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Polymers, Volume 11, Issue 6 (June 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Lignocellulosic biomass offers an efficient substrate for bio-based organic acid production through [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Chitin Whiskers on the Molecular Dynamics of Carrageenan-Based Nanocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061083
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
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Abstract
Films of carrageenan (KC) and glycerol (g) with different contents of chitin nanowhiskers (CHW) were prepared by a solution casting process. The molecular dynamics of pure carrageenan (KC), carrageenan/glycerol (KCg) and KCg with different quantities of CHWs as a filler was studied using [...] Read more.
Films of carrageenan (KC) and glycerol (g) with different contents of chitin nanowhiskers (CHW) were prepared by a solution casting process. The molecular dynamics of pure carrageenan (KC), carrageenan/glycerol (KCg) and KCg with different quantities of CHWs as a filler was studied using dielectric relaxation spectroscopy. The analysis of the CHW effect on the molecular mobility at the glass transition, Tg, indicates that non-attractive intermolecular interactions between KCg and CHW occur. The fragility index increased upon CHW incorporation, due to a reduction in the polymer chains mobility produced by the CHW confinement of the KCg network. The apparent activation energy associated with the relaxation dynamics of the chains at Tg slightly increased with the CHW content. The filler nature effect, CHW or montmorillonite (MMT), on the dynamic mobility of the composites was analyzed by comparing the dynamic behavior of both carrageenan-based composites (KCg/xCHW, KCg/xMMT). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Thin Films and Membranes)
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Open AccessArticle
Submicron-Sized Nanocomposite Magnetic-Sensitive Carriers: Controllable Organ Distribution and Biological Effects
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1082; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061082
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
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Abstract
Although new drug delivery systems have been intensely developed in the past decade, no significant increase in the efficiency of drug delivery by nanostructure carriers has been achieved. The reasons are the lack of information about acute toxicity, the influence of the submicron [...] Read more.
Although new drug delivery systems have been intensely developed in the past decade, no significant increase in the efficiency of drug delivery by nanostructure carriers has been achieved. The reasons are the lack of information about acute toxicity, the influence of the submicron size of the carrier and difficulties with the study of biodistribution in vivo. Here we propose, for the first time in vivo, new nanocomposite submicron carriers made of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and tannic acid (TA) and containing magnetite nanoparticles with sufficient content for navigation in a magnetic field gradient on mice. We examined the efficacy of these submicron carriers as a delivery vehicle in combination with magnetite nanoparticles which were systemically administered intravenously. In addition, the systemic toxicity of this carrier for intravenous administration was explicitly studied. The results showed that (BSA/TA) carriers in the given doses were hemocompatible and didn’t cause any adverse effect on the respiratory system, kidney or liver functions. A combination of gradient-magnetic-field controllable biodistribution of submicron carriers with fluorescence tomography/MRI imaging in vivo provides a new opportunity to improve drug delivery efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Some New Triply Periodic Mesophases from Molten Block Copolymers
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061081
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 22 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
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Abstract
Using field-theoretic simulations based on a self-consistent field theory (SCFT) with or without finite compressibility, nanoscale mesophase formation in molten linear AB and ABC block copolymers is investigated in search of candidates for new and useful nanomaterials. At selected compositions and segregation strengths, [...] Read more.
Using field-theoretic simulations based on a self-consistent field theory (SCFT) with or without finite compressibility, nanoscale mesophase formation in molten linear AB and ABC block copolymers is investigated in search of candidates for new and useful nanomaterials. At selected compositions and segregation strengths, the copolymers are shown to evolve into some new nanostructures with either unusual crystal symmetry or a peculiar morphology. There exists a holey layered morphology with Im3 symmetry, which lacks one mirror reflection compared with Im3m symmetry. Also, a peculiar cubic bicontinuous morphology, whose channels are connected with tetrapod units, is found to have Pn3m symmetry. It is shown that there is another network morphology with tripod connections, which reveals P432 symmetry. The optimized free energies of these new mesophases and their relative stability are discussed in comparison with those of double gyroids and double diamonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-assembly of Block Copolymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Characterization of a Lignin-Styrene-Butyl Acrylate Based Composite
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061080
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 15 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
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Abstract
In recent years, the pursuit of new polymer materials based on renewable raw materials has been intensified with the aim of reusing waste materials in sustainable processes. The synthesis of a lignin, styrene, and butyl acrylate based composite was carried out by a [...] Read more.
In recent years, the pursuit of new polymer materials based on renewable raw materials has been intensified with the aim of reusing waste materials in sustainable processes. The synthesis of a lignin, styrene, and butyl acrylate based composite was carried out by a mass polymerization process. A series of four composites were prepared by varying the amount of lignin in 5, 10, 15, and 20 wt.% keeping the content of butyl acrylate constant (14 wt.%). FTIR and SEM revealed that the –OH functional groups of lignin reacted with styrene, which was observed by the incorporation of lignin in the copolymer. Additionally, DSC analysis showed that the increment in lignin loading in the composite had a positive influence on thermal stability. Likewise, Shore D hardness assays exhibited an increase from 25 to 69 when 5 and 20 wt.% lignin was used respectively. In this same sense, the contact angle (water) measurement showed that the LEBA15 and LEBA20 composites presented hydrophobic properties (whit contact angle above 90°) despite having the highest amount of lignin, demonstrating that the interaction of the polymer chains with the –OH groups of lignin was the main mechanism in the composites interaction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Poly(N-vinylpyrrolidone)-Based Polymer Bottlebrushes by ATRPA and RAFT Polymerization: Toward Drug Delivery Application
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1079; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061079
Received: 20 May 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 22 June 2019
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Abstract
Atom transfer radical polyaddition (ATRPA) was utilized herein to synthesize a specific functional polyester. We conducted ATRPA of 4-vinylbenzyl 2-bromo-2-phenylacetate (VBBPA) inimer and successfully obtained a linear type poly(VBBPA) (PVBBPA) polyester with benzylic bromides along the backbone. To obtain a novel amphiphilic polymer [...] Read more.
