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Polymers, Volume 13, Issue 1 (January-1 2021) – 169 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In this study, a bioremediation capsule was fabricated based on a vapor sublimation and deposition process and was composed of poly-p-xylylene matrix, viable Bacillus bacteria, and encapsulated carboxymethyl cellulose. The fabrication process used water/ice templates and a dry and clean vapor-phase process that preserved the sensitive biomolecules and their biological functions. Synergistic enzymatic activity was found to be regulatable and proportional to the concentration of the decorated carboxymethyl cellulose molecules in the same capsule construct. The capsules exhibited a customizable production in terms of physical dimensions and biochemical functions of bioremediation products. View this paper
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Review
Preparation, Properties and Mechanisms of Carbon Fiber/Polymer Composites for Thermal Management Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010169 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
With the increasing integration and miniaturization of electronic devices, heat dissipation has become a major challenge. The traditional printed polymer circuit board can no longer meet the heat dissipation demands of microelectronic equipment. If the heat cannot be removed quickly and effectively, the [...] Read more.
With the increasing integration and miniaturization of electronic devices, heat dissipation has become a major challenge. The traditional printed polymer circuit board can no longer meet the heat dissipation demands of microelectronic equipment. If the heat cannot be removed quickly and effectively, the efficiency of the devices will be decreased and their lifetime will be shortened. In addition, the development of the aerospace, automobiles, light emitting diode (LED{ TA \1 “LED; lightemitting diode” \s “LED” \c 1 }) and energy harvesting and conversion has gradually increased the demand for low-density and high thermal conductive materials. In recent years, carbon fiber (CF{ TA \1 “CF; carbon fiber” \c 1 }) has been widely used for the preparation of polymer composites due to its good mechanical property and ultra-high thermal conductivity. CF materials easily form thermal conduction paths through polymer composites to improve the thermal conductivity. This paper describes the research progress, thermal conductivity mechanisms, preparation methods, factors influencing thermal conductivity and provides relevant suggestions for the development of CF composites for thermal management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Composites and Nanocomposites)
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Editorial
Polymeric Materials for Water and Wastewater Management
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010168 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 791
Abstract
Water is a crucial point of interest nowadays due to its special management [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Water and Wastewater Management)
Article
Thermodynamic and Kinetic Characteristics of Combustion of Discrete Polymethyl Methacrylate Plates with Different Spacings in Concave Building Facades
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010167 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Polymethyl methacrylate plates are widely applied to buildings, producing significant fire hazards. It lacks a theoretical basis for the fire risk assessment of polymethyl methacrylate in concave building facades. Therefore, experimental methods are used to investigate combustion characteristics of discrete polymethyl methacrylate plates [...] Read more.
Polymethyl methacrylate plates are widely applied to buildings, producing significant fire hazards. It lacks a theoretical basis for the fire risk assessment of polymethyl methacrylate in concave building facades. Therefore, experimental methods are used to investigate combustion characteristics of discrete polymethyl methacrylate plates in a concave building facade. Influences of fuel coverage and structure factor are investigated, which is scant in previous works. When structure factor is invariable, average flame height increases first and then decreases as fuel coverage increases, and the turning point is between 0.64 and 0.76. In total, three different patterns of pyrolysis front propagation are first observed for different fuel coverages. Flame spread rate first increases and then decreases as fuel coverage rises, and the turning point is also between 0.64 and 0.76. When fuel coverage is invariable, the flame spread rate first increases and then decreases with increasing structure factor, and the turning point is 1.2. A model for predicting the flame spread rate of discrete polymethyl methacrylate is also developed. The predicted values are consistent with experimental results. Fuel spread rate of discrete polymethyl methacrylate rises as the fuel coverage increases. The above results are beneficial for thermal hazard evaluation and fire safety design of polymethyl methacrylate used in buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Performance and Application of Novel Biocomposites II)
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Correction
Correction: Zheng, L., et al. PBN11-8, a Cytotoxic Polypeptide Purified from Marine Bacillus, Suppresses Invasion and Migration of Human Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells by Targeting Focal Adhesion Kinase Pathways. Polymers 2018, 10, 1043
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010166 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 606
Abstract
The authors wish to make a change to the published paper [...] Full article
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Article
Mechanical Properties of Poly(ethylene-co-methacrylic acid) Reinforced with Carbon Fibers
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010165 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 853
Abstract
The capability of poly(ethylene-co-methacrylic acid) (E/MAA) to self-heal is well known, however, its mechanical properties are weak. In this study, composites with single and double layers of unidirectional (UD) carbon fibers were prepared by compression molding. Even a low mass fraction of fibers [...] Read more.
