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Volume 13, February-1

Polymers, Volume 13, Issue 4 (February-2 2021) – 193 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): We tested the antibacterial activity of a lysine-modified cationic dendrimer (CD) against resistant Gram-negative bacteria, and, knowing that guanidine groups and two isomeric triterpenoid acids are active against Gram-positive bacteria, prepared lysine/arginine-modified dendrimers entrapping ursolic and oleanolic acids (UOA), named UOACDs. UOACDs showed significant antibacterial activity against 15 Gram-positive isolates, and it was established that UOA did not contribute to the antibacterial effects observed. Particularly, lysine was critical for the potency, while arginine was critical for redirecting activity against Gram-positive species. A high cationic character with a balanced lysine/arginine content produced remarkable antimicrobial effects (MIC = 0.5–8.7 µM). View this paper.
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Article
Physical and Chemical Relationships in Accelerated Carbonation Conditions of Alkali-Activated Cement Based on Type of Binder and Alkali Activator
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040671 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 609
Abstract
Alkali-activated cements prepared from aluminosilicate powders, such as blast furnace slag and fly ash, are rapidly attracting attention as alternatives to cement because they can significantly reduce CO2 emissions compared to conventional cement concrete. In this study, we investigated the relationship between [...] Read more.
Alkali-activated cements prepared from aluminosilicate powders, such as blast furnace slag and fly ash, are rapidly attracting attention as alternatives to cement because they can significantly reduce CO2 emissions compared to conventional cement concrete. In this study, we investigated the relationship between the physical and chemical changes by accelerated carbonation conditions of alkali-activated cements. Alkali-activated cements were prepared from binders composed of blast furnace slag and fly ash as well as alkali activators sodium silicate and sodium hydroxide. Physical changes were analyzed from compressive strength, pH, and neutralization depth, and chemical changes were analyzed from XRD, TG-DTG, and 29Si MAS NMR. The C–(N)–A–S–H structure is noted to change via carbonation, and the compressive strength is observed to decrease. However, in the case of Na-rich specimens, the compressive strength does not decrease by accelerated carbonation. This work is expected to contribute to the field of alkali-activated cements in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geopolymers - Design, Preparation, Applications)
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Article
Disentangling Self-Atomic Motions in Polyisobutylene by Molecular Dynamics Simulations
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040670 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 476
Abstract
We present fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations on polyisobutylene (PIB) in a wide temperature range above the glass transition. The cell is validated by direct comparison of magnitudes computed from the simulation and measured by neutron scattering on protonated samples reported in previous [...] Read more.
We present fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations on polyisobutylene (PIB) in a wide temperature range above the glass transition. The cell is validated by direct comparison of magnitudes computed from the simulation and measured by neutron scattering on protonated samples reported in previous works. Once the reliability of the simulation is assured, we exploit the information in the atomic trajectories to characterize the dynamics of the different kinds of atoms in PIB. All of them, including main-chain carbons, show a crossover from Gaussian to non-Gaussian behavior in the intermediate scattering function that can be described in terms of the anomalous jump diffusion model. The full characterization of the methyl-group hydrogen motions requires accounting for rotational motions. We show that the usually assumed statistically independence of rotational and segmental motions fails in this case. We apply the rotational rate distribution model to correlation functions calculated for the relative positions of methyl-group hydrogens with respect to the carbon atom at which they are linked. The contributions to the vibrational density of states are also discussed. We conclude that methyl-group rotations are coupled with the main-chain dynamics. Finally, we revise in the light of the simulations the hypothesis and conclusions made in previously reported neutron scattering investigations on protonated samples trying to address the origin of the dielectric β-process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Physics and Theory)
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Article
Process Characterization of Polyvinyl Acetate Emulsions Applying Inline Photon Density Wave Spectroscopy at High Solid Contents
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040669 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 592
Abstract
The high solids semicontinuous emulsion polymerization of polyvinyl acetate using poly (vinyl alcohol-co-vinyl acetate) as protective colloid is investigated by optical spectroscopy. The suitability of Photon Density Wave (PDW) spectroscopy as inline Process Analytical Technology (PAT) for emulsion polymerization processes at high solid [...] Read more.
The high solids semicontinuous emulsion polymerization of polyvinyl acetate using poly (vinyl alcohol-co-vinyl acetate) as protective colloid is investigated by optical spectroscopy. The suitability of Photon Density Wave (PDW) spectroscopy as inline Process Analytical Technology (PAT) for emulsion polymerization processes at high solid contents (>40% (w/w)) is studied and evaluated. Inline data on absorption and scattering in the dispersion is obtained in real-time. The radical polymerization of vinyl acetate to polyvinyl acetate using ascorbic acid and sodium persulfate as redox initiator system and poly (vinyl alcohol-co-vinyl acetate) as protective colloid is investigated. Starved–feed radical emulsion polymerization yielded particle sizes in the nanometer size regime. PDW spectroscopy is used to monitor the progress of polymerization by studying the absorption and scattering properties during the synthesis of dispersions with increasing monomer amount and correspondingly decreasing feed rate of protective colloid. Results are compared to particle sizes determined with offline dynamic light scattering (DLS) and static light scattering (SLS) during the synthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Waterborne Polymer)
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Article
Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Nanocellulose-Stabilized Pickering Emulsions
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040668 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 899
Abstract
While the economy is rapidly expanding in most emerging countries, issues coupled with a higher population has created foreseeable tension among food, water, and energy. It is crucial for more sustainable valorization of resources, for instance, nanocellulose, to address the core challenges in [...] Read more.