Atom transfer radical polyaddition (ATRPA) was utilized herein to synthesize a specific functional polyester. We conducted ATRPA of 4-vinylbenzyl 2-bromo-2-phenylacetate (VBBPA) inimer and successfully obtained a linear type poly(VBBPA) (PVBBPA) polyester with benzylic bromides along the backbone. To obtain a novel amphiphilic polymer bottlebrush, however, the lateral ATRP chain extension of PVBBPA with N-vinyl pyrrolidone (NVP) met the problem of quantitative dimerization. By replacing the bromides to xanthate moieties efficiently, we thus observed a pseudo linear first order reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization to obtain novel poly(4-vinylbenzyl-2-phenylacetate)-g-poly(NVP) (PVBPA-g-PNVP) amphiphilic polymer bottlebrushes. The critical micelle concentration (CMC) and particle size of the amphiphilic polymer bottlebrushes were characterized by fluorescence spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) (CMCs < 0.5 mg/mL; particle sizes = ca. 100 nm). Toward drug delivery application, we examined release profiles using a model drug of Nile red at different pH environments (3, 5, and 7). Eventually, low cytotoxicity and well cell uptake of the Madin-Darby Canine Kidney Epithelial (MDCK) for the polymer bottlebrush micelles were demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization)
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Open AccessArticle
Nonisothermal Crystallization Kinetics of Acetylated Bamboo Fiber-Reinforced Polypropylene Composites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1078; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061078
Received: 14 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 22 June 2019
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Abstract
The crystallization behavior of bamboo fiber (BF) reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites (BPCs) was investigated using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). The results showed that unmodified BF as a nucleation agent accelerated the crystallization rate of the PP matrix during cooling whereas there is [...] Read more.
The crystallization behavior of bamboo fiber (BF) reinforced polypropylene (PP) composites (BPCs) was investigated using a differential scanning calorimeter (DSC). The results showed that unmodified BF as a nucleation agent accelerated the crystallization rate of the PP matrix during cooling whereas there is no significant effect on the improved crystallization rate in BPCs with acetylated BFs. Based on the Avrami method, Avrami–Ozawa method, and Friedman method, the corresponding crystallization kinetics of PP reinforced with different acetylation levels of BFs were further analyzed. The results demonstrated that the crystal growth mechanism of the PP matrix for BPCs with unmodified and various acetylated BFs exhibited tabular crystal growth with heterogeneous nucleation. A higher cooling rate is required to achieve a certain relative crystallinity degree at the unit crystallization time for BPCs with a higher weight percent gain (WPG) of acetylated BFs (WPG >13%). Furthermore, based on the Friedman method, the lowest crystallization activation energy was observed for the BPCs with 19% WPG of acetylated BFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Plastic Composites)
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Open AccessArticle
Nonisothermal Crystallization of Surface-Treated Alumina and Aluminum Nitride-Filled Polylactic Acid Hybrid Composites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1077; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061077
Received: 4 June 2019 / Revised: 19 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
This work investigates the nonisothermal crystallization and melting behavior of polylactic acid (PLA), filled with treated and untreated alumina and nano-aluminum nitride hybrid composites. Analysis by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed that the treated fillers and the PLA matrix developed [...] Read more.
This work investigates the nonisothermal crystallization and melting behavior of polylactic acid (PLA), filled with treated and untreated alumina and nano-aluminum nitride hybrid composites. Analysis by attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy revealed that the treated fillers and the PLA matrix developed a good interaction. The crystallization and melting behaviors of the PLA hybrid composites were investigated using differential scanning calorimetry showed that the degree of crystallinity increased with the addition of hybrid fillers. Unlike the untreated PLA composites, the complete crystallization of the treated PLA hybrid composites hindered cold crystallization during the second heating cycle. The crystallization kinetics studied using the Avrami model indicated that the crystallization rate of PLA was affected by the inclusion of filler particles. X-ray diffraction analysis confirmed crystal formation with the incorporation of filler particles. The inclusion of nano-aluminum nitride (AlN) and the increase in the crystallinity led to an improvement of the storage modulus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Analysis of Polymer Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Computer Simulation of Anisotropic Polymeric Materials Using Polymerization-Induced Phase Separation under Combined Temperature and Concentration Gradients
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1076; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061076
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 15 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
In this study, the self-condensation polymerization of a tri-functional monomer in a monomer-solvent mixture and the phase separation of the system were simultaneously modeled and simulated. Nonlinear Cahn–Hilliard and Flory–Huggins free energy theories incorporated with the kinetics of the polymerization reaction were utilized [...] Read more.