The capability of poly(ethylene-co-methacrylic acid) (E/MAA) to self-heal is well known, however, its mechanical properties are weak. In this study, composites with single and double layers of unidirectional (UD) carbon fibers were prepared by compression molding. Even a low mass fraction of fibers substantially improved the polymer. The flexural and tensile properties were tested at 0°, 45° and 90° fibers direction and compared to those of the matrix. The mechanical properties in the 0° direction proved superior. Flexural properties depended on the reinforcement distance from the stress neutral plane. The tensile modulus in the 0° direction was 13 times greater despite only a 2.5% mass fraction of fibers. However, both tensile modulus and strength were observed to degrade in the 90° direction. Dynamic mechanical analysis showed the dependence of both structure and properties on the thermal history of E/MAA. Tensile tests after ballistic impact showed that the modulus of the self-healed E/MAA was not affected, yet the strength, yield point, and particularly the elongation at break were reduced. A composite with higher fiber content could be prepared by mixing milled E/MAA particles in fibers prior to compression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Self-Healing Polymers)
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Article
Investigation of the Shape-Memory Properties of 3D Printed PLA Structures with Different Infills
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010164 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1223
Abstract
Polylactic acid (PLA) belongs to the few thermoplastic polymers that are derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane. PLA is often used in 3D printing by fused deposition modeling (FDM) as it is relatively easy to print, does not [...] Read more.
Polylactic acid (PLA) belongs to the few thermoplastic polymers that are derived from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane. PLA is often used in 3D printing by fused deposition modeling (FDM) as it is relatively easy to print, does not show warping and can be printed without a closed building chamber. On the other hand, PLA has interesting mechanical properties which are influenced by the printing parameters and geometries. Here we present shape-memory properties of PLA cubes with different infill patterns and percentages, extending the research reported before in a conference paper. We investigate the material response under defined quasi-static load as well as the possibility to restore the original 3D printed shape. The quasi-static flexural properties are linked to the porosity and the infill structure of the samples under investigation as well as to the numbers of closed top layers, examined optically and by simulations. Our results underline the importance of designing the infill patterns carefully to develop samples with desired mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Green and Sustainable Chemistry in Polymer Science)
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Editorial
Advances in Wood Composites III
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010163 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 620
Abstract
Wood composites are man-made materials that can be easily manufactured from a variety of raw lignocellulosic materials and the appropriate binder [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Wood Composites III)
Article
Effect of Thermal Processing on Flow Properties and Stability of Thickened Fluid Matrices Formulated by Tapioca Starch, Hydroxyl Distarch Phosphate (E-1442), and Xanthan Gum Associating Dysphagia-Friendly Potential
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010162 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 952
Abstract
The flow behavior of the administrated fluid matrices demands careful assessments for stability when consumed by individuals with dysphagia. In the present study, we incorporated tapioca starch (TS), hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate (HDP), and xanthan gum (XG) as thickeners into different nectars (300 ± [...] Read more.
The flow behavior of the administrated fluid matrices demands careful assessments for stability when consumed by individuals with dysphagia. In the present study, we incorporated tapioca starch (TS), hydroxypropyl distarch phosphate (HDP), and xanthan gum (XG) as thickeners into different nectars (300 ± 20 mPa.s) undergoing thermal processing and evaluated their stability. The thickened nectars presented better water holding and oil binding capacities at 25 °C than 4 °C, and the nectars with TS provided the best results for both capacities as well as the highest solubility index and swelling power (p < 0.05). All prepared nectars appeared to be shear-thinning fluids with yield stress closely fitting the power law and Casson models. XG-containing nectars presented a higher yield stress and consistency index. Matrices thickened by HDP exhibited a higher viscoelastic property compared to those thickened by TS during thermal processing. TS nectars presented viscous behavior, whereas HDP and XG nectars presented elastic behavior at 80 °C processing. The 3 min thermal processing HDP nectars remained stable and met dysphagia-friendly requirements under 4 °C storage for 28 days, regardless of the type of fluid base (distilled water, sport drink, or orange juice). The employed thickeners present adequate physicochemical properties to be potentially utilized for producing dysphagia-friendly formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Starch-Based Composites)
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Article
Formulation and Characterization of Alginate-Based Membranes for the Potential Transdermal Delivery of Methotrexate
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010161 - 04 Jan 2021
Viewed by 667
Abstract
The aim of this study is to obtain and characterize of alginate-based membranes, as well as to choose the most suitable membrane type for the transdermal release of methotrexate. The paper presents the synthesis of four types of membranes based on alginate to [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to obtain and characterize of alginate-based membranes, as well as to choose the most suitable membrane type for the transdermal release of methotrexate. The paper presents the synthesis of four types of membranes based on alginate to which are added other copolymers (Carbopol, Tween, and Polyvinylpyrrolidone) as well as other components with different roles. Membranes and binary mixtures made between the components used in membrane synthesis and methotrexate are analyzed by thermogravimetric techniques, FTIR and UV spectroscopic techniques as well as SEM. The analyses aim to establish the type of membrane most indicated in the use of the controlled release of methotrexate, namely those membranes in which there are no interactions that could inactivate the active substance. Following these studies, it was concluded that membranes obtained from alginate/alginate and Tw can be used for methotrexate release. The membrane obtained from alginate and carbopol was excluded from the beginning because it is not homogeneous. Regarding the AGP-MTX membrane, it presents interactions with the active substance, carboxylate group interactions argued by TGA and FTIR studies, and interactions that occur in aqueous medium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Nanocomposites in Future Biomedical Application)
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Article
Numerical Investigation of Fabricated MWCNTs/Polystyrene Nanofibrous Membrane for DCMD
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010160 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 948
Abstract
The effect of compositing multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with polystyrene (PS) to fabricate nanofibrous membrane by electrospinning technique and comparing the direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) performance of the blank and composite membranes is evaluated numerically. Surface morphology of both the pristine and [...] Read more.
