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Materials, Volume 7, Issue 2 (February 2014) , Pages 623-1443

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Open AccessEditorial
Materials Best Paper Award 2014
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1441-1443; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021441 - 24 Feb 2014
Viewed by 4665
Abstract
Materials instituted an annual award in order to acknowledge outstanding papers in the area of materials science and engineering published in Materials. [...] Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Rapid Freeze-Thaw Cycling on the Mechanical Properties of Sustainable Strain-Hardening Cement Composite (2SHCC)
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1422-1440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021422 - 24 Feb 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2951
Abstract
This paper provides experimental results to investigate the mechanical properties of sustainable strain-hardening cement composite (2SHCC) for infrastructures after freeze-thaw actions. To improve the sustainability of SHCC materials in this study, high energy-consumptive components—silica sand, cement, and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers—in the conventional [...] Read more.
This paper provides experimental results to investigate the mechanical properties of sustainable strain-hardening cement composite (2SHCC) for infrastructures after freeze-thaw actions. To improve the sustainability of SHCC materials in this study, high energy-consumptive components—silica sand, cement, and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers—in the conventional SHCC materials are partially replaced with recycled materials such as recycled sand, fly ash, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fibers, respectively. To investigate the mechanical properties of green SHCC that contains recycled materials, the cement, PVA fiber and silica sand were replaced with 10% fly ash, 25% PET fiber, and 10% recycled aggregate based on preliminary experimental results for the development of 2SHCC material, respectively. The dynamic modulus of elasticity and weight for 2SHCC material were measured at every 30 cycles of freeze-thaw. The effects of freeze-thaw cycles on the mechanical properties of sustainable SHCC are evaluated by conducting compressive tests, four-point flexural tests, direct tensile tests and prism splitting tests after 90, 180, and 300 cycles of rapid freeze-thaw. Freeze-thaw testing was conducted according to ASTM C 666 Procedure A. Test results show that after 300 cycles of freezing and thawing actions, the dynamic modulus of elasticity and mass loss of damaged 2SHCC were similar to those of virgin 2SHCC, while the freeze-thaw cycles influence mechanical properties of the 2SHCC material except for compressive behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction Materials)
Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Annealing Temperatures on Composition and Strain in SixGe1−x Obtained by Melting Growth of Electrodeposited Ge on Si (100)
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1409-1421; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021409 - 24 Feb 2014
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2725
Abstract
The effects of annealing temperatures on composition and strain in SixGe1−x, obtained by rapid melting growth of electrodeposited Ge on Si (100) substrate were investigated. Here, a rapid melting process was performed at temperatures of 1000, 1050 and [...] Read more.
The effects of annealing temperatures on composition and strain in SixGe1−x, obtained by rapid melting growth of electrodeposited Ge on Si (100) substrate were investigated. Here, a rapid melting process was performed at temperatures of 1000, 1050 and 1100 °C for 1 s. All annealed samples show single crystalline structure in (100) orientation. A significant appearance of Si-Ge vibration mode peak at ~400 cm−1 confirms the existence of Si-Ge intermixing due to out-diffusion of Si into Ge region. On a rapid melting process, Ge melts and reaches the thermal equilibrium in short time. Si at Ge/Si interface begins to dissolve once in contact with the molten Ge to produce Si-Ge intermixing. The Si fraction in Si-Ge intermixing was calculated by taking into account the intensity ratio of Ge-Ge and Si-Ge vibration mode peaks and was found to increase with the annealing temperatures. It is found that the strain turns from tensile to compressive as the annealing temperature increases. The Si fraction dependent thermal expansion coefficient of SixGe1−x is a possible cause to generate such strain behavior. The understanding of compositional and strain characteristics is important in Ge/Si heterostructure as these properties seem to give significant effects in device performance. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Structural Characterization of Polymer-Clay Nanocomposites Prepared by Co-Precipitation Using EPR Techniques
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1384-1408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021384 - 21 Feb 2014
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2803
Abstract
Polymer-clay nanocomposites (PCNCs) containing either a rubber or an acrylate polymer were prepared by drying or co-precipitating polymer latex and nanolayered clay (synthetic and natural) suspensions. The interface between the polymer and the clay nanoparticles was studied by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) techniques [...] Read more.
Polymer-clay nanocomposites (PCNCs) containing either a rubber or an acrylate polymer were prepared by drying or co-precipitating polymer latex and nanolayered clay (synthetic and natural) suspensions. The interface between the polymer and the clay nanoparticles was studied by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) techniques by selectively addressing spin probes either to the surfactant layer (labeled stearic acid) or the clay surface (labeled catamine). Continuous-wave (CW) EPR studies of the surfactant dynamics allow to define a transition temperature T* which was tentatively assigned to the order-disorder transition of the surfactant layer. CW EPR studies of PCNC showed that completely exfoliated nanoparticles coexist with agglomerates. HYSCORE spectroscopy in PCNCs showed couplings within the probe −assigned with DFT computations− and couplings with nuclei of the environment, 1H and 23Na for the surfactant layer probe, and 29Si, 7Li, 19F and 23Na for the clay surface probe. Analysis of these couplings indicates that the integrity of the surfactant layer is conserved and that there are sizeable ionic regions containing sodium ions directly beyond the surfactant layer. Simulations of the very weak couplings demonstrated that the HYSCORE spectra are sensitive to the composition of the clay and whether or not clay platelets stack. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposites of Polymers and Inorganic Particles 2013)
Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Catalytic Activity of Carbon Nanofibers Anchored Metallophthalocyanine in Decomposing Acid Orange 7
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1370-1383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021370 - 20 Feb 2014
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2170
Abstract
Amine-modified CNFs (AN-CNFs) were first obtained through the Billups reaction from carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and were used as supports of cobalt tetracarboxylphthalocyanine (CoTCPc) for the catalytic oxidation of Acid Orange 7 (AO7) in the CoTCPc-AN-CNFs/H2O2 system. CNFs, AN-CNFs and CoTCPc-AN-CNFs [...] Read more.