While the economy is rapidly expanding in most emerging countries, issues coupled with a higher population has created foreseeable tension among food, water, and energy. It is crucial for more sustainable valorization of resources, for instance, nanocellulose, to address the core challenges in environmental sustainability. As the complexity of the system evolved, the timescale of project development has increased exponentially. However, research on the design and operation of integrated nanomaterials, along with energy supply, monitoring, and control infrastructure, has seriously lagged. The development cost of new materials can be significantly reduced by utilizing molecular simulation technology in the design of nanostructured materials. To realize its potential, nanocellulose, an amphiphilic biopolymer with the presence of rich -OH and -CH structural groups, was investigated via molecular dynamics simulation to reveal its full potential as Pickering emulsion stabilizer at the molecular level. This work has successfully quantified the Pickering stabilization mechanism profiles by nanocellulose, and the phenomenon could be visualized in three stages, namely the initial homogenous phase, rapid formation of micelles and coalescence, and lastly the thermodynamic equilibrium of the system. It was also observed that the high bead order was always coupled with a high volume of phase separation activities, through a coarse-grained model within 20,000 time steps. The outcome of this work would be helpful to provide an important perspective for the future design and development of nanocellulose-based emulsion products, which cater for food, cosmeceutical, and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Fluids and Interfaces)
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Article
Preparation of Chemically Modified Lignin-Reinforced PLA Biocomposites and Their 3D Printing Performance
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040667 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 794
Abstract
Using a simple esterification reaction of a hydroxyl group with an anhydride group, pristine lignin was successfully converted to a new lignin (COOH-lignin) modified with a terminal carboxyl group. This chemical modification of pristine lignin was confirmed by the appearance of new absorption [...] Read more.
Using a simple esterification reaction of a hydroxyl group with an anhydride group, pristine lignin was successfully converted to a new lignin (COOH-lignin) modified with a terminal carboxyl group. This chemical modification of pristine lignin was confirmed by the appearance of new absorption bands in the FT-IR spectrum. Then, the pristine lignin and COOH-lignin were successfully incorporated into a poly(lactic acid) (PLA) matrix by a typical melt-mixing process. When applied to the COOH-lignin, interfacial adhesion performance between the lignin filler and PLA matrix was better and stronger than pristine lignin. Based on these results for the COOH-lignin/PLA biocomposites, the cost of printing PLA 3D filaments can be reduced without changing their thermal and mechanical properties. Furthermore, the potential of lignin as a component in PLA biocomposites adequate for 3D printing was demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Composites and Processing)
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Article
Bio-Based Hotmelt Adhesives with Well-Adhesion in Water
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040666 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 658
Abstract
We suggest a simple idea of bio-based adhesives with strong adhesion even under water. The adhesives simply prepared via polycondensation of 3,4-dihydroxyhydrocinnamic acid (DHHCA) and lactic acid (LA) in one pot polymerization. Poly(DHHCA-co-LA) has a hyperbranched structure and demonstrated strong dry [...] Read more.
We suggest a simple idea of bio-based adhesives with strong adhesion even under water. The adhesives simply prepared via polycondensation of 3,4-dihydroxyhydrocinnamic acid (DHHCA) and lactic acid (LA) in one pot polymerization. Poly(DHHCA-co-LA) has a hyperbranched structure and demonstrated strong dry and wet adhesion strength on diverse material surfaces. We found that their adhesion strength depended on the concentration of DHHCA. Poly(DHHCA-co-LA) with the lowest concentration of DHHCA showed the highest adhesion strength in water with a value of 2.7 MPa between glasses, while with the highest concentration of DHHCA it exhibited the highest dry adhesion strength with a value of 3.5 MPa, which was comparable to commercial instant super glue. Compared to underwater glues reported previously, our adhesives were able to spread rapidly under water with a low viscosity and worked strongly. Poly(DHHCA-co-LA) also showed long-term stability and kept wet adhesion strength of 2.2 MPa after steeping in water for 1 month at room temperature (initial strength was 2.4 MPa). In this paper, Poly(DHHCA-co-LA) with strong dry and wet adhesion properties and long-term stability was demonstrated for various kinds of applications, especially for wet conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
Development and Characterization of Weft-Knitted Fabrics of Naturally Occurring Polymer Fibers for Sustainable and Functional Textiles
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040665 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 675
Abstract
This study focuses on the potential uses in textiles of fibers of soy protein (SP) and chitin, which are naturally occurring polymers that can be obtained from agricultural and food processing by-products and wastes. The as-received natural fibers were first subjected to a [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the potential uses in textiles of fibers of soy protein (SP) and chitin, which are naturally occurring polymers that can be obtained from agricultural and food processing by-products and wastes. The as-received natural fibers were first subjected to a three-step manufacturing process to develop yarns that were, thereafter, converted into fabrics by weft knitting. Different characterizations in terms of physical properties and comfort parameters were carried out on the natural fibers and compared to waste derived fibers of coir and also conventional cotton and cotton-based fibers, which are widely used in the textile industry. The evaluation of the geometry and mechanical properties revealed that both SP and chitin fibers showed similar fineness and tenacity values than cotton, whereas coir did not achieve the expected properties to develop fabrics. In relation to the moisture content, it was found that the SP fibers outperformed the other natural fibers, which could successfully avoid variations in the mechanical performance of their fabrics as well as impair the growth of microorganisms. In addition, the antimicrobial activity of the natural fibers was assessed against different bacteria and fungi that are typically found on the skin. The obtained results indicated that the fibers of chitin and also SP, being the latter functionalized with biocides during the fiber-formation process, showed a high antimicrobial activity. In particular, reductions of up to 100% and 60% were attained for the bacteria and fungi strains, respectively. Finally, textile comfort was evaluated on the weft-knitted fabrics of the chitin and SP fibers by means of thermal and tactile tests. The comfort analysis indicated that the thermal resistance of both fabrics was similar to that of cotton, whereas their air permeability was higher, particularly for chitin due to its higher fineness, which makes these natural fibers very promising for summer clothes. Both the SP and chitin fabrics also presented relatively similar values of fullness and softness than the pure cotton fabric in terms of body feeling and richness. However, the cotton/polyester fabric was the only one that achieved a good range for uses in winter-autumn cloths. Therefore, the results of this work demonstrate that non-conventional chitin and SP fibers can be considered as potential candidates to replace cotton fibers in fabrics for the textile industry due to their high comfort and improved sustainability. Furthermore, these natural fibers can also serve to develop novel functional textiles with antimicrobial properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers from Natural Resources)
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Article
Bacterial Cellulose Network from Kombucha Fermentation Impregnated with Emulsion-Polymerized Poly(methyl methacrylate) to Form Nanocomposite
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040664 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 824
Abstract
The use of bio-based residues is one of the key indicators towards sustainable development goals. In this work, bacterial cellulose, a residue from the fermentation of kombucha tea, was tested as a reinforcing nanofiber network in an emulsion-polymerized poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) matrix. The [...] Read more.