The effect of compositing multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with polystyrene (PS) to fabricate nanofibrous membrane by electrospinning technique and comparing the direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) performance of the blank and composite membranes is evaluated numerically. Surface morphology of both the pristine and the composite membrane was studied by SEM imaging while the average fiber diameter and average pore size were measured using ImageJ software. Static water contact angle and porosities were also determined for both membranes. Results showed significant enhancement in both the hydrophobicity and porosity of the composite membrane by increasing the static water contact angle from 145.4° for the pristine PS membrane to 155° for the PS/MWCNTs composite membrane while the porosity was increased by 28%. Simulation results showed that at any given feed inlet temperature, the PS/MWCNTs membrane have higher permeate flux and better overall system performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Composites for Water Treatment and Desalination)
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Article
Solvent-Free Processing of Drug-Loaded Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Scaffolds with Tunable Macroporosity by Combination of Supercritical Foaming and Thermal Porogen Leaching
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010159 - 04 Jan 2021
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Demand of scaffolds for hard tissue repair increases due to a higher incidence of fractures related to accidents and bone-diseases that are linked to the ageing of the population. Namely, scaffolds loaded with bioactive agents can facilitate the bone repair by favoring the [...] Read more.
Demand of scaffolds for hard tissue repair increases due to a higher incidence of fractures related to accidents and bone-diseases that are linked to the ageing of the population. Namely, scaffolds loaded with bioactive agents can facilitate the bone repair by favoring the bone integration and avoiding post-grafting complications. Supercritical (sc-)foaming technology emerges as a unique solvent-free approach for the processing of drug-loadenu7d scaffolds at high incorporation yields. In this work, medicated poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds were prepared by sc-foaming coupled with a leaching process to overcome problems of pore size tuning of the sc-foaming technique. The removal of the solid porogen (BA, ammonium bicarbonate) was carried out by a thermal leaching taking place at 37 °C and in the absence of solvents for the first time. Macroporous scaffolds with dual porosity (50–100 µm and 200–400 µm ranges) were obtained and with a porous structure directly dependent on the porogen content used. The processing of ketoprofen-loaded scaffolds using BA porogen resulted in drug loading yields close to 100% and influenced its release profile from the PCL matrix to a relevant clinical scenario. A novel solvent-free strategy has been set to integrate the incorporation of solid porogens in the sc-foaming of medicated scaffolds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials as Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering)
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Review
Natural Polymeric Materials: A Solution to Plastic Pollution from the Agro-Food Sector
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010158 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1794
Abstract
Conventional petroleum-derived plastics represent a serious problem for global pollution because, when discarded in the environment, are believed to remain for hundreds of years. In order to reduce dependence on fossil resources, bioplastic materials are being proposed as safer alternatives. Bioplastics are bio-based [...] Read more.
Conventional petroleum-derived plastics represent a serious problem for global pollution because, when discarded in the environment, are believed to remain for hundreds of years. In order to reduce dependence on fossil resources, bioplastic materials are being proposed as safer alternatives. Bioplastics are bio-based and/or biodegradable materials, typically derived from renewable sources. Food waste as feedstock represents one of the recent applications in the research field of bioplastics production. To date, several food wastes have been used as raw materials for the production of bioplastics, including mostly fruit and vegetable wastes. The conversion of fruit and vegetable wastes into biomaterials could occur through simple or more complex processes. In some cases, biopolymers extracted from raw biomass are directly manufactured; on the other hand, the extracted biopolymers could be reinforced or used as reinforcing agents and/or natural fillers in order to obtain biocomposites. The present review covers available results on the application of methods used in the last 10 years for the design of biomaterials obtained from formulations made up with both fruits and vegetables by-products. Particular attention will be addressed to the waste pre-treatment, to the bioplastic formulation and to its processing, as well as to the mechanical and physical properties of the obtained materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Circular and Green Polymer Science)
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Review
Dental 3D-Printing: Transferring Art from the Laboratories to the Clinics
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010157 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1811
Abstract
The rise of three-dimensional (3D) printing technology has changed the face of dentistry over the past decade. 3D printing is a versatile technique that allows the fabrication of fully automated, tailor-made treatment plans, thereby delivering personalized dental devices and aids to the patients. [...] Read more.