In this study, the self-condensation polymerization of a tri-functional monomer in a monomer-solvent mixture and the phase separation of the system were simultaneously modeled and simulated. Nonlinear Cahn–Hilliard and Flory–Huggins free energy theories incorporated with the kinetics of the polymerization reaction were utilized to develop the model. Linear temperature and concentration gradients singly and in combination were applied to the system. Eight cases which faced different ranges of initial concentration and/or temperature gradients in different directions, were studied. Various anisotropic structural morphologies were achieved. The numerical results were in good agreement with published data. The size analysis and structural characterization of the phase-separated system were also carried out using digital imaging software. The results showed that the phase separation occurred earlier in the section with a higher initial concentration and/or temperature, and, at a given time, the average equivalent diameter of the droplets <dave> was larger in this region. While smaller droplets formed later in the lower concentration/temperature regions, at the higher concentration/temperature side, the droplets went through phase separation longer, allowing them to reach the late stage of the phase separation where particles coarsened. In the intermediate stage of phase separation, <dave> was found proportional to t * α , where α was in the range between 1 3 and 1 2 for the cases studied and was consistent with published results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermodynamics of Polymer/Solvent Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Tensile and Interfacial Loading Characteristics of Boron Nitride-Carbon Nanosheet Reinforced Polymer Nanocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061075
Received: 1 May 2019 / Revised: 10 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
The discovery of hybrid boron nitride–carbon (BN–C) nanostructures has triggered enormous research interest in the design and fabrication of new generation nanocomposites. The robust design of these nanocomposites for target applications requires their mechanical strength to be characterized with a wide range of [...] Read more.
The discovery of hybrid boron nitride–carbon (BN–C) nanostructures has triggered enormous research interest in the design and fabrication of new generation nanocomposites. The robust design of these nanocomposites for target applications requires their mechanical strength to be characterized with a wide range of factors. This article presents a comprehensive study, with the aid of molecular dynamics analysis, of the tensile loading mechanics of BN–C nanosheet reinforced polyethylene (PE) nanocomposites. It is observed that the geometry and lattice arrangement of the BN–C nanosheet influences the tensile loading characteristics of the nanocomposites. Furthermore, defects in the nanosheet can severely impact the tensile loading resistance, the extent of which is determined by the defect’s location. This study also found that the tensile loading resistance of nanocomposites tends to weaken at elevated temperatures. The interfacial mechanics of the BN–C nanocomposites are also investigated. This analysis revealed a strong dependency with the carbon concentration in the BN–C nanosheet. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Radial Basis Function Neural Network-Based Modeling of the Dynamic Thermo-Mechanical Response and Damping Behavior of Thermoplastic Elastomer Systems
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1074; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061074
Received: 29 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 20 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
The presented work deals with the creation of a new radial basis function artificial neural network-based model of dynamic thermo-mechanical response and damping behavior of thermoplastic elastomers in the whole temperature interval of their entire lifetime and a wide frequency range of dynamic [...] Read more.
The presented work deals with the creation of a new radial basis function artificial neural network-based model of dynamic thermo-mechanical response and damping behavior of thermoplastic elastomers in the whole temperature interval of their entire lifetime and a wide frequency range of dynamic mechanical loading. The created model is based on experimental results of dynamic mechanical analysis of the widely used thermoplastic polyurethane, which is one of the typical representatives of thermoplastic elastomers. Verification and testing of the well-trained radial basis function neural network for temperature and frequency dependence of dynamic storage modulus, loss modulus, as well as loss tangent prediction showed excellent correspondence between experimental and modeled data, including all relaxation events observed in the polymeric material under study throughout the monitored temperature and frequency interval. The radial basis function artificial neural network has been confirmed to be an exceptionally high-performance artificial intelligence tool of soft computing for the effective predicting of short-term viscoelastic behavior of thermoplastic elastomer systems based on experimental results of dynamic mechanical analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Behavior of Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Conductivity and Electrical Resistivity of Melt-Mixed Polypropylene Composites Containing Mixtures of Carbon-Based Fillers
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061073
Received: 24 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Melt-mixed composites based on polypropylene (PP) with various carbon-based fillers were investigated with regard to their thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity. The composites were filled with up to three fillers by selecting combinations of graphite nanoplatelets (GNP), carbon fibers (CF), carbon nanotubes (CNT), [...] Read more.
Melt-mixed composites based on polypropylene (PP) with various carbon-based fillers were investigated with regard to their thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity. The composites were filled with up to three fillers by selecting combinations of graphite nanoplatelets (GNP), carbon fibers (CF), carbon nanotubes (CNT), carbon black (CB), and graphite (G) at a constant filler content of 7.5 vol%. The thermal conductivity of PP (0.26 W/(m·K)) improved most using graphite nanoplatelets, whereas electrical resistivity was the lowest when using multiwalled CNT. Synergistic effects could be observed for different filler combinations. The PP composite, which contains a mixture of GNP, CNT, and highly structured CB, simultaneously had high thermal conductivity (0.5 W/(m·K)) and the lowest electrical volume resistivity (4 Ohm·cm). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anisotropy of Thin Foils Obtained from Microwave-Irradiated Poly(Vinyl Alcohol) Aqueous Solutions
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061072
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 16 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) foils of comparable thickness were obtained by using 10 wt % PVA aqueous solutions exposed to microwave (MW) radiations for different times. The main goal of this paper is to identify the effects of MW irradiation on [...] Read more.