The use of bio-based residues is one of the key indicators towards sustainable development goals. In this work, bacterial cellulose, a residue from the fermentation of kombucha tea, was tested as a reinforcing nanofiber network in an emulsion-polymerized poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) matrix. The use of the nanofiber network is facilitating the formation of nanocomposites with well-dispersed nanofibers without using organic solvents or expensive methodologies. Moreover, the bacterial cellulose network structure can serve as a template for the emulsion polymerization of PMMA. The morphology, size, crystallinity, water uptake, and mechanical properties of the kombucha bacterial cellulose (KBC) network were studied. The results showed that KBC nanofibril diameters were ranging between 20–40 nm and the KBC was highly crystalline, >90%. The 3D network was lightweight and porous material, having a density of only 0.014 g/cm3. Furthermore, the compressed KBC network had very good mechanical properties, the E-modulus was 8 GPa, and the tensile strength was 172 MPa. The prepared nanocomposites with a KBC concentration of 8 wt.% were translucent with uniform structure confirmed with scanning electron microscopy study, and furthermore, the KBC network was homogeneously impregnated with the PMMA matrix. The mechanical testing of the nanocomposite showed high stiffness compared to the neat PMMA. A simple simulation of the tensile strength was used to understand the limited strain and strength given by the bacterial cellulose network. The excellent properties of the final material demonstrate the capability of a residue of kombucha fermentation as an excellent nanofiber template for use in polymer nanocomposites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocellulose: Polymer Nanocomposites and all-Cellulose Materials)
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Article
The Influence of Monomer Composition and Surface-CrossLinking Condition on Biodegradation and Gel Strength of Super Absorbent Polymer
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040663 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 732
Abstract
In this study, a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) comprising poly (IA-co-cellulose-co-VSA-co-AA; ICVA) core-SAP (CSAP) was synthesized through radical polymerization using itaconic acid (IA), acrylic acid (AA), cellulose, and vinyl sulfonic acid (VSA) as monomers. The absorption performances and relative biodegradability of various compositions prepared [...] Read more.
In this study, a superabsorbent polymer (SAP) comprising poly (IA-co-cellulose-co-VSA-co-AA; ICVA) core-SAP (CSAP) was synthesized through radical polymerization using itaconic acid (IA), acrylic acid (AA), cellulose, and vinyl sulfonic acid (VSA) as monomers. The absorption performances and relative biodegradability of various compositions prepared by adjusting the amounts of cellulose and VSA with constant IA and AA content were compared. Increasing the cellulose content in CSAP contributed to improved biodegradation of the surface-crosslinked SAP (SSAP) and gel strength, although the free absorbency (FA) and centrifuge retention capacity (CRC) decreased. Increasing the VSA content resulted in strong anionicity, which enables the absorption of large amounts of water. Surface-crosslinking technology was applied to the CSAP synthesized with the optimal composition ratio to increase its absorption performance and gel strength. Improved performance of the synthesized SSAP (a CRC of 30.4 g/g, absorbency under load (AUL) of 23.3 g/g, and permeability of 55 s) was achieved by selecting the optimal surface-crosslinking treatment time and the amount of distilled water in the surface-crosslinking solution: as the latter was increased in the surface-crosslinking solution, the AUL and permeability of the SSAP were improved, and its biodegradability was found to be 54% compared to the 100% biodegradable cellulose hydrogel in the control group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Chemistry)
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Article
Morphological and Mechanical Properties of Electrospun Polycaprolactone Scaffolds: Effect of Applied Voltage
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 662; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040662 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 651
Abstract
The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of the applied voltage on the morphological and mechanical properties of electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds for potential use in tissue engineering. The morphology of the scaffolds was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to investigate the effect of the applied voltage on the morphological and mechanical properties of electrospun polycaprolactone (PCL) scaffolds for potential use in tissue engineering. The morphology of the scaffolds was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and the BET techniques for measuring the surface area and pore volume. Stress-strain curves from tensile tests were obtained for estimating the mechanical properties. Additional studies for detecting changes in the chemical structure of the electrospun PCL scaffolds by Fourier transform infrared were performed, while contact angle and X-ray diffraction analysis were realized for determining the wettability and crystallinity, respectively. The SEM, AFM and BET results demonstrate that the electrospun PCL fibers exhibit morphological changes with the applied voltage. By increasing the applied voltage (10 to 25 kV) a significate influence was observed on the fiber diameter, surface roughness, and pore volume. In addition, tensile strength, elongation, and elastic modulus increase with the applied voltage, the crystalline structure of the fibers remains constant, and the surface area and wetting of the scaffolds diminish. The morphological and mechanical properties show a clear correlation with the applied voltage and can be of great relevance for tissue engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functionalized Biomaterials for Medical Applications)
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Article
New Spectrophotometric Method for Quantitative Characterization of Density-Driven Convective Instability
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 661; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040661 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
CO2 convective dissolution has been regarded as one of the fundamental mechanisms to accelerate the mass transfer of CO2 into brine. We present a new spectrophotometric method to characterize the convective instability and measure the dissolved CO2 mass, which enables [...] Read more.
