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Polymers, Volume 11, Issue 11 (November 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication of a Large-Area, Fused Polymer Micromold Based on Electric-Field-Driven (EFD) μ-3D Printing
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111902 (registering DOI) - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
An electric-field-driven (EFD), μ-3D printed, fused polymer technique has been developed for the fabrication of large-area microscale prototype molds using typical polymer materials, including microcrystalline wax (MC-wax), polycaprolactone (PCL), and polymathic methacrylate (PMMA). This work proposes an alternative for large area microscale modes [...] Read more.
An electric-field-driven (EFD), μ-3D printed, fused polymer technique has been developed for the fabrication of large-area microscale prototype molds using typical polymer materials, including microcrystalline wax (MC-wax), polycaprolactone (PCL), and polymathic methacrylate (PMMA). This work proposes an alternative for large area microscale modes and overcomes the limitation of high cost in the traditional mold manufacturing industry. The EFD principle enables printing of fused polymers materials more than one order of magnitude lower than the nozzle diameter, contributing to the necking effect of the Taylor cone jet, which is the key factor to achieve the microscale manufacturing. Numerical simulation of electric field distribution between the meniscus and substrate was carried out to elucidate the dependence of electric field distribution on the meniscus condition of three types of polymers under printable voltage, and the electrical field parameters for the EFD μ-3D printing were determined. A number of experiments were printed successfully using a large range of viscosity materials, ranging from tens of mPa·s to hundreds of thousands of mPa·s of PCL and PMMA. The differences in parameters of different materials, such as viscosity, tensile properties, and surface energy, were studied to assess their use in different fields. Using proper process parameters and a nozzle with an inner diameter of 200 μm, three different application cases were completed, including a Wax microarray and microchannel with a minimum dot diameter of 20 μm, a PCL mesh structure with a minimum line width of 5 μm, and a PMMA large-area mold with a maximum aspect ratio of 0.8. Results show that the EFD μ-3D printing has the outstanding advantages of high printing resolution and polymer material universality. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Gelatin Type A from Porcine Skin Used as Co-Initiator in a Radical Photo-Initiating System
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1901; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111901 (registering DOI) - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
In the present study, a different approach for the preparation of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate-gelatin (PEGDA-gelatin) hydrogels was investigated. Gelatin type A from porcine skin was used as the co-initiator of a radical photo-initiating system instead of the traditional aliphatic or aromatic amines. This [...] Read more.
In the present study, a different approach for the preparation of poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate-gelatin (PEGDA-gelatin) hydrogels was investigated. Gelatin type A from porcine skin was used as the co-initiator of a radical photo-initiating system instead of the traditional aliphatic or aromatic amines. This became possible because, upon visible-light irradiation, the amine sequences within gelatin generate initiating free-radicals through the intermolecular proton transfer in a Norrish type II reaction with camphorquinone (CQ). PEGDA-gelatin hydrogels were prepared by visible-light-induced photopolymerization. The gelatin content in the precursor formulations was varied. The influence of gelatin on the kinetics of the photocuring reaction was investigated, and it was found that gelatin fastened the rate of polymerization at all concentrations. The covalent attachment of gelatin segments within the cross-linked hydrogels was evaluated by means of attenuated total reflectance-infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy after solvent extraction. The thermo-mechanical properties, as well as the swelling behavior and gel content, were also investigated. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
High Efficiency Gas Permeability Membranes from Ethyl Cellulose Grafted with Ionic Liquids
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1900; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111900 (registering DOI) - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Ethyl cellulose was grafted with ionic liquids in optimal yields (62.5–64.1%) and grafting degrees (5.93–7.90%) by the esterification of the hydroxyl groups in ethyl cellulose with the carboxyl groups in ionic liquids. In IR spectra of the ethyl cellulose derivatives exhibited C=O bond [...] Read more.
Ethyl cellulose was grafted with ionic liquids in optimal yields (62.5–64.1%) and grafting degrees (5.93–7.90%) by the esterification of the hydroxyl groups in ethyl cellulose with the carboxyl groups in ionic liquids. In IR spectra of the ethyl cellulose derivatives exhibited C=O bond stretching vibration peaks at 1760 or 1740 cm−1, confirming the formation of the ester groups and furnishing the evidence of the successful grafting of ethyl cellulose with ionic liquids. The ethyl cellulose grafted with ionic liquids could be formed into membranes by using the casting solution method. The resulting membranes exhibited good membrane forming ability and mechanical properties. The EC grafted with ionic liquids-based membranes demonstrated PCO2/PCH4 separation factors of up to 18.8, whereas the PCO2/PCH4 separation factor of 9.0 was obtained for pure EC membrane (both for CO2/CH4 mixture gas). The membranes also demonstrated an excellent gas permeability coefficient PCO2, up to 199 Barrer, which was higher than pure EC (PCO2 = 46.8 Barrer). Therefore, it can be concluded that the ionic liquids with imidazole groups are immensely useful for improving the gas separation performances of EC membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Materials in Environmental Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
Continuous, Strong, Porous Silk Firoin-Based Aerogel Fibers toward Textile Thermal Insulation
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1899; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111899 - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
Aerogel fiber, with the characteristics of ultra-low density, ultra-high porosity, and high specific surface area, is the most potential candidate for manufacturing wearable thermal insulation material. However, aerogel fibers generally show weak mechanical properties and complex preparation processes. Herein, through firstly preparing a [...] Read more.