In this paper, poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) foils of comparable thickness were obtained by using 10 wt % PVA aqueous solutions exposed to microwave (MW) radiations for different times. The main goal of this paper is to identify the effects of MW irradiation on the induced optical birefringence of PVA stretched foils, since it is known that the changes in the chemical and physical properties of polymers induced by radiations can influence the asymmetry of their molecular structures from which the birefringence of polymers derives. The efficiency of the MW oven was estimated, and the contribution of sensible and latent heat and heat loss to the absorbed energy was discussed. The effects of MW irradiation, in terms of absorbed energy, were evidenced by using FTIR spectra analysis, contact angle measurements, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images, and induced optical birefringence. The dehydration (cross-linking) of PVA in aqueous solution and the dependence of the anisotropy on the absorbed MW energy, stretching ratio, and the type of hydrogen bonds formed are discussed in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Integration of Polypyrrole Electrode into Piezoelectric PVDF Energy Harvester with Improved Adhesion and Over-Oxidation Resistance
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061071
Received: 18 May 2019 / Revised: 15 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Smart textiles for wearable devices require flexibility and a lightweight, so in this study, a soft polypyrrole (PPy) electrode system was integrated into a piezoelectric polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF) energy harvester. The PVDF energy harvester integrated with a PPy electrode had the piezoelectric output voltage [...] Read more.
Smart textiles for wearable devices require flexibility and a lightweight, so in this study, a soft polypyrrole (PPy) electrode system was integrated into a piezoelectric polyvinylidenefluoride (PVDF) energy harvester. The PVDF energy harvester integrated with a PPy electrode had the piezoelectric output voltage of 4.24–4.56 V, while the PVDF energy harvester with an additional aluminum-foil electrode exhibited 2.57 V. Alkaline treatment and chemical vapor deposition with n-dodecyltrimethoxysilane (DTMS) were employed to improve the adhesion between the PVDF and PPy and the resistance to over-oxidation in aqueous solutions. The PVDF film modified by an alkaline treatment could have the improved adhesion via the introduction of polar functional groups to its surface, which was confirmed by the ultrasonication. The surface hydrophobicity of the PPy electrode was enhanced by the DTMS coating, resulting in the improvement of the resistance to over-oxidation with a water contact angle of 111°. Even with the hydrophobic coating, the electrodes remained electroconductive and continued to transfer an electric charge, maintaining the piezoelectricity of the PVDF film. The developed electrode-integrated energy harvester is expected to be applied to smart textiles because it offers the advantages of efficient piezoelectric generation, flexibility, and durability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Functional Textiles)
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Open AccessArticle
Ionic Porous Organic Polymers Based on Functionalized Tetraarylborates
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061070
Received: 20 May 2019 / Revised: 11 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 21 June 2019
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Abstract
Lithium tetrakis(4-boronatoaryl)borates were subjected to polycondensation reactions with selected polyhydroxyl monomers such as 2,3,6,7,10,11-hexahydroxytriphenylene (HHTP) and 2,3,6,7-tetrahydroxy-9,10-dimethylanthracene (THDMA). Obtained boronate-type ionic porous polymers TAB1–4 were characterized by PXRD, 6Li and 11B magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS NMR), FT-IR, SEM, and [...] Read more.
Lithium tetrakis(4-boronatoaryl)borates were subjected to polycondensation reactions with selected polyhydroxyl monomers such as 2,3,6,7,10,11-hexahydroxytriphenylene (HHTP) and 2,3,6,7-tetrahydroxy-9,10-dimethylanthracene (THDMA). Obtained boronate-type ionic porous polymers TAB1–4 were characterized by PXRD, 6Li and 11B magic-angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS NMR), FT-IR, SEM, and TGA. They exhibit relatively good sorption of H2 (up to 75 cm3/g STP), whereas N2 uptake at 77 K for lower pressure range is relatively poor (up to 50 cm3/g STP below P/P0 = 0.8). In addition, the effect of elongation of aryl arms in the tetraarylborate core on the materials’ properties was studied. Thus, it was found that replacement of the 4-boronatophenyl with 4-boronatobiphenylyl group has a negative impact on the sorption characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Poly(furfuryl alcohol)-Polycaprolactone Blends
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1069; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061069
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
Poly(furfuryl alcohol) (PFA) is a bioresin synthesized from furfuryl alcohol (FA) that is derived from renewable saccharide-rich biomass. In this study, we compounded this bioresin with polycaprolactone (PCL) for the first time, introducing new functional polymer blends. Although PCL is biodegradable, its production [...] Read more.
Poly(furfuryl alcohol) (PFA) is a bioresin synthesized from furfuryl alcohol (FA) that is derived from renewable saccharide-rich biomass. In this study, we compounded this bioresin with polycaprolactone (PCL) for the first time, introducing new functional polymer blends. Although PCL is biodegradable, its production relies on petroleum precursors such as cyclohexanone oils. With the method proposed herein, this dependence on petroleum-derived precursors/monomers is reduced by using PFA without significantly modifying some important properties of the PCL. Polymer blend films were produced by simple solvent casting. The blends were characterized in terms of surface topography by atomic force microscopy (AFM), chemical interactions between PCL and PFA by attenuated total reflection-Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR), crystallinity by XRD, thermal properties by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and mechanical properties by tensile tests and biocompatibility by direct and indirect toxicity tests. PFA was found to improve the gas barrier properties of PCL without compromising its mechanical properties, and it demonstrated sustained antioxidant effect with excellent biocompatibility. Our results indicate that these new blends can be potentially used in diverse applications ranging from food packing to biomedical devices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Extended 2,2′-Bipyrroles: New Monomers for Conjugated Polymers with Tailored Processability
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1068; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061068
Received: 14 May 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 16 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
The synthesis of 2,2′-bipyrroles substituted at positions 5,5′ with pyrrolyl, N-methyl-pyrrolyl and thienyl groups and their application in the preparation of conducting polymers is reported herein. The preparation of these monomers consisted of two synthetic steps from a functionalized 2,2′-bipyrrole: Bromination of [...] Read more.