The rise of three-dimensional (3D) printing technology has changed the face of dentistry over the past decade. 3D printing is a versatile technique that allows the fabrication of fully automated, tailor-made treatment plans, thereby delivering personalized dental devices and aids to the patients. It is highly efficient, reproducible, and provides fast and accurate results in an affordable manner. With persistent efforts among dentists for refining their practice, dental clinics are now acclimatizing from conventional treatment methods to a fully digital workflow to treat their patients. Apart from its clinical success, 3D printing techniques are now employed in developing haptic simulators, precise models for dental education, including patient awareness. In this narrative review, we discuss the evolution and current trends in 3D printing applications among various areas of dentistry. We aim to focus on the process of the digital workflow used in the clinical diagnosis of different dental conditions and how they are transferred from laboratories to clinics. A brief outlook on the most recent manufacturing methods of 3D printed objects and their current and future implications are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing in Biomedicine)
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Article
Protein Unfolding and Aggregation near a Hydrophobic Interface
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010156 - 03 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1036
Abstract
The behavior of proteins near interfaces is relevant for biological and medical purposes. Previous results in bulk show that, when the protein concentration increases, the proteins unfold and, at higher concentrations, aggregate. Here, we study how the presence of a hydrophobic surface affects [...] Read more.
The behavior of proteins near interfaces is relevant for biological and medical purposes. Previous results in bulk show that, when the protein concentration increases, the proteins unfold and, at higher concentrations, aggregate. Here, we study how the presence of a hydrophobic surface affects this course of events. To this goal, we use a coarse-grained model of proteins and study by simulations their folding and aggregation near an ideal hydrophobic surface in an aqueous environment by changing parameters such as temperature and hydrophobic strength, related, e.g., to ions concentration. We show that the hydrophobic surface, as well as the other parameters, affect both the protein unfolding and aggregation. We discuss the interpretation of these results and define future lines for further analysis, with their possible implications in neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
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Review
Effects of Technical Textiles and Synthetic Nanofibers on Environmental Pollution
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010155 - 03 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
Textile manufacturing has been one of the highest polluting industrial sectors. It represents about one-fifth of worldwide industrial water pollution. It uses a huge number of chemicals, numerous of which are carcinogenic. The textile industry releases many harmful chemicals, such as heavy metals [...] Read more.
Textile manufacturing has been one of the highest polluting industrial sectors. It represents about one-fifth of worldwide industrial water pollution. It uses a huge number of chemicals, numerous of which are carcinogenic. The textile industry releases many harmful chemicals, such as heavy metals and formaldehyde, into water streams and soil, as well as toxic gases such as suspended particulate matter and sulphur dioxide to air. These hazardous wastes, may cause diseases and severe problems to human health such as respiratory and heart diseases. Pollution caused by the worldwide textile manufacturing units results in unimaginable harm, such as textile polymers, auxiliaries and dyes, to the environment. This review presents a systematic and comprehensive survey of all recently produced high-performance textiles; and will therefore assist a deeper understanding of technical textiles providing a bridge between manufacturer and end-user. Moreover, the achievements in advanced applications of textile material will be extensively studied. Many classes of technical textiles were proved in a variety of applications of different fields. The introductory material- and process-correlated identifications regarding raw materials and their transformation into yarns, fibers and fabrics followed by dyeing, printing, finishing of technical textiles and their further processing will be explored. Thus, the environmental impacts of technical textiles on soil, air and water are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
Environmental Impacts of Glass- and Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Bar-Reinforced Seawater and Sea Sand Concrete Beams Used in Marine Environments: An LCA Case Study
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010154 - 02 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
Application of glass- or carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP/CFRP) bars makes the direct use of seawater and sea sand concrete (SWSSC) in construction feasible, which is of high interest in order to conserve the limited resources of fresh water and river sand. The present paper [...] Read more.
Application of glass- or carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (GFRP/CFRP) bars makes the direct use of seawater and sea sand concrete (SWSSC) in construction feasible, which is of high interest in order to conserve the limited resources of fresh water and river sand. The present paper performed the life cycle assessment (LCA) of constructing three kinds of beams (GFRP/CFRP bar-reinforced SWSSC beams, and steel bar-reinforced common concrete (SRC) beam) in marine environments to show the environmental benefits of using FRP bar-reinforced SWSSC beams in marine environments. According to ISO 14040 and ISO 14044, stages including production, transportation, construction, use and end-of-life are within the LCA’s boundary. The ReCiPe method and eight main environmental impact categories were used to characterize the environmental impacts of those beams. LCA results indicate that one cubic meter SWSSC possesses much lower environmental impacts in terms of all eight categories compared with common concrete with the same volume when used in marine environments, with reduction rates from 26.3% to 48.6%. When the two transportation distances were set as 50 and 20 km and without considering the difference in service life, compared to SRC beam, GFRP-SWSSC beam performs better in six categories and CFRP-SWSSC beam performs better in four categories. When considering increased transportation distance and the higher durability performance, the advantageous categories for GFRP-SWSSC and CFRP-SWSSC beams increase to seven and six, respectively. The environmental impacts of all the three beams are mainly affected by the production stages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Concrete and Composites)
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Article
Wave Dispersion Analysis of Fluid Conveying Nanocomposite Shell Reinforced by MWCNTs Considering the Effect of Waviness and Agglomeration Efficiency
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010153 - 01 Jan 2021
Viewed by 838
Abstract
The current paper is aimed to investigate the effects of waviness, random orientation, and agglomeration factor of nanoreinforcements on wave propagation in fluid-conveying multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs)-reinforced nanocomposite cylindrical shell based on first-order shear deformable theory (FSDT). The effective mechanical properties of the [...] Read more.
