Open AccessCommunication
Novel Ultrafine Fibrous Poly(tetrafluoroethylene) Hollow Fiber Membrane Fabricated by Electrospinning
Polymers 2018, 10(5), 464; doi:10.3390/polym10050464 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Novel poly(tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE) hollow fiber membranes were successfully fabricated by electrospinning, with ultrafine fibrous PTFE membranes as separation layers, while a porous glassfiber braided tube served as the supporting matrix. During this process, PTFE/poly(vinylalcohol) (PVA) ultrafine fibrous membranes were electrospun while covering the
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Novel poly(tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE) hollow fiber membranes were successfully fabricated by electrospinning, with ultrafine fibrous PTFE membranes as separation layers, while a porous glassfiber braided tube served as the supporting matrix. During this process, PTFE/poly(vinylalcohol) (PVA) ultrafine fibrous membranes were electrospun while covering the porous glassfiber braided tube; then, the nascent PTFE/PVA hollow fiber membrane was obtained. In the following sintering process, the spinning carrier PVA decomposed; meanwhile, the ultrafine fibrous PTFE membrane shrank inward so as to further integrate with the supporting matrix. Therefore, the ultrafine fibrous PTFE membranes had excellent interface bonding strength with the supporting matrix. Moreover, the obtained ultrafine fibrous PTFE hollow fiber membrane exhibited superior performances in terms of strong hydrophobicity (CA > 140°), high porosity (>70%), and sharp pore size distribution. The comprehensive properties indicated that the ultrafine fibrous PTFE hollow fiber membranes could have potentially useful applications in membrane contactors (MC), especially membrane distillation (MD) in harsh water environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Multienzyme Immobilized Polymeric Membrane Reactor for the Transformation of a Lignin Model Compound
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 463; doi:10.3390/polym10040463 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
We have developed an integrated, multienzyme functionalized membrane reactor for bioconversion of a lignin model compound involving enzymatic catalysis. The membrane bioreactors were fabricated through the layer-by-layer assembly approach to immobilize three different enzymes (glucose oxidase, peroxidase and laccase) into pH-responsive membranes. This
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We have developed an integrated, multienzyme functionalized membrane reactor for bioconversion of a lignin model compound involving enzymatic catalysis. The membrane bioreactors were fabricated through the layer-by-layer assembly approach to immobilize three different enzymes (glucose oxidase, peroxidase and laccase) into pH-responsive membranes. This novel membrane reactor couples the in situ generation of hydrogen peroxide (by glucose oxidase) to oxidative conversion of a lignin model compound, guaiacylglycerol-β-guaiacyl ether (GGE). Preliminary investigation of the efficacy of these functional membranes towards GGE degradation is demonstrated under convective flow mode. Over 90% of the initial feed could be degraded with the multienzyme immobilized membranes at a residence time of approximately 22 s. GGE conversion product analysis revealed the formation of oligomeric oxidation products upon reaction with peroxidase, which may be a potential hazard to membrane bioreactors. These oxidation products could further be degraded by laccase enzymes in the multienzymatic membranes, explaining the potential of multi enzyme membrane reactors. The multienzyme incorporated membrane reactors were active for more than 30 days of storage time at 4 °C. During this time span, repetitive use of the membrane reactor was demonstrated involving 5–6 h of operation time for each cycle. The membrane reactor displayed encouraging performance, losing only 12% of its initial activity after multiple cycles of operation. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biomedical Applications of Chitosan and Its Derivative Nanoparticles
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 462; doi:10.3390/polym10040462 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Chitosan is a biodegradable natural polymer with many advantages such as nontoxicity, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. It can be applied in many fields, especially in medicine. As a delivery carrier, it has great potential and cannot be compared with other polymers. Chitosan is extremely
