Special Issue "Polymer Nanocomposites"

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2017

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Giuliana Gorrasi

Department of Industrial Engineering/DIIn, University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II, 132 - 84084 - Fisciano (SA), Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39 089964146
Fax: +39 089968738
Interests: formulation and characterization of novel structural and functional polymeric nanocomposites using green mechanochemical “top-down” approach

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last two decades, nanoscience and nanotechnologies have been creating new opportunities for producing materials with surprisingly unusual properties. The possibility of manipulating materials, on an atomic or molecular level, allows the possibility of obtaining structures that possess unique characteristics and completely new functionalities. The use of nanoparticles to produce polymer nanocomposites, with desired structures and functionalities, has recently also attracted significant research interests. They can be used, not only as for structural purposes, but also as functional nano-structures in many fields, such as microelectronics, packaging, drug delivery, flame retardant materials, and environmental issues. A number of interesting nanoparticles, such as clays (lamellar or tubular), silica, carbon nanotubes, siloxanes, and, more recently, graphenes, have emerged as peculiar nanofillers for enhancing the performance of polymer matrices for a wide variety of technological applications.

The present Special Issue on “Polymer Nanocomposites” aims to publish original research, which either adds knowledge to the current understanding on polymer nanocomposites, or proposes 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.

Prof. Giuliana Gorrasi
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. Nanomaterials 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 1200 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