Aerogel fiber, with the characteristics of ultra-low density, ultra-high porosity, and high specific surface area, is the most potential candidate for manufacturing wearable thermal insulation material. However, aerogel fibers generally show weak mechanical properties and complex preparation processes. Herein, through firstly preparing a cellulose acetate/polyacrylic acid (CA/PAA) hollow fiber using coaxial wet-spinning followed by injecting the silk fibroin (SF) solution into the hollow fiber, the CA/PAA-wrapped SF aerogel fibers toward textile thermal insulation were successfully constructed after freeze-drying. The sheath (CA/PAA hollow fiber) possesses a multiscale porous structure, including micropores (11.37 ± 4.01 μm), sub-micron pores (217.47 ± 46.16 nm), as well as nanopores on the inner (44.00 ± 21.65 nm) and outer (36.43 ± 17.55 nm) surfaces, which is crucial to the formation of a SF aerogel core. Furthermore, the porous CA/PAA-wrapped SF aerogel fibers have many advantages, such as low density (0.21 g/cm3), high porosity (86%), high strength at break (2.6 ± 0.4 MPa), as well as potential continuous and large-scale production. The delicate structure of multiscale porous sheath and ultra-low-density SF aerogel core synergistically inhibit air circulation and limit convective heat transfer. Meanwhile, the high porosity of aerogel fibers weakens heat transfer and the SF aerogel cellular walls prevent infrared radiation. The results show that the mat composed of these aerogel fibers exhibits excellent thermal insulating properties with a wide working temperature from −20 to 100 °C. Therefore, this SF-based aerogel fiber can be considered as a practical option for high performance thermal insulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Processing and Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Dispersed-Monolayer Graphene-Doped Polymer/Silica Hybrid Mach-Zehnder interferometer (MZI) Thermal Optical Switch with Low-Power Consumption and Fast Response
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1898; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111898 (registering DOI) - 18 Nov 2019
Abstract
This article demonstrates a dispersed-monolayer graphene-doped polymer/silica hybrid Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) thermal optical switch with low-power consumption and fast response. The polymer/silica hybrid MZI structure reduces the power consumption of the device as a result of the large thermal optical coefficient of the [...] Read more.
This article demonstrates a dispersed-monolayer graphene-doped polymer/silica hybrid Mach–Zehnder interferometer (MZI) thermal optical switch with low-power consumption and fast response. The polymer/silica hybrid MZI structure reduces the power consumption of the device as a result of the large thermal optical coefficient of the polymer material. To further decrease the response time of the thermal optical switch device, a polymethyl methacrylate, doped with monolayer graphene as a cladding material, has been synthesized. Our study theoretically analyzed the thermal conductivity of composites using the Lewis–Nielsen model. The predicted thermal conductivity of the composites increased by 133.16% at a graphene volume fraction of 0.263 vol %, due to the large thermal conductivity of graphene. Measurements taken of the fabricated thermal optical switch exhibited a power consumption of 7.68 mW, a rise time of 40 μs, and a fall time of 80 μs at a wavelength of 1550 nm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Preparation, and Evaluation of a Novel Elastomer with Bio-Based Diethyl Itaconate Aiming at High-Temperature Oil Resistance
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1897; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111897 - 17 Nov 2019
Abstract
A novel elastomer poly(diethyl itaconate-co-butyl acrylate-co-ethyl acrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate) (PDEBEG) was designed and synthesized by redox emulsion polymerization based on bio-based diethyl itaconate, butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and glycidyl methacrylate. The PDEBEG has a number average molecular weight [...] Read more.
A novel elastomer poly(diethyl itaconate-co-butyl acrylate-co-ethyl acrylate-co-glycidyl methacrylate) (PDEBEG) was designed and synthesized by redox emulsion polymerization based on bio-based diethyl itaconate, butyl acrylate, ethyl acrylate, and glycidyl methacrylate. The PDEBEG has a number average molecular weight of more than 200,000 and the yield is up to 96%. It is easy to control the glass transition temperature of the PDEBEG, which is ranged from −25.2 to −0.8 °C, by adjusting the monomer ratio. We prepared PDEBEG/CB composites by mixing PDEBEG with carbon black N330 and studied the oil resistance of the composites. The results show that the tensile strength and the elongation at break of the composites with 10 wt% diethyl itaconate can reach up to 14.5 MPa and 305%, respectively. The mechanical properties and high-temperature oil resistance of the composites are superior to that of the commercially available acrylate rubber AR72LS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Hybrid Foaming Method for Low-Pressure Microcellular Foam Production of Unfilled and Talc-Filled Copolymer Polypropylenes
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1896; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111896 - 17 Nov 2019
Abstract
Unfilled and talc-filled Copolymer Polypropylene (PP) samples were produced through low-pressure foam-injection molding (FIM). The foaming stage of the process has been facilitated through a chemical blowing agent (C6H7NaO7 and CaCO3 mixture), a physical blowing agent (supercritical [...] Read more.
Unfilled and talc-filled Copolymer Polypropylene (PP) samples were produced through low-pressure foam-injection molding (FIM). The foaming stage of the process has been facilitated through a chemical blowing agent (C6H7NaO7 and CaCO3 mixture), a physical blowing agent (supercritical N2) and a novel hybrid foaming (combination of said chemical and physical foaming agents). Three weight-saving levels were produced with the varying foaming methods and compared to conventional injection molding. The unfilled PP foams produced through chemical blowing agent exhibited the strongest mechanical characteristics due to larger skin wall thicknesses, while the weakest were that of the talc-filled PP through the hybrid foaming technique. However, the hybrid foaming produced superior microcellular foams for both PPs due to calcium carbonate (CaCO3) enhancing the nucleation phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Foams II)
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Open AccessArticle
Construction of Polymer Electrolyte Based on Soybean Protein Isolate and Hydroxyethyl Cellulose for a Flexible Solid-State Supercapacitor
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1895; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111895 - 17 Nov 2019
Abstract
Supercapacitors are a very active research topic. However, liquid electrolytes present several drawbacks on security and packaging. Herein, a gel polymer electrolyte was prepared based on crosslinked renewable and environmentally friendly soybean protein isolate (SPI) and hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) with 1.0 mol L [...] Read more.