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Chitosan is a biodegradable natural polymer with many advantages such as nontoxicity, biocompatibility, and biodegradability. It can be applied in many fields, especially in medicine. As a delivery carrier, it has great potential and cannot be compared with other polymers. Chitosan is extremely difficult to solubilize in water, but it can be solubilized in acidic solution. Its insolubility in water is a major limitation for its use in medical applications. Chitosan derivatives can be obtained by chemical modification using such techniques as acylation, alkylation, sulfation, hydroxylation, quaternization, esterification, graft copolymerization, and etherification. Modified chitosan has chemical properties superior to unmodified chitosan. For example, nanoparticles produced from chitosan derivatives can be used to deliver drugs due to their stability and biocompatibility. This review mainly focuses on the properties of chitosan, chitosan derivatives, and the origin of chitosan-based nanoparticles. In addition, applications of chitosan-based nanoparticles in drug delivery, vaccine delivery, antimicrobial applications, and callus and tissue regeneration are also presented. In summary, nanoparticles based on chitosan have great potential for research and development of new nano vaccines and nano drugs in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mussel-Inspired Polydopamine as a Green, Efficient, and Stable Platform to Functionalize Bamboo Fiber with Amino-Terminated Alkyl for High Performance Poly(butylene succinate) Composites
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 461; doi:10.3390/polym10040461 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A new and eco-friendly mussel-inspired surface modification pathway for bamboo fiber (BF) is presented in this study. The self-assembly polydopamine (PDA) coating can firmly adhere on BF surface, which also serves as a bridge to graft octadecylamine (ODA) for hydrophobic surface preparation. The
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A new and eco-friendly mussel-inspired surface modification pathway for bamboo fiber (BF) is presented in this study. The self-assembly polydopamine (PDA) coating can firmly adhere on BF surface, which also serves as a bridge to graft octadecylamine (ODA) for hydrophobic surface preparation. The as-formed PDA/ODA hybrid layer could supply abundant hydrophobic long-chain alkyls groups and generated a marked increase in BF surface roughness and a marked decrease in surface free energy. These changes provided advantages to improve fiber–matrix interfacial adhesion and wettability. Consequently, high performance was achieved by incorporating the hybrid modified BF into the polybutylene succinate (PBS) matrix. The resultant composite exhibited excellent mechanical properties, particularly tensile strength, which markedly increased by 77.2%. Meanwhile, considerable high water resistance with an absorption rate as low as 5.63% was also achieved. The gratifying macro-performance was primarily attributed to the excellent interfacial adhesion attained by hydrogen bonding and physical intertwining between the PDA/ODA coating on the BF and the PBS matrix, which was further determined by fracture morphology observations and dynamic mechanical analysis. Owing to the superior adhesive capacity of PDA, this mussel-inspired surface modification method may result in wide-ranging applications in polymer composites and be adapted to all natural fibers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication of Durably Superhydrophobic Cotton Fabrics by Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Treatment with a Siloxane Precursor
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 460; doi:10.3390/polym10040460 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The surface treatment of fabrics in an atmospheric environment may pave the way for commercially viable plasma modifications of fibrous matters. In this paper, we demonstrate a durably superhydrophobic cotton cellulose fabric prepared in a single-step graft polymerization of hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) by N
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The surface treatment of fabrics in an atmospheric environment may pave the way for commercially viable plasma modifications of fibrous matters. In this paper, we demonstrate a durably superhydrophobic cotton cellulose fabric prepared in a single-step graft polymerization of hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) by N2 and O2 atmospheric pressure plasma. We systematically investigated effects on contact angle (CA) and surface morphology of the cotton fabric under three operational parameters: precursor value; ionization gas flow rate; and plasma cycle time. Surface morphology, element composition, chemical structure and hydrophobic properties of the treated fabric were characterized by scanning electron microscope (SEM), EDS, FTIR and CA on the fabrics. The results indicated that a layer of thin film and nano-particles were evenly deposited on the cotton fibers, and graft polymerization occurred between cellulose and HMDSO. The fabric treated by O2 plasma exhibited a higher CA of 162° than that treated by N2 plasma which was about 149°. Furthermore, the CA of treated fabrics decreased only 0°~10° after storing at the ambient conditions for four months, and treated fabrics could also endure the standard textile laundering procedure in AATCC 61-2006 with minimum change. Therefore, this single-step plasma treatment method is shown to be a novel and environment-friendly way to make durable and superhydrophobic cotton fabrics. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Silk Composite with a Fluoropolymer as a Water-Resistant Protein-Based Material
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 459; doi:10.3390/polym10040459 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Silk-based materials are water-sensitive and show different physical properties at different humidities and under wet/dry conditions. To overcome the water sensitivity of silk-based materials, we developed a silk composite material with a fluoropolymer. Blending and coating the silk protein-based materials, such as films
