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Polymers, Volume 14, Issue 1 (January-1 2022) – 219 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Thermoresponsive poly((N,N-dimethyl acrylamide)-co-(N-isopropyl acrylamide)) (P(DMA-co-NIPAM)) copolymers were synthesized via reversible addition−fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization as precursors for the synthesis of P(DMA-co-NIPAM)-b-PS diblock copolymers. The synthesis of the diblock copolymers was carried out via polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) through surfactant-free RAFT mediated emulsion polymerization of styrene, using the P(DMA-co-NIPAM) as the macromolecular chain transfer agent (mCTA) of the polymerization. Extensive characterization revealed the molecular and morphological characteristics, while their structure in emulsion was investigated in depth in order to understand their thermoresponsive behavior. View this paper.
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15 pages, 3608 KiB  
Article
Catalytic Polymerization of Phthalonitrile Resins by Carborane with Enhanced Thermal Oxidation Resistance: Experimental and Molecular Simulation
by Yuxiang Jia, Xiaojun Bu, Junyu Dong, Quan Zhou, Min Liu, Fang Wang and Maoyuan Wang
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010219 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3712
Abstract
Biphenyl phthalonitrile (BPh) resins with good thermal and thermo-oxidative stability demonstrate great application potential in aerospace and national defense industries. However, BPh monomer has a high melting point, poor solubility, slow curing speed and high curing temperature. It is difficult to control the [...] Read more.
Biphenyl phthalonitrile (BPh) resins with good thermal and thermo-oxidative stability demonstrate great application potential in aerospace and national defense industries. However, BPh monomer has a high melting point, poor solubility, slow curing speed and high curing temperature. It is difficult to control the polymerization process to obtain the resins with high performance. Here, a BPh prepolymer (BPh-Q) was prepared by reacting 1,7-bis(hydroxymethyl)-m-carborane (QCB) with BPh monomers. The BPh-Q exhibited much better solubility, faster curing speed and lower curing temperature compared with pure BPh and BPh modified with bisphenol A (BPh-B, a common prepolymer of BPh). Thus, the polymerization process of BPh was greatly accelerated at a low temperature, resulting in a BPh resin with enhanced thermostability and oxidation resistance. The experimental and theoretical models revealed the promotion effect of B-H bond on the curing reaction of phthalonitrile via Markovnikov addition reaction due to the special steric structure of carborane. This study provided an efficient method to obtain low-temperature curing phthalonitrile resins with high thermal and thermo-oxidative resistance, which would be potentially useful for the preparation of high-performance cyanide resin-based composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cross-linked Polymers)
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18 pages, 27391 KiB  
Article
Obtainment and Characterization of Metal-Coated Polyethylene Granules as a Basis for the Development of Heat Storage Systems
by Volodymyr Moravskyi, Anastasiia Kucherenko, Marta Kuznetsova, Ludmila Dulebova and Emil Spišák
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 218; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010218 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2015
Abstract
The research studied the feasibility of using copper-coated polyethylene granules as a basis for creating efficient heat storage systems. A technology for imparting catalytic properties to a polymer surface by the joint processing of polymer granules and an activator metal in a ball [...] Read more.
The research studied the feasibility of using copper-coated polyethylene granules as a basis for creating efficient heat storage systems. A technology for imparting catalytic properties to a polymer surface by the joint processing of polymer granules and an activator metal in a ball mill with their subsequent metallization in a chemical reducing solution is proposed. The efficiency of copper-coating a polyethylene surface is shown to be largely determined by the activation stage and the assumption regarding the mechanism of interaction of the activator metal with the polymer surface is made. To obtain different amounts of metal on the polyethylene granules, it is proposed that the method of remetallization is used. It was established that the rate of copper ion reduction depends on the number of previous coatings and is determined by the area of interaction of the metal-coated granules with the chemical reducing solution. The obtained metal-coated polyethylene granules were characterized in terms of the viability of using it as a phase transition material for a heat storage system. Using the developed installation that simulates the heat accumulator operation, it was shown that the efficiency of using metal-coated polyethylene granules to create heat storage systems is higher. The copper coating deposited on the polyethylene granules was studied using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis. Full article
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10 pages, 3227 KiB  
Article
Influence of UV Radiation on the Color Change of the Surface of Steamed Maple Wood with Saturated Water Steam
by Ladislav Dzurenda, Michal Dudiak and Eva Výbohová
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010217 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2758
Abstract
The wood of maple (Acer Pseudopatanus L.) was steamed with a saturated steam-air mixture at a temperature of t = 95 °C or saturated steam at t = 115 °C and t = 135 °C, in order to give a pale pink-brown, [...] Read more.