Supercapacitors are a very active research topic. However, liquid electrolytes present several drawbacks on security and packaging. Herein, a gel polymer electrolyte was prepared based on crosslinked renewable and environmentally friendly soybean protein isolate (SPI) and hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) with 1.0 mol L−1 Li2SO4. Highly hydrophilic SPI and HEC guaranteed a high ionic conductivity of 8.40 × 10−3 S cm−1. The fabricated solid-state supercapacitor with prepared gel polymer electrolyte exhibited a good electrochemical performance, that is, a high single electrode gravimetric capacitance of 91.79 F g−1 and an energy density of 7.17 W h kg−1 at a current density of 5.0 A g−1. The fabricated supercapacitor exhibited a flexible performance under bending condition superior to liquid supercapacitor and similar electrochemical performance at various bending angles. In addition, it was proved by an almost 100% cycling retention and a coulombic efficiency over 5000 charge–discharge cycles. For comparison, supercapacitors assembled with commercial aqueous PP/PE separator, pure SPI membrane, and crosslinked SPI membrane were also characterized. The obtained gel polymer electrolyte based on crosslinked SPI and HEC may be useful for the design of advanced polymer electrolytes for energy devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Based Polymers: Synthesis and Properties)
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Open AccessArticle
Poly(Acrylonitrile–Butadiene–Styrene) as a Special β-Nucleating Agent on the Toughness of Isotactic Polypropylene
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1894; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111894 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
The influence of poly(acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene) (ABS) as a special β-nucleating agent on the impact and tensile properties of isotactic polypropylene (iPP) were investigated by dynamic rheological measurements, wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and mechanical properties tests. It [...] Read more.
The influence of poly(acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene) (ABS) as a special β-nucleating agent on the impact and tensile properties of isotactic polypropylene (iPP) were investigated by dynamic rheological measurements, wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and mechanical properties tests. It is found that the β nucleation efficiency of ABS is closely related to its concentration, dispersibility, and molding method for the iPP/ABS blends. The content of β-crystal (Kβ) rises with the incorporation of ABS and shows a maximum with the introduction of 1% ABS for compression-molded blends and 2% ABS for injection-molded blends, respectively, which is followed by a decrease in Kβ. The addition of a small amount of ABS has a significant reinforcing and toughening effect on iPP. Compared with the compression-molded samples, the ABS dispersed phase in injection-molded samples has a smaller particle size and a larger specific surface area, which are favorable for stress transmission and higher β nucleation efficiency, and therefore, better tensile and impact properties can be expected. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Production Possibility of the Antimicrobial Filaments by Co-Extrusion of the PLA Pellet with Chitosan Powder for FDM 3D Printing Technology
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1893; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111893 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
The last decades have witnessed a major advancement and development in three-dimensional (3D) printing technology. In the future, the trend’s utilization of 3D printing is expected to play an important role in the biomedical field. This work presents co-extrusion of the polylactic acid [...] Read more.
The last decades have witnessed a major advancement and development in three-dimensional (3D) printing technology. In the future, the trend’s utilization of 3D printing is expected to play an important role in the biomedical field. This work presents co-extrusion of the polylactic acid (PLA), its derivatives (sPLA), and chitosan with the aim of achieving filaments for printing 3D objects, such as biomedical tools or implants. The physicochemical and antimicrobial properties were evaluated using SEM, FT-IR, DSC, instrumental mechanical test, and based on the ASTM E2149 standard, respectively. The addition of chitosan in the PLA and sPLA filaments increased their porosity and decreased density. The FT-IR analysis showed that PLA and chitosan only formed a physical mixture after extrusion. The addition of chitosan caused deterioration of the mechanical properties of filaments, especially elongation at break and Young’s modulus. The addition of chitosan to the filaments improved their ability to crystallize and provide their antimicrobial properties against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chitin and Chitosan: Properties and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication and Characterization of Thermal-responsive Biomimetic Small-scale Shape Memory Wood Composites with High Tensile Strength, High Anisotropy
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1892; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111892 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Intelligent responsive materials have become one of the most exciting fields in the research of new materials in the past few decades due to their practical and potential applications in aerospace, biomedicine, textile, electronics, and other relative fields. Here, a novel thermal-responsive biomimetic [...] Read more.
Intelligent responsive materials have become one of the most exciting fields in the research of new materials in the past few decades due to their practical and potential applications in aerospace, biomedicine, textile, electronics, and other relative fields. Here, a novel thermal-responsive biomimetic shape memory wood composite is fabricated utilizing polycaprolactone-based (PCL) shape-memory polymer to modify treated-wood. The shape memory wood inherits visual characteristics and the unique three-dimension structure of natural wood that endows the shape memory wood (SMW) with outstanding tensile strength (10.68 MPa) at room temperature. In terms of shape memory performance, the shape recovery ratio is affected by multiple factors including environment temperature, first figuration angle, cycle times, and shows different variation tendency, respectively. Compared with shape recovery ratio, the shape fixity ratio (96%) is relatively high and stable. This study supplies more possibilities for the functional applications of wood, such as biomimetic architecture, self-healing wood veneering, and intelligent furniture. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Preparation and Characterization of Superabsorbent Polymers Based on Sawdust
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1891; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111891 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Sawdust, a cheap by-product of the timber and forestry industry, was considered as a framework structure to prepare superabsorbent polymer with acrylic acid (AA) and acrylamide (AM), the synthetic monomers. The effects of initiator content, crosslinker content, AA content, AM content, degree of [...] Read more.