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Silk-based materials are water-sensitive and show different physical properties at different humidities and under wet/dry conditions. To overcome the water sensitivity of silk-based materials, we developed a silk composite material with a fluoropolymer. Blending and coating the silk protein-based materials, such as films and textiles, with the fluoropolymer enhanced the surface hydrophobicity, water vapor barrier properties, and size stability during shrinkage tests. This material design with a protein biopolymer and a fluoropolymer is expected to broaden the applicability of protein-based materials. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Polystyrene Particles with Precisely Controlled Degree of Concaveness
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 458; doi:10.3390/polym10040458 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Shape is an essential property of polymeric particles. Herein, we propose a simple method to synthesize polymeric particles with a well-controlled concave shape. Our method takes advantage of the powerful seeded emulsion polymerization strategy with the well-known principle of “like dissolves like” in
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Shape is an essential property of polymeric particles. Herein, we propose a simple method to synthesize polymeric particles with a well-controlled concave shape. Our method takes advantage of the powerful seeded emulsion polymerization strategy with the well-known principle of “like dissolves like” in solvent chemistry. We first prepared polystyrene (PS) particles with a single dimple by seeded emulsion polymerization. Then the dimpled PS particles were dispersed in a dimethylformamide (DMF) and water mixture. Consequently, the non-crosslinked polymer chains inside the particle were dissolved by DMF, a good solvent for PS, and the PS chains migrated out of the particle, causing buckling of the dimple and enlargement of the concave. By systematic change of the fraction of DMF in the solvent mixture, we changed the amount of the dissolved PS chains, and achieved polymeric particles with precisely tuned degree of concaveness. These concave particles were found to readily self-assemble, driven by polymer-induced depletion interaction. The concave PS particles reported here provide potential building blocks for self-assembled polymeric materials, and new model systems for condensed matter research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Conductivity of Aluminosilicate- and Aluminum Oxide-Filled Thermosets for Injection Molding: Effect of Filler Content, Filler Size and Filler Geometry
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 457; doi:10.3390/polym10040457 -
Abstract
In this study, epoxy molding compounds (EMCs) with aluminosilicate (AlS) and aluminum oxide (AlO) were fabricated as fillers by a twin-screw-extruder (TSE) and shaped to plate samples using injection molding. AlS and AlO, electrical insulating mineral materials, were used as fillers to improve
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In this study, epoxy molding compounds (EMCs) with aluminosilicate (AlS) and aluminum oxide (AlO) were fabricated as fillers by a twin-screw-extruder (TSE) and shaped to plate samples using injection molding. AlS and AlO, electrical insulating mineral materials, were used as fillers to improve the thermal conductivity (λc) of composites. Composites with different filler particle sizes, filler contents and filler geometry were fabricated and the influence of these variables on the λc was studied. The λc of composites was measured with the hot-disk method. The distribution of fillers in composites was observed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Using the Lewis-Nielsen equation, experimental values of λc were compared with those predicted. The predicted results fit the experimental values well. The result showed that λc increases significantly when the filler content of composites is approximately over 50 vol %. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Collagen/Gelatin/Hydroxyethyl Cellulose Composites Containing Microspheres Based on Collagen and Gelatin: Design and Evaluation
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 456; doi:10.3390/polym10040456 -
Abstract
The objective of this study was to develop three-dimensional collagen/gelatin/hydroxyethyl cellulose composites in combination with gelatin or collagen-gelatin loaded microspheres. Microspheres were prepared by an emulsification/crosslinking method. A 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl-aminopropyl)-carbodiimide (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) mixture were used as a