The synthesis of 2,2′-bipyrroles substituted at positions 5,5′ with pyrrolyl, N-methyl-pyrrolyl and thienyl groups and their application in the preparation of conducting polymers is reported herein. The preparation of these monomers consisted of two synthetic steps from a functionalized 2,2′-bipyrrole: Bromination of the corresponding 2,2′-bipyrrole followed by Suzuki or Stille couplings. These monomers display low oxidation potential compared to pyrrole because of the extended length of their conjugation pathway. The resulting monomers can be polymerized through oxidative/electropolymerization. Electrical conductivity and electrochromic properties of the electrodeposited polymeric films were evaluated using 4-point probe measurements and cyclic voltammetry to evaluate their applicability in electronics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation of Zirconia Nanofibers by Electrospinning and Calcination with Zirconium Acetylacetonate as Precursor
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1067; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061067
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
For the first time, zirconia nanofibers with an average diameter of about 75 nm have been fabricated by calcination of electrospun zirconium acetylacetonate/polyacrylonitrile fibers in the range of 500–1100 °C. Composite and ceramic filaments have been characterized by scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, [...] Read more.
For the first time, zirconia nanofibers with an average diameter of about 75 nm have been fabricated by calcination of electrospun zirconium acetylacetonate/polyacrylonitrile fibers in the range of 500–1100 °C. Composite and ceramic filaments have been characterized by scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, nitrogen adsorption analysis, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and X-ray diffractometry. The stages of the transition of zirconium acetylacetonate to zirconia have been revealed. It has been found out that a rise in calcination temperature from 500 to 1100 °C induces transformation of mesoporous tetragonal zirconia nanofibers with a high specific surface area (102.3 m2/g) to non-porous monoclinic zirconia nanofibers of almost the same diameter with a low value of specific surface area (8.3 m2/g). The tetragonal zirconia nanofibers with high specific surface area prepared at 500 °C can be considered, for instance, as promising supports for heterogeneous catalysts, enhancing their activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospun Nanofibers: Theory and Its Applications)
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Open AccessReview
Microbial Degradation of Synthetic Biopolymers Waste
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1066; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061066
Received: 27 May 2019 / Revised: 17 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
Over the last ten years, the demand of biodegradable polymers has grown at an annual rate of 20–30%. However, the market share is about less than 0.1% of the total plastic production due to their lower performances, higher price and limited legislative attention [...] Read more.
Over the last ten years, the demand of biodegradable polymers has grown at an annual rate of 20–30%. However, the market share is about less than 0.1% of the total plastic production due to their lower performances, higher price and limited legislative attention in respect to the standard materials. The biodegradability as a functional added property is often not completely perceived from the final consumers. However, the opportunity to use renewable resources and to reduce the dependency from petroleum resources could become an incentive to accelerate their future growth. Renewable raw materials, coming from industrial wastes such as oilseed crops, starch from cereals and potatoes, cellulose from straw and wood, etc., can be converted into chemical intermediates and polymers, in order to substitute fossil fuel feedstock. The introduction of these new products could represent a significant contribution to sustainable development. However, the use of renewable resources and the production of the bioplastics are no longer a guarantee for a minimal environmental impact. The production process as well as their technical performances and their ultimate disposal has to be carefully considered. Bioplastics are generally biodegradable, but the diffusion of the composting technology is a prerequisite for their development. Efforts are required at industry level in order to develop less expensive and high performance products, with minimal environmental impact technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymer Modifications and Characterization)
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Open AccessArticle
Piezoelectric Response in Hybrid Micropillar Arrays of Poly(Vinylidene Fluoride) and Reduced Graphene Oxide
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1065; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061065
Received: 8 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
This study was dedicated to the investigation of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) micropillar arrays obtained by soft lithography followed by phase inversion at a low temperature. Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) was incorporated into the PVDF as a nucleating filler. The piezoelectric properties of the [...] Read more.
This study was dedicated to the investigation of poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) micropillar arrays obtained by soft lithography followed by phase inversion at a low temperature. Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) was incorporated into the PVDF as a nucleating filler. The piezoelectric properties of the PVDF-rGO composite micropillars were explored via piezo-response force microscopy (PFM). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) showed that α, β, and γ phases co-existed in all studied samples, with a predominance of the γ phase. The piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) data provided the local piezoelectric response of the PVDF micropillars, which exhibited a temperature-induced downward dipole orientation in the pristine PVDF micropillars. The addition of rGO into the PVDF matrix resulted in a change in the preferred polarization direction, and the piezo-response phase angle changed from −120° to 20°–40°. The pristine PVDF and PVDF loaded with 0.1 wt % of rGO after low-temperature quenching were found to possess a piezoelectric response of 86 and 87 pm/V respectively, which are significantly higher than the |d33eff| in the case of imprinted PVDF 64 pm/V. Thus, the addition of rGO significantly affected the domain orientation (polarization) while quenching increased the piezoelectric response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Micro- and Nano-Fabrication Approaches for Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon Nanotube versus Graphene Nanoribbon: Impact of Nanofiller Geometry on Electromagnetic Interference Shielding of Polyvinylidene Fluoride Nanocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061064
Received: 12 June 2019 / Revised: 18 June 2019 / Accepted: 18 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
The similar molecular structure but different geometries of the carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene nanoribbon (GNR) create a genuine opportunity to assess the impact of nanofiller geometry (tube vs. ribbon) on the electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding of polymer nanocomposites. In this regard, GNR [...] Read more.