The current paper is aimed to investigate the effects of waviness, random orientation, and agglomeration factor of nanoreinforcements on wave propagation in fluid-conveying multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs)-reinforced nanocomposite cylindrical shell based on first-order shear deformable theory (FSDT). The effective mechanical properties of the nanocomposite cylindrical shell are estimated employing a combination of a novel form of Halpin-Tsai homogenization model and rule of mixture. Utilized fluid flow obeys Newtonian fluid law and it is axially symmetric and laminar flow and it is considered to be fully developed. The effect of flow velocity is explored by implementing Navier-Stokes equation. The kinetic relations of nanocomposite shell are calculated via FSDT. Moreover, the governing equations are derived using the Hamiltonian approach. Afterward, a method which solves problems analytically is applied to solve the obtained governing equations. Effects of a wide range of variants such as volume fraction of MWCNTs, radius to thickness ratio, flow velocity, waviness factor, random orientation factor, and agglomeration factor on the phase velocity and wave frequency of a fluid conveying MWCNTs-reinforced nanocomposite cylindrical shell were comparatively illustrated and the results were discussed in detail. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Nanomaterial-Modified Polymer Composites)
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Article
Temperature-Modulated Scanning Calorimetry of Melting–Recrystallization of Poly(butylene terephthalate)
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010152 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
The melting and recrystallization behaviors of poly(butylene terephthalate) (PBT) were investigated using temperature-modulated scanning calorimetry in both fast- and conventional slow-scan modes. With this method, the response of multiple transition kinetics, such as melting and recrystallization, can be differentiated by utilizing the difference [...] Read more.
The melting and recrystallization behaviors of poly(butylene terephthalate) (PBT) were investigated using temperature-modulated scanning calorimetry in both fast- and conventional slow-scan modes. With this method, the response of multiple transition kinetics, such as melting and recrystallization, can be differentiated by utilizing the difference in the time constants of the kinetics. In addition to the previous result of temperature-modulated fast-scan calorimetry of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the supporting evidence of another aromatic polyester, PBT, confirmed the behavior of the exothermic process of recrystallization, which proceeds simultaneously with melting on heating scan in the temperature range of double melting peaks starting just above the crystallization temperature up to the main melting peak. Because the crystallization of PBT is much more pronounced than that of PET, similar behavior of recrystallization was obtained by the conventional temperature-modulated differential scanning calorimetry at a slow-scan rate. Full article
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Review
Review of Graphene-Based Textile Strain Sensors, with Emphasis on Structure Activity Relationship
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010151 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1304
Abstract
Graphene-based textile strain sensors were reviewed in terms of their preparation methods, performance, and applications with particular attention on its forming method, the key properties (sensitivity, stability, sensing range and response time), and comparisons. Staple fiber strain sensors, staple and filament strain sensors, [...] Read more.
Graphene-based textile strain sensors were reviewed in terms of their preparation methods, performance, and applications with particular attention on its forming method, the key properties (sensitivity, stability, sensing range and response time), and comparisons. Staple fiber strain sensors, staple and filament strain sensors, nonwoven fabric strain sensors, woven fabric strain sensors and knitted fabric strain sensors were summarized, respectively. (i) In general, graphene-based textile strain sensors can be obtained in two ways. One method is to prepare conductive textiles through spinning and weaving techniques, and the graphene worked as conductive filler. The other method is to deposit graphene-based materials on the surface of textiles, the graphene served as conductive coatings and colorants. (ii) The gauge factor (GF) value of sensor refers to its mechanical and electromechanical properties, which are the key evaluation indicators. We found the absolute value of GF of graphene-based textile strain sensor could be roughly divided into two trends according to its structural changes. Firstly, in the recoverable deformation stage, GF usually decreased with the increase of strain. Secondly, in the unrecoverable deformation stage, GF usually increased with the increase of strain. (iii) The main challenge of graphene-based textile strain sensors was that their application capacity received limited studies. Most of current studies only discussed washability, seldomly involving the impact of other environmental factors, including friction, PH, etc. Based on these developments, this work was done to provide some merit to references and guidelines for the progress of future research on flexible and wearable electronics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
A 3D Printed Composite Scaffold Loaded with Clodronate to Regenerate Osteoporotic Bone: In Vitro Characterization
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010150 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
Additive manufacturing (AM) is changing our current approach to the clinical treatment of bone diseases, providing new opportunities to fabricate customized, complex 3D structures with bioactive materials. Among several AM techniques, the BioCell Printing is an advanced, integrated system for material manufacture, sterilization, [...] Read more.