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The objective of this study was to develop three-dimensional collagen/gelatin/hydroxyethyl cellulose composites in combination with gelatin or collagen-gelatin loaded microspheres. Microspheres were prepared by an emulsification/crosslinking method. A 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethyl-aminopropyl)-carbodiimide (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) mixture were used as a crosslinking agent for the obtained materials. The structure of the materials was studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and infrared spectroscopy. Moreover, a Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) flower extract release profile of the microsphere-loaded matrices was assessed in vitro. Additionally, porosity, density, stability, swelling and mechanical properties were tested. On the basis of SEM images, the microspheres exhibited a spherical shape and were irregularly dispersed in the polymer matrix. However, it was found that the addition of microparticles to obtained materials did not significantly change their microstructure. We observed a slight decrease in the swelling properties of matrices and an increase in values of Young’s modulus. Significantly, the addition of microspheres to the polymer matrices led to improved loading capacity of materials and release performance of Calendula officinalis flower extract. This makes the collagen/gelatin/hydroxyethyl cellulose composites containing microspheres a promising and suitable vehicle for biomedical, dermatological, or cosmetic applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
New Three-Dimensional Poly(decanediol-co-tricarballylate) Elastomeric Fibrous Mesh Fabricated by Photoreactive Electrospinning for Cardiac Tissue Engineering Applications
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 455; doi:10.3390/polym10040455 -
Abstract
Reactive electrospinning is capable of efficiently producing in situ crosslinked scaffolds resembling the natural extracellular matrix with tunable characteristics. In this study, we aimed to synthesize, characterize, and investigate the in vitro cytocompatibility of electrospun fibers of acrylated poly(1,10-decanediol-co-tricarballylate) copolymer prepared
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Reactive electrospinning is capable of efficiently producing in situ crosslinked scaffolds resembling the natural extracellular matrix with tunable characteristics. In this study, we aimed to synthesize, characterize, and investigate the in vitro cytocompatibility of electrospun fibers of acrylated poly(1,10-decanediol-co-tricarballylate) copolymer prepared utilizing the photoreactive electrospinning process with ultraviolet radiation for crosslinking, to be used for cardiac tissue engineering applications. Chemical, thermal, and morphological characterization confirmed the successful synthesis of the polymer used for production of the electrospun fibrous scaffolds with more than 70% porosity. Mechanical testing confirmed the elastomeric nature of the fibers required to withstand cardiac contraction and relaxation. The cell viability assay showed no significant cytotoxicity of the fibers on cultured cardiomyoblasts and the cell-scaffolds interaction study showed a significant increase in cell attachment and growth on the electrospun fibers compared to the reference. This data suggests that the newly synthesized fibrous scaffold constitutes a promising candidate for cardiac tissue engineering applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Dependence of Optical Parameters of Thin Polythiophene Films Blended with PCBM
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 454; doi:10.3390/polym10040454 -
Abstract
The main purpose of this work is to show the thermal dependence of the refractive and extinction indices of conjugated polymer films used in optoelectronics devices. Herein, we present the results of optical investigations performed for the following polymers: poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), poly(3-octylthiophene) (P3OT),
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The main purpose of this work is to show the thermal dependence of the refractive and extinction indices of conjugated polymer films used in optoelectronics devices. Herein, we present the results of optical investigations performed for the following polymers: poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), poly(3-octylthiophene) (P3OT), and their blends with [6,6]-phenyl C61 butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM). For our analysis, we chose well-known polythiophenes such P3HT and P3OT, often used in photovoltaic cells. Our addition of PCMB to the polythiophenes allows their conversion efficiency to be increased. This paper presents the results of our investigation determining the spectral dispersion of optical constants in a wavelength range of 190–1700 nm by using spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE). Furthermore, we show the temperature dependence of the refractive indices of polythiophene films for a heating and a cooling process in the temperature range 25–130 °C. Additionally, thermo-optic coefficients and an optical gap were established and are presented in the paper, followed by a discussion on the conditions of the thermal stability of polythiophene blends and reversibility issues in thermal processes. Our paper presents a new and fresh analysis of depolarization beams after their reflection from the studied films. The paper presents the results of thermo-optical studies of polymer blends which have not been included in previously published works. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Angular Photochromic LC Composite Film for an Anti-Counterfeiting Label