The similar molecular structure but different geometries of the carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene nanoribbon (GNR) create a genuine opportunity to assess the impact of nanofiller geometry (tube vs. ribbon) on the electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding of polymer nanocomposites. In this regard, GNR and its parent CNT were melt mixed with a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) matrix using a miniature melt mixer at various nanofiller loadings, i.e., 0.3, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 wt%, and then compression molded. Molecular simulations showed that CNT would have a better interaction with the PVDF matrix in any configuration. Rheological results validated that CNTs feature a far stronger network (mechanical interlocking) than GNRs. Despite lower powder conductivity and a comparable dispersion state, it was interestingly observed that CNT nanocomposites indicated a highly superior electrical conductivity and EMI shielding at higher nanofiller loadings. For instance, at 2.0 wt%, CNT/PVDF nanocomposites showed an electrical conductivity of 0.77 S·m−1 and an EMI shielding effectiveness of 11.60 dB, which are eight orders of magnitude and twofold higher than their GNR counterparts, respectively. This observation was attributed to their superior conductive network formation and the interlocking ability of the tubular nanostructure to the ribbon-like nanostructure, verified by molecular simulations and rheological assays. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dimensional Stability and Process Capability of an Industrial Component Injected with Recycled Polypropylene
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061063
Received: 9 May 2019 / Revised: 5 June 2019 / Accepted: 17 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
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Abstract
The usage of recycled polymers for industrial purposes arises as one of the most promising methods of reducing environmental impact and costs associated with scrapping parts. This paper presents a systematic study of the dimensional stability of a raw and 100% recycled polypropylene [...] Read more.
The usage of recycled polymers for industrial purposes arises as one of the most promising methods of reducing environmental impact and costs associated with scrapping parts. This paper presents a systematic study of the dimensional stability of a raw and 100% recycled polypropylene subjected to realistic environmental conditions occurring along its working life. The component studied is an internal part of an induction hob assembly. Industrial samples manufactured with both materials, in the same mold, and in the same injection machine, are subjected to ejection conditions, storage conditions (50 °C), and extreme performance conditions (80 °C). Induced dimensional changes are registered and analyzed using a coordinate measuring machine, and a tactile sensing probe. To verify the process capability of the samples manufacturing, Cp and Cpk values are calculated to evaluate the suitability of the recycled material as an alternative. Results conclude that, although the use of recycled material implies slight differences in terms of dimensional stability due to the changes induced in the polymer structure, these differences are not significant enough to affect the injection process capability. Therefore, recycling arises as one effective method to reduce both overruns associated with the consumption of raw polypropylene material and its environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recycling of Polymers and Multiphase Polymer-Based Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of a Novel Phosphorous-Nitrogen Based Charring Agent and Its Application in Flame-retardant HDPE/IFR Composites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061062
Received: 5 May 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract
In this work, a novel phosphorous–nitrogen based charring agent named poly(1,3-diaminopropane-1,3,5-triazine-o-bicyclic pentaerythritol phosphate) (PDTBP) was synthesized and used to improve the flame retardancy of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) together with ammonium polyphosphate (APP). The results of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and 13C [...] Read more.
In this work, a novel phosphorous–nitrogen based charring agent named poly(1,3-diaminopropane-1,3,5-triazine-o-bicyclic pentaerythritol phosphate) (PDTBP) was synthesized and used to improve the flame retardancy of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) together with ammonium polyphosphate (APP). The results of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and 13C solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) showed that PDTBP was successfully synthesized. Compared with the traditional intumescent flame retardant (IFR) system contained APP and pentaerythritol (PER), the novel IFR system (APP/PDTBP, weight ratio of 2:1) could significantly promote the flame retardancy, water resistance, and thermal stability of HDPE. The HDPE/APP/PDTBP composites (PE3) could achieve a UL-94 V-0 rating with LOI value of 30.8%, and had a lower migration percentage (2.2%). However, the HDPE/APP/PER composites (PE5) had the highest migration percentage (4.7%), lower LOI value of 23.9%, and could only achieve a UL-94 V-1 rating. Besides, the peak of heat release rate (PHRR), total heat release (THR), and fire hazard value of PE3 were markedly decreased compared to PE5. PE3 had higher tensile strength and flexural strength of 16.27 ± 0.42 MPa and 32.03 ± 0.59 MPa, respectively. Furthermore, the possible flame-retardant mechanism of the APP/PDTBP IFR system indicated that compact and continuous intumescent char layer would be formed during burning, thus inhibiting the degradation of substrate material and improving the thermal stability of HDPE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermal Insulating and Fire-Resistant Polymer Composites)
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Open AccessReview
Selectively Biodegradable Polyesters: Nature-Inspired Construction Materials for Future Biomedical Applications
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1061; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061061
Received: 30 April 2019 / Revised: 28 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 19 June 2019
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Abstract
In the last half-century, the development of biodegradable polyesters for biomedical applications has advanced significantly. Biodegradable polyester materials containing external stimuli-sensitive linkages are favored in the development of therapeutic devices for pharmacological applications such as delivery vehicles for controlled/sustained drug release. These selectively [...] Read more.
