Materials2014, 7(9), 6224-6236; doi:10.3390/ma7096224 (registering DOI) - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The replacement of natural aggregates by recycled aggregates in the concrete manufacturing has been spreading worldwide as a recycling method to counteract the large amount of construction and demolition waste. Although legislation in this field is still not well developed, many investigations demonstrate the possibilities of success of this trend given that concrete with satisfactory mechanical and durability properties could be achieved. However, recycled aggregates present a low quality compared to natural aggregates, the water absorption being their main drawback. When used untreated in concrete mix, the recycled aggregate absorb part of the water initially calculated for the cement hydration, which will adversely affect some characteristics of the recycled concrete. This article seeks to demonstrate that the technique of pre-saturation is able to solve the aforementioned problem. In order to do so, the water absorption of the aggregates was tested to determine the necessary period of soaking to bring the recycled aggregates into a state of suitable humidity for their incorporation into the mixture. Moreover, several concrete mixes were made with different replacement percentages of natural aggregate and various periods of pre-saturation. The consistency and compressive strength of the concrete mixes were tested to verify the feasibility of the proposed technique.
Materials2014, 7(9), 6207-6223; doi:10.3390/ma7096207 (registering DOI) - published 1 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A synthesis of acrylonitrile (AN)/butyl acrylate (BA)/fumaronitrile (FN) and AN/EHA (ethyl hexyl acrylate)/FN terpolymers was carried out by redox polymerization using sodium bisulfite (SBS) and potassium persulphate (KPS) as initiator at 40 °C. The effect of comonomers, BA and EHA and termonomer, FN on the glass transition temperature (Tg) and stabilization temperature was studied using Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The degradation behavior and char yield were obtained by Thermogravimetric Analysis. The conversions of AN, comonomers (BA and EHA) and FN were 55%–71%, 85%–91% and 76%–79%, respectively. It was found that with the same comonomer feed (10%), the Tg of AN/EHA copolymer was lower at 63 °C compared to AN/BA copolymer (70 °C). AN/EHA/FN terpolymer also exhibited a lower Tg at 63 °C when compared to that of the AN/BA/FN terpolymer (67 °C). By incorporating BA and EHA into a PAN system, the char yield was reduced to ~38.0% compared to that of AN (~47.7%). It was found that FN reduced the initial cyclization temperature of AN/BA/FN and AN/EHA/FN terpolymers to 228 and 221 °C, respectively, in comparison to that of AN/BA and AN/EHA copolymers (~260 °C). In addition, FN reduced the heat liberation per unit time during the stabilization process that consequently reduced the emission of volatile group during this process. As a result, the char yields of AN/BA/FN and AN/EHA/FN terpolymers are higher at ~45.1% and ~43.9%, respectively, as compared to those of AN/BA copolymer (37.1%) and AN/EHA copolymer (38.0%).
Materials2014, 7(9), 6194-6206; doi:10.3390/ma7096194 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In order to investigate the relationship between phase/microstructure and various properties of Ti–xAg alloys, a series of Ti–xAg alloys with Ag contents ranging from 5 to 20 wt% were prepared. The microstructures were characterized using X-ray diffractometry (XRD), optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). All of the Ti–xAg alloys showed a massive transformation from the β-Ti to αm phase, which has a different crystal structure from that of the matrix phase, but it has the same composition as the matrix α-Ti phase. As a result of solid-solution strengthening of α-Ti and massive transformation phase, the Ti–xAg showed better mechanical properties than the commercially pure titanium (cp-Ti). Electrochemical results showed that the Ti–xAg alloys exhibited improved corrosion resistance and oxidation resistance than cp-Ti.
Materials2014, 7(9), 6184-6193; doi:10.3390/ma7096184 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Indigo is one of the most important dyes in the textile industry. The control of the indigo concentration in dyeing liquors and effluents is an important tool to ensure the reproducibility of the dyed fabrics and also to establish the efficiency of the wastewater treatment. In this work, three analytical methods were studied and validated with the aim to select a reliable, fast and automated method for the indigo dye determination. The first method is based on the extraction of the dye, with chloroform, in its oxidized form. The organic solution is measured by Ultraviolet (UV)-visible spectrophotometry at 604 nm. The second method determines the concentration of indigo in its leuco form in aqueous medium by UV-visible spectrophotometry at 407 nm. Finally, in the last method, the concentration of indigo is determined by redox titration with potassium hexacyanoferrate (K3(Fe(CN)6)). The results indicated that the three methods that we studied met the established acceptance criteria regarding accuracy and precision. However, the third method was considered the most adequate for application on an industrial scale due to its wider work range, which provides a significant advantage over the others.
Materials2014, 7(9), 6169-6183; doi:10.3390/ma7096169 - published 29 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A polycarboxylate superplasticizer (PCE) was synthesized in a non-solvent system with bulk polymerization and then was pulverized into powdered form to achieve a rapid transportation and convenient preparation. PCE synthesized by using isopentenyl polyethylene glycol (TPEG) or isobutenyl polyethylene glycol (IPEG) as a macromonomer exhibited the best fluidities and retaining properties at 80 °C and 75 °C, respectively. Besides, azobisisobutyronitrile (AIBN) was suitable as an initiator, and the fumaric acid was suitable as the third monomer. The test results of 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) confirmed the occurrences of polymerization, and the measurement results of molecular weight and distribution showed that PCE molecular weight characteristics were in accordance with their fluidity properties in cement paste. The application performances in cement showed that PCEs with the best paste fluidity retentions had the longest final setting time and the shortest setting time interval, and the PCEs with good fluidity properties can obviously delay the hydration process and lower the hydration heat. Accordingly, this is a novel, energy-saving and economical method to prepare powdered PCE in the field of concrete admixtures.
Materials2014, 7(9), 6158-6168; doi:10.3390/ma7096158 - published 28 August 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Here, we monitor the dissolution of several natural protein fibres such as wool, human hair and silk, in various ionic liquids (ILs). The dissolution of protein-based materials using ILs is an emerging area exploring the production of new materials from waste products. Wool is a keratin fibre, which is extensively used in the textiles industry and as a result has considerable amounts of waste produced each year. Wool, along with human hair, has a unique morphology whereby the outer layer, the cuticle, is heavily cross linked with disulphide bonds, whereas silk does not have this outer layer. Here we show how ILs dissolve natural protein fibres and how the mechanism of dissolution is directly related to the structure and morphology of the wool fibre.