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 453; doi:10.3390/polym10040453 -
Abstract
In the harsh application environment, improving the mechanical properties of liquid crystal materials is a fundamental and important problem in the design of anti-counterfeit materials. In this paper, by a stepwise polymerization of first, photo-polymerization and subsequently thermal-polymerization, a coexistent polymer dispersed network
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In the harsh application environment, improving the mechanical properties of liquid crystal materials is a fundamental and important problem in the design of anti-counterfeit materials. In this paper, by a stepwise polymerization of first, photo-polymerization and subsequently thermal-polymerization, a coexistent polymer dispersed network was first constructed in cholesteric liquid crystal materials containing a photo-polymerizable system of urethane acrylate and a thermo-polymerizable system of isocyanate. Results revealed that the coexistent polymer dispersed network exhibited largely enhanced mechanical performance, and the networks obtained by different methods had different contributions to the enhancement of the peel strength and toughness of the composite films. Then an angular photochromic anti-fake label based on a coexistent polymer dispersed network with enhanced mechanical and apparent angular discoloration characteristics, suitable for practical applications, was successfully achieved. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Biocompatible and Antibacterial Nitric Oxide-Releasing Pluronic F-127/Chitosan Hydrogel for Topical Applications
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 452; doi:10.3390/polym10040452 -
Abstract
Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in physiological processes, including vasodilatation, wound healing and antibacterial activities. As NO is a free radical, designing drugs to generate therapeutic amounts of NO in controlled spatial and time manners is still a challenge. In this study, the
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Nitric oxide (NO) is involved in physiological processes, including vasodilatation, wound healing and antibacterial activities. As NO is a free radical, designing drugs to generate therapeutic amounts of NO in controlled spatial and time manners is still a challenge. In this study, the NO donor S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) was incorporated into the thermoresponsive Pluronic F-127 (PL)-chitosan (CS) hydrogel, with an easy and economically feasible methodology. CS is a polysaccharide with known antimicrobial properties. Scanning electron microscopy, rheology and differential scanning calorimetry techniques were used for hydrogel characterization. The results demonstrated that the hydrogel has a smooth surface, thermoresponsive behavior and good mechanical stability. The kinetics of NO release and GSNO diffusion from GSNO-containing PL/CS hydrogel demonstrated a sustained NO/GSNO release, in concentrations suitable for biomedical applications. The GSNO-PL/CS hydrogel demonstrated a concentration-dependent toxicity to Vero cells, and antimicrobial activity to Pseudomonas aeruginosa (minimum inhibitory concentration and minimum bactericidal concentration values of 0.5 µg·mL−1 of hydrogel, which corresponds to 1 mmol·L−1 of GSNO). Interestingly, the concentration range in which the NO-releasing hydrogel demonstrated an antibacterial effect was not found to be toxic to the Vero mammalian cell. Thus, the GSNO-PL/CS hydrogel is a suitable biomaterial for topical NO delivery applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of Chain Molecular Weight and Hofmeister Series Ions in Thermal Aggregation of Poly(2-Isopropyl-2-Oxazoline) Grafted Nanoparticles
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 451; doi:10.3390/polym10040451 -
Abstract
Thermoresponsive nanoparticles are promising smart materials for many applications. However, a rational design for applications requires a deeper understanding and experimental verification of the various parameters that influence the thermoresponsiveness of the spherical polymer brushes that define most of such nanomaterials. Therefore, we
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Thermoresponsive nanoparticles are promising smart materials for many applications. However, a rational design for applications requires a deeper understanding and experimental verification of the various parameters that influence the thermoresponsiveness of the spherical polymer brushes that define most of such nanomaterials. Therefore, we investigate superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION) grafted with poly(2-isopropyl-2-oxazoline) (6–33 kg mol−1) by temperature-cycled dynamic light scattering and differential scanning calorimetry. The grafting of dense spherical polymer brushes leads to lower aggregation temperatures and transition enthalpies when compared with the free polymer. The transition enthalpy and temperature depend on the polymer shell size and structure. The addition of kosmotropic salts decreases the aggregation temperature following the Hofmeister series. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Soluble Electrochromic Polymers Incorporating Benzoselenadiazole and Electron Donor Units (Carbazole or Fluorene): Synthesis and Electronic-Optical Properties