Additive manufacturing (AM) is changing our current approach to the clinical treatment of bone diseases, providing new opportunities to fabricate customized, complex 3D structures with bioactive materials. Among several AM techniques, the BioCell Printing is an advanced, integrated system for material manufacture, sterilization, direct cell seeding and growth, which allows for the production of high-resolution micro-architectures. This work proposes the use of the BioCell Printing to fabricate polymer-based scaffolds reinforced with ceramics and loaded with bisphosphonates for the treatment of osteoporotic bone fractures. In particular, biodegradable poly(ε-caprolactone) was blended with hydroxyapatite particles and clodronate, a bisphosphonate with known efficacy against several bone diseases. The scaffolds’ morphology was investigated by means of Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and micro-Computed Tomography (micro-CT) while Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDX) and X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) revealed the scaffolds’ elemental composition. A thermal characterization of the composites was accomplished by Thermogravimetric analyses (TGA). The mechanical performance of printed scaffolds was investigated under static compression and compared against that of native human bone. The designed 3D scaffolds promoted the attachment and proliferation of human MSCs. In addition, the presence of clodronate supported cell differentiation, as demonstrated by the normalized alkaline phosphatase activity. The obtained results show that the BioCell Printing can easily be employed to generate 3D constructs with pre-defined internal/external shapes capable of acting as a temporary physical template for regeneration of cancellous bone tissues. Full article
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Article
Print Velocity Effects on Strain-Rate Sensitivity of Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene Using Material Extrusion Additive Manufacturing
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010149 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 735
Abstract
The strain-rate sensitivity of the yield stress for Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) tensile samples processed via material extrusion additive manufacturing (ME-AM) was investigated. Such specimens show molecular orientation and interstitial voids that affect the mechanical properties. Apparent densities were measured to compensate for the interstitial [...] Read more.
The strain-rate sensitivity of the yield stress for Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) tensile samples processed via material extrusion additive manufacturing (ME-AM) was investigated. Such specimens show molecular orientation and interstitial voids that affect the mechanical properties. Apparent densities were measured to compensate for the interstitial voids. Three different printing speeds were used to generate ME-AM tensile test samples with different molecular orientation. Printing velocities influenced molecular orientation and stretch, as determined from thermal shrinkage measurements. Likewise, infill velocity affected the strain-rate dependence of the yield stress. The ABS material manifests thermorheollogically simple behavior that can correctly be described by an Eyring flow rule. The changing activation volume, as a result of a varying print velocity, scales linearly with the molecular orientation, as captured in an estimated processing-induced pre-strain. Therefore, it is suggested that ME-AM processed ABS shows a deformation-dependent activation volume. This paper can be seen as initial work that can help to improve quantitative predictive numerical tools for ME-AM, taking into account the effects that the processing step has on the mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rheology of 3D Printing)
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Article
Thermo-Responsive Behavior of Mixed Aqueous Solution of Hydrophilic Polymer with Pendant Phosphorylcholine Group and Poly(Acrylic Acid)
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010148 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 799
Abstract
A mixed aqueous solution of hydrophilic poly(2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) (PMPC) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAAc) becomes cloudy under acidic conditions at room temperature. The pendant carboxylic acid groups in PAAc form hydrogen bonds with the ester and phosphate groups in PMPC. While the polymers aggregate [...] Read more.
A mixed aqueous solution of hydrophilic poly(2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine) (PMPC) and poly(acrylic acid) (PAAc) becomes cloudy under acidic conditions at room temperature. The pendant carboxylic acid groups in PAAc form hydrogen bonds with the ester and phosphate groups in PMPC. While the polymers aggregate under acidic conditions, neither one associate under basic conditions because of the deprotonation of the pendant carboxy groups in PAAc. We observed that the interpolymer complex formed from PMPC, and PAAc was dissociated in aqueous solutions with increasing temperature, which is an upper critical solution temperature behavior. With increasing temperature, the molecular motion increased to dissociate the interpolymer complex. The phase transition temperature increased with increasing polymer and salt concentrations, and with decreasing pH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Micelles II)
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Article
Enhanced Thermal Conductivity of Epoxy Composites Filled with Al2O3/Boron Nitride Hybrids for Underfill Encapsulation Materials
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010147 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1471
Abstract
In this study, a thermal conductivity of 0.22 W·m−1·K−1 was obtained for pristine epoxy (EP), and the impact of a hybrid filler composed of two-dimensional (2D) flake-like boron nitride (BN) and zero-dimensional (0D) spherical micro-sized aluminum oxide (Al2O [...] Read more.