  • Nanocomposites
  • Polymer
  • Clays
  • Nanoparticles
  • Modification

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Molecular Mechanics of the Moisture Effect on Epoxy/Carbon Nanotube Nanocomposites
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 324; doi:10.3390/nano7100324
Received: 14 August 2017 / Revised: 8 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
The strong structural integrity of polymer nanocomposite is influenced in the moist environment; but the fundamental mechanism is unclear, including the basis for the interactions between the absorbed water molecules and the structure, which prevents us from predicting the durability of its applications
[...] Read more.
The strong structural integrity of polymer nanocomposite is influenced in the moist environment; but the fundamental mechanism is unclear, including the basis for the interactions between the absorbed water molecules and the structure, which prevents us from predicting the durability of its applications across multiple scales. In this research, a molecular dynamics model of the epoxy/single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) nanocomposite is constructed to explore the mechanism of the moisture effect, and an analysis of the molecular interactions is provided by focusing on the hydrogen bond (H-bond) network inside the nanocomposite structure. The simulations show that at low moisture concentration, the water molecules affect the molecular interactions by favorably forming the water-nanocomposite H-bonds and the small cluster, while at high concentration the water molecules predominantly form the water-water H-bonds and the large cluster. The water molecules in the epoxy matrix and the epoxy-SWCNT interface disrupt the molecular interactions and deteriorate the mechanical properties. Through identifying the link between the water molecules and the nanocomposite structure and properties, it is shown that the free volume in the nanocomposite is crucial for its structural integrity, which facilitates the moisture accumulation and the distinct material deteriorations. This study provides insights into the moisture-affected structure and properties of the nanocomposite from the nanoscale perspective, which contributes to the understanding of the nanocomposite long-term performance under the moisture effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Hierarchical AuNPs-Loaded Fe3O4/Polymers Nanocomposites Constructed by Electrospinning with Enhanced and Magnetically Recyclable Catalytic Capacities
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 317; doi:10.3390/nano7100317
Received: 1 October 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 10 October 2017 / Published: 12 October 2017
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Abstract
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have attracted widespread attention for their excellent catalytic activity, as well as their unusual physical and chemical properties. The main challenges come from the agglomeration and time-consuming separation of gold nanoparticles, which have greatly baffled the development and application in
[...] Read more.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have attracted widespread attention for their excellent catalytic activity, as well as their unusual physical and chemical properties. The main challenges come from the agglomeration and time-consuming separation of gold nanoparticles, which have greatly baffled the development and application in liquid phase selective reduction. To solve these problems, we propose the preparation of polyvinyl alcohol(PVA)/poly(acrylic acid)(PAA)/Fe3O4 nanocomposites with loaded AuNPs. The obtained PVA/PAA/Fe3O4 composite membrane by electrospinning demonstrated high structural stability, a large specific surface area, and more active sites, which is conducive to promoting good dispersion of AuNPs on membrane surfaces. The subsequently prepared PVA/PAA/Fe3O4@AuNPs nanocomposites exhibited satisfactory nanostructures, robust thermal stability, and a favorable magnetic response for recycling. In addition, the PVA/PAA/Fe3O4@AuNPs nanocomposites showed a remarkable catalytic capacity in the catalytic reduction of p-nitrophenol and 2-nitroaniline solutions. In addition, the regeneration studies toward p-nitrophenol for different consecutive cycles demonstrate that the as-prepared PVA/PAA/Fe3O4@AuNPs nanocomposites have outstanding stability and recycling in catalytic reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Ionic Liquids as Surfactants for Layered Double Hydroxide Fillers: Effect on the Final Properties of Poly(Butylene Adipate-Co-Terephthalate)
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(10), 297; doi:10.3390/nano7100297
Received: 16 August 2017 / Revised: 23 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
PDF Full-text (4128 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this work, phosphonium ionic liquids (ILs) based on tetra-alkylphosphonium cations combined with carboxylate, phosphate and phosphinate anions, were used for organic modification of layered double hydroxide (LDH). Two different amounts (2 and 5 wt %) of the organically modified LDHs were mixed
[...] Read more.
In this work, phosphonium ionic liquids (ILs) based on tetra-alkylphosphonium cations combined with carboxylate, phosphate and phosphinate anions, were used for organic modification of layered double hydroxide (LDH). Two different amounts (2 and 5 wt %) of the organically modified LDHs were mixed with poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) matrix by melt extrusion. All prepared PBAT/IL-modified-LDH composites exhibited increased mechanical properties (20–50% Young’s modulus increase), decreased water vapor permeability (30–50% permeability coefficient reduction), and slight decreased crystallinity (10–30%) compared to the neat PBAT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Transparent Pullulan/Mica Nanocomposite Coatings with Outstanding Oxygen Barrier Properties
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(9), 281; doi:10.3390/nano7090281
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 15 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
This study presents a new bionanocomposite coating on poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) made of pullulan and synthetic mica. Mica nanolayers have a very high aspect ratio (α), at levels much greater than that of conventional exfoliated clay layers (e.g., montmorillonite). A very small amount
[...] Read more.