Amine-modified CNFs (AN-CNFs) were first obtained through the Billups reaction from carbon nanofibers (CNFs), and were used as supports of cobalt tetracarboxylphthalocyanine (CoTCPc) for the catalytic oxidation of Acid Orange 7 (AO7) in the CoTCPc-AN-CNFs/H2O2 system. CNFs, AN-CNFs and CoTCPc-AN-CNFs were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, transmission electron microscopy and N2 adsorption-desorption. The oxidative decoloration of AO7 in the presence of CoTCPcNa-AN-CNFs and H2O2 was investigated by UV-Vis absorption spectra. The results showed that AO7 was oxidized efficiently in the CoTCPcNa-AN-CNFs /H2O2 system. The benzene ring was first introduced between CNFs and MPcs. However, its catalytic efficiency and electronic properties would not weaken. New catalytic mechanism may display in this CoTCPcNa-AN-CNFs /H2O2 system. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Plant-Mediated Fabrication and Surface Enhanced Raman Property of Flower-Like [email protected] Nanoparticles
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1360-1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021360 - 19 Feb 2014
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3494
Abstract
The flower-like nanostructures of an Au core and Pd petals with the average size of 47.8 nm were fabricated through the successive reduction of HAuCl4 and Na2PdCl4 at room temperature. During the synthesis, Cacumen Platycladi leaf extract served as [...] Read more.
The flower-like nanostructures of an Au core and Pd petals with the average size of 47.8 nm were fabricated through the successive reduction of HAuCl4 and Na2PdCl4 at room temperature. During the synthesis, Cacumen Platycladi leaf extract served as weak reductant and capping agent. Characterization techniques such as Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, UV-Vis spectroscopy, and X-ray diffraction characterizations were employed to confirm that the as-synthesized nanoparticles have the structure of core-shell. The obtained core-shell nanoflowers exhibited good surface enhanced Raman spectroscopic activity with Rhodamine 6G. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nanoporous Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Gelatin-Based Hydrogels Promote Chondrogenic Differentiation of Human Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vitro
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1342-1359; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021342 - 19 Feb 2014
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 4053
Abstract
Due to the weak regeneration potential of cartilage, there is a high clinical incidence of articular joint disease, leading to a strong demand for cartilaginous tissue surrogates. The aim of this study was to evaluate a gelatin-based hydrogel for its suitability to support [...] Read more.
Due to the weak regeneration potential of cartilage, there is a high clinical incidence of articular joint disease, leading to a strong demand for cartilaginous tissue surrogates. The aim of this study was to evaluate a gelatin-based hydrogel for its suitability to support chondrogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells. Gelatin-based hydrogels are biodegradable, show high biocompatibility, and offer possibilities to introduce functional groups and/or ligands. In order to prove their chondrogenesis-supporting potential, a hydrogel film was developed and compared with standard cell culture polystyrene regarding the differentiation behavior of human mesenchymal stem cells. Cellular basis for this study were human adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells, which exhibit differentiation potential along the adipogenic, osteogenic and chondrogenic lineage. The results obtained show a promotive effect of gelatin-based hydrogels on chondrogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells in vitro and therefore encourage subsequent in vivo studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocompatibility of Materials 2013)
Open AccessReview
Review of the Potential of the Ni/Cu Plating Technique for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1318-1341; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021318 - 18 Feb 2014
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 5118
Abstract
Developing a better method for the metallization of silicon solar cells is integral part of realizing superior efficiency. Currently, contact realization using screen printing is the leading technology in the silicon based photovoltaic industry, as it is simple and fast. However, the problem [...] Read more.
Developing a better method for the metallization of silicon solar cells is integral part of realizing superior efficiency. Currently, contact realization using screen printing is the leading technology in the silicon based photovoltaic industry, as it is simple and fast. However, the problem with metallization of this kind is that it has a lower aspect ratio and higher contact resistance, which limits solar cell efficiency. The mounting cost of silver pastes and decreasing silicon wafer thicknesses encourages silicon solar cell manufacturers to develop fresh metallization techniques involving a lower quantity of silver usage and not relying pressing process of screen printing. In recent times nickel/copper (Ni/Cu) based metal plating has emerged as a metallization method that may solve these issues. This paper offers a detailed review and understanding of a Ni/Cu based plating technique for silicon solar cells. The formation of a Ni seed layer by adopting various deposition techniques and a Cu conducting layer using a light induced plating (LIP) process are appraised. Unlike screen-printed metallization, a step involving patterning is crucial for opening the masking layer. Consequently, experimental procedures involving patterning methods are also explicated. Lastly, the issues of adhesion, back ground plating, process complexity and reliability for industrial applications are also addressed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
Open AccessReview
Liquid-Crystal-Enabled Active Plasmonics: A Review
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1296-1317; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021296 - 18 Feb 2014
Cited by 89 | Viewed by 5135
Abstract
Liquid crystals are a promising candidate for development of active plasmonics due to their large birefringence, low driving threshold, and versatile driving methods. We review recent progress on the interdisciplinary research field of liquid crystal based plasmonics. The research scope of this field [...] Read more.
