Polymers2015, 7(8), 1410-1426; doi:10.3390/polym7081410 (registering DOI) - published 4 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The impact of phase morphology in electrically conducting polymer composites has become essential for the efficiency of the various functional applications, in which the continuity of the electroactive paths in multicomponent systems is essential. For instance in bulk heterojunction organic solar cells, where the light-induced electron transfer through photon absorption creating excitons (electron-hole pairs), the control of diffusion of the spatially localized excitons and their dissociation at the interface and the effective collection of holes and electrons, all depend on the surface area, domain sizes, and connectivity in these organic semiconductor blends. We have used a model semiconductor polymer blend with defined miscibility to investigate the phase separation kinetics and the formation of connected pathways. Temperature jump experiments were applied from a miscible region of semiconducting poly(alkylthiophene) (PAT) blends with ethylenevinylacetate-elastomers (EVA) and the kinetics at the early stages of phase separation were evaluated in order to establish bicontinuous phase morphology via spinodal decomposition. The diffusion in the blend was followed by two methods: first during a miscible phase separating into two phases: from the measurement of the spinodal decomposition. Secondly the diffusion was measured by monitoring the interdiffusion of PAT film into the EVA film at elected temperatures and eventually compared the temperature dependent diffusion characteristics. With this first quantitative evaluation of the spinodal decomposition as well as the interdiffusion in conducting polymer blends, we show that a systematic control of the phase separation kinetics in a polymer blend with one of the components being electrically conducting polymer can be used to optimize the morphology.
Polymers2015, 7(8), 1389-1409; doi:10.3390/polym7081389 (registering DOI) - published 4 August 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Novel ester group functionalized cyclic olefin polymers (COPs) with high glass transition temperature, high transparency, good mechanical performance and excellent film forming ability have been achieved in this work via efficient ring-opening metathesis copolymerization of exo-1,4,4a,9,9a,10-hexahydro-9,10(1′,2′)-benzeno-l,4-methanoanthracene (HBM) and comonomers (5-norbornene-2-yl methylacetate (NMA), 5-norbornene-2-yl methyl 2-ethylhexanoate (NME) or 5-norbornene-2-yl methyldodecanoate (NMD)) utilizing the Grubbs first generation catalyst, Ru(CHPh)(Cl)2(PCy3)2 (Cy = cyclohexyl, G1), followed by hydrogenation of double bonds in the main chain. The fully hydrogenated copolymers were characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance, FT-IR spectroscopy analysis, gel permeation chromatography, and thermo gravimetric analysis. Differential scanning calorimetry curves showed that the glass transition temperatures (Tg) linearly decreased with the increasing of comonomers content, which was easily controlled by changing feed ratios of HBM and comonomers. Static water contact angles tests indicate that hydrophilicity of copolymers can also be modulated by changing the comonomers incorporation. Additionally, the mechanical performances of copolymers were also investigated.
Abstract: Transparent and heat-resistant poly(methyl methacrylate) copolymers were synthesized by bulk polymerizing methyl methacrylate (MMA), isobornyl methacrylate (IBMA), and methacrylamide (MAA) monomers. Copolymerization was performed using a chain transfer agent to investigate the molecular weight changes of these copolymers, which exhibited advantages including a low molecular weight distribution, excellent optical properties, high transparency, high glass transition temperature, low moisture absorption, and pellets that can be readily mass produced by using extrusion or jet injection for packing light-emitting diode materials.
Abstract: In this review, we describe the latest advances in synthesis, characterization, and applications of polymer brushes. Synthetic advances towards well-defined polymer brushes, which meet criteria such as: (i) Efficient and fast grafting, (ii) Applicability on a wide range of substrates; and (iii) Precise control of surface initiator concentration and hence, chain density are discussed. On the characterization end advances in methods for the determination of relevant physical parameters such as surface initiator concentration and grafting density are discussed. The impact of these advances specifically in emerging fields of nano- and bio-technology where interfacial properties such as surface energies are controlled to create nanopatterned polymer brushes and their implications in mediating with biological systems is discussed.
Abstract: In the present paper, a series of totally novel bio-nanocomposite films from cellulose laurate (CL) and starch nanocrystals acetate (SNA) were fabricated, and the properties of nanocomposite films were investigated in detail. SNA was obtained by modifying starch nanocrystals (SNs) produced by sulfuric acid hydrolysis of corn starch with acetic anhydride. The favorable dispersity of SNA in chloroform made it ready to convert into nanocomposite films with CL via casting/evaporation method. The transmittance, thermal behavior, mechanical properties, barrier properties and hydrophobicity of CL/SNA nanocomposite films were investigated with UV-vis spectrophotometer, simultaneous thermal analyzer (STA), universal tensile tester/dynamic thermomechanical analysis (DMA), water vapor permeation meter/oxygen permeability tester, and contact angle tester, respectively. The transmittance of nanocomposite films decreased with the increase of SNA content. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) results showed that the introduction of SNA into CL matrix did not severely decrease the thermal behavior of CL/SNA nanocomposites. Moreover, non-linear and linear mechanical analysis reflected the enhancement of SNA. At lower contents of SNA (<5.0 wt%), the values of Young’s modulus, tensile strength and the elongation at break of nanocomposite films were comparable with those of neat CL. However, with the increase of SNA, the Young’s modulus and tensile strength were improved significantly and were accompanied by the decreased elongation at break. The water vapor permeability (WVP) and oxygen permeability (PO2) of CL/SNA nanocomposite films were significantly improved by the addition of SNA.
Abstract: This paper presents the influence of silica sand, local crushed sand and different supplementary cementing materials (SCMs) to Portland cement (C) ratio (SCM/C) on the flexural fatigue performance of engineered cementitious composites (ECCs). ECC is a micromechanically-based designed high-performance polymer fiber reinforced concrete with high ductility which exhibits strain-hardening and micro-cracking behavior in tension and flexure. The relative high cost remains an obstacle for wider commercial use of ECC. The replacement of cement by SCMs, and the use of local sand aggregates can lower cost and enhance greenness of the ECC. The main variables of this study were: type and size of aggregates (local crushed or standard silica sand), type of SCMs (fly ash “FA” or slag), SCM/cement ratio of 1.2 or 2.2, three fatigue stress levels and number of fatigue cycles up to 1 million. The study showed that ECC mixtures produced with crushed sand (with high volume of fly ash and slag) exhibited strain hardening behavior (under static loading) with deformation capacities comparable with those made with silica sand. Class F-fly ash combined with crushed sand was the best choice (compared to class CI fly ash and slag) in order to enhance the ECC ductility with slag–ECC mixtures producing lowest deflection capacity. FA–ECC mixtures with silica sand developed more damage under fatigue loading due to higher deflection evolution than FA–ECC mixtures with crushed sand.