CO2 convective dissolution has been regarded as one of the fundamental mechanisms to accelerate the mass transfer of CO2 into brine. We present a new spectrophotometric method to characterize the convective instability and measure the dissolved CO2 mass, which enables the real-time quantitative visualization of CO2/brine transport mechanisms. Successive images were captured to identify the finger development regimes, and the convection morphologies were analyzed by the fingers length and affected area. CO2 solubility was experimentally studied, and the results are in agreement with the theoretical calculations. CO2 mass transfer flux was investigated as the Sherwood number changed. The increase in salinity and temperature has a negative effect on CO2 dissolution; here, numerical simulation and experimental phenomena are qualitatively consistent. In general, these findings confirm the feasibility of the method and improve the understanding of the physical process of CO2 convective dissolution, which can help assess the CO2 solubility trapping mass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Fluids and Interfaces)
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Article
Free-Radical Photopolymerization of Acrylonitrile Grafted onto Epoxidized Natural Rubber
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040660 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 645
Abstract
The exploitation of epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) in electrochemical applications is approaching its limits because of its poor thermo-mechanical properties. These properties could be improved by chemical and/or physical modification, including grafting and/or crosslinking techniques. In this work, acrylonitrile (ACN) has been successfully [...] Read more.
The exploitation of epoxidized natural rubber (ENR) in electrochemical applications is approaching its limits because of its poor thermo-mechanical properties. These properties could be improved by chemical and/or physical modification, including grafting and/or crosslinking techniques. In this work, acrylonitrile (ACN) has been successfully grafted onto ENR- 25 by a radical photopolymerization technique. The effect of (ACN to ENR) mole ratios on chemical structure and interaction, thermo-mechanical behaviour and that related to the viscoelastic properties of the polymer was investigated. The existence of the –C≡N functional group at the end-product of ACN-g-ENR is confirmed by infrared (FT-IR) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analyses. An enhanced grafting efficiency (~57%) was obtained after ACN was grafted onto the isoprene unit of ENR- 25 and showing a significant improvement in thermal stability and dielectric properties. The viscoelastic behaviour of the sample analysis showed an increase of storage modulus up to 150 × 103 MPa and the temperature of glass transition (Tg) was between −40 and 10 °C. The loss modulus, relaxation process, and tan delta were also described. Overall, the ACN-g-ENR shows a distinctive improvement in characteristics compared to ENR and can be widely used in many applications where natural rubber is used but improved thermal and mechanical properties are required. Likewise, it may also be used in electronic applications, for example, as a polymer electrolyte in batteries or supercapacitor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymeric Materials for Electrical Applications)
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Article
Development of Antibacterial Protective Coatings Active against MSSA and MRSA on Biodegradable Polymers
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040659 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 588
Abstract
In this work the in vitro antimicrobial activity of colloidal solutions of nine different commercially available nanoparticles were investigated against Staphylococcus aureus strains, both methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant (MRSA). Research covered antimicrobial investigation of different metal and metal-oxide nanoparticles, including Ag 10 nm, [...] Read more.
In this work the in vitro antimicrobial activity of colloidal solutions of nine different commercially available nanoparticles were investigated against Staphylococcus aureus strains, both methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant (MRSA). Research covered antimicrobial investigation of different metal and metal-oxide nanoparticles, including Ag 10 nm, Ag 40 nm, Al2O3 100 nm, Au 20 nm, Pt 4 nm, TiO2 100 nm, Y2O3 100 nm, ZnO 100 nm and ZrO2 100 nm nanoparticles. Such materials were foreseen to be applied as coatings on 3D-printed biodegradable polymers: i.e., catheters, disposable materials, hospital bedding items, disposable antimicrobial linings and bandages for chronic wounds. Therefore, the antimicrobial activity of the nanoparticles was determined by agar well diffusion assays and serial microdilution broth assays. In addition, the chromatographic characterization of elements present in trace amounts was performed as a method for tracing the nanoparticles. Moreover, the potential of preparing the rough surface of biodegradable polymers for coating with antimicrobial nanoparticles was tested by 3D-printing fused deposition methodology. The in vitro results have shown that particular nanoparticles provided powerful antimicrobial effects against MSSA and MRSA strains, and can be easily applied on different biopolymers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
Role of Doping Agent Degree of Sulfonation and Casting Solvent on the Electrical Conductivity and Morphology of PEDOT:SPAES Thin Films
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 658; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040658 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 695
Abstract
Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) plays a key role in the field of electrically conducting materials, despite its poor solubility and processability. Various molecules and polymers carrying sulfonic groups can be used to enhance PEDOT’s electrical conductivity. Among all, sulfonated polyarylether sulfone (SPAES), prepared via homogenous [...] Read more.
Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) plays a key role in the field of electrically conducting materials, despite its poor solubility and processability. Various molecules and polymers carrying sulfonic groups can be used to enhance PEDOT’s electrical conductivity. Among all, sulfonated polyarylether sulfone (SPAES), prepared via homogenous synthesis with controlled degree of sulfonation (DS), is a very promising PEDOT doping agent. In this work, PEDOT was synthesized via high-concentration solvent-based emulsion polymerization using 1% w/w of SPAES with different DS as dopant. It was found that the PEDOT:SPAESs obtained have improved solubility in the chosen reaction solvents, i.e., N, N-dimethylformamide, dimethylacetamide, dimethyl sulfoxide, and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and, for the first time, the role of doping agent, DS and polymerization solvents were investigated analyzing the electrical properties of SPAESs and PEDOT:SPAES samples and studying the different morphology of PEDOT-based thin films. High DS of SPAES, i.e., 2.4 meq R-SO3× g−1 of polymer, proved crucial in enhancing PEDOT’s electrical conductivity. Furthermore, the DMSO capability to favor PEDOT and SPAES chains rearrangement and interaction results in the formation of a polymer film with more homogenous morphology and higher conductivity than the ones prepared from DMAc, DMF, and NMP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Thin Films and Membranes II)
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Article
Photoelectrochemical Stability under Anodic and Cathodic Conditions of Meso-Tetra-(4-Sulfonatophenyl)-Porphyrinato Cobalt (II) Immobilized in Polypyrrole Thin Films
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 657; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040657 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 644
Abstract
Cobalt porphyrins have emerged as promising catalysts for electrochemical and photoelectrochemical applications because of their good performance, low cost and the abundance of cobalt in the earth. Herein, a negatively charged porphyrin meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-porphin (TPPS) was immobilized in polypyrrole (PPy) during the electro-polymerization, and [...] Read more.
Cobalt porphyrins have emerged as promising catalysts for electrochemical and photoelectrochemical applications because of their good performance, low cost and the abundance of cobalt in the earth. Herein, a negatively charged porphyrin meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-porphin (TPPS) was immobilized in polypyrrole (PPy) during the electro-polymerization, and then it was metallized with cobalt to obtain meso-tetra-(4-sulfonatophenyl)-porphyrinato cobalt (II) (CoTPPS) as a dopant in PPy. The coatings were evaluated as photoelectrodes towards thiosulfate oxidation and oxygen reduction. For comparison purposes, the photoelectrochemical behavior of ClO4-doped polypyrrole films was also evaluated. Characterizations by chronoamperometry, UV-Vis spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy showed that polypyrrole is stable under anodic and cathodic conditions, but CoTPPS and TPPS immobilized in PPy are degraded during the anodic process. Thus, decreases in photocurrent of up to 87% and 97% for CoTPPS-doped PPy and TPPS-doped PPy were observed after a 30-min chronoamperometry test. On the other hand, good stability of CoTPPS and TPPS immobilized in PPy was observed during photoelectrochemical oxygen reduction, which was reflected in almost constant photocurrents obtained by chronoamperometry. These findings are relevant to understanding the role of CoTPPS as a catalyst or pre-catalyst in photoelectrochemical applications such as water splitting. In addition, these results could pave the way for further research to include CoTPPS-doped PPy in the design of novel photocathodes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanostructures for Electrochemical Application)
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Article
Compression Molding of Thermoplastic Polyurethane Foam Sheets with Beads Expanded by Supercritical CO2 Foaming
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 656; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040656 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 686
Abstract
Expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (ETPU) beads were prepared by a supercritical CO2 foaming process and compression molded to manufacture foam sheets. The effect of the cell structure of the foamed beads on the properties of the foam sheets was studied. Higher foaming pressure [...] Read more.
Expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (ETPU) beads were prepared by a supercritical CO2 foaming process and compression molded to manufacture foam sheets. The effect of the cell structure of the foamed beads on the properties of the foam sheets was studied. Higher foaming pressure resulted in a greater number of cells and thus, smaller cell size, while increasing the foaming temperature at a fixed pressure lowered the viscosity to result in fewer cells and a larger cell size, increasing the expansion ratio of the ETPU. Although the processing window in which the cell structure of the ETPU beads can be maintained was very limited compared to that of steam chest molding, compression molding of ETPU beads to produce foam sheets was possible by controlling the compression pressure and temperature to obtain sintering of the bead surfaces. Properties of the foam sheets are influenced by the expansion ratio of the beads and the increase in the expansion ratio increased the foam resilience, decreased the hardness, and increased the tensile strength and elongation at break. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Composites and Processing)
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Extruded PLA Nanocomposites Modified by Graphene Oxide and Ionic Liquid
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 655; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040655 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Polylactic acid (PLA)-based nanocomposites were prepared by twin-screw extrusion. Graphene oxide (GO) and an ionic liquid (IL) were used as additives separately and simultaneously. The characterization of the samples was carried out by means of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopies, thermogravimetric [...] Read more.
Polylactic acid (PLA)-based nanocomposites were prepared by twin-screw extrusion. Graphene oxide (GO) and an ionic liquid (IL) were used as additives separately and simultaneously. The characterization of the samples was carried out by means of Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and Raman spectroscopies, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The viscoelastic behavior was determined using dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and rheological measurements. IL acted as internal lubricant increasing the mobility of PLA chains in the solid and rubbery states; however, the effect was less dominant when the composites were melted. When GO and IL were included, the viscosity of the nanocomposites at high temperatures presented a quasi-Newtonian behavior and, therefore, the processability of PLA was highly improved. Full article
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Article
Optimisation on Thermoforming of Biodegradable Poly (Lactic Acid) (PLA) by Numerical Modelling
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040654 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 679
Abstract
Poly (lactic acid) (PLA) has a broad perspective for manufacturing green thermoplastic products by thermoforming for its biodegradable properties. The mechanical behaviour of PLA has been demonstrated by its strong dependence on temperature and strain rate at biaxial deformation. A nonlinear viscoelastic model [...] Read more.
Poly (lactic acid) (PLA) has a broad perspective for manufacturing green thermoplastic products by thermoforming for its biodegradable properties. The mechanical behaviour of PLA has been demonstrated by its strong dependence on temperature and strain rate at biaxial deformation. A nonlinear viscoelastic model by the previous study was employed in a thermoforming process used for food packaging. An optimisation approach was developed by achieving the optimal temperature profile of specimens by defining multiple heating zones based on numerical modelling with finite element analysis (FEA). The forming process of a PLA product was illustrated by modelling results on shape evolution and biaxial strain history. The optimal temperature profile was suggested in scalloped zones to achieve more even thickness distribution. The sensitivity of the optimal results was addressed by checking the robustness under perturbation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Food Packaging Applications)
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Article
Thermal Decomposition Mechanism of GIS Basin Insulator and Kinetic Parameters-Based Lifetime Prediction Methodology
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 653; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040653 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 476
Abstract
To reliably detect the latent defects and accurately evaluate the remaining life of gas insulated switchgear (GIS) basin insulators, more effective detection and characterization methods need to be explored. The study of pyrolysis kinetic parameters based on the intrinsic characteristics of materials provides [...] Read more.