In the last half-century, the development of biodegradable polyesters for biomedical applications has advanced significantly. Biodegradable polyester materials containing external stimuli-sensitive linkages are favored in the development of therapeutic devices for pharmacological applications such as delivery vehicles for controlled/sustained drug release. These selectively biodegradable polyesters degrade after particular external stimulus (e.g., pH or redox potential change or the presence of certain enzymes). This review outlines the current development of biodegradable synthetic polyesters materials able to undergo hydrolytic or enzymatic degradation for various biomedical applications, including tissue engineering, temporary implants, wound healing and drug delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Condensation Polymers and their Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Biotechnological Preparation of Gelatines from Chicken Feet
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061060
Received: 15 May 2019 / Revised: 13 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
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Abstract
In the European Union (EU), about five tons of poultry by-product tissues are produced every year. Due to their high collagen content, they represent a significant raw material source for gelatine production. The aim of the paper was the biotechnological preparation of gelatine [...] Read more.
In the European Union (EU), about five tons of poultry by-product tissues are produced every year. Due to their high collagen content, they represent a significant raw material source for gelatine production. The aim of the paper was the biotechnological preparation of gelatine from chicken feet. The influence of selected process factors on the gelatine yield, gel strength, viscosity, and ash of gelatine was observed; a two-level factor design of experiments with three variable process factors (enzyme addition, enzyme treatment time, and gelatine extraction time) was applied. After grinding and separating soluble proteins and fat, the purified raw material was treated in water at pH 7.5 with the addition of endoprotease at 23 °C and after thorough washing with water at 80 °C, gelatine was extracted. By the suitable choice of process conditions, gelatine with high gel strength (220–320 bloom), low ash content (<2.0%) and viscosity of 3.5–7.3 mPa·s can be prepared. The extraction efficiency was 18–38%. The presented technology is innovative mainly by the enzymatic processing of the source raw material, which is economically, technologically, and environmentally beneficial for manufacturers. Chicken gelatines are a suitable alternative to gelatines made from mammals or fish, and can be used in many food, pharmaceutical, and biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Biointerfaces)
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Open AccessArticle
Design of Controlled Release System for Paracetamol Based on Modified Lignin
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061059
Received: 15 April 2019 / Revised: 6 June 2019 / Accepted: 15 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
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Abstract
The influence of lignin modification on drug release and pH-dependent releasing behavior of oral solid dosage forms was investigated using three different formulations. The first formulation contains microcrystalline cellulose (MCC 101) as the excipient and paracetamol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The [...] Read more.
The influence of lignin modification on drug release and pH-dependent releasing behavior of oral solid dosage forms was investigated using three different formulations. The first formulation contains microcrystalline cellulose (MCC 101) as the excipient and paracetamol as the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The second formulation includes Alcell lignin and MCC 101 as the excipient and paracetamol, and the third formulation consists of carboxylated Alcell lignin, MCC 101 and paracetamol. Direct compaction was carried out in order to prepare the tablets. Lignin can be readily chemically modified due to the existence of different functional groups in its structure. The focus of this investigation is on lignin carboxylation and its influence on paracetamol control release behavior at varying pH. Results suggest that carboxylated lignin tablets had the highest drug release, which is linked to their faster disintegration and lower tablet hardness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Biomedical Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle
Transparent, High Glass-Transition Temperature, Shape Memory Hybrid Polyimides Based on Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061058
Received: 29 May 2019 / Revised: 13 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
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Abstract
Optically transparent polyimides with excellent thermal stability and shape memory effect have potential applications in optoelectronic devices and aerospace industries. A series of optically transparent shape memory polyimide hybrid films are synthesized from 2,2-bis(3,4-dicarboxyphenyl)hexafluoropropane dianhydride (6FDA) and 2,2′-bis-(trifluoromethyl)biphenyl-4,4′-diamine (TFMB) with various polyhedral oligomeric [...] Read more.
Optically transparent polyimides with excellent thermal stability and shape memory effect have potential applications in optoelectronic devices and aerospace industries. A series of optically transparent shape memory polyimide hybrid films are synthesized from 2,2-bis(3,4-dicarboxyphenyl)hexafluoropropane dianhydride (6FDA) and 2,2′-bis-(trifluoromethyl)biphenyl-4,4′-diamine (TFMB) with various polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) contents and then subjected to thermal imidization. The hybrid films show good optical transparency (>80% at 400 nm and >95% at 500 nm) with cutoff wavelengths ranging from 318 to 336 nm. Following the incorporation of the inorganic POSS structure, the hybrid films exhibit excellent thermal stability with glass transition temperature (Tg) ranging from 351 to 372 °C. The hybrid films possess the highest Tg compared with the previously-reported shape memory polymers. These findings show that POSS is successfully utilized to develop transparent polyimides with excellent thermal stability and shape memory effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermally Healable and Recyclable Graphene-Nanoplate/Epoxy Composites Via an In-Situ Diels-Alder Reaction on the Graphene-Nanoplate Surface
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061057
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 14 June 2019 / Accepted: 14 June 2019 / Published: 18 June 2019
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Abstract
In this work, thermally healable graphene-nanoplate/epoxy (GNP/EP) nanocomposites were investigated. GNPs were used as reinforcement and crosslinking platforms for the diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A-based epoxy resin (DGEBA) through the Diels-Alder (DA) reaction with furfurylamine (FA). The GNPs and FA could then be [...] Read more.