In this study, a thermal conductivity of 0.22 W·m−1·K−1 was obtained for pristine epoxy (EP), and the impact of a hybrid filler composed of two-dimensional (2D) flake-like boron nitride (BN) and zero-dimensional (0D) spherical micro-sized aluminum oxide (Al2O3) on the thermal conductivity of epoxy resin was investigated. With 80 wt.% hybrid Al2O3–BN filler contents, the thermal conductivity of the EP composite reached 1.72 W·m−1·K−1, increasing approximately 7.8-fold with respect to the pure epoxy matrix. Furthermore, different important properties for the application were analyzed, such as Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectra, viscosity, morphology, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), glass transition temperature (Tg), decomposition temperature (Td), dielectric properties, and thermal infrared images. The obtained thermal performance is suitable for specific electronic applications such as flip-chip underfill packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reinforced Polymer Composites II)
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Article
Low Molecular Weight Oligomers of Poly(alkylene succinate) Polyesters as Plasticizers in Poly(vinyl alcohol) Based Pharmaceutical Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010146 - 01 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
The plasticizing effect of three low molecular weight oligomers of aliphatic poly(alkylene succinate) polyesters, namely poly(butylene succinate) (PBSu), poly(ethylene succinate) (PESu), and poly(propylene succinate) (PPSu), on partially hydrolyzed poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) used in melt-based pharmaceutical applications, was evaluated for the first time. Initially, [...] Read more.
The plasticizing effect of three low molecular weight oligomers of aliphatic poly(alkylene succinate) polyesters, namely poly(butylene succinate) (PBSu), poly(ethylene succinate) (PESu), and poly(propylene succinate) (PPSu), on partially hydrolyzed poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) used in melt-based pharmaceutical applications, was evaluated for the first time. Initially, the three aliphatic polyesters were prepared by the melt polycondensation process and characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), 1H NMR, intrinsic viscosity, and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). Subsequently, their effect on the thermophysical and physicochemical properties of PVA was thoroughly evaluated. According to the obtained results, PVA was completely miscible with all three polyesters, while PESu induced PVA’s thermal degradation, with the phenomenon starting from ~220 °C, in contrast to PBSu and PPSu, where a thermal profile similar to PVA was observed. Furthermore, molecular interactions between PVA and the prepared poly(alkylene succinate) polyesters were revealed by DSC, ATR-FTIR, and molecular dynamics simulations. Finally, melt flow index (MFI) measurements showed that, in contrast to PBSu, the use of PESu or PPSu significantly improved PVA’s melt flow properties. Hence, according to findings of the present work, only the use of low molecular weight PPSu is suitable in order to reduce processing temperature of PVA and improve its melt flow properties (plasticizing ability) without affecting its thermal decomposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymeric Materials for Pharmaceutical Applications)
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Article
High-Pressure Crystallization of iPP Nucleated with 1,3:2,4-bis(3,4-dimethylbenzylidene)sorbitol
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010145 - 01 Jan 2021
Viewed by 671
Abstract
1,3:2,4-bis(3,4-dimethylbenzylidene)sorbitol (DMDBS) is highly effective in nucleation of the α- form of isotactic polypropylene (iPP). However, its role in high-pressure crystallization of iPP, facilitating the formation of the γ- polymorph, has not been explored. The present paper focuses on the influence of DMDBS [...] Read more.
1,3:2,4-bis(3,4-dimethylbenzylidene)sorbitol (DMDBS) is highly effective in nucleation of the α- form of isotactic polypropylene (iPP). However, its role in high-pressure crystallization of iPP, facilitating the formation of the γ- polymorph, has not been explored. The present paper focuses on the influence of DMDBS on nucleation of high-pressure crystallization of iPP. iPP with 0.2–1.0 wt.% of the DMDBS was crystallized under elevated pressure, up to 300 MPa, in various thermal conditions, and then analyzed by PLM, WAXD, SEM, and DSC. During cooling, crystallization temperatures (Tc) were determined. It was found that under high-pressure DMDBS nucleated crystallization of iPP in the orthorhombic γ- form. As a consequence, Tc and the γ- form content increased for the nucleated iPP, while the size of polycrystalline aggregates decreased, although the effects depended on DMDBS content. The significant increase of Tc and the decrease of grain size under high pressure of 200–300 MPa required higher content of DMDBS than the nucleation of the α-form under lower pressure, possibly due to the effect of pressure on crystallization of DMDBS itself, which is a prerequisite for its nucleating activity. Full article
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Article
An Additive Manufacturing Method Using Large-Scale Wood Inspired by Laminated Object Manufacturing and Plywood Technology
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010144 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 802
Abstract
Wood-based materials in current additive manufacturing (AM) feedstocks are primarily restricted to the micron scale. Utilizing large-scale wood in existing AM techniques remains a challenge. This paper proposes an AM method—laser-cut veneer lamination (LcVL)—for wood-based product fabrication. Inspired by laminated object manufacturing (LOM) [...] Read more.