Liquid crystals are a promising candidate for development of active plasmonics due to their large birefringence, low driving threshold, and versatile driving methods. We review recent progress on the interdisciplinary research field of liquid crystal based plasmonics. The research scope of this field is to build the next generation of reconfigurable plasmonic devices by combining liquid crystals with plasmonic nanostructures. Various active plasmonic devices, such as switches, modulators, color filters, absorbers, have been demonstrated. This review is structured to cover active plasmonic devices from two aspects: functionalities and driven methods. We hope this review would provide basic knowledge for a new researcher to get familiar with the field, and serve as a reference for experienced researchers to keep up the current research trends. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Crystals) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Mechanical Behavior of AZ31B Mg Alloy Sheets under Monotonic and Cyclic Loadings at Room and Moderately Elevated Temperatures
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1271-1295; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021271 - 18 Feb 2014
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3164
Abstract
Large-strain monotonic and cyclic loading tests of AZ31B magnesium alloy sheets were performed with a newly developed testing system, at different temperatures, ranging from room temperature to 250 °C. Behaviors showing significant twinning during initial in-plane compression and untwinning in subsequent tension at [...] Read more.
Large-strain monotonic and cyclic loading tests of AZ31B magnesium alloy sheets were performed with a newly developed testing system, at different temperatures, ranging from room temperature to 250 °C. Behaviors showing significant twinning during initial in-plane compression and untwinning in subsequent tension at and slightly above room temperature were recorded. Strong yielding asymmetry and nonlinear hardening behavior were also revealed. Considerable Bauschinger effects, transient behavior, and variable permanent softening responses were observed near room temperature, but these were reduced and almost disappeared as the temperature increased. Different stress–strain responses were inherent to the activation of twinning at lower temperatures and non-basal slip systems at elevated temperatures. A critical temperature was identified to account for the transition between the twinning-dominant and slip-dominant deformation mechanisms. Accordingly, below the transition point, stress–strain curves of cyclic loading tests exhibited concave-up shapes for compression or compression following tension, and an unusual S-shape for tension following compression. This unusual shape disappeared when the temperature was above the transition point. Shrinkage of the elastic range and variation in Young’s modulus due to plastic strain deformation during stress reversals were also observed. The texture-induced anisotropy of both the elastic and plastic behaviors was characterized experimentally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Alloys and Their Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of the Cu Source on Optical Properties of CuZnO Films Deposited by Ultrasonic Spraying
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1261-1270; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021261 - 18 Feb 2014
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 2830
Abstract
CuZnO (CZO) films have received considerable attention, owing to their potential applications in semiconductor devices, including gas sensors or solar cells. However, exactly how these films affect the properties of CZO films by using different Cu sources has seldom been investigated. This study [...] Read more.
CuZnO (CZO) films have received considerable attention, owing to their potential applications in semiconductor devices, including gas sensors or solar cells. However, exactly how these films affect the properties of CZO films by using different Cu sources has seldom been investigated. This study demonstrates the feasibility of preparing CZO films by using different Cu sources via a simple ultrasonic spray method, in which copper nitrate and copper acetate were used as copper sources. Optical properties of CZO films prepared by copper nitrate and copper acetate were also investigated, based on transmittance and photoluminescence measurements. Additionally, the composition and the morphology of the films were investigated using the X-ray diffraction analysis and field emission scanning electron microscopy. The results of this study demonstrate that the CZO films prepared by using copper acetate exhibit better optical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Energy Materials)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Sample Elevation in Radio Frequency Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (RF PECVD) Reactor on Optical Properties and Deposition Rate of Silicon Nitride Thin Films
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1249-1260; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021249 - 17 Feb 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2738
Abstract
In this paper we investigate influence of radio frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (RF PECVD) process parameters, which include gas flows, pressure and temperature, as well as a way of sample placement in the reactor, on optical properties and deposition rate of [...] Read more.
In this paper we investigate influence of radio frequency plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (RF PECVD) process parameters, which include gas flows, pressure and temperature, as well as a way of sample placement in the reactor, on optical properties and deposition rate of silicon nitride (SiNx) thin films. The influence of the process parameters has been determined using Taguchi’s orthogonal tables approach. As a result of elevating samples above the electrode, it has been found that deposition rate strongly increases with distance between sample and the stage electrode, and reaches its maximum 7 mm above the electrode. Moreover, the refractive index of the films follows increase of the thickness. The effect can be observed when the thickness of the film is below 80 nm. It has been also found that when the deposition temperature is reduced down to 200 °C, as required for many temperature-sensitive substrate materials, the influence of the substrate material (Si or oxidized Si) can be neglected from the point of view of the properties of the films. We believe that the obtained results may help in designing novel complex in shape devices, where optical properties and thickness of thin plasma-deposited coatings need to be well defined. Full article
Open AccessReview
Review of Plasmonic Nanocomposite Metamaterial Absorber
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1221-1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021221 - 14 Feb 2014
Cited by 108 | Viewed by 7702
Abstract
Plasmonic metamaterials are artificial materials typically composed of noble metals in which the features of photonics and electronics are linked by coupling photons to conduction electrons of metal (known as surface plasmon). These rationally designed structures have spurred interest noticeably since they demonstrate [...] Read more.
