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Special Issue "Polymer Nanocomposites"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Biqiong Chen

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: polymer nanocomposites, graphene, clay, elastomers, scaffolds, hydrogels, stimuli-responsive composites

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The field of polymer nanocomposites has grown substantially over the last two decades. A number of interesting nanoparticles, such as clay, silica, carbon nanotubes, cellulose, polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane and, more recently, graphene, have emerged as effective nanofillers in enhancing the performance of polymer matrices for a wide variety of engineering and biomedical applications. Furthermore, the use of nanoparticles to create polymer nanocomposites with desired structure and functionality has recently also attracted significant research interests.

This forthcoming “Polymer Nanocomposites” Special Issue aims to publish original research articles which either add knowledge to our current understanding of polymer nanocomposites, or report technological innovations associated with these materials. Critical reviews are also welcome.

It is my pleasure to invite you to submit a manuscript to this Special Issue.

Biqiong Chen
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • polymer nanocomposites
  • nanocomposite foams
  • nanocomposite hydrogels
  • nanocomposite nanofibers
  • processing-structure-property relationships
  • sustainable materials
  • stimuli-responsive materials
  • lightweight applications
  • energy devices
  • medical devices

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Enhancement in Mechanical and Electrical Properties of Polypropylene Using Graphene Oxide Grafted with End-Functionalized Polypropylene
Materials 2016, 9(4), 240; doi:10.3390/ma9040240
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (4304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Terminally hydroxylated polypropylene (PP) synthesized by a chain transfer method was grafted to graphene oxide (GO) at the chain end. Thus obtained PP-modified GO (PP-GO) was melt mixed with PP without the use of a compatibilizer to prepare PP/GO nanocomposites. Mechanical and electrical
[...] Read more.
Terminally hydroxylated polypropylene (PP) synthesized by a chain transfer method was grafted to graphene oxide (GO) at the chain end. Thus obtained PP-modified GO (PP-GO) was melt mixed with PP without the use of a compatibilizer to prepare PP/GO nanocomposites. Mechanical and electrical properties of the resultant nanocomposites and reference samples that contained graphite nanoplatelets, partially reduced GO, or fully reduced GO were examined. The best improvement in the tensile strength was obtained using PP-GO at 1.0 wt %. The inclusion of PP-GO also led to the highest electrical conductivity, in spite of the incomplete reduction. These observations pointed out that terminally hydroxylated PP covalently grafted to GO prevented GO layers from re-stacking and agglomeration during melt mixing, affording improved dispersion as well as stronger interfacial bonding between the matrix and GO. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Ultrasound-Assist Extrusion Methods for the Fabrication of Polymer Nanocomposites Based on Polypropylene/Multi-Wall Carbon Nanotubes
Materials 2015, 8(11), 7900-7912; doi:10.3390/ma8115431
Received: 27 August 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 6 November 2015 / Published: 23 November 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3615 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Isotactic polypropylenes (iPP) with different melt flow indexes (MFI) were used to fabricate nanocomposites (NCs) with 10 wt % loadings of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) using ultrasound-assisted extrusion methods to determine their effect on the morphology, melt flow, and electrical properties of the
[...] Read more.
Isotactic polypropylenes (iPP) with different melt flow indexes (MFI) were used to fabricate nanocomposites (NCs) with 10 wt % loadings of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) using ultrasound-assisted extrusion methods to determine their effect on the morphology, melt flow, and electrical properties of the NCs. Three different types of iPPs were used with MFIs of 2.5, 34 and 1200 g/10 min. Four different NC fabrication methods based on melt extrusion were used. In the first method melt extrusion fabrication without ultrasound assistance was used. In the second and third methods, an ultrasound probe attached to a hot chamber located at the exit of the die was used to subject the sample to fixed frequency and variable frequency, respectively. The fourth method is similar to the first method, with the difference being that the carbon nanotubes were treated in a fluidized air-bed with an ultrasound probe before being used in the fabrication of the NCs with no ultrasound assistance during extrusion. The samples were characterized by MFI, Optical microscopy (OM), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electrical surface resistivity, and electric charge. MFI decreases in all cases with addition of MWCNTs with the largest decrease observed for samples with the highest MFI. The surface resistivity, which ranged from 1013 to 105 Ω/sq, and electric charge, were observed to depend on the ultrasound-assisted fabrication method as well as on the melt flow index of the iPP. A relationship between agglomerate size and area ratio with electric charge was found. Several trends in the overall data were identified and are discussed in terms of MFI and the different fabrication methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Preparation and Preliminary Dielectric Characterization of Structured C60-Thiol-Ene Polymer Nanocomposites Assembled Using the Thiol-Ene Click Reaction
Materials 2015, 8(11), 7795-7804; doi:10.3390/ma8115424