Sawdust, a cheap by-product of the timber and forestry industry, was considered as a framework structure to prepare superabsorbent polymer with acrylic acid (AA) and acrylamide (AM), the synthetic monomers. The effects of initiator content, crosslinker content, AA content, AM content, degree of neutralization of AA, and reaction temperature on the swelling rate of superabsorbent polymer were investigated. The synthesized polymer was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Under optimal synthesis conditions, the results showed that the swelling rate of the polymer in deionized water and 0.9% NaCl solution reached 738.12 and 90.18 g/g, respectively. The polymer exhibits excellent swelling ability, thermal stability, and reusability. After the polymer was introduced into the samples (soil or coal), the water evaporation rate of the samples was significantly reduced, and the saturated water holding capacity and pore structure were also significantly improved. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Sustainable Polymeric Materials from Renewable Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation of Polyurethane Monolithic Resins and Modification with a Condensed Tannin-Yielding Self-Healing Property
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1890; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111890 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Resins of polyurethane were prepared from vegetable oils (crambe and castor) and modified by adding green corrosion inhibitor (condensed tannin). The oils were characterized by gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection (GC-FID), attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). [...] Read more.
Resins of polyurethane were prepared from vegetable oils (crambe and castor) and modified by adding green corrosion inhibitor (condensed tannin). The oils were characterized by gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection (GC-FID), attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The reaction was monitored by characterizing the intermediate products (polyester and prepolymer). The polyester was characterized by solubility in methanol, acidity index, hydroxyl groups and FTIR-ATR, and the prepolymer was characterized by solid content, solvent content, isocyanate (NCO) groups and FTIR-ATR. The formation of PU resins was confirmed by FTIR-ATR and TGA, and the presence of tannin particles incorporated in the coating can be observed by optical microscopy (OM). The absence of the band attributed to NCO in FTIR-ATR spectra of the resins confirmed the complete reaction between polyester and prepolymer. The OM observation and a video demonstrate that Polyurethane (PU)-modified with condensed tannin resin presents self-healing effect, probably through the formation of new hydrogen bonds when in contact with deionized water. Therefore, these results open possibilities for new synthetic routes aiming at improving the very important self-healing property for protecting metals and their alloys against corrosion, extending significantly the metallic materials lifetime as previously demonstrated by our group. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Shape-Memory Metallopolymer Networks Based on a Triazole–Pyridine Ligand
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1889; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111889 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Shape memory polymers represent an interesting class of stimuli-responsive polymers. With their ability to memorize and recover their original shape, they could be useful in almost every area of our daily life. We herein present the synthesis of shape-memory metallopolymers in which the [...] Read more.
Shape memory polymers represent an interesting class of stimuli-responsive polymers. With their ability to memorize and recover their original shape, they could be useful in almost every area of our daily life. We herein present the synthesis of shape-memory metallopolymers in which the switching unit is designed by using bis(pyridine–triazole) metal complexes. The polymer networks were synthesized via free radical polymerization of methyl-, ethyl- or butyl-methacrylate, tri(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate and a methacrylate moiety of the triazole–pyridine ligand. By the addition of zinc(II) or cobalt(II) acetate it was possible to achieve metallopolymer networks featuring shape-memory abilities. The successful formation of the metal-ligand complex was proven by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and by 1H NMR spectroscopy. Furthermore, the shape-recovery behavior was studied in detailed fashion and even triple-shape memory behavior could be revealed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape Memory Polymers III)
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Spraying Strategy on the Dynamic Response of Polyurea-Coated Metal Plates to Localized Air Blast Loading: Experimental Investigations
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1888; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111888 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Polyurea has attracted considerable attention owing to its potential applications in protective fields to improve the resistant performance of structures subjected to damage loads resulting from intentional or accidental explosions. However, different spraying strategies of polyurea may lead to significant differences in overall [...] Read more.
Polyurea has attracted considerable attention owing to its potential applications in protective fields to improve the resistant performance of structures subjected to damage loads resulting from intentional or accidental explosions. However, different spraying strategies of polyurea may lead to significant differences in overall resistance performance of polyurea-coated structures, and the underlying mechanisms have not been clear until now. This study aims to elucidate the influence of spraying strategy, i.e., spraying area, spraying thickness, and spraying interface condition, on the dynamic response of polyurea-coated steel plates under localized air blast loading. Three types of plates manufactured using different spraying strategies were adopted to evaluate their blast-resistant performance. The spraying strategies used were (i) whole-area spraying, (ii) partial-area spraying, and (iii) in-contact backing of polyurea on the rear surfaces of steel plates. In addition, the influence of spraying thickness of polyurea for whole-area sprayed plates was evaluated. The energy absorbing mechanisms of polyurea backing layers were highlighted. The energy absorption of plates was quantitatively analyzed. The results show that the air blast resistances of whole-area sprayed and in-contact backed plates are both superior to, whereas that of partial-area sprayed plates is inferior to, bare steel counterparts. A suitable spraying thickness of polyurea can significantly reduce the damage of the front steel layer, whereas excessive spraying thickness decreases the overall air blast resistance of plates. The polyurea backing layer exhibits favorable performance in absorbing energy under a whole-area spraying condition. This study provides useful guidance for the design of polyurea-coated metal plates in engineering applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Coatings)
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Open AccessCommunication
High-Throughput Production of Micrometer Sized Double Emulsions and Microgel Capsules in Parallelized 3D Printed Microfluidic Devices
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1887; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111887 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Double emulsions are useful geometries as templates for core-shell particles, hollow sphere capsules, and for the production of biomedical delivery vehicles. In microfluidics, two approaches are currently being pursued for the preparation of microfluidic double emulsion devices. The first approach utilizes soft lithography, [...] Read more.