The wood of maple (Acer Pseudopatanus L.) was steamed with a saturated steam-air mixture at a temperature of t = 95 °C or saturated steam at t = 115 °C and t = 135 °C, in order to give a pale pink-brown, pale brown, and brown-red color. Subsequently, samples of unsteamed and steamed maple wood were irradiated with a UV lamp in a Xenotest Q-SUN Xe-3-H after drying, in order to test the color stability of steamed maple wood. The color change of the wood surface was evaluated by means of measured values on the coordinates of the color space CIE L* a* b*. The results show that the surface of unsteamed maple wood changes color markedly under the influence of UV radiation than the surface of steamed maple wood. The greater the darkening and browning color of the maple wood by steaming, the smaller the changes in the values at the coordinates L*, a*, b* of the steamed maple wood caused by UV radiation. The positive effect of steaming on UV resistance is evidenced by the decrease in the overall color difference ∆E*. While the value of the total color diffusion of unsteamed maple wood induced by UV radiation is ∆E* = 18.5, for maple wood steamed with a saturated steam-air mixture at temperature t = 95 °C the ∆E* decreases to 12.6, for steamed maple wood with saturated water steam with temperature t = 115 °C the ∆E* decreases to 10.4, and for saturated water steam with temperature t = 135 °C the ∆E* decreases to 7.2. Differential ATR-FTIR spectra declare the effect of UV radiation on unsteamed and steamed maple wood and confirm the higher color stability of steamed maple wood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Challenges in Wood and Wood-Based Materials II)
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44 pages, 6718 KiB  
Review
Modelling of Environmental Ageing of Polymers and Polymer Composites—Modular and Multiscale Methods
by Andrey E. Krauklis, Christian W. Karl, Iuri B. C. M. Rocha, Juris Burlakovs, Ruta Ozola-Davidane, Abedin I. Gagani and Olesja Starkova
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010216 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 8627
Abstract
Service lifetimes of polymers and polymer composites are impacted by environmental ageing. The validation of new composites and their environmental durability involves costly testing programs, thus calling for more affordable and safe alternatives, and modelling is seen as such an alternative. The state-of-the-art [...] Read more.
Service lifetimes of polymers and polymer composites are impacted by environmental ageing. The validation of new composites and their environmental durability involves costly testing programs, thus calling for more affordable and safe alternatives, and modelling is seen as such an alternative. The state-of-the-art models are systematized in this work. The review offers a comprehensive overview of the modular and multiscale modelling approaches. These approaches provide means to predict the environmental ageing and degradation of polymers and polymer composites. Furthermore, the systematization of methods and models presented herein leads to a deeper and reliable understanding of the physical and chemical principles of environmental ageing. As a result, it provides better confidence in the modelling methods for predicting the environmental durability of polymeric materials and fibre-reinforced composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Simulation and Modeling of Polymers)
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15 pages, 1488 KiB  
Article
Mucilage of Coccinia grandis as an Efficient Natural Polymer-Based Pharmaceutical Excipient
by Kumbakonam Balachandran Ilango, Senguttuvan Gowthaman, Kumbakonam Ilango Seramaan, Kumarappan Chidambaram, Mohammad F. Bayan, Mohamed Rahamathulla and Chandrasekaran Balakumar
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010215 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2768
Abstract
Natural eco-friendly materials are recently employed in products to replace synthetic materials due to their superior benefits in preserving the environment. The herb Coccinia grandis is widely distributed in continents like Asia and Africa and used traditionally to treat fever, leprosy, asthma, jaundice, [...] Read more.