This study presents a new bionanocomposite coating on poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) made of pullulan and synthetic mica. Mica nanolayers have a very high aspect ratio (α), at levels much greater than that of conventional exfoliated clay layers (e.g., montmorillonite). A very small amount of mica (0.02 wt %, which is ϕ ≈ 0.00008) in pullulan coatings dramatically improved the oxygen barrier performance of the nanocomposite films under dry conditions, however, this performance was partly lost as the environmental relative humidity (RH) increased. This outcome was explained in terms of the perturbation of the spatial ordering of mica sheets within the main pullulan phase, because of RH fluctuations. This was confirmed by modelling of the experimental oxygen transmission rate (OTR) data according to Cussler’s model. The presence of the synthetic nanobuilding block (NBB) led to a decrease in both static and kinetic coefficients of friction, compared with neat PET (≈12% and 23%, respectively) and PET coated with unloaded pullulan (≈26% reduction in both coefficients). In spite of the presence of the filler, all of the coating formulations did not significantly impair the overall optical properties of the final material, which exhibited haze values below 3% and transmittance above 85%. The only exception to this was represented by the formulation with the highest loading of mica (1.5 wt %, which is ϕ ≈ 0.01). These findings revealed, for the first time, the potential of the NBB mica to produce nanocomposite coatings in combination with biopolymers for the generation of new functional features, such as transparent high oxygen barrier materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Water Diffusion through a Titanium Dioxide/Poly(Carbonate Urethane) Nanocomposite for Protecting Cultural Heritage: Interactions and Viscoelastic Behavior
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(9), 271; doi:10.3390/nano7090271
Received: 3 July 2017 / Revised: 6 September 2017 / Accepted: 7 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
Water diffusion through a TiO2/poly (carbonate urethane) nanocomposite designed for the eco-sustainable protection of outdoor cultural heritage stonework was investigated. Water is recognized as a threat to heritage, hence the aim was to gather information on the amount of water uptake,
[...] Read more.
Water diffusion through a TiO2/poly (carbonate urethane) nanocomposite designed for the eco-sustainable protection of outdoor cultural heritage stonework was investigated. Water is recognized as a threat to heritage, hence the aim was to gather information on the amount of water uptake, as well as of species of water molecules absorbed within the polymer matrix. Gravimetric and vibrational spectroscopy measurements demonstrated that diffusion behavior of the nanocomposite/water system is Fickian, i.e., diffusivity is independent of concentration. The addition of only 1% of TiO2 nanoparticles strongly betters PU barrier properties and water-repellency requirement is imparted. Defensive action against penetration of water free from, and bonded through, H-bonding association arises from balance among TiO2 hydrophilicity, tortuosity effects and quality of nanoparticle dispersion and interfacial interactions. Further beneficial to antisoiling/antigraffiti action is that water-free fraction was found to be desorbed at a constant rate. In environmental conditions, under which weathering processes are most likely to occur, nanocomposite Tg values remain suitable for heritage treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Nanocomposites Based on PCL and Halloysite Nanotubes Filled with Lysozyme: Effect of Draw Ratio on the Physical Properties and Release Analysis
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(8), 213; doi:10.3390/nano7080213
Received: 4 June 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) were loaded with lsozyme, as antimicrobial molecule, at a HNTs/lysozyme ratio of 1:1. Such a nano-hybrid was incorporated into a poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) matrix at 10 wt % and films were obtained. The nano-composites were submitted to a
[...] Read more.
Halloysite nanotubes (HNTs) were loaded with lsozyme, as antimicrobial molecule, at a HNTs/lysozyme ratio of 1:1. Such a nano-hybrid was incorporated into a poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) matrix at 10 wt % and films were obtained. The nano-composites were submitted to a cold drawn process at three different draw ratios, λ = 3, 4, and 5, where λ is l(final length)/l0(initial length). Morphology, physical, and barrier properties of the starting nanocomposite and drawn samples were studied, and correlated to the release of the lysozyme molecule. It was demonstrated that with a simple mechanical treatment it is possible to obtain controlled release systems for specific active packaging requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle 3D-Hydrogel Based Polymeric Nanoreactors for Silver Nano-Antimicrobial Composites Generation
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(8), 209; doi:10.3390/nano7080209
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3240 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study underscores the development of Ag hydrogel nanocomposites, as smart substrates for antibacterial uses, via innovative in situ reactive and reduction pathways. To this end, two different synthetic strategies were used. Firstly thiol-acrylate (PSA) based hydrogels were attained via thiol-ene and radical
[...] Read more.
This study underscores the development of Ag hydrogel nanocomposites, as smart substrates for antibacterial uses, via innovative in situ reactive and reduction pathways. To this end, two different synthetic strategies were used. Firstly thiol-acrylate (PSA) based hydrogels were attained via thiol-ene and radical polymerization of polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polycaprolactone (PCL). As a second approach, polyurethane (PU) based hydrogels were achieved by condensation polymerization from diisocyanates and PCL and PEG diols. In fact, these syntheses rendered active three-dimensional (3D) hydrogel matrices which were used as nanoreactors for in situ reduction of AgNO3 to silver nanoparticles. A redox chemistry of stannous catalyst in PU hydrogel yielded spherical AgNPs formation, even at 4 °C in the absence of external reductant; and an appropriate thiol-functionalized polymeric network promoted spherical AgNPs well dispersed through PSA hydrogel network, after heating up the swollen hydrogel at 103 °C in the presence of citrate-reductant. Optical and swelling behaviors of both series of hydrogel nanocomposites were investigated as key factors involved in their antimicrobial efficacy over time. Lastly, in vitro antibacterial activity of Ag loaded hydrogels exposed to Pseudomona aeruginosa and Escherichia coli strains indicated a noticeable sustained inhibitory effect, especially for Ag–PU hydrogel nanocomposites with bacterial inhibition growth capabilities up to 120 h cultivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Halloysite Nanotubes: Controlled Access and Release by Smart Gates
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(8), 199; doi:10.3390/nano7080199
Received: 23 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