Plasmonic metamaterials are artificial materials typically composed of noble metals in which the features of photonics and electronics are linked by coupling photons to conduction electrons of metal (known as surface plasmon). These rationally designed structures have spurred interest noticeably since they demonstrate some fascinating properties which are unattainable with naturally occurring materials. Complete absorption of light is one of the recent exotic properties of plasmonic metamaterials which has broadened its application area considerably. This is realized by designing a medium whose impedance matches that of free space while being opaque. If such a medium is filled with some lossy medium, the resulting structure can absorb light totally in a sharp or broad frequency range. Although several types of metamaterials perfect absorber have been demonstrated so far, in the current paper we overview (and focus on) perfect absorbers based on nanocomposites where the total thickness is a few tens of nanometer and the absorption band is broad, tunable and insensitive to the angle of incidence. The nanocomposites consist of metal nanoparticles embedded in a dielectric matrix with a high filling factor close to the percolation threshold. The filling factor can be tailored by the vapor phase co-deposition of the metallic and dielectric components. In addition, novel wet chemical approaches are discussed which are bio-inspired or involve synthesis within levitating Leidenfrost drops, for instance. Moreover, theoretical considerations, optical properties, and potential application of perfect absorbers will be presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposites of Polymers and Inorganic Particles 2013)
Open AccessReview
Colorimetric Sugar Sensing Using Boronic Acid-Substituted Azobenzenes
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1201-1220; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021201 - 14 Feb 2014
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 4497
Abstract
In association with increasing diabetes prevalence, it is desirable to develop new glucose sensing systems with low cost, ease of use, high stability and good portability. Boronic acid is one of the potential candidates for a future alternative to enzyme-based glucose sensors. Boronic [...] Read more.
In association with increasing diabetes prevalence, it is desirable to develop new glucose sensing systems with low cost, ease of use, high stability and good portability. Boronic acid is one of the potential candidates for a future alternative to enzyme-based glucose sensors. Boronic acid derivatives have been widely used for the sugar recognition motif, because boronic acids bind adjacent diols to form cyclic boronate esters. In order to develop colorimetric sugar sensors, boronic acid-conjugated azobenzenes have been synthesized. There are several types of boronic acid azobenzenes, and their characteristics tend to rely on the substitute position of the boronic acid moiety. For example, o-substitution of boronic acid to the azo group gives the advantage of a significant color change upon sugar addition. Nitrogen-15 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies clearly show a signaling mechanism based on the formation and cleavage of the B–N dative bond between boronic acid and azo moieties in the dye. Some boronic acid-substituted azobenzenes were attached to a polymer or utilized for supramolecular chemistry to produce glucose-selective binding, in which two boronic acid moieties cooperatively bind one glucose molecule. In addition, boronic acid-substituted azobenzenes have been applied not only for glucose monitoring, but also for the sensing of glycated hemoglobin and dopamine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Materials and Proteins for Bio-Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Effect of Al–5Ti–C Master Alloy on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Hypereutectic Al–20%Si Alloy
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1188-1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021188 - 14 Feb 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2837
Abstract
Al–5Ti–C master alloy was prepared and used to modify hypereutectic Al–20%Si alloy. The microstructure evolution and mechanical properties of hypereutectic Al–20%Si alloy with Al–5Ti–C master alloy additions (0, 0.4, 0.6, 1.0, 1.6 and 2.0 wt%) were investigated. The results show that, Al–5Ti–C master [...] Read more.
Al–5Ti–C master alloy was prepared and used to modify hypereutectic Al–20%Si alloy. The microstructure evolution and mechanical properties of hypereutectic Al–20%Si alloy with Al–5Ti–C master alloy additions (0, 0.4, 0.6, 1.0, 1.6 and 2.0 wt%) were investigated. The results show that, Al–5Ti–C master alloy (0.6 wt%, 10 min) can significantly refine both eutectic and primary Si of hypereutectic Al–20%Si alloy. The morphology of the primary Si crystals was significantly refined from a coarse polygonal and star-like shape to a fine polyhedral shape and the grain size of the primary Si was refined from roughly 90–120 μm to 20–50 μm. The eutectic Si phases were modified from a coarse platelet-like/needle-like structure to a fine fibrous structure with discrete particles. The Al–5Ti–C master alloy (0.6 wt%, 30 min) still has a good refinement effect. The ultimate tensile strength (UTS), elongation (El) and Brinell hardness (HB) of Al–20%Si alloy modified by the Al–5Ti–C master alloy (0.6 wt%, 10 min) increased by roughly 65%, 70% and 51%, respectively, due to decreasing the size and changing the morphology on the primary and eutectic Si crystals. The change in mechanical properties corresponds to evolution of the microstructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Alloys and Their Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Study on Mg/Al Weld Seam Based on Zn–Mg–Al Ternary Alloy
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1173-1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021173 - 13 Feb 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3590
Abstract
Based on the idea of alloying welding seams, a series of Zn–xAl filler metals was calculated and designed for joining Mg/Al dissimilar metals by gas tungsten arc (GTA) welding. An infrared thermography system was used to measure the temperature of the [...] Read more.