Double emulsions are useful geometries as templates for core-shell particles, hollow sphere capsules, and for the production of biomedical delivery vehicles. In microfluidics, two approaches are currently being pursued for the preparation of microfluidic double emulsion devices. The first approach utilizes soft lithography, where many identical double-flow-focusing channel geometries are produced in a hydrophobic silicone matrix. This technique requires selective surface modification of the respective channel sections to facilitate alternating wetting conditions of the channel walls to obtain monodisperse double emulsion droplets. The second technique relies on tapered glass capillaries, which are coaxially aligned, so that double emulsions are produced after flow focusing of two co-flowing streams. This technique does not require surface modification of the capillaries, as only the continuous phase is in contact with the emulsifying orifice; however, these devices cannot be fabricated in a reproducible manner, which results in polydisperse double emulsion droplets, if these capillary devices were to be parallelized. Here, we present 3D printing as a means to generate four identical and parallelized capillary device architectures, which produce monodisperse double emulsions with droplet diameters in the range of 500 µm. We demonstrate high throughput synthesis of W/O/W and O/W/O double emulsions, without the need for time-consuming surface treatment of the 3D printed microfluidic device architecture. Finally, we show that we can apply this device platform to generate hollow sphere microgels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Material Design by Microfluidics)
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Open AccessArticle
Revealing Adsorption Behaviors of Amphoteric Polyacrylamide on Cellulose Fibers and Impact on Dry Strength of Fiber Networks
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1886; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111886 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Amphoteric polyacrylamide (AmPAM) has been widely used in a variety of industrial areas and the adsorption behavior of AmPAM plays a crucial role in its applications. In this study, a series of AmPAMs with various molecular weights (MW) were synthesized; and their impact [...] Read more.
Amphoteric polyacrylamide (AmPAM) has been widely used in a variety of industrial areas and the adsorption behavior of AmPAM plays a crucial role in its applications. In this study, a series of AmPAMs with various molecular weights (MW) were synthesized; and their impact on dry strength of fiber networks or paper was assessed. The results showed that the optimal MW of AmPAM for strength enhancement ranged between 300 and 500 k. More importantly, the adsorption behaviors of three typical AmPAM samples on silica (model substrate) and cellulose surfaces were revealed using a quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D) in situ and in real time. The adsorption dynamics of AmPAM and the conformation of the adlayers were further derived. The results indicated that a relatively high adsorption amount was achieved under the conditions of a high polymer concentration, a medium pH close to its isoelectric point (IEP), a mild ionic strength, and a high charged surface; whereas the MW of AmPAM had little effect on the equilibrium adsorption mass of AmPAM, but significantly affected the conformation of adsorbed layer on substrates. Based on the adsorption behaviors of AmPAM, the explanation of the best dry strength achieved in a narrow range of MW of AmPAM is proposed. It was concluded that the appropriate balance between bridging and flocculation, penetration into fiber pores, and conformation were only achieved in the optimal MW range of AmPAM. The findings obtained from in this work enable us to better understand the adsorption behaviors of polyampholyte, and provide a guideline on molecular design of AmPAM and its applications from both fundamental and practical points of view. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Polyelectrolytes)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrically Self-Healing Thermoset MWCNTs Composites Based on Diels-Alder and Hydrogen Bonds
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1885; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111885 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
In this work, we prepared electrically conductive self-healing nanocomposites. The material consists of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) that are dispersed into thermally reversible crosslinked polyketones. The reversible nature is based on both covalent (Diels-Alder) and non-covalent (hydrogen bonding) interactions. The design allowed for [...] Read more.
In this work, we prepared electrically conductive self-healing nanocomposites. The material consists of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) that are dispersed into thermally reversible crosslinked polyketones. The reversible nature is based on both covalent (Diels-Alder) and non-covalent (hydrogen bonding) interactions. The design allowed for us to tune the thermomechanical properties of the system by changing the fractions of filler, and diene-dienophile and hydroxyl groups. The nanocomposites show up to 1 × 104 S/m electrical conductivity, reaching temperatures between 120 and 150 °C under 20–50 V. The self-healing effect, induced by electricity was qualitatively demonstrated as microcracks were repaired. As pointed out by electron microscopy, samples that were already healed by electricity showed a better dispersion of MWCNT within the polymer. These features point toward prolonging the service life of polymer nanocomposites, improving the product performance, making it effectively stronger and more reliable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon-Based Polymer Nanocomposites for High-Performance Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Mechanical and Physical Properties of Oriented Strand Lumber (OSL): The Effect of Fortification Level of Nanowollastonite on UF Resin
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1884; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111884 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of the fortification level of nanowollastonite on urea-formaldehyde resin (UF) and its effect on mechanical and physical properties of oriented strand lumbers (OSL). Two resin contents are applied, namely, 8% and 10%. Nanowollastonite [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of the fortification level of nanowollastonite on urea-formaldehyde resin (UF) and its effect on mechanical and physical properties of oriented strand lumbers (OSL). Two resin contents are applied, namely, 8% and 10%. Nanowollastonite is mixed with the resin at two levels (10% and 20%). It is found that the fortification of UF resin with 10% nanowollastonite can be considered as an optimum level. When nanowollastonite content is higher (that is, 20%), higher volume of UF resin is left over from the process of sticking the strips together, and therefore is absorbed by wollastonite nanofibers. The mechanism involved in the fortification of UF resin with nanowollastonite, which results in an improvement of thickness swelling values, can be attributed to the following two main factors: (i) nanowollastonite compounds making active bonds with the cellulose hydroxyl groups, putting them out of reach for bonding with the water molecules and (ii) high thermal conductivity coefficient of wollastonite improving the transfer of heat to different layers of the OSL mat, facilitating better and more complete resin curing. Since nanowollastonite contributes to making bonds between the wood strips, which consequently improves physical and mechanical properties, its use can be safely recommended in the OSL production process to improve the physical and mechanical properties of the panel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Wood Composites)
Open AccessArticle
Ultra-Sensitive Piezo-Resistive Sensors Constructed with Reduced Graphene Oxide/Polyolefin Elastomer (RGO/POE) Nanofiber Aerogels
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1883; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111883 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Flexible wearable pressure sensors have received extensive attention in recent years because of the promising application potentials in health management, humanoid robots, and human machine interfaces. Among the many sensory performances, the high sensitivity is an essential requirement for the practical use of [...] Read more.