Wood-based materials in current additive manufacturing (AM) feedstocks are primarily restricted to the micron scale. Utilizing large-scale wood in existing AM techniques remains a challenge. This paper proposes an AM method—laser-cut veneer lamination (LcVL)—for wood-based product fabrication. Inspired by laminated object manufacturing (LOM) and plywood technology, LcVL bonds wood veneers in a layer-upon-layer manner. As demonstrated by printed samples, LcVL was able to retain the advantageous qualities of AM, specifically, the ability to manufacture products with complex geometries which would otherwise be impossible using subtractive manufacturing techniques. Furthermore, LcVL-product structures designed through adjusting internal voids and wood-texture directionality could serve as material templates or matrices for functional wood-based materials. Numerical analyses established relations between the processing resolution of LcVL and proportional veneer thickness (layer height). LcVL could serve as a basis for the further development of large-scale wood usage in AM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Challenges in Wood and Wood-Based Materials)
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Article
Relationship between Photoelasticity of Polyurethane and Dielectric Anisotropy of Diisocyanate, and Application of High-Photoelasticity Polyurethane to Tactile Sensor for Robot Hands
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010143 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
Eight types of polyurethane were synthesized using seven types of diisocyanate. It was found that the elasto-optical constant depends on the concentration of diisocyanate groups in a unit volume of a polymer and the magnitude of anisotropy of the dielectric constant of diisocyanate [...] Read more.
Eight types of polyurethane were synthesized using seven types of diisocyanate. It was found that the elasto-optical constant depends on the concentration of diisocyanate groups in a unit volume of a polymer and the magnitude of anisotropy of the dielectric constant of diisocyanate groups. It was also found that incident light scattered when bending stress was generated inside photoelastic polyurethanes. A high sensitive tactile sensor for robot hands was devised using one of the developed polyurethanes with high photoelasticity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional and Conductive Polymer Thin Films)
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Review
Click Chemistry Enabling Covalent and Non-Covalent Modifications of Graphene with (Poly)saccharides
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010142 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1159
Abstract
Graphene is a material with outstanding properties and numerous potential applications in a wide range of research and technology areas, spanning from electronics, energy materials, sensors, and actuators to life-science and many more. However, the insolubility and poor dispersibility of graphene are two [...] Read more.
Graphene is a material with outstanding properties and numerous potential applications in a wide range of research and technology areas, spanning from electronics, energy materials, sensors, and actuators to life-science and many more. However, the insolubility and poor dispersibility of graphene are two major problems hampering its use in certain applications. Tethering mono-, di-, or even poly-saccharides on graphene through click-chemistry is gaining more and more attention as a key modification approach leading to new graphene-based materials (GBM) with improved hydrophilicity and substantial dispersibility in polar solvents, e.g., water. The attachment of (poly)saccharides on graphene further renders the final GBMs biocompatible and could open new routes to novel biomedical and environmental applications. In this review, recent modifications of graphene and other carbon rich materials (CRMs) through click chemistry are reviewed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ‘Click’ Chemistry and Polymers)
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Article
Microfiltration Membranes Modified with Composition of Titanium Oxide and Silver Oxide by Magnetron Sputtering
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010141 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 690
Abstract
In this work, the authors present the possibility of modification of polymer membranes by TiO2 + AgO coating created by the magnetron sputtering method. The two-component TiO2 + AgO coating can improve and shape new functional properties such as bactericidal and [...] Read more.
In this work, the authors present the possibility of modification of polymer membranes by TiO2 + AgO coating created by the magnetron sputtering method. The two-component TiO2 + AgO coating can improve and shape new functional properties such as bactericidal and photocatalytic properties. The influence of magnetron power changes on the structure of the membrane was investigated as well. The structure and elemental composition of TiO2 + AgO coatings were analyzed using SEM and EDS technique. All deposited coatings caused a total inhibition of the growth of two investigated colonies of Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis on the surface. The photocatalytic properties for membranes covered with oxide coatings were tested under UV irradiation and visible light. The filtration result show that polymer membranes covered with two-component TiO2 + AgO coatings have a permeate flux similar to the non-coated membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plasma Processes for Polymers)
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Article
Influence of Humidity on Fatigue Performance of CFRP: A Molecular Simulation
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010140 - 31 Dec 2020
Viewed by 677
Abstract
The study on durability of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in complex environments is critical because of its wide applications. Herein, mechanical behavior of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites in the fatigue process were investigated under different humidity via molecular dynamics (MD) simulation [...] Read more.
The study on durability of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in complex environments is critical because of its wide applications. Herein, mechanical behavior of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites in the fatigue process were investigated under different humidity via molecular dynamics (MD) simulation method. Transversely isotropic atom based models were established to simulate the structure of CFRP at the atomistic level. Owing to the weak performance in vertical fiber direction, mechanical behavior in a 90° orientation was investigated. Mean stress and energy were both employed to describe the evolution of mechanical performance while mean squared displacement (MSD), radius of gyration (Rg), and free volume were performed to describe the evolution of structural change during the fatigue process. The results show that the humidity led to a weakened interfacial adhesive performance. Free volume became larger under cyclic load, which caused the water molecules to diffuse into the inside of epoxy resin. The distance between the matrix and fiber became larger in the dry system while it reduced because of the diffusion of water molecules in wet system. The rate of performance degradation decreased with the increase in humidity because of poor initial performance at high humidity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Composites and Nanocomposites)
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