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 450; doi:10.3390/polym10040450 -
Abstract
A series of π-conjugated polymers containing alternating benzoselenadiazole (BSe)-bi(thiophene derivative)-carbazole or benzoththiadiazole (BSe)-bi(thiophene derivative)-fluorene units were designed and synthesized. Thiophene derivatives, namely 3-hexylthiophene, 3,4-bihexyloxythiophene, and 3,4-bioctyloxythiophene, were used as the π-bridges of the polymers. The polymers were characterized in detail in terms of
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A series of π-conjugated polymers containing alternating benzoselenadiazole (BSe)-bi(thiophene derivative)-carbazole or benzoththiadiazole (BSe)-bi(thiophene derivative)-fluorene units were designed and synthesized. Thiophene derivatives, namely 3-hexylthiophene, 3,4-bihexyloxythiophene, and 3,4-bioctyloxythiophene, were used as the π-bridges of the polymers. The polymers were characterized in detail in terms of their thermal stabilities, cyclic voltammograms, UV-Vis absorption, spectroelectrochemistry, dynamic switching property and so forth. The alkoxy thiophene π-bridged polymers have lower onset oxidation potentials and bandgaps than that of their corresponding alkyl thiophene π-bridged polymers. The selection of the donor units between the carbazole and the fluorene units has nearly no effect on the bandgaps and colors as well as the onset oxidation potentials of the polymers. The increase in the length of the side alkyl chains on the thiophene ring caused a slight increase in the polymer bandgap, which may be caused by the space hindrance effect. The dynamic switching abilities of the polymers were obtained by the chronoabsorptometry method, and the results also suggested that the alkoxy thiophene-containing polymers (as π-bridges) have higher contrast ratios than the corresponding alkyl thiophene-containing polymers. Furthermore, the increase in the length of the side alkyl chain might have a detrimental effect on the optical contrast ratios of the polymers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High-Performance and Simply-Synthesized Ladder-Like Structured Methacrylate Siloxane Hybrid Material for Flexible Hard Coating
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 449; doi:10.3390/polym10040449 -
Abstract
A high performance ladder-like structured methacrylate siloxane hybrid material (LMSH) was fabricated via simple hydrolytic sol–gel reaction, followed by free-radical polymerization. A structurally ordered siloxane backbone, the ladder-like structure, which is an essential factor for high performance, could be achieved by a short
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A high performance ladder-like structured methacrylate siloxane hybrid material (LMSH) was fabricated via simple hydrolytic sol–gel reaction, followed by free-radical polymerization. A structurally ordered siloxane backbone, the ladder-like structure, which is an essential factor for high performance, could be achieved by a short period of sol–gel reaction in only 4 h. This results in superior optical (Transmittance > 90% at 550 nm), thermal (T5 wt % decomposition > 400 ), mechanical properties(elastic recovery = 0.86, hardness = 0.6 GPa) compared to the random- and even commercialized cage-structured silsesquioxane, which also has ordered structure. It was investigated that the fabricated ladder-like structured MSH showed the highest overall density of organic/inorganic co-networks that are originated from highly ordered siloxane network, along with high conversion rate of polymerizable methacrylate groups. Our findings suggest a potential of the ladder-like structured MSH as a powerful alternative for the methacrylate polysilsesquioxane, which can be applied to thermally stable and flexible optical coatings, even with an easier and simpler preparation process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Antifungal Paper Based on a Polyborneolacrylate Coating
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 448; doi:10.3390/polym10040448 -
Abstract
Paper documents and products are very susceptible to microbial contamination and damage. Fungi are mainly responsible for those biodeterioration processes. Traditional microbicidal strategies constitute a serious health risk even when microbes are dead. Ideal methods should not be toxic to humans and should
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Paper documents and products are very susceptible to microbial contamination and damage. Fungi are mainly responsible for those biodeterioration processes. Traditional microbicidal strategies constitute a serious health risk even when microbes are dead. Ideal methods should not be toxic to humans and should have no adverse effects on paper, but should own a broad spectrum, good chemical stability and low cost. In this work, we utilize an advanced antimicrobial strategy of surface stereochemistry by applying a coating of a shallow layer of polyborneolacrylate (PBA), resulting in the desired antifungal performance. The PBA-coated paper is challenged with the most common air-borne fungi growing on paper, Aspergillus niger and Penicillium sp. Ten percent by weight of the coating concentration or a 19-μm infiltration of PBA is sufficient to keep the paper spotless. The PBA coating also exhibits significant inhibition of spores’ germination. After PBA coating, both physicochemical properties (paper whiteness, pH, mechanical strength) and inking performance display only slight changes, which are acceptable for general utilization. This PBA coating method is nontoxic, rapid and cost-effective, thus demonstrating great potential for applications in paper products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Accurate Estimate of the Free Energy and Phase Diagram of All-DNA Bulk Fluids