To reliably detect the latent defects and accurately evaluate the remaining life of gas insulated switchgear (GIS) basin insulators, more effective detection and characterization methods need to be explored. The study of pyrolysis kinetic parameters based on the intrinsic characteristics of materials provides a new way to solve this problem. First, an integral expression model of the reaction mechanism function with four parameters is proposed in this paper, which can represent various existing reaction mechanism functions with better universality and more application fields. Then, on the basis of the temperature transformation equation, an improved method for calculating the activation energy is presented, which shows higher computational accuracy than the existing methods. Further, based on a non-isothermal kinetic equation, the structure of the experimental function is given. It is a method for solving the pyrolysis reaction mechanism function of insulating materials, which can also be used to calculate the pre-exponential factor simultaneously. The thermogravimetric analysis experiment is carried out on a certain basin insulator sample at different heating rates. The pyrolysis kinetic state parameters, including the activation energy, reaction mechanism function and pre-exponential factor of the basin insulator, are calculated. Finally, the life prediction method of basin insulators is established, and the key factors affecting the life of insulators are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Analysis and Characterization)
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Article
Shear and Extensional Rheology of Linear and Branched Polybutylene Succinate Blends
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040652 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 650
Abstract
The molecular architecture and rheological behavior of linear and branched polybutylene succinate blends have been investigated using size-exclusion chromatography, small-amplitude oscillatory shear and extensional rheometry, in view of their processing using cast and blown extrusion. Dynamic viscoelastic properties indicate that a higher branched [...] Read more.
The molecular architecture and rheological behavior of linear and branched polybutylene succinate blends have been investigated using size-exclusion chromatography, small-amplitude oscillatory shear and extensional rheometry, in view of their processing using cast and blown extrusion. Dynamic viscoelastic properties indicate that a higher branched polybutylene succinate amount in the blend increases the relaxation time due to an increased long-chain branching degree. Branched polybutylene succinate exhibits pronounced strain hardening under uniaxial elongation, which is known to improve processability. Under extensional flow, the 50/50 wt % blend exhibits the same behavior as linear polybutylene succinate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rheology and Processing of Polymers)
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Article
Lignin-Based Polyols with Controlled Microstructure by Cationic Ring Opening Polymerization
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 651; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040651 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 697
Abstract
Lignin-based polyols (LBPs) with controlled microstructure were obtained by cationic ring opening polymerization (CROP) of oxiranes in an organosolv lignin (OL) tetrahydrofuran (THF) solution. The control on the microstructure and consequently on the properties of the LBPs such as hydroxyl number, average molecular [...] Read more.
Lignin-based polyols (LBPs) with controlled microstructure were obtained by cationic ring opening polymerization (CROP) of oxiranes in an organosolv lignin (OL) tetrahydrofuran (THF) solution. The control on the microstructure and consequently on the properties of the LBPs such as hydroxyl number, average molecular weight, melting, crystallization and decomposition temperatures, are crucial to determine the performance and application of the derived-products. The influence of key parameters, for example, molar ratio between the oxirane and the hydroxyl groups content in OLO, initial OL concentration in THF, temperature, specific flow rate and oxirane nature has been investigated. LBPs with hydroxyl numbers from 35 to 217 mg KOH/g, apparent average Mw between 5517 and 52,900 g/mol and melting temperatures from −8.4 to 18.4 °C were obtained. The CROP procedure allows obtaining of tailor-made LBPs for specific applications in a very simple way, opening the way to introduce LBPs as a solid alternative to substitute currently used fossil-based polyols. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Controlled Polymerization)
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Review
Injectable Hydrogels: From Laboratory to Industrialization
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 650; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040650 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 734
Abstract
The transfer of some innovative technologies from the laboratory to industrial scale is many times not taken into account in the design and development of some functional materials such as hydrogels to be applied in the biomedical field. There is a lack of [...] Read more.
The transfer of some innovative technologies from the laboratory to industrial scale is many times not taken into account in the design and development of some functional materials such as hydrogels to be applied in the biomedical field. There is a lack of knowledge in the scientific field where many aspects of scaling to an industrial process are ignored, and products cannot reach the market. Injectable hydrogels are a good example that we have used in our research to show the different steps needed to follow to get a product in the market based on them. From synthesis and process validation to characterization techniques used and assays performed to ensure the safety and efficacy of the product, following regulation, several well-defined protocols must be adopted. Therefore, this paper summarized all these aspects due to the lack of knowledge that exists about the industrialization of injectable products with the great importance that it entails, and it is intended to serve as a guide on this area to non-initiated scientists. More concretely, in this work, the characteristics and requirements for the development of injectable hydrogels from the laboratory to industrial scale is presented in terms of (i) synthesis techniques employed to obtain injectable hydrogels with tunable desired properties, (ii) the most common characterization techniques to characterize hydrogels, and (iii) the necessary safety and efficacy assays and protocols to industrialize and commercialize injectable hydrogels from the regulatory point of view. Finally, this review also mentioned and explained a real example of the development of a natural hyaluronic acid hydrogel that reached the market as an injectable product. Full article
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Review
Self-Healing Polymer Nanocomposite Materials by Joule Effect
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040649 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Nowadays, the self-healing approach in materials science mainly relies on functionalized polymers used as matrices in nanocomposites. Through different physicochemical pathways and stimuli, these materials can undergo self-repairing mechanisms that represent a great advantage to prolonging materials service-life, thus avoiding early disposal. Particularly, [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the self-healing approach in materials science mainly relies on functionalized polymers used as matrices in nanocomposites. Through different physicochemical pathways and stimuli, these materials can undergo self-repairing mechanisms that represent a great advantage to prolonging materials service-life, thus avoiding early disposal. Particularly, the use of the Joule effect as an external stimulus for self-healing in conductive nanocomposites is under-reported in the literature. However, it is of particular importance because it incorporates nanofillers with tunable features thus producing multifunctional materials. The aim of this review is the comprehensive analysis of conductive polymer nanocomposites presenting reversible dynamic bonds and their energetical activation to perform self-healing through the Joule effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Self-Healing Polymers)
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Article
Isothermal Crystallization Kinetics of Poly(ethylene oxide)/Poly(ethylene glycol)-g-silica Nanocomposites
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 648; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040648 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 513
Abstract
In this work, the crystallization kinetics of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) matrix included with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) grafted silica (PEG-g-SiO2) nanoparticles and bare SiO2 were systematically investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM) method. [...] Read more.
