Materials2015, 8(12), 8032-8046; doi:10.3390/ma8125441 (registering DOI) - published 25 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Titanium β-type alloys attract attention as biomaterials for dental applications. The aim of this work was the synthesis of nanostructured β type Ti23Mo-x wt % 45S5 Bioglass (x = 0, 3 and 10) composites by mechanical alloying and powder metallurgy methods and their characterization. The crystallization of the amorphous material upon annealing led to the formation of a nanostructured β type Ti23Mo alloy with a grain size of approximately 40 nm. With the increase of the 45S5 Bioglass contents in Ti23Mo, nanocomposite increase of the α-phase is noticeable. The electrochemical treatment in phosphoric acid electrolyte resulted in a porous surface, followed by bioactive ceramic Ca-P deposition. Corrosion resistance potentiodynamic testing in Ringer solution at 37 °C showed a positive effect of porosity and Ca-P deposition on nanostructured Ti23Mo 3 wt % 45S5 Bioglass nanocomposite. The contact angles of glycerol on the nanostructured Ti23Mo alloy were determined and show visible decrease for bulk Ti23Mo 3 wt % 45S5 Bioglass and etched Ti23Mo 3 wt % 45S5 Bioglass nanocomposites. In vitro tests culture of normal human osteoblast cells showed very good cell proliferation, colonization, and multilayering. The present study demonstrated that porous Ti23Mo 3 wt % 45S5 Bioglass nanocomposite is a promising biomaterial for bone tissue engineering.
Materials2015, 8(12), 8009-8031; doi:10.3390/ma8125439 (registering DOI) - published 25 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: With an ever increasing dependence on electrical energy for powering modern equipment and electronics, research is focused on the development of efficient methods for the generation, storage and distribution of electrical power. In this regard, the development of suitable dielectric based solid-state capacitors will play a key role in revolutionizing modern day electronic and electrical devices. Among the popular dielectric materials, anti-ferroelectrics (AFE) display evidence of being a strong contender for future ceramic capacitors. AFE materials possess low dielectric loss, low coercive field, low remnant polarization, high energy density, high material efficiency, and fast discharge rates; all of these characteristics makes AFE materials a lucrative research direction. However, despite the evident advantages, there have only been limited attempts to develop this area. This article attempts to provide a focus to this area by presenting a timely review on the topic, on the relevant scientific advancements that have been made with respect to utilization and development of anti-ferroelectric materials for electric energy storage applications. The article begins with a general introduction discussing the need for high energy density capacitors, the present solutions being used to address this problem, and a brief discussion of various advantages of anti-ferroelectric materials for high energy storage applications. This is followed by a general description of anti-ferroelectricity and important anti-ferroelectric materials. The remainder of the paper is divided into two subsections, the first of which presents various physical routes for enhancing the energy storage density while the latter section describes chemical routes for enhanced storage density. This is followed by conclusions and future prospects and challenges which need to be addressed in this particular field.
Materials2015, 8(12), 7997-8008; doi:10.3390/ma8125438 (registering DOI) - published 25 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Next generation cathode catalysts for direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) must have high catalytic activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), a lower cost than benchmark Pt catalysts, and high stability and high tolerance to permeated methanol. In this study, palladium catalysts supported on titanium suboxides (Pd/TinO2n–1) were prepared by the sulphite complex route. The aim was to improve methanol tolerance and lower the cost associated with the noble metal while enhancing the stability through the use of titanium-based support; 30% Pd/Ketjenblack (Pd/KB) and 30% Pd/Vulcan (Pd/Vul) were also synthesized for comparison, using the same methodology. The catalysts were ex-situ characterized by physico-chemical analysis and investigated for the ORR to evaluate their activity, stability, and methanol tolerance properties. The Pd/KB catalyst showed the highest activity towards the ORR in perchloric acid solution. All Pd-based catalysts showed suitable tolerance to methanol poisoning, leading to higher ORR activity than a benchmark Pt/C catalyst in the presence of low methanol concentration. Among them, the Pd/TinO2n–1 catalyst showed a very promising stability compared to carbon-supported Pd samples in an accelerated degradation test of 1000 potential cycles. These results indicate good perspectives for the application of Pd/TinO2n–1 catalysts in DMFC cathodes.
Materials2015, 8(11), 7988-7996; doi:10.3390/ma8115437 - published 24 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Self-cleaning applications using TiO2 coatings on various supporting media have been attracting increasing interest in recent years. This work discusses the issue of self-cleaning textile production on an industrial scale. A method for producing self-cleaning textiles starting from a commercial colloidal nanosuspension (nanosol) of TiO2 is described. Three different treatments were developed for purifying and neutralizing the commercial TiO2 nanosol: washing by ultrafiltration; purifying with an anion exchange resin; and neutralizing in an aqueous solution of ammonium bicarbonate. The different purified TiO2 nanosols were characterized in terms of particle size distribution (using dynamic light scattering), electrical conductivity, and ζ potential (using electrophoretic light scattering). The TiO2-coated textiles’ functional properties were judged on their photodegradation of rhodamine B (RhB), used as a stain model. The photocatalytic performance of the differently treated TiO2-coated textiles was compared, revealing the advantages of purification with an anion exchange resin. The study demonstrated the feasibility of applying commercial TiO2 nanosol directly on textile surfaces, overcoming problems of existing methods that limit the industrial scalability of the process.
Materials2015, 8(11), 7979-7987; doi:10.3390/ma8115434 - published 24 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In previous works, we reported the fabrication of cotton-wool-like composites consisting of siloxane-doped vaterite and poly(l-lactic acid) (SiVPCs). Various irregularly shaped bone voids can be filled with the composite, which effectively supplies calcium and silicate ions, enhancing the bone formation by stimulating the cells. The composites, however, were brittle and showed an initial burst release of ions. In the present work, to improve the mechanical flexibility and ion release, the composite fiber was coated with a soft, thin layer consisting of poly(d,l-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). A coaxial electrospinning technique was used to prepare a cotton-wool-like material comprising “core-shell”-type fibers with a diameter of ~12 µm. The fibers, which consisted of SiVPC coated with a ~2-µm-thick PLGA layer, were mechanically flexible; even under a uniaxial compressive load of 1.5 kPa, the cotton-wool-like material did not exhibit fracture of the fibers and, after removing the load, showed a ~60% recovery. In Tris buffer solution, the initial burst release of calcium and silicate ions from the “core-shell”-type fibers was effectively controlled, and the ions were slowly released after one day. Thus, the mechanical flexibility and ion-release behavior of the composites were drastically improved by the thin PLGA coating.
Materials2015, 8(11), 7962-7978; doi:10.3390/ma8115436 - published 24 November 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Lead-free piezoelectric materials attract more and more attention owing to the environmental toxicity of lead-containing materials. In this work, we review our first attempts of single crystal grown by the top-seeded solution growth method of BaTiO3 substituted with zirconium and calcium (BCTZ) and (K0.5Na0.5)NbO3 substituted with lithium, tantalum, and antimony (KNLSTN). The growth methodology is optimized in order to reach the best compositions where enhanced properties are expected. Chemical analysis and electrical characterizations are presented for both kinds of crystals. The compositionally-dependent electrical performance is investigated for a better understanding of the relationship between the composition and electrical properties. A cross-over from relaxor to ferroelectric state in BCTZ solid solution is evidenced similar to the one reported in ceramics. In KNLSTN single crystals, we observed a substantial evolution of the orthorhombic-to-tetragonal phase transition under minute composition changes.