Flexible wearable pressure sensors have received extensive attention in recent years because of the promising application potentials in health management, humanoid robots, and human machine interfaces. Among the many sensory performances, the high sensitivity is an essential requirement for the practical use of flexible sensors. Therefore, numerous research studies are devoted to improving the sensitivity of the flexible pressure sensors. The fiber assemblies are recognized as an ideal substrate for a highly sensitive piezoresistive sensor because its three-dimensional porous structure can be easily compressed and can provide high interconnection possibilities of the conductive component. Moreover, it is expected to achieve high sensitivity by raising the porosity of the fiber assemblies. In this paper, the three-dimensional reduced graphene oxide/polyolefin elastomer (RGO/POE) nanofiber composite aerogels were prepared by chemical reducing the graphene oxide (GO)/POE nanofiber composite aerogels, which were obtained by freeze drying the mixture of the GO aqueous solution and the POE nanofiber suspension. It was found that the volumetric shrinkage of thermoplastic POE nanofibers during the reduction process enhanced the compression mechanical strength of the composite aerogel, while decreasing its sensitivity. Therefore, the composite aerogels with varying POE nanofiber usage were prepared to balance the sensitivity and working pressure range. The results indicated that the composite aerogel with POE nanofiber/RGO proportion of 3:3 was the optimal sample, which exhibits high sensitivity (ca. 223 kPa−1) and working pressure ranging from 0 to 17.7 kPa. In addition, the composite aerogel showed strong stability when it is either compressed with different frequencies or reversibly compressed and released 5000 times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer Nanocomposites)
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Open AccessArticle
Amphiphilic Block Copolymer Micelles in Selective Solvents: The Effect of Solvent Selectivity on Micelle Formation
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1882; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111882 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
We investigated the micellar behavior of a series of asymmetric polystyrene-block-poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) block copolymers in different P4VP-selective alcoholic solvents. The micellar behavior was further correlated with the spectroscopic ellipsometry results obtained on swelling of PS and P4VP polymer films in the [...] Read more.
We investigated the micellar behavior of a series of asymmetric polystyrene-block-poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) block copolymers in different P4VP-selective alcoholic solvents. The micellar behavior was further correlated with the spectroscopic ellipsometry results obtained on swelling of PS and P4VP polymer films in the corresponding solvent vapors. The time-resolved (in situ) dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements, in combination with (ex situ) electron microscopy imaging, revealed information about the aggregation state of PS-b-P4VP BCP in different alcohols and the effect of heat treatment. The ellipsometry measurements allowed us to estimate the difference in solvent selectivity toward PS/P4VP pair. Both DLS and ellipsometric studies suggested that less polar alcohols (i.e., 1-propanol, 1-butanol, and 1-pentanol) are likely to be close to each other in terms of their selectivity toward PS/P4VP pair, whereas more polar ethanol and methanol show the highest and the lowest affinity toward P4VP, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-assembly of Block Copolymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Injection Molding of Highly Filled Polypropylene-based Biocomposites. Buckwheat Husk and Wood Flour Filler: A Comparison of Agricultural and Wood Industry Waste Utilization
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1881; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111881 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
The study presents a comparative analysis for two types of polymer fillers used during the processing of polypropylene by the injection molding technique. The aim of the study was to assess the usefulness of buckwheat husk waste as an alternative to the widely [...] Read more.
The study presents a comparative analysis for two types of polymer fillers used during the processing of polypropylene by the injection molding technique. The aim of the study was to assess the usefulness of buckwheat husk waste as an alternative to the widely used wood fiber fillers. For this purpose, we prepared composite samples containing 10, 30 and 50 wt % of the filler, which were subjected to mechanical tests, thermal analysis, and structural observations in order to evaluate and compare their properties. Additionally, we evaluated the effectiveness of the composite system’s compatibility by using maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PP-g-MA). The results of mechanical tests confirmed a more effective reinforcement mechanism for wood fibers; however, with the addition of PP-g-MA compatibilizer, these differences were significantly reduced: we observed a 14% drop for tensile modulus and 5% for strength. This suggests high susceptibility to this type of adhesion promoter, also confirmed by SEM observations. The paper also discusses rheological measurements conducted on a rotational rheometer, which allowed to confirm more favorable flow characteristics for composites based on buckwheat husks. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Mucin-Based Artificial Saliva on Properties of Polycaprolactone and Polylactide
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1880; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111880 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
Polycaprolactone (PCL) and polylactide (PLA) are the two most common biodegradable polymers with potential use in oral applications. Both polymers undergo mainly slow hydrolytic degradation in the human body. However, specific conditions of the oral cavity, like elevated temperature, low pH, and presence [...] Read more.