Based on the idea of alloying welding seams, a series of Zn–xAl filler metals was calculated and designed for joining Mg/Al dissimilar metals by gas tungsten arc (GTA) welding. An infrared thermography system was used to measure the temperature of the welding pool during the welding process to investigate the solidification process. It was found that the mechanical properties of the welded joints were improved with the increasing of the Al content in the Zn–xAl filler metals, and when Zn–30Al was used as the filler metal, the ultimate tensile strength could reach a maximum of 120 MPa. The reason for the average tensile strength of the joint increasing was that the weak zone of the joint using Zn–30Al filler metal was generated primarily by α-Al instead of MgZn2. When Zn–40Al was used as the filler metal, a new transition zone, about 20 μm-wide, appeared in the edge of the fusion zone near the Mg base metal. Due to the transition zones consisting of MgZn2- and Al-based solid solution, the mechanical property of the joints was deteriorated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Alloys and Their Applications)
Open AccessArticle
In situ Neutron Diffraction during Casting: Determination of Rigidity Point in Grain Refined Al-Cu Alloys
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1165-1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021165 - 12 Feb 2014
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2546
Abstract
The rigidity temperature of a solidifying alloy is the temperature at which the solid plus liquid phases are sufficiently coalesced to transmit long range tensile strains and stresses. It determines the point at which thermally induced deformations start to generate internal stresses in [...] Read more.
The rigidity temperature of a solidifying alloy is the temperature at which the solid plus liquid phases are sufficiently coalesced to transmit long range tensile strains and stresses. It determines the point at which thermally induced deformations start to generate internal stresses in a casting. As such, it is a key parameter in numerical modelling of solidification processes and in studying casting defects such as solidification cracking. This temperature has been determined in Al-Cu alloys using in situ neutron diffraction during casting in a dog bone shaped mould. In such a setup, the thermal contraction of the solidifying material is constrained and stresses develop at a hot spot that is irradiated by neutrons. Diffraction peaks are recorded every 11 s using a large detector, and their evolution allows for the determination of the rigidity temperatures. We measured rigidity temperatures equal to 557 °C and 548 °C, depending on cooling rate, for a grain refined Al-13 wt% Cu alloy. At high cooling rate, rigidity is reached during the formation of the eutectic phase and the solid phase is not sufficiently coalesced, i.e., strong enough, to avoid hot tear formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Light Alloys and Their Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Characterization of Holmium-Doped Iron Oxide Nanoparticles
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1155-1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021155 - 12 Feb 2014
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3507
Abstract
Rare earth atoms exhibit several interesting properties, for example, large magnetic moments and luminescence. Introducing these atoms into a different matrix can lead to a material that shows multiple interesting effects. Holmium atoms were incorporated into an iron oxide nanoparticle and the concentration [...] Read more.
Rare earth atoms exhibit several interesting properties, for example, large magnetic moments and luminescence. Introducing these atoms into a different matrix can lead to a material that shows multiple interesting effects. Holmium atoms were incorporated into an iron oxide nanoparticle and the concentration of the dopant atom was changed in order to determine its influence on the host crystal. Its magnetic and magneto-optical properties were investigated by vibrating sample magnetometry and Faraday rotation measurements. The luminescent characteristics of the material, in solution and incorporated in a polymer thin film, were probed by fluorescence experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposites of Polymers and Inorganic Particles 2013)
Open AccessArticle
Carbon Felt-Based Bioelectrocatalytic Flow-Through Detectors: 2,6-Dichlorophenol Indophenol and Peroxidase Coadsorbed Carbon-Felt for Flow-Amperometric Determination of Hydrogen Peroxide
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1142-1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021142 - 12 Feb 2014
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2391
Abstract
2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol (DCIP) and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) were coadsorbed on a porous carbon felt (CF) from their mixed aqueous solution under ultrasound irradiation for 5 min. The resulting DCIP and HRP-coadsorbed CF (DCIP/HRP-CF) showed an excellent bioelectrocatalytic activity for the reduction of H [...] Read more.
2,6-dichlorophenol indophenol (DCIP) and horseradish peroxidase (HRP) were coadsorbed on a porous carbon felt (CF) from their mixed aqueous solution under ultrasound irradiation for 5 min. The resulting DCIP and HRP-coadsorbed CF (DCIP/HRP-CF) showed an excellent bioelectrocatalytic activity for the reduction of H2O2. The coadsorption of DCIP together with HRP was essential to obtain larger bioelectrocatalytic current to H2O2. The DCIP/HRP-CF was successfully used as a working electrode unit of a bioelectrocatalytic flow-through detector for highly sensitive and continuous amperometric determination of H2O2. Under the optimized operational conditions (i.e., applied potential, +0.2 V versus Ag/AgCl; carrier pH 5.0, and carrier flow rate, 1.9 mL/min), the cathodic peak current of H2O2 linearly increased over the concentration range from 0.1 to 30 µM (the sensitivity, 0.88 µA/µM (slope of linear part); the limit of detection, 0.1 µM (S/N = 3) current noise level, 30 nA) with a sample through-put of ca. 40–90 samples/h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Materials and Proteins for Bio-Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Investigation on the Cyclic Response of Superelastic Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Slit Damper Devices Simulated by Quasi-Static Finite Element (FE) Analyses
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1122-1141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021122 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3638
Abstract
In this paper, the superelastic shape memory alloy (SMA) slit damper system as an alternative design approach for steel structures is intended to be evaluated with respect to inelastic behavior simulated by refined finite element (FE) analyses. Although the steel slit dampers conventionally [...] Read more.