Natural eco-friendly materials are recently employed in products to replace synthetic materials due to their superior benefits in preserving the environment. The herb Coccinia grandis is widely distributed in continents like Asia and Africa and used traditionally to treat fever, leprosy, asthma, jaundice, and bronchitis. Mucilage of Coccinia grandis was accordingly extracted, isolated by a maceration technique, and precipitated. The mucilage was evaluated for its physicochemical, binding, and disintegrant properties in tablets using paracetamol as a model drug. The crucial physicochemical properties such as flow properties, solubility, swelling index, loss on drying, viscosity, pH, microbial load, cytotoxicity was evaluated and the compatibility was analyzed using sophisticated instrumental methods (TGA, DTA, DSC, and FTIR). The binding properties of the mucilage was used at three different concentrations and compared with starch and PVP as examples of standard binders. The disintegrant properties of mucilage were used at two different concentrations and compared with standard disintegrants MCCP, SSG, and CCS. The tablets were punched and evaluated for their hardness, friability, assay, disintegration time, in vitro dissolution profiles. In vitro cytotoxicity studies of the mucilage were performed in a human embryonic kidney (HEK) cell line. The outcome of the study indicated that the mucilage had good performance compared with starch and PVP. Further, the mucilage acts as a better disintegrant than MCCP, SSG and CCS for paracetamol tablets. Use of a concentration of 3% or less demonstrated the ability of the mucilage to act as a super disintegrating agent and showed faster disintegration and dissolution, which makes it as an attractive, promising disintegrant in formulating solid dosage forms to improve the therapeutic efficacy and patient compliance. Moreover, the in vitro cytotoxicity evaluation results demonstrated that the mucilage is non-cytotoxic to human cells and is safe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Circular and Green Polymer Science)
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17 pages, 4904 KiB  
Article
Gamma Radiation- and Ultraviolet-Induced Polymerization of Bis(amino acid)fumaramide Gel Assemblies
by Tomislav Gregorić, Janja Makarević, Zoran Štefanić, Mladen Žinić and Leo Frkanec
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010214 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2399
Abstract
Controlling the polymerization of supramolecular self-assembly through external stimuli holds great potential for the development of responsive soft materials and manipulation at the nanoscale. Vinyl esters of bis(leu or val)fumaramide (1a and 2a) have been found to be gelators of various [...] Read more.
Controlling the polymerization of supramolecular self-assembly through external stimuli holds great potential for the development of responsive soft materials and manipulation at the nanoscale. Vinyl esters of bis(leu or val)fumaramide (1a and 2a) have been found to be gelators of various organic solvents and were applied in this investigation of the influence of organogelators’ self-assembly on solid-state polymerization induced by gamma and ultraviolet irradiation. Here, we report our investigation into the influences of self-assemblies of bis(amino acid vinyl ester)fumaramides on gamma-ray- and ultraviolet-induced polymerization. The gelator molecules self-assembled by non-covalent interactions, mainly through hydrogen bonds between the amide group (CONH) and the carboxyl group (COO), thus forming a gel network. NMR and FTIR spectroscopy were used to investigate and characterize supramolecular gels. TEM and SEM microscopy were used to investigate the morphology of gels and polymers. Morphology studies showed that the gels contained a filamentous structure of nanometer dimensions that was exhaustive in a three-dimensional network. The prepared derivatives contained reactive alkyl groups suitable for carrying out the polymerization reaction initiated by gamma or ultraviolet radiation in the supramolecular aggregates of selected gels. It was found that the polymerization reaction occurred only in the network of the gel and was dependent on the structure of aggregates or the proximity and orientation of double bonds in the gel network. Polymers were formed by the gels exposure to gamma and ultraviolet radiation in toluene, and water/DMF gels with transcripts of their gel structure into polymers. The polymeric material was able to immobilize various solvents by swelling. Furthermore, methyl esters of bis(leu and val)fumaramide (1b and 2b) were synthesized; these compounds showed no gelling properties, and the crystal structure of the valine derivative 2b was determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Controlled Polymerization)
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13 pages, 6440 KiB  
Article
Synthesis, Characterization and Properties of Antibacterial Polyurethanes
by Jihua Duan and Guichang Jiang
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010213 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2313
Abstract
Novel physically crosslinked polyurethane (PUII), based on isophorone diisocyanates, was prepared by a conventional two-step method. The chemical structures of the PUII were characterized by fourier transform infrared (FTIR), proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), scanning electron [...] Read more.