Hollow halloysite nanotubes have been used as nanocontainers for loading and for the triggered release of calcium hydroxide for paper preservation. A strategy for placing end-stoppers into the tubular nanocontainer is proposed and the sustained release from the cavity is reported. The incorporation
[...] Read more.
Hollow halloysite nanotubes have been used as nanocontainers for loading and for the triggered release of calcium hydroxide for paper preservation. A strategy for placing end-stoppers into the tubular nanocontainer is proposed and the sustained release from the cavity is reported. The incorporation of Ca(OH)2 into the nanotube lumen, as demonstrated using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging and Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) mapping, retards the carbonatation, delaying the reaction with CO2 gas. This effect can be further controlled by placing the end-stoppers. The obtained material is tested for paper deacidification. We prove that adding halloysite filled with Ca(OH)2 to paper can reduce the impact of acid exposure on both the mechanical performance and pH alteration. The end-stoppers have a double effect: they preserve the calcium hydroxide from carbonation, and they prevent from the formation of highly basic pH and trigger the response to acid exposure minimizing the pH drop-down. These features are promising for a composite nanoadditive in the smart protection of cellulose-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Highly Efficient Near Infrared Photothermal Conversion Properties of Reduced Tungsten Oxide/Polyurethane Nanocomposites
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(7), 191; doi:10.3390/nano7070191
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 13 July 2017 / Published: 22 July 2017
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Abstract
In this work, novel WO3-x/polyurethane (PU) nanocomposites were prepared by ball milling followed by stirring using a planetary mixer/de-aerator. The effects of phase transformation (WO3 → WO2.8 → WO2.72) and different weight fractions of tungsten oxide
[...] Read more.
In this work, novel WO3-x/polyurethane (PU) nanocomposites were prepared by ball milling followed by stirring using a planetary mixer/de-aerator. The effects of phase transformation (WO3 → WO2.8 → WO2.72) and different weight fractions of tungsten oxide on the optical performance, photothermal conversion, and thermal properties of the prepared nanocomposites were examined. It was found that the nanocomposites exhibited strong photoabsorption in the entire near-infrared (NIR) region of 780–2500 nm and excellent photothermal conversion properties. This is because the particle size of WO3-x was greatly reduced by ball milling and they were well-dispersed in the polyurethane matrix. The higher concentration of oxygen vacancies in WO3-x contribute to the efficient absorption of NIR light and its conversion into thermal energy. In particular, WO2.72/PU nanocomposites showed strong NIR light absorption of ca. 92%, high photothermal conversion, and better thermal conductivity and absorptivity than other WO3/PU nanocomposites. Furthermore, when the nanocomposite with 7 wt % concentration of WO2.72 nanoparticles was irradiated with infrared light, the temperature of the nanocomposite increased rapidly and stabilized at 120 °C after 5 min. This temperature is 52 °C higher than that achieved by pure PU. These nanocomposites are suitable functional materials for solar collectors, smart coatings, and energy-saving applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle Biodegradable FeMnSi Sputter-Coated Macroporous Polypropylene Membranes for the Sustained Release of Drugs
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(7), 155; doi:10.3390/nano7070155
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 22 June 2017 / Published: 24 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2792 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Pure Fe and FeMnSi thin films were sputtered on macroporous polypropylene (PP) membranes with the aim to obtain biocompatible, biodegradable and, eventually, magnetically-steerable platforms. Room-temperature ferromagnetic response was observed in both Fe- and FeMnSi-coated membranes. Good cell viability was observed in both cases
[...] Read more.
Pure Fe and FeMnSi thin films were sputtered on macroporous polypropylene (PP) membranes with the aim to obtain biocompatible, biodegradable and, eventually, magnetically-steerable platforms. Room-temperature ferromagnetic response was observed in both Fe- and FeMnSi-coated membranes. Good cell viability was observed in both cases by means of cytotoxicity studies, though the FeMnSi-coated membranes showed higher biodegradability than the Fe-coated ones. Various strategies to functionalize the porous platforms with transferrin-Alexa Fluor 488 (Tf-AF488) molecules were tested to determine an optimal balance between the functionalization yield and the cargo release. The distribution of Tf-AF488 within the FeMnSi-coated PP membranes, as well as its release and uptake by cells, was studied by confocal laser scanning microscopy. A homogeneous distribution of the drug within the membrane skeleton and its sustained release was achieved after three consecutive impregnations followed by the addition of a layer made of gelatin and maltodextrin, which prevented exceedingly fast release. The here-prepared organic-inorganic macroporous membranes could find applications as fixed or magnetically-steerable drug delivery platforms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Heteromer Nanostars by Spontaneous Self-Assembly
Nanomaterials 2017, 7(6), 127; doi:10.3390/nano7060127
Received: 23 April 2017 / Revised: 17 May 2017 / Accepted: 23 May 2017 / Published: 31 May 2017
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Abstract
Heteromer star-shaped nanoparticles have the potential to carry out therapeutic agents, improve intracellular uptake, and safely release drugs after prolonged periods of residence at the diseased site. A one-step seed mediation process was employed using polylactide-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA),
[...] Read more.
Heteromer star-shaped nanoparticles have the potential to carry out therapeutic agents, improve intracellular uptake, and safely release drugs after prolonged periods of residence at the diseased site. A one-step seed mediation process was employed using polylactide-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), silver nitrate, and tetrakis(hydroxymethyl)phosphonium chloride (THPC). Mixing these reagents followed by UV irradiation successfully produced heteromer nanostars containing a number of arm chains attached to a single core with a high yield. The release of THPC from heteromer nanostars was tested for its potential use for breast cancer treatment. The nanostars present a unique geometrical design exhibiting a significant intracellular uptake by breast cancer cells but low cytotoxicity that potentiates its efficacy as drug carriers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites)
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