Polycaprolactone (PCL) and polylactide (PLA) are the two most common biodegradable polymers with potential use in oral applications. Both polymers undergo mainly slow hydrolytic degradation in the human body. However, specific conditions of the oral cavity, like elevated temperature, low pH, and presence of saliva affect the rate of hydrolysis. The study examined the properties of solid samples of PCL and PLA subjected to degradation in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and artificial saliva (AS) at temperatures of 37 or 42 °C, and pH values 2 or 7.4. A number of tests were performed, including measurement of the degree of swelling, weight loss, molecular weight, differential scanning calorimetry, and thermogravimetry of polymers, as well as hardness and tensile strength. Additionally, topography and stiffness of surfaces using atomic force microscopy are presented. It has been noticed that in the artificial saliva, the processes of polymer degradation occur slightly more slowly, and the effects of temperature and pH are less pronounced. We believe that a layer of porcine gastric mucin from artificial saliva that adsorbed on the surface of polymers may have a key role in the observed differences; this layer resembles protective mucin coating tissues in the oral cavity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocompatible Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Pore Characterization of Polyurethane Foam with Cost-Effective Imaging Tools and Image Analysis: A Proof-Of-Principle Study
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1879; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111879 - 14 Nov 2019
Abstract
This study investigated the pore characterization of polyurethane (PU) foam as a necessary step in water filtration membrane fabrication. Porous material characterization is essential for predicting membrane performance, strength, durability, surface feel, and to understand the transport mechanisms using modeling and simulations. Most [...] Read more.
This study investigated the pore characterization of polyurethane (PU) foam as a necessary step in water filtration membrane fabrication. Porous material characterization is essential for predicting membrane performance, strength, durability, surface feel, and to understand the transport mechanisms using modeling and simulations. Most existing pore characterization techniques are relatively costly, time-consuming, subjective, and have cumbersome sample preparations. This study focused on using three relatively inexpensive imaging systems: a black box, Canon camera (EOS760D), and LaserJet scanner (M1132 MFP). Two standard, state-of-the-art imaging systems were used for comparison: a stereomicroscope and a scanning electron microscope. Digital images produced by the imaging systems were used with a MATLAB algorithm to determine the surface porosity, pore area, and shape factor of the polyurethane foam in an efficient manner. The results obtained established the compatibility of the image analysis algorithm with the imaging systems. The black box results were found to be more comparable to both the stereomicroscope and SEM systems than those of the Canon camera and scanner imaging systems. Indeed, the current research effort demonstrates the possibility of substrate characterization with inexpensive imaging systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flexure Behaviors of ABS-based Composites Containing Carbon and Kevlar Fibers by Material Extrusion 3D Printing
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1878; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111878 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
: Short-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics are popular for improving the mechanical properties exhibited by pristine thermoplastic materials. Due to the inherent conflict between strength and ductility, there are only a few successful cases of simultaneous enhancement of these two properties in polymer composite components. The [...] Read more.
: Short-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics are popular for improving the mechanical properties exhibited by pristine thermoplastic materials. Due to the inherent conflict between strength and ductility, there are only a few successful cases of simultaneous enhancement of these two properties in polymer composite components. The objective of this work was to explore the feasibility of simultaneous enhancement of strength and ductility in ABS-based composites with short-carbon and Kevlar fiber reinforcement by material extrusion 3D printing (ME3DP). Microstructure characterization and measurement of thermal and mechanical properties were conducted to evaluate the fiber-reinforced ABS. The influence of printing raster orientation and build direction on the mechanical properties of material extrusion of 3D-printed composites was analyzed. Experimental results demonstrated that the reinforcement of the ABS-based composites by short-carbon and Kevlar fibers under optimized 3D-printing conditions led to balanced flexural strength and ductility. The ABS-based composites with a raster orientation of ±45° and side build direction presented the highest flexural behaviors among the samples in the current study. The main reason was attributed to the printed contour layers and the irregular zigzag paths, which could delay the initiation and propagation of microcracks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing and Molding of Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Helix-sense-selective Polymerization of 3,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)phenylacetylene Rigidly Bearing Galvinoxyl Residues and Their Chiroptical Properties
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1877; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111877 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Four kinds of newly synthesized achiral phenylacetylenes bearing a phenylhydrogalvinoxyl residue at 4-position were polymerized by using a chiral rhodium catalyst system, [Rh(nbd)B(C6H5)4] or [Rh(nbd)Cl]2 catalysts in the presence of chiral (R)-(+)- or ( [...] Read more.
Four kinds of newly synthesized achiral phenylacetylenes bearing a phenylhydrogalvinoxyl residue at 4-position were polymerized by using a chiral rhodium catalyst system, [Rh(nbd)B(C6H5)4] or [Rh(nbd)Cl]2 catalysts in the presence of chiral (R)-(+)- or (S)-(–)-1-phenylethylamine ((R)- or (S)-PEA) cocatalysts. Poly(m-HGDHPA) and poly(m-HGTHPA) in THF showed Cotton signals at the absorption regions of the main chain and hydrogalvinoxyl in the circular dichroism (CD) spectra. It indicated that excess of one-handed helical polyacetylene backbone was induced by helix-sense-selective polymerization (HSSP) under the asymmetric conditions despite the achiral monomer, and the hydrogalvinoxyl moieties were also arranged to form one-handed helical structure. However, there was no Cotton effect for poly(p-HGDHPA) and poly(p-HGTHPA) because the intramolecular hydrogen bonding did not act well to stabilize the helical conformation. The hydrogalvinoxyl units of poly(m-HGDHPA) and poly(m-HGTHPA) were converted to the corresponding galvinoxyl radicals after treatment with PbO2. In the CD spectra of the polyradicals, the Cotton effects decreased depending on their static stability of helical conformation, suggesting that reversal conformation of the polymer chain arose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Synthesis)
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Open AccessArticle
Functionalization of PET Track-Etched Membranes by UV-Induced Graft (co)Polymerization for Detection of Heavy Metal Ions in Water
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1876; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111876 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Nowadays, water quality monitoring is an essential task since environmental contamination and human exposure to heavy metals increased. Sensors that are able to detect ever lower concentrations of heavy metal ions with greater accuracy and speed are needed to effectively monitor water quality [...] Read more.