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 4 November 2015 / Accepted: 12 November 2015 / Published: 18 November 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1775 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fullerene-containing materials have the ability to store and release electrical energy. Therefore, fullerenes may ultimately find use in high-voltage equipment devices or as super capacitors for high electric energy storage due to this ease of manipulating their excellent dielectric properties and their high
[...] Read more.
Fullerene-containing materials have the ability to store and release electrical energy. Therefore, fullerenes may ultimately find use in high-voltage equipment devices or as super capacitors for high electric energy storage due to this ease of manipulating their excellent dielectric properties and their high volume resistivity. A series of structured fullerene (C60) polymer nanocomposites were assembled using the thiol-ene click reaction, between alkyl thiols and allyl functionalized C60 derivatives. The resulting high-density C60-urethane-thiol-ene (C60-Thiol-Ene) networks possessed excellent mechanical properties. These novel networks were characterized using standard techniques, including infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). The dielectric spectra for the prepared samples were determined over a broad frequency range at room temperature using a broadband dielectric spectrometer and a semiconductor characterization system. The changes in thermo-mechanical and electrical properties of these novel fullerene-thiol-ene composite films were measured as a function of the C60 content, and samples characterized by high dielectric permittivity and low dielectric loss were produced. In this process, variations in chemical composition of the networks were correlated to performance characteristics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Modeling Percolation in Polymer Nanocomposites by Stochastic Microstructuring
Materials 2015, 8(10), 6697-6718; doi:10.3390/ma8105334
Received: 2 July 2015 / Revised: 20 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 30 September 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6037 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A methodology was developed for the prediction of the electrical properties of carbon nanotube-polymer nanocomposites via Monte Carlo computational simulations. A two-dimensional microstructure that takes into account waviness, fiber length and diameter distributions is used as a representative volume element. Fiber interactions in
[...] Read more.
A methodology was developed for the prediction of the electrical properties of carbon nanotube-polymer nanocomposites via Monte Carlo computational simulations. A two-dimensional microstructure that takes into account waviness, fiber length and diameter distributions is used as a representative volume element. Fiber interactions in the microstructure are identified and then modeled as an equivalent electrical circuit, assuming one-third metallic and two-thirds semiconductor nanotubes. Tunneling paths in the microstructure are also modeled as electrical resistors, and crossing fibers are accounted for by assuming a contact resistance associated with them. The equivalent resistor network is then converted into a set of linear equations using nodal voltage analysis, which is then solved by means of the Gauss–Jordan elimination method. Nodal voltages are obtained for the microstructure, from which the percolation probability, equivalent resistance and conductivity are calculated. Percolation probability curves and electrical conductivity values are compared to those found in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Electroactive Shape Memory Property of a Cu-decorated CNT Dispersed PLA/ESO Nanocomposite
Materials 2015, 8(9), 6391-6400; doi:10.3390/ma8095313
Received: 20 June 2015 / Revised: 21 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 September 2015 / Published: 18 September 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1069 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Shape memory polymer (SMP) nanocomposites with a fast electro-actuation speed were prepared by dispersing Cu-decorated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) (Cu-CNTs, 1 wt %, 2 wt %, and 3 wt %) in a polylactic acid (PLA)/epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) blend matrix. The shape
[...] Read more.
Shape memory polymer (SMP) nanocomposites with a fast electro-actuation speed were prepared by dispersing Cu-decorated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) (Cu-CNTs, 1 wt %, 2 wt %, and 3 wt %) in a polylactic acid (PLA)/epoxidized soybean oil (ESO) blend matrix. The shape memory effect (SME) induced by an electrical current was investigated by a fold-deploy “U”-shape bending test. In addition, the Cu-CNT dispersed PLA/ESO nanocomposite was characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and tensile and electrical measurements. The results demonstrated that the SME was dependent on the Cu-CNT content in the nanocomposites. When comparing the SMEs of the nanocomposite specimens with different Cu-CNT contents, the 2 wt % Cu-CNT dispersed system exhibited a shape recovery as high as 98% within 35 s due to its higher electrical conductivity that results from uniform Cu-CNT dispersion. However, the nanocomposites that contained 1 wt % and 3 wt % Cu-CNTs required 75 s and 63 s, respectively, to reach a maximum recovery level. In addition, the specimens exhibited better mechanical properties after the addition of Cu-CNTs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
Open AccessArticle Near Infrared Investigation of Polypropylene–Clay Nanocomposites for Further Quality Control Purposes—Opportunities and Limitations
Materials 2015, 8(9), 5730-5743; doi:10.3390/ma8095272
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 12 August 2015 / Accepted: 24 August 2015 / Published: 31 August 2015