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 447; doi:10.3390/polym10040447 -
Abstract
We present a numerical study in which large-scale bulk simulations of self-assembled DNA constructs have been carried out with a realistic coarse-grained model. The investigation aims at obtaining a precise, albeit numerically demanding, estimate of the free energy for such systems. We then,
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We present a numerical study in which large-scale bulk simulations of self-assembled DNA constructs have been carried out with a realistic coarse-grained model. The investigation aims at obtaining a precise, albeit numerically demanding, estimate of the free energy for such systems. We then, in turn, use these accurate results to validate a recently proposed theoretical approach that builds on a liquid-state theory, the Wertheim theory, to compute the phase diagram of all-DNA fluids. This hybrid theoretical/numerical approach, based on the lowest-order virial expansion and on a nearest-neighbor DNA model, can provide, in an undemanding way, a parameter-free thermodynamic description of DNA associating fluids that is in semi-quantitative agreement with experiments. We show that the predictions of the scheme are as accurate as those obtained with more sophisticated methods. We also demonstrate the flexibility of the approach by incorporating non-trivial additional contributions that go beyond the nearest-neighbor model to compute the DNA hybridization free energy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling Filler Dispersion in Elastomers: Relating Filler Morphology to Interface Free Energies via SAXS and TEM Simulation Studies
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 446; doi:10.3390/polym10040446 -
Abstract
The properties of rubber are strongly influenced by the distribution of filler within the polymer matrix. Here, we introduce a Monte Carlo-based morphology generator. The basic elements of our model are cubic cells, which, in the current version, can be either silica filler
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The properties of rubber are strongly influenced by the distribution of filler within the polymer matrix. Here, we introduce a Monte Carlo-based morphology generator. The basic elements of our model are cubic cells, which, in the current version, can be either silica filler particles or rubber volume elements in adjustable proportion. The model allows the assignment of surface free energies to the particles according to whether a surface represents, for instance, ‘naked’ silica or silanised silica. The amount of silanisation is variable. We use a nearest-neighbour site-exchange Monte Carlo algorithm to generate filler morphologies, mimicking flocculation. Transmission electron micrographs (TEM) as well as small angle scattering (SAS) intensities can be calculated along the Monte Carlo trajectory. In this work, we demonstrate the application of our morphology generator in terms of selected examples. We illustrate its potential as a tool for screening studies, relating interface tensions between the components to filler network structure as characterised by TEM and SAS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Leachable Hydrophilic Additives for Amphiphilic Coatings
Polymers 2018, 10(4), 445; doi:10.3390/polym10040445 -
Abstract
Amphiphilic surfaces are particularly effective at inhibiting the adhesion of microorganisms (bacteria, cells, microalgae, etc.) in liquid media. The aim of this study is to determine the best hydrophilic linker to promote bonding between poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) as a hydrophilic additive and poly(dimethyl
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Amphiphilic surfaces are particularly effective at inhibiting the adhesion of microorganisms (bacteria, cells, microalgae, etc.) in liquid media. The aim of this study is to determine the best hydrophilic linker to promote bonding between poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) as a hydrophilic additive and poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) as the hydrophobic matrix. Various parameters have been studied (molecular weight, linker type, and polymer end-group), as well as the efficiency of the linking, the capacity of PEG to access to the surface of the film, and overall film homogeneity. According to the results, a PDMS linker paired with a PEG moiety allows for compatibilization of the compounds during cross-linking. This compatibilization seems to provide a good bonding with the matrix and a good surface access to the hydrophilic moiety. Therefore, this structure comprising a linking function attached to the PDMS–PEG copolymer has high potential as a non-releasable additive for amphiphilic coating applications. Full article
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