precursor properties. It can be shown that the filament diameter and the polymer structure (e.g., the crystallinity) of the precursor have an influence on the sulphonation process.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 348-372; doi:10.3390/fib3030348 - published 15 September 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hydrolytic degradation in media having a continuous variation of pH from 2 to 12 was studied for a copolymer having two polyglycolide hard blocks and a middle soft segment constituted by glycolide, trimethylene carbonate, and ɛ-caprolactone units. The last units were susceptible to cross-linking reactions by γ irradiation that led to an increase of the molecular weight of the sample. Nevertheless, the susceptibility to hydrolytic degradation was enhanced with respect to non-irradiated samples and consequently such samples were selected to analyze the degradation process through weight loss measurements and the evaluation of changes on molecular weight, morphology, and SAXS patterns. Results reflected the different hydrolytic mechanisms that took place in acid and basic media and the different solubilization of the degradation products. Thus, degradation was faster and solubilization higher in the basic media. In this case, fibers showed a high surface erosion and the formation of both longitudinal and deep circumferential cracks that contrasted with the peeling process detected at intermediate pHs (from 6 to 8) and the absence of longitudinal cracks at low pHs. SAXS measurements indicated that degradation was initiated through the hydrolysis of the irregular molecular folds placed on the amorphous interlamellar domains but also affected lamellar crystals at the last stages. Subsequent heating processes performed with degraded samples were fundamental to reveal the changes in microstructure that occurred during degradation and even the initial lamellar arrangement. In particular, the presence of interfibrillar domains and the disposition of lamellar domains at different levels along the fiber axis for a determined cross-section were evidenced.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 338-347; doi:10.3390/fib3030338 - published 27 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Surface-initiated graft atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) of methyl methacrylate (MMA) from self-assembled chitin nanofibers (CNFs) was performed under dispersion conditions. Self-assembled CNFs were initially prepared by regeneration from a chitin ion gel with 1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide using methanol; the product was then converted into the chitin nanofiber macroinitiator by reaction with α-bromoisobutyryl bromide in a dispersion containing N,N-dimethylformamide. Surface-initiated graft ATRP of MMA from the initiating sites on the CNFs was subsequently carried out under dispersion conditions, followed by filtration to obtain the CNF-graft-polyMMA film. Analysis of the product confirmed the occurrence of the graft ATRP on the surface of the CNFs.
Fibers2015, 3(3), 323-337; doi:10.3390/fib3030323 - published 5 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article describes aspects within an experimental program aimed at improving the structural performance of cracked solid fir-wood beams repaired with Basalt Fiber Reinforced Polymer (BFRP) spikes. Fir wood is characterized by its low density, low compression strength, and high level of defects, and it is likely to distort when dried and tends to fail under tension due to the presence of cracks, knots, or grain deviation. The proposed repair technique consists of the insertion of BFRP spikes into timber beams to restore the continuity of cracked sections. The experimental efforts deal with the evaluation of the bending strength and deformation properties of 24 timber beams. An artificially simulated cracking was produced by cutting the wood beams in half or notching. The obtained results for the repaired beams were compared with those of solid undamaged and damaged beams, and increases of beam capacity, bending strength and of modulus of elasticity, and analysis of failure modes was discussed. For notched beams, the application of the BFRP spikes was able to restore the original bending capacity of undamaged beams, while only a small part of the original capacity was recovered for beams that were cut in half.