Nowadays, water quality monitoring is an essential task since environmental contamination and human exposure to heavy metals increased. Sensors that are able to detect ever lower concentrations of heavy metal ions with greater accuracy and speed are needed to effectively monitor water quality and prevent poisoning. This article shows studies of the modification of flexible track-etched membranes as the basis for the sensor with various polymers and their influence on the accuracy of detection of copper, cadmium, and lead ions in water. We report the UV-induced graft (co)polymerization of acrylic acid (AA) and 4-vinylpyridine (4-VPy) on poly(ethylene terephthalate) track-etched membrane (PET TeMs) and use them after platinum layer sputtering in square wave anodic stripping voltammetry (SW-ASV) for detection of Cu2+, Cd2+, and Pb2+. Optimal conditions leading to functionalization of the surface and retention of the pore structure were found. Modified membranes were characterized by SEM, FTIR, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and colorimetric analysis. The dependence of the modification method on the sensitivity of the sensor was shown. Membrane modified with polyacrylic acid (PET TeMs-g-PAA), poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PET TeMs-g-P4VPy), and their copolymer (PET TeMs-g-P4VPy/PAA) with average grafting yield of 3% have been found to be sensitive to µg/L concentration of copper, lead, and cadmium ions. Limits of detection (LOD) for sensors based on PET TeMs-g-PAA are 2.22, 1.05, and 2.53 µg/L for Cu2+, Pb2+, and Cd2+, respectively. LODs for sensors based on PET TeMs-g-P4VPy are 5.23 µg/L (Cu2+), 1.78 µg/L (Pb2+), and 3.64 µg/L (Cd2+) µg/L. PET TeMs-g-P4VPy/PAA electrodes are found to be sensitive with LODs of 0.74 µg/L(Cu2+), 1.13 µg/L (Pb2+), and 2.07 µg/L(Cd2+). Thus, it was shown that the modification of membranes by copolymers with carboxylic and amino groups leads to more accurate detection of heavy metal ions, associated with the formation of more stable complexes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Further Exploration of Sucrose-Citric Acid Adhesive: Synthesis and Application on Plywood
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1875; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111875 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
The development of eco-friendly adhesives is a major research direction in the wood-based material industry. Previous research has already demonstrated the mixture of sucrose and citric acid could be utilized as an adhesive for the manufacture of particleboard. Herein, based on the chemical [...] Read more.
The development of eco-friendly adhesives is a major research direction in the wood-based material industry. Previous research has already demonstrated the mixture of sucrose and citric acid could be utilized as an adhesive for the manufacture of particleboard. Herein, based on the chemical characteristics of sucrose, a synthesized sucrose-citric acid (SC) adhesive was prepared, featuring suitable viscosity and high solid content. The investigation of synthesis conditions on the bond performance showed that the optimal mass proportion between sucrose and citric acid was 25/75, the synthesis temperature was 100 °C, and the synthesis time was 2 h. The wet shear strength of the plywood bonded with SC adhesive, which was synthesized at optimal conditions and satisfied the China National Standard GB/T 9846-2015. The synthesis mechanism was studied by both 13C NMR analysis and HPLC, and the chemical composition manifesting caramelization reaction occurred during the synthesis process. The results of ATR FT-IR indicated the formation of a furan ring, carbonyl, and ether groups in the cured insoluble matter of the SC adhesive, which indicated dehydration condensation as the reaction mechanism between sucrose and citric acid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Crystalline Characteristics and Their Influence in the Mechanical Performance in Poly(ε-Caprolactone) / High Density Polyethylene Blends
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1874; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111874 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
Blends of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) have been prepared at different compositions in order to assess the effect of HDPE on gas transport and mechanical behaviors of PCL. Previous to this evaluation, a complete morphological, structural, and thermal characterization were performed [...] Read more.
Blends of poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) have been prepared at different compositions in order to assess the effect of HDPE on gas transport and mechanical behaviors of PCL. Previous to this evaluation, a complete morphological, structural, and thermal characterization were performed using techniques, including SEM, contact angle, FTIR, differential scanning calorimetry, and X-ray diffraction with synchrotron radiation at small and wide angles. Low HDPE incorporations allow interactions to be established at interfaces in the amorphous regions and the enhancement of the mechanical performance. Consequently, the addition of a small amount of HDPE (ranging from 5 to 10 wt%) appears to be appropriate in certain bio-applications where a higher mechanical behavior is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiphase Structure of Polymeric Materials and Physical Properties)
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Open AccessArticle
Ultrasensitive Wearable Strain Sensors of 3D Printing Tough and Conductive Hydrogels
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111873 - 13 Nov 2019
Abstract
In this study, tough and conductive hydrogels were printed by 3D printing method. The combination of thermo-responsive agar and ionic-responsive alginate can highly improve the shape fidelity. With addition of agar, ink viscosity was enhanced, further improving its rheological characteristics for a precise [...] Read more.
In this study, tough and conductive hydrogels were printed by 3D printing method. The combination of thermo-responsive agar and ionic-responsive alginate can highly improve the shape fidelity. With addition of agar, ink viscosity was enhanced, further improving its rheological characteristics for a precise printing. After printing, the printed construct was cured via free radical polymerization, and alginate was crosslinked by calcium ions. Most importantly, with calcium crosslinking of alginate, mechanical properties of 3D printed hydrogels are greatly improved. Furthermore, these 3D printed hydrogels can serve as ionic conductors, because hydrogels contain large amounts of water that dissolve excess calcium ions. A wearable resistive strain sensor that can quickly and precisely detect human motions like finger bending was fabricated by a 3D printed hydrogel film. These results demonstrate that the conductive, transparent, and stretchable hydrogels are promising candidates as soft wearable electronics for healthcare, robotics and entertainment. Full article
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