In this work, thermally healable graphene-nanoplate/epoxy (GNP/EP) nanocomposites were investigated. GNPs were used as reinforcement and crosslinking platforms for the diglycidyl ether of bisphenol A-based epoxy resin (DGEBA) through the Diels-Alder (DA) reaction with furfurylamine (FA). The GNPs and FA could then be used as a derivative of diene and dienophile in the DA reaction. It was expected that the combination of GNPs and FA in DGEBA would produce composites based on the interfacial properties of the components. We confirmed the DA reaction of GNPs and FA at the interface during curing of the GNP/EP nanocomposites. This procedure is simple and solvent-free. DA and retro DA reactions of the obtained composites were demonstrated, and the thermal healing properties were evaluated. The behavior of the GNP/EP nanocomposites in the DA reaction is similar to that of thermosetting polymers at low temperatures due to crosslinking by the DA reaction, and the nanocomposites can be recycled by a retro DA reaction at high temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thermosets II)
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Open AccessArticle
Permeation of a Range of Species through Polymer Layers under Varying Conditions of Temperature and Pressure: In Situ Measurement Methods
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061056
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 26 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
Minimising the transport of corrosive reactants such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and chloride ions to the surfaces of carbon steel pipes by the use of polymer barrier layers is of major interest in the oil and gas sector. In these applications, there [...] Read more.
Minimising the transport of corrosive reactants such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and chloride ions to the surfaces of carbon steel pipes by the use of polymer barrier layers is of major interest in the oil and gas sector. In these applications, there is a requirement to assess the performance of these barrier layers although it is difficult to perform long-term predictions of barrier properties from the results of short-term measurements. New methodologies have been successfully developed to study the permeability of carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) through polymer layers under variable conditions of elevated temperatures of 100 °C and pressures of the order of 400 barg. In situ variation of the temperature and the inlet pressure of the gas (or gas mixture) allowed the activation energy and pressure dependence of the permeability to be determined without outgassing of the specimen. These methodologies have been applied to the measurement of the permeability of moulded polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) to supercritical CO2 in the presence of H2S. The diffusion coefficients of sodium chloride and potassium chloride through both PPS and polyether ether ketone (PEEK) at ambient temperature and pressure have also been measured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gas Transport Behavior of Polymer Films)
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Open AccessArticle
The Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) Random Copolymers (PEVA) and its Covalently Crosslinked Analogues (cPEVA)
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1055; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061055
Received: 21 May 2019 / Revised: 12 June 2019 / Accepted: 12 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
The thermal and mechanical properties of poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) random copolymers (PEVA) and its covalently crosslinked analogues (cPEVA) were controlled by the overall crystallinity of the polymer networks. The cPEVAs with different VA-content were synthesized by thermally-induced crosslinking of linear PEVA with [...] Read more.
The thermal and mechanical properties of poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) random copolymers (PEVA) and its covalently crosslinked analogues (cPEVA) were controlled by the overall crystallinity of the polymer networks. The cPEVAs with different VA-content were synthesized by thermally-induced crosslinking of linear PEVA with dicumyl peroxide (DCP). This work was mainly concerned with the effect of vinyl acetate (VA) content on the crosslinking density, thermal and mechanical properties of PEVAs and cPEVAs, respectively. The chemical composition was analyzed by thermogravimetric analysis and 1H-NMR. The thermal and mechanical properties of PEVAs and cPEVAs have been studied through a series of conventional analytical methods, including gel content determination, different scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric analysis, dynamic mechanical thermal analysis and traditional mechanical measurements. The experimental results show that the thermal and mechanical properties of PEVAs and cPEVAs increase with decreasing the VA-content. A broad melting transition with a ΔTm in the range from 78 °C to 95 °C was observed for all polymer networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Structure and Properties)
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Open AccessArticle
Hardware and Software Development for Isotonic Strain and Isometric Stress Measurements of Linear Ionic Actuators
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1054; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061054
Received: 18 April 2019 / Revised: 29 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 June 2019 / Published: 17 June 2019
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Abstract
An inseparable part of ionic actuator characterization is a set of adequate measurement devices. Due to significant limitations of available commercial systems, in-house setups are often employed. The main objective of this work was to develop a software solution for running isotonic and [...] Read more.
An inseparable part of ionic actuator characterization is a set of adequate measurement devices. Due to significant limitations of available commercial systems, in-house setups are often employed. The main objective of this work was to develop a software solution for running isotonic and isometric experiments on a hardware setup consisting of a potentiostat, a linear displacement actuator, a force sensor, and a voltmeter for measuring the force signal. A set of functions, hardware drivers, and measurement automation algorithms were developed in the National Instruments LabVIEW 2015 system. The result is a software called isotonic (displacement) and isometric (force) electro-chemo-measurement software (IIECMS), that enables the user to control isotonic and isometric experiments over a single compact graphical user interface. The linear ionic actuators chosen as sample systems included different materials with different force and displacement characteristics, namely free-standing polypyrrole films doped with dodecylbenzene sulfonate (PPy/DBS) and multiwall carbon nanotube/carbide-derived carbon (MWCNT-CDC) fibers. The developed software was thoroughly tested with numerous test samples of linear ionic actuators, meaning over 200 h of experimenting time where over 90% of the time the software handled the experiment process autonomously. The uncertainty of isotonic measurements was estimated to be 0.6 µm (0.06%). With the integrated correction algorithms, samples with as low as 0 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) can be adequately described. Full article
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