In this paper, the superelastic shape memory alloy (SMA) slit damper system as an alternative design approach for steel structures is intended to be evaluated with respect to inelastic behavior simulated by refined finite element (FE) analyses. Although the steel slit dampers conventionally used for aseismic design are able to dissipate a considerable amount of energy generated by the plastic yielding of the base materials, large permanent deformation may occur in the entire structure. After strong seismic events, extra damage repair costs are required to restore the original configuration and to replace defective devices with new ones. Innovative slit dampers fabricated by superelastic SMAs that automatically recover their initial conditions only by the removal of stresses without heat treatment are introduced with a view toward mitigating the problem of permanent deformation. The cyclically tested FE models are calibrated to experimental results for the purpose of predicting accurate behavior. This study also focuses on the material constitutive model that is able to reproduce the inherent behavior of superelastic SMA materials by taking phase transformation between austenite and martensite into consideration. The responses of SMA slit dampers are compared to those of steel slit dampers. Axial stress and strain components are also investigated on the FE models under cyclic loading in an effort to validate the adequacy of FE modeling and then to compare between two slit damper systems. It can be shown that SMA slit dampers exhibit many structural advantages in terms of ultimate strength, moderate energy dissipation and recentering capability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape Memory Materials)
Open AccessArticle
Dielectric Properties of Dual-Frequency Reactive Mesogens before and after Photopolymerization
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1113-1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021113 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2661
Abstract
The dielectric properties of reactive mesogens before and after photopolymerization were investigated. Commercially available nematic reactive mesogens (RMS03-013C, Merck) were measured and found to be dual-frequency liquid crystals. The property arose from the δ-relaxation process that was caused by rotational fluctuations parallel to [...] Read more.
The dielectric properties of reactive mesogens before and after photopolymerization were investigated. Commercially available nematic reactive mesogens (RMS03-013C, Merck) were measured and found to be dual-frequency liquid crystals. The property arose from the δ-relaxation process that was caused by rotational fluctuations parallel to the molecule’s long axis. After polymerization, the polymerized reactive mesogens still exhibited this dual-frequency property. The result was attributed to the β-relaxation process which arose from rotational fluctuations of localized parts of the main chain. The sign change of the dielectric anisotropy with increasing frequency after polymerization was opposite to the sign change before polymerization. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Exogenous Zinc Concentration on the Responsiveness of MC3T3-E1 Pre-Osteoblasts to Surface Microtopography: Part II (Differentiation)
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1097-1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021097 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2586
Abstract
Osseointegration of bone implants is a vital part of the recovery process. Numerous studies have shown that micropatterned geometries can promote cell-substrate associations and strengthen the bond between tissue and the implanted material. As demonstrated previously, exogenous zinc levels can influence the responsiveness [...] Read more.
Osseointegration of bone implants is a vital part of the recovery process. Numerous studies have shown that micropatterned geometries can promote cell-substrate associations and strengthen the bond between tissue and the implanted material. As demonstrated previously, exogenous zinc levels can influence the responsiveness of pre-osteoblasts to micropatterns and modify their migratory behavior. In this study, we sought to determine the effect of exogenous zinc on differentiation of osteoblasts cultured on micropatterned vs. planar substrates. Levels of activated metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1), as well as early stage differentiation marker alkaline phosphatase, were altered with the addition of zinc. These results suggest that exogenous zinc concentration and micropatterning may interdependently modulate osteoblast differentiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocompatibility of Materials 2013)
Open AccessArticle
Silicate Removal in Aluminum Hydroxide Co-Precipitation Process
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1084-1096; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021084 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2548
Abstract
The removal mechanisms of silicate using an aluminum hydroxide co-precipitation process was investigated and compared with an adsorption process, in order to establish an effective and validated method for silicate removal from wastewater. Adsorption isotherms, XRD and FT-IR analyses showed that silicate uptake [...] Read more.
The removal mechanisms of silicate using an aluminum hydroxide co-precipitation process was investigated and compared with an adsorption process, in order to establish an effective and validated method for silicate removal from wastewater. Adsorption isotherms, XRD and FT-IR analyses showed that silicate uptake occurred by adsorption to boehmite for initial Si/Al molar ratios smaller than two, but by precipitation of poorly crystalline kaolinite for the ratios larger than two, in both co-precipitation and adsorption processes. Silicate was removed by two steps: (i) an initial rapid uptake in a few seconds; and (ii) a slow uptake over several hours in both processes. The uptake rate in the first step was higher in the co-precipitation process than in adsorption process, presumably due to increased silicate adsorption to boehmite and rapid precipitation of kaolinite. These results suggest that silicate removal using aluminum salts could be effectively achieved if the pH adjustment and aluminum concentration are strictly controlled. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Direct Electrochemistry and Electrocatalysis of Horseradish Peroxidase Immobilized in a DNA/Chitosan-Fe3O4 Magnetic Nanoparticle Bio-Complex Film
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1069-1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021069 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3138
Abstract
A DNA/chitosan-Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticle bio-complex film was constructed for the immobilization of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) on a glassy carbon electrode. HRP was simply mixed with DNA, chitosan and Fe3O4 nanoparticles, and then applied to the electrode surface [...] Read more.
