Materials2016, 9(8), 616; doi:10.3390/ma9080616 (registering DOI) - published 25 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: For a further understanding of the phase transitions mechanism in type-I silicon clathrates K8Si46, ab initio self-consistent electronic calculations combined with linear-response method have been performed to investigate the vibrational properties of alkali metal K atoms encapsulated type-I silicon-clathrate under pressure within the framework of density functional perturbation theory. Our lattice dynamics simulation results showed that the pressure induced phase transition of K8Si46 was believed to be driven by the phonon instability of the calthrate lattice. Analysis of the evolution of the partial phonon density of state with pressure, a legible dynamic picture for both guest K atoms and host lattice, was given. In addition, based on phonon calculations and combined with quasi-harmonic approximation, the specific heat of K8Si46 was derived, which agreed very well with experimental results. Also, other important thermal properties including the thermal expansion coefficients and Grüneisen parameters of K8Si46 under different temperature and pressure were also predicted.
Materials2016, 9(8), 617; doi:10.3390/ma9080617 (registering DOI) - published 25 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Carbon nanomaterials like graphene, carbon nanotubes, fullerenes and the various forms of diamond have attracted great attention for their vast potential regarding applications in electrical engineering and as biomaterials. The study of the antibacterial properties of carbon nanomaterials provides fundamental information on the possible toxicity and environmental impact of these materials. Furthermore, as a result of the increasing prevalence of resistant bacteria strains, the development of novel antibacterial materials is of great importance. This article reviews current research efforts on characterizing the antibacterial activity of carbon nanomaterials from the perspective of colloid and interface science. Building on these fundamental findings, recent functionalization strategies for enhancing the antibacterial effect of carbon nanomaterials are described. The review concludes with a comprehensive outlook that summarizes the most important discoveries and trends regarding antibacterial carbon nanomaterials.
Materials2016, 9(8), 615; doi:10.3390/ma9080615 (registering DOI) - published 25 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Graphene nanosheets and graphene nanoribbons, G combined with vanadium pentoxide (VO) nanobelts (VNBs) and VNBs forming GVNB composites with varying compositions were synthesized via a one-step low temperature facile hydrothermal decomposition method as high-performance electrochemical pseudocapacitive electrodes. VNBs from vanadium pentoxides (VO) are formed in the presence of graphene oxide (GO), a mild oxidant, which transforms into reduced GO (rGOHT), assisting in enhancing the electronic conductivity coupled with the mechanical robustness of VNBs. From electron microscopy, surface sensitive spectroscopy and other complementary structural characterization, hydrothermally-produced rGO nanosheets/nanoribbons are decorated with and inserted within the VNBs’ layered crystal structure, which further confirmed the enhanced electronic conductivity of VNBs. Following the electrochemical properties of GVNBs being investigated, the specific capacitance Csp is determined from cyclic voltammetry (CV) with a varying scan rate and galvanostatic charging-discharging (V–t) profiles with varying current density. The rGO-rich composite V1G3 (i.e., VO/GO = 1:3) showed superior specific capacitance followed by VO-rich composite V3G1 (VO/GO = 3:1), as compared to V1G1 (VO/GO = 1:1) composite, besides the constituents, i.e., rGO, rGOHT and VNBs. Composites V1G3 and V3G1 also showed excellent cyclic stability and a capacitance retention of >80% after 500 cycles at the highest specific current density. Furthermore, by performing extensive simulations and modeling of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy data, we determined various circuit parameters, including charge transfer and solution resistance, double layer and low frequency capacitance, Warburg impedance and the constant phase element. The detailed analyses provided greater insights into physical-chemical processes occurring at the electrode-electrolyte interface and highlighted the comparative performance of thin heterogeneous composite electrodes. We attribute the superior performance to the open graphene topological network being beneficial to available ion diffusion sites and the faster transport kinetics having a larger accessible geometric surface area and synergistic integration with optimal nanostructured VO loading. Computational simulations via periodic density functional theory (DFT) with and without V2O5 adatoms on graphene sheets are also performed. These calculations determine the total and partial electronic density of state (DOS) in the vicinity of the Fermi level (i.e., higher electroactive sites), in turn complementing the experimental results toward surface/interfacial charge transfer on heterogeneous electrodes.
Materials2016, 9(8), 610; doi:10.3390/ma9080610 (registering DOI) - published 23 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study investigated weathering performance of an HDPE wood plastic composite reinforced with extracted or delignified wood flour (WF). The wood flour was pre-extracted with three different solvents, toluene/ethanol (TE), acetone/water (AW), and hot water (HW), or sodium chlorite/acetic acid. The spectral properties of the composites before and after artificial weathering under accelerated conditions were characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, the surface color parameters were analyzed using colorimetry, and the mechanical properties were determined by a flexural test. Weathering of WPC resulted in a surface lightening and a decrease in wood index (wood/HDPE) and flexural strength. WPCs that were reinforced with delignified wood flour showed higher ΔL* and ΔE* values, together with lower MOE and MOR retention ratios upon weathering when compared to those with non-extracted control and extracted WF.
Materials2016, 9(8), 612; doi:10.3390/ma9080612 (registering DOI) - published 23 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The corrosion inhibition characteristics of the derivatives of biopolymer hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), hydroxypropyl methylcellulose phthalate (HPMCP), and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate (HPMCAS) film are investigated. Based on electrochemical impedance spectroscopic measurements and potentiodynamic polarization, the corrosion inhibition performance of high speed steel coated with HPMC derivatives is evaluated. The Nyquist plot and Tafel polarization demonstrate promising anti-corrosion performance of HPMC and HPMCP. With increasing film thickness, both materials reveal improvement in corrosion inhibition. Moreover, because of a hydrophobic surface and lower moisture content, HPMCP shows better anti-corrosion performance than HPMCAS. The study is of certain importance for designing green corrosion inhibitors of high speed steel surfaces by the use of biopolymer derivatives.
Materials2016, 9(8), 611; doi:10.3390/ma9080611 (registering DOI) - published 23 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: More than 1.15 million cubic meters (1.5 million cubic yards) of sediment require annual removal from harbors and ports along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast. Disposing of these materials into landfills depletes land resources, while open water placement of these materials deteriorates water quality. There are more than 14,000 acres of revitalizing brownfields in Cleveland, U.S., many containing up to 90% impervious surface, which does not allow “infiltration” based stormwater practices required by contemporary site-based stormwater regulation. This study investigates the potential of sintering the dredged material from the Harbor of Cleveland in Lake Erie to produce lightweight aggregate (LWA), and apply the LWA to green roof construction. Chemical and thermal analyses revealed the sintered material can serve for LWA production when preheated at 550 °C and sintered at a higher temperature. Through dewatering, drying, sieving, pellet making, preheating, and sintering with varying temperatures (900–1100 °C), LWAs with porous microstructures are produced with specific gravities ranging from 1.46 to 1.74, and water absorption capacities ranging from 11% to 23%. The water absorption capacity of the aggregate decreases as sintering temperature increases. The LWA was incorporated into the growing media of a green roof plot, which has higher water retention capacity than the conventional green roof system.