PDF Full-text (3163 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Polymer nanocomposites are usually characterized using various methods, such as small angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) or transmission electron microscopy, to gain insights into the morphology of the material. The disadvantages of these common characterization methods are that they are expensive and time consuming
[...] Read more.
Polymer nanocomposites are usually characterized using various methods, such as small angle X-ray diffraction (XRD) or transmission electron microscopy, to gain insights into the morphology of the material. The disadvantages of these common characterization methods are that they are expensive and time consuming in terms of sample preparation and testing. In this work, near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) spectroscopy is used to characterize nanocomposites produced using a unique twin-screw mini-mixer, which is able to replicate, at ~25 g scale, the same mixing quality as in larger scale twin screw extruders. We correlated the results of X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, G′ and G″ from rotational rheology, Young’s modulus, and tensile strength with those of NIR spectroscopy. Our work has demonstrated that NIR-technology is suitable for quantitative characterization of such properties. Furthermore, the results are very promising regarding the fact that the NIR probe can be installed in a nanocomposite-processing twin screw extruder to measure inline and in real time, and could be used to help optimize the compounding process for increased quality, consistency, and enhanced product properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessFeature PaperReview Polymer Nanocomposites—A Comparison between Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene, and Clay as Nanofillers
Materials 2016, 9(4), 262; doi:10.3390/ma9040262
Received: 17 December 2015 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
Cited by 19 | PDF Full-text (1966 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanofilled polymeric matrices have demonstrated remarkable mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. In this article we review the processing of carbon nanotube, graphene, and clay montmorillonite platelet as potential nanofillers to form nanocomposites. The various functionalization techniques of modifying the nanofillers to enable interaction
[...] Read more.
Nanofilled polymeric matrices have demonstrated remarkable mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. In this article we review the processing of carbon nanotube, graphene, and clay montmorillonite platelet as potential nanofillers to form nanocomposites. The various functionalization techniques of modifying the nanofillers to enable interaction with polymers are summarized. The importance of filler dispersion in the polymeric matrix is highlighted. Finally, the challenges and future outlook for nanofilled polymeric composites are presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Stimuli-Responsive Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites under Electric Fields
Materials 2016, 9(1), 52; doi:10.3390/ma9010052
Received: 15 October 2015 / Revised: 9 December 2015 / Accepted: 28 December 2015 / Published: 15 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (9402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This short Feature Article reviews electric stimuli-responsive polymer/clay nanocomposites with respect to their fabrication, physical characteristics and electrorheological (ER) behaviors under applied electric fields when dispersed in oil. Their structural characteristics, morphological features and thermal degradation behavior were examined by X-ray diffraction pattern,
[...] Read more.
This short Feature Article reviews electric stimuli-responsive polymer/clay nanocomposites with respect to their fabrication, physical characteristics and electrorheological (ER) behaviors under applied electric fields when dispersed in oil. Their structural characteristics, morphological features and thermal degradation behavior were examined by X-ray diffraction pattern, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy, and thermogravimetric analysis, respectively. Particular focus is given to the electro-responsive ER characteristics of the polymer/clay nanocomposites in terms of the yield stress and viscoelastic properties along with their applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview Polymer/Carbon-Based Hybrid Aerogels: Preparation, Properties and Applications
Materials 2015, 8(10), 6806-6848; doi:10.3390/ma8105343
Received: 25 August 2015 / Revised: 20 September 2015 / Accepted: 28 September 2015 / Published: 9 October 2015
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (7343 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aerogels are synthetic porous materials derived from sol-gel materials in which the liquid component has been replaced with gas to leave intact solid nanostructures without pore collapse. Recently, aerogels based on natural or synthetic polymers, called polymer or organic aerogels, have been widely
[...] Read more.
Aerogels are synthetic porous materials derived from sol-gel materials in which the liquid component has been replaced with gas to leave intact solid nanostructures without pore collapse. Recently, aerogels based on natural or synthetic polymers, called polymer or organic aerogels, have been widely explored due to their porous structures and unique properties, such as high specific surface area, low density, low thermal conductivity and dielectric constant. This paper gives a comprehensive review about the most recent progresses in preparation, structures and properties of polymer and their derived carbon-based aerogels, as well as their potential applications in various fields including energy storage, adsorption, thermal insulation and flame retardancy. To facilitate further research and development, the technical challenges are discussed, and several future research directions are also suggested in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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