A DNA/chitosan-Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticle bio-complex film was constructed for the immobilization of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) on a glassy carbon electrode. HRP was simply mixed with DNA, chitosan and Fe3O4 nanoparticles, and then applied to the electrode surface to form an enzyme-incorporated polyion complex film. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to study the surface features of DNA/chitosan/Fe3O4/HRP layer. The results of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) show that Fe3O4 and enzyme were successfully immobilized on the electrode surface by the DNA/chitosan bio-polyion complex membrane. Direct electron transfer (DET) and bioelectrocatalysis of HRP in the DNA/chitosan/Fe3O4 film were investigated by cyclic voltammetry (CV) and constant potential amperometry. The HRP-immobilized electrode was found to undergo DET and exhibited a fast electron transfer rate constant of 3.7 s−1. The CV results showed that the modified electrode gave rise to well-defined peaks in phosphate buffer, corresponding to the electrochemical redox reaction between HRP(Fe(III)) and HRP(Fe(II)). The obtained electrode also displayed an electrocatalytic reduction behavior towards H2O2. The resulting DNA/chitosan/Fe3O4/HRP/glassy carbon electrode (GCE) shows a high sensitivity (20.8 A·cm−2·M−1) toward H2O2. A linear response to H2O2 measurement was obtained over the range from 2 µM to 100 µM (R2 = 0.99) and an amperometric detection limit of 1 µM (S/N = 3). The apparent Michaelis-Menten constant of HRP immobilized on the electrode was 0.28 mM. Furthermore, the electrode exhibits both good operational stability and storage stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Materials and Proteins for Bio-Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Detection of Waterborne and Airborne Formaldehyde: From Amperometric Chemosensing to a Visual Biosensor Based on Alcohol Oxidase
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1055-1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021055 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3118
Abstract
A laboratory prototype of a microcomputer-based analyzer was developed for quantitative determination of formaldehyde in liquid samples, based on catalytic chemosensing elements. It was shown that selectivity for the target analyte could be increased by modulating the working electrode potential. Analytical parameters of [...] Read more.
A laboratory prototype of a microcomputer-based analyzer was developed for quantitative determination of formaldehyde in liquid samples, based on catalytic chemosensing elements. It was shown that selectivity for the target analyte could be increased by modulating the working electrode potential. Analytical parameters of three variants of the amperometric analyzer that differed in the chemical structure/configuration of the working electrode were studied. The constructed analyzer was tested on wastewater solutions that contained formaldehyde. A simple low-cost biosensor was developed for semi-quantitative detection of airborne formaldehyde in concentrations exceeding the threshold level. This biosensor is based on a change in the color of a solution that contains a mixture of alcohol oxidase from the yeast Hansenula polymorpha, horseradish peroxidase and a chromogen, following exposure to airborne formaldehyde. The solution is enclosed within a membrane device, which is permeable to formaldehyde vapors. The most efficient and sensitive biosensor for detecting formaldehyde was the one that contained alcohol oxidase with an activity of 1.2 U·mL−1. The biosensor requires no special instrumentation and enables rapid visual detection of airborne formaldehyde at concentrations, which are hazardous to human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Materials and Proteins for Bio-Sensing Applications)
Open AccessArticle
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Detection Using an Aptamer and PNA-Based Bound/Free Separation System
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1046-1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021046 - 11 Feb 2014
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3172
Abstract
We have developed a bound/free separation system using a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) aptamer and a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) to detect VEGF. In this system, we designed capture PNA (CaPNA), which hybridizes with the aptamer in the absence of the target [...] Read more.
We have developed a bound/free separation system using a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) aptamer and a peptide nucleic acid (PNA) to detect VEGF. In this system, we designed capture PNA (CaPNA), which hybridizes with the aptamer in the absence of the target protein, but does not hybridize with the aptamer in the presence of the target protein due to steric hindrance and/or stabilization of the aptamer’s structure. By removing the aptamers not bound to the target protein using CaPNA immobilized beads, we can detect the target protein by measuring signals labeled with the aptamer in the supernatant. In this study, we detected VEGF using CaPNA-immobilized beads without the time-consuming washing step. This simple and rapid system can detect 25 nM of VEGF in 15 min. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Materials and Proteins for Bio-Sensing Applications)
Open AccessReview
Nanocomposite Electrospun Nanofiber Membranes for Environmental Remediation
Materials 2014, 7(2), 1017-1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7021017 - 10 Feb 2014
Cited by 86 | Viewed by 4782
Abstract
Rapid worldwide industrialization and population growth is going to lead to an extensive environmental pollution. Therefore, so many people are currently suffering from the water shortage induced by the respective pollution, as well as poor air quality and a huge fund is wasted [...] Read more.