Novel physically crosslinked polyurethane (PUII), based on isophorone diisocyanates, was prepared by a conventional two-step method. The chemical structures of the PUII were characterized by fourier transform infrared (FTIR), proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR), gel permeation chromatography (GPC), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and DSC. The PUII hydrogels were subjected to solvent-induced self-assembly in THF + water to construct a variety of morphologies. The self-assembly morphology of the PUII was observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The PUII films with different amounts (0.2%, 0.4%, 0.6%, 0.8%, 1.0%) of 1,3,5-Tris(2-hydroxyethyl)hexahydro-1,3,5-triazine (TNO) were challenged with Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and Gray mold. The results showed that when a small amount of antibacterial agent were added, the antibacterial effect of films on Botrytis cinerea was more obvious. The mechanical evaluation shows that the antimicrobial polyurethane films exhibit good mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Controlled Self-Assembly and Biofunctionalization in Polymer Science)
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13 pages, 3771 KiB  
Article
Preparation of PVA–CS/SA–Ca2+ Hydrogel with Core–Shell Structure
by Shuai Zhang, Yu Wan, Weijie Yuan, Yaoxiang Zhang, Ziyuan Zhou, Min Zhang, Luzhen Wang and Ran Wang
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010212 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2701
Abstract
Hydrogels are highly hydrophilic polymers that have been used in a wide range of applications. In this study, we prepared PVA–CS/SA–Ca2+ core–shell hydrogels with bilayer space by cross-linking PVA and CS to form a core structure and chelating SA and Ca2+ [...] Read more.
Hydrogels are highly hydrophilic polymers that have been used in a wide range of applications. In this study, we prepared PVA–CS/SA–Ca2+ core–shell hydrogels with bilayer space by cross-linking PVA and CS to form a core structure and chelating SA and Ca2+ to form a shell structure to achieve multiple substance loading and multifunctional expression. The morphology and structure of core–shell hydrogels were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The factors affecting the swelling properties of the hydrogel were studied. The results show that the PVA–CS/SA–Ca2+ hydrogel has obvious core and shell structures. The SA concentration and SA/Ca2+ cross-linking time show a positive correlation with the thickness of the shell structure; the PVA/CS mass ratio affects the structural characteristics of the core structure; and a higher CS content indicates the more obvious three-dimensional network structure of the hydrogel. The optimal experimental conditions for the swelling degree of the core–shell hydrogel were an SA concentration of 5%; an SA/Ca2+ cross-linking time of 90 min; a PVA/CS mass ratio of 1:0.7; and a maximum swelling degree of 50 g/g. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco Polymeric Materials and Natural Polymer)
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13 pages, 4701 KiB  
Article
Binary Silicone Elastomeric Systems with Stepwise Crosslinking as a Tool for Tuning Electromechanical Behavior
by Adrian Bele, Liyun Yu, Mihaela Dascalu, Daniel Timpu, Liviu Sacarescu, Cristian-Dragos Varganici, Daniela Ionita, Dragos Isac and Ana-Lavinia Vasiliu
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 211; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010211 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1870
Abstract
Interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) represent an interesting approach for tuning the properties of silicone elastomers due to the possible synergism that may occur between the networks. A new approach is presented, which consists of mixing two silicone-based networks with different crosslinking pathways; the [...] Read more.
Interpenetrating polymer networks (IPNs) represent an interesting approach for tuning the properties of silicone elastomers due to the possible synergism that may occur between the networks. A new approach is presented, which consists of mixing two silicone-based networks with different crosslinking pathways; the first network being cured by condensation route and the second network by UV curing. The networks were mixed in different ratios and the resulted samples yield good mechanical properties (improved elongations, up to 720%, and Young’s modulus, 1 MPa), thermal properties (one glass transition temperature, ~−123 °C), good dielectric strength (~50 V/μm), and toughness (63 kJ/m3). Full article
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20 pages, 3284 KiB  
Article
Oligocat: Oligoesters as Pseudo-Homogenous Catalysts for Biodiesel Synthesis
by Vitor Vlnieska, Aline Silva Muniz, Angelo Roberto dos Santos Oliveira, Maria Aparecida Ferreira César-Oliveira and Danays Kunka
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010210 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2231
Abstract
Biodiesel production from first-generation feedstock has shown a strong correlation with the increase in deforestation and the necessity of larger areas for land farming. Recent estimation from the European Federation for Transport and Environment evidenced that since the 2000s decade, an area equal [...] Read more