In this work, the crystallization kinetics of poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) matrix included with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) grafted silica (PEG-g-SiO2) nanoparticles and bare SiO2 were systematically investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized light optical microscopy (PLOM) method. PEG-g-SiO2 can significantly increase the crystallinity and crystallization temperature of PEO matrix under the non-isothermal crystallization process. Pronounced effects of PEG-g-SiO2 on the crystalline morphology and crystallization rate of PEO were further characterized by employing spherulitic morphological observation and isothermal crystallization kinetics analysis. In contrast to the bare SiO2, PEG-g-SiO2 can be well dispersed in PEO matrix at low P/N (P: Molecular weight of matrix chains, N: Molecular weight of grafted chains), which is a key factor to enhance the primary nucleation rate. In particular, we found that the addition of PEG-g-SiO2 slows the spherulitic growth fronts compared to the neat PEO. It is speculated that the interfacial structure of the grafted PEG plays a key role in the formation of nuclei sites, thus ultimately determines the crystallization behavior of PEO PNCs and enhances the overall crystallization rate of the PEO nanocomposites. Full article
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Review
A Bibliometric Analysis of the Global Trend of Using Alginate, Gelatine, and Hydroxyapatite for Bone Tissue Regeneration Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040647 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1474
Abstract
Collecting information from previous investigations and expressing it in a scientometrics study can be a priceless guide to getting a complete overview of a specific research area. The aim of this study is to explore the interrelated connection between alginate, gelatine, and hydroxyapatite [...] Read more.
Collecting information from previous investigations and expressing it in a scientometrics study can be a priceless guide to getting a complete overview of a specific research area. The aim of this study is to explore the interrelated connection between alginate, gelatine, and hydroxyapatite within the scope of bone tissue and scaffold. A review of traditional literature with data mining procedures using bibliometric analyses was considered to identify the evolution of the selected research area between 2009 and 2019. Bibliometric methods and knowledge visualization technologies were implemented to investigate diverse publications based on the following indicators: year of publication, document type, language, country, institution, author, journal, keyword, and number of citations. An analysis using a bibliometric study found that 7446 papers were located with the keywords “bone tissue” and “scaffold”, and 1767 (alginate), 185 (gelatine), 5658 (hydroxyapatite) papers with those specific sub keywords. The number of publications that relate to “tissue engineering” and bone more than doubled between 2009 (1352) and 2019 (2839). China, the United States and India are the most productive countries, while Sichuan University and the Chinese Academy of Science from China are the most important institutions related to bone tissue scaffold. Materials Science and Engineering C is the most productive journal, followed by the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. This paper is a starting point, providing the first bibliometric analysis study of bone tissue and scaffold considering alginate, gelatine and hydroxyapatite. A bibliometric analysis would greatly assist in giving a scientific insight to support desired future research work, not only associated with bone tissue engineering applications. It is expected that the analysis of alginate, gelatine and hydroxyapatite in terms of 3D bioprinting, clinical outcomes, scaffold architecture, and the regenerative medicine approach will enhance the research into bone tissue engineering in the near future. Continued studies into these research fields are highly recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Review
A Review on Natural Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composite for Bullet Proof and Ballistic Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040646 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 28 | Viewed by 1793
Abstract
Even though natural fiber reinforced polymer composites (NFRPCs) have been widely used in automotive and building industries, there is still a room to promote them to high-level structural applications such as primary structural component specifically for bullet proof and ballistic applications. The promising [...] Read more.
Even though natural fiber reinforced polymer composites (NFRPCs) have been widely used in automotive and building industries, there is still a room to promote them to high-level structural applications such as primary structural component specifically for bullet proof and ballistic applications. The promising performance of Kevlar fabrics and aramid had widely implemented in numerous ballistic and bullet proof applications including for bullet proof helmets, vest, and other armor parts provides an acceptable range of protection to soldiers. However, disposal of used Kevlar products would affect the disruption of the ecosystem and pollutes the environment. Replacing the current Kevlar fabric and aramid in the protective equipment with natural fibers with enhanced kinetic energy absorption and dissipation has been significant effort to upgrade the ballistic performance of the composite structure with green and renewable resources. The vast availability, low cost and ease of manufacturing of natural fibers have grasped the attention of researchers around the globe in order to study them in heavy armory equipment and high durable products. The possibility in enhancement of natural fiber’s mechanical properties has led the extension of research studies toward the application of NFRPCs for structural and ballistic applications. Hence, this article established a state-of-the-art review on the influence of utilizing various natural fibers as an alternative material to Kevlar fabric for armor structure system. The article also focuses on the effect of layering and sequencing of natural fiber fabric in the composites to advance the current armor structure system. Full article
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Article
Recovered Energy from Salinity Gradients Utilizing Various Poly(Acrylic Acid)-Based Hydrogels
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 645; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040645 - 22 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 640
Abstract
Hydrogels can be utilized to extract energy from salinity gradients when river water mixes with seawater. Saline-sensitive hydrogels exhibit a reversible swelling/shrinking process when they are, alternately, exposed to fresh and saline water. We present a comparison of several poly(acrylic acid)-based hydrogels, including [...] Read more.