Rapid worldwide industrialization and population growth is going to lead to an extensive environmental pollution. Therefore, so many people are currently suffering from the water shortage induced by the respective pollution, as well as poor air quality and a huge fund is wasted in the world each year due to the relevant problems. Environmental remediation necessitates implementation of novel materials and technologies, which are cost and energy efficient. Nanomaterials, with their unique chemical and physical properties, are an optimum solution. Accordingly, there is a strong motivation in seeking nano-based approaches for alleviation of environmental problems in an energy efficient, thereby, inexpensive manner. Thanks to a high porosity and surface area presenting an extraordinary permeability (thereby an energy efficiency) and selectivity, respectively, nanofibrous membranes are a desirable candidate. Their functionality and applicability is even promoted when adopting a nanocomposite strategy. In this case, specific nanofillers, such as metal oxides, carbon nanotubes, precious metals, and smart biological agents, are incorporated either during electrospinning or in the post-processing. Moreover, to meet operational requirements, e.g., to enhance mechanical stability, decrease of pressure drop, etc., nanofibrous membranes are backed by a microfibrous non-woven forming a hybrid membrane. The novel generation of nanocomposite/hybrid nanofibrous membranes can perform extraordinarily well in environmental remediation and control. This reality justifies authoring of this review paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocomposites of Polymers and Inorganic Particles 2013)
Open AccessReview
Wear Debris Characterization and Corresponding Biological Response: Artificial Hip and Knee Joints
Materials 2014, 7(2), 980-1016; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7020980 - 10 Feb 2014
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 3927
Abstract
Wear debris, of deferent sizes, shapes and quantities, generated in artificial hip and knees is largely confined to the bone and joint interface. This debris interacts with periprosthetic tissue and may cause aseptic loosening. The purpose of this review is to summarize and [...] Read more.
Wear debris, of deferent sizes, shapes and quantities, generated in artificial hip and knees is largely confined to the bone and joint interface. This debris interacts with periprosthetic tissue and may cause aseptic loosening. The purpose of this review is to summarize and collate findings of the recent demonstrations on debris characterization and their biological response that influences the occurrence in implant migration. A systematic review of peer-reviewed literature is performed, based on inclusion and exclusion criteria addressing mainly debris isolation, characterization, and biologic responses. Results show that debris characterization largely depends on their appropriate and accurate isolation protocol. The particles are found to be non-uniform in size and non-homogeneously distributed into the periprosthetic tissues. In addition, the sizes, shapes, and volumes of the particles are influenced by the types of joints, bearing geometry, material combination, and lubricant. Phagocytosis of wear debris is size dependent; high doses of submicron-sized particles induce significant level of secretion of bone resorbing factors. However, articles on wear debris from engineered surfaces (patterned and coated) are lacking. The findings suggest considering debris morphology as an important parameter to evaluate joint simulator and newly developed implant materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Structure Analysis and Characterization)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Particle Size on the Shear Behavior of Coarse Grained Soils Reinforced with Geogrid
Materials 2014, 7(2), 963-979; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7020963 - 07 Feb 2014
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2848
Abstract
In order to design civil structures that are supported by soils, the shear strength parameters of soils are required. Due to the large particle size of coarse-grained soils, large direct shear tests should be performed. In this study, large direct shear tests on [...] Read more.
In order to design civil structures that are supported by soils, the shear strength parameters of soils are required. Due to the large particle size of coarse-grained soils, large direct shear tests should be performed. In this study, large direct shear tests on three types of coarse grained soils (4.5 mm, 7.9 mm, and 15.9 mm) were performed to evaluate the effects of particle size on the shear behavior of coarse grained soils with/without geogrid reinforcements. Based on the direct shear test results, it was found that, in the case of no-reinforcement, the larger the maximum particle size became, the larger the friction angle was. Compared with the no-reinforcement case, the cases reinforced with either soft geogrid or stiff geogrid have smaller friction angles. The cohesion of the soil reinforced with stiff geogrid was larger than that of the soil reinforced with soft geogrid. The difference in the shear strength occurs because the case with a stiff geogrid has more soil to geogrid contact area, leading to the reduction in interlocking between soil particles. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Role of SiNx Barrier Layer on the Performances of Polyimide Ga2O3-doped ZnO p-i-n Hydrogenated Amorphous Silicon Thin Film Solar Cells
Materials 2014, 7(2), 948-962; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma7020948 - 07 Feb 2014
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3301
Abstract
In this study, silicon nitride (SiNx) thin films were deposited on polyimide (PI) substrates as barrier layers by a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system. The gallium-doped zinc oxide (GZO) thin films were deposited on PI and SiNx/PI [...] Read more.
In this study, silicon nitride (SiNx) thin films were deposited on polyimide (PI) substrates as barrier layers by a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) system. The gallium-doped zinc oxide (GZO) thin films were deposited on PI and SiNx/PI substrates at room temperature (RT), 100 and 200 °C by radio frequency (RF) magnetron sputtering. The thicknesses of the GZO and SiNx thin films were controlled at around 160 ± 12 nm and 150 ± 10 nm, respectively. The optimal deposition parameters for the SiNx thin films were a working pressure of 800 × 10−3 Torr, a deposition power of 20 W, a deposition temperature of 200 °C, and gas flowing rates of SiH4 = 20 sccm and NH3 = 210 sccm, respectively. For the GZO/PI and GZO-SiNx/PI structures we had found that the GZO thin films deposited at 100 and 200 °C had higher crystallinity, higher electron mobility, larger carrier concentration, smaller resistivity, and higher optical transmittance ratio. For that, the GZO thin films deposited at 100 and 200 °C on PI and SiNx/PI substrates with thickness of ~1000 nm were used to fabricate p-i-n hydrogenated amorphous silicon (α-Si) thin film solar cells. 0.5% HCl solution was used to etch the surfaces of the GZO/PI and GZO-SiNx/PI substrates. Finally, PECVD system was used to deposit α-Si thin film onto the etched surfaces of the GZO/PI and GZO-SiNx/PI substrates to fabricate α-Si thin film solar cells, and the solar cells’ properties were also investigated. We had found that substrates to get the optimally solar cells’ efficiency were 200 °C-deposited GZO-SiNx/PI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Energy Materials 2013)
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