Hydrogels can be utilized to extract energy from salinity gradients when river water mixes with seawater. Saline-sensitive hydrogels exhibit a reversible swelling/shrinking process when they are, alternately, exposed to fresh and saline water. We present a comparison of several poly(acrylic acid)-based hydrogels, including poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), poly(acrylic acid-co-vinylsulfonic acid) (PAA/PVSA), and poly(4-styrenessulfonic acid-co-maleic acid) interpenetrated in a poly(acrylic acid) network (PAA/PSSA-MA). The hydrogels were synthesized by free radical polymerization, copolymerization, and by semi-IPN (interpenetrating polymer network). The hydrogels were placed in a piston-like system to measure the recovered energy. Semi-IPN hydrogels exhibit a much higher recovered energy compared to the copolymer and PAA hydrogel. The recovered energy of 60 g swollen gel was up to 4 J for the PAA/PSSA-MA hydrogel. The obtained energy per gram dried gel was up to 13.3 J/g. The swelling volume of the hydrogels was maintained for 30 cycles without decline in recovered energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
A Multi-Scale Approach to Microencapsulation by Interfacial Polymerization
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040644 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 690
Abstract
This work applies a multi-scale approach to the microencapsulation by interfacial polymerization. Such microencapsulation is used to produce fertilizers, pesticides and drugs. In this study, variations at three different scales (molecular, microscopic and macroscopic) of product design (i.e., product variables, process variables and [...] Read more.
This work applies a multi-scale approach to the microencapsulation by interfacial polymerization. Such microencapsulation is used to produce fertilizers, pesticides and drugs. In this study, variations at three different scales (molecular, microscopic and macroscopic) of product design (i.e., product variables, process variables and properties) are considered simultaneously. We quantify the effect of the formulation, composition and pH change on the microcapsules’ properties. Additionally, the method of measuring the strength of the microcapsules by crushing a sample of microcapsules’ suspension was tested. Results show that the xylene release rate in the microcapsules decreases when the amine functionality is greater due to a stronger crosslinking. Such degree of crosslinking increases the compression force over the microcapsules and improves their appearance. When high levels of amine concentration are used, the initial pH values in the reaction are also high which leads to agglomeration. This study provides a possible explanation to the aggregation based on the kinetic and thermodynamic controls in reactions and shows that the pH measurements account for the polyurea reaction and carbamate formation, which is a reason why this is not a suitable method to study kinetics of polymerization. Finally, the method used to measure the compressive strength of the microcapsules detected differences in formulations and composition with low sensibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Biomedical Applications)
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Article
Electrochemical Activity of Lignin Based Composite Membranes
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040643 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 682
Abstract
Our society’s most pressing challenges, like high CO2 emission and the constant battle against energy poverty, require a clean and easier solution to store and utilize the renewable energy resources. However, recent electrochemical components are expensive and harmful to the environment, which [...] Read more.
Our society’s most pressing challenges, like high CO2 emission and the constant battle against energy poverty, require a clean and easier solution to store and utilize the renewable energy resources. However, recent electrochemical components are expensive and harmful to the environment, which restricts their widespread deployment. This study proposes an easy method to synthesize and fabricate composite membranes with abundantly found biomass lignin polymer to replace conventional costly and toxic electrode materials. Easier manipulation of lignin within the polymeric matrix could provide the improved composite to enhance its electrochemical activity. Our major focus is to activate the quinone moiety via oxidation in the polymeric mixture using a strong ionic acid. The physico-chemical and electrochemical characterizations of two different lignins within varied polymeric mixture compositions have been carried out to confirm that the redox properties of pure unmodified lignin could be achieved via intrinsic mutual sharing of the structural properties and intercross linkage leading to improved integrity and redox activity/conductivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Chemistry in Polymer Science and Sustainable Polymers)
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Article
Nanoparticle-Hydrogel Composite Drug Delivery System for Potential Ocular Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(4), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13040642 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 738
Abstract
Intravitreal injections are clinically established procedures in the treatment of posterior eye diseases, such as wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) which requires monthly intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) protein drugs that can lead to complications due to frequent dosing. [...] Read more.
Intravitreal injections are clinically established procedures in the treatment of posterior eye diseases, such as wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) which requires monthly intravitreal injections of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) protein drugs that can lead to complications due to frequent dosing. In this study, we designed a composite drug delivery system (DDS) consisting of drug-loaded poly (lactide–co–glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles and a chemically crosslinked hyaluronan hydrogel to reduce the dosing frequency. The morphology, size, composition, and drug loading efficiency of the prepared nanoparticles were characterized. The properties of the modified hyaluronan polymers used were also examined. The degree of swelling/degradation and controlled release ability of the hyaluronan hydrogel and the composite DDS were identified using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a model drug. The results show that this system can retain 75% of its wet weight without losing its integrity and release the model drug at the rate of 0.4 μg/day for more than two months under physiological conditions. In addition, the nanoparticulate formulation of the system can further improve bioavailability of the drugs by penetrating deep into the retinal layers. In conclusion, the proposed composite DDS is easily prepared with biocompatible materials and is promising for providing the sustained release of the protein drugs as a better treatment for ocular neovascular diseases like wet AMD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Colloidal Materials for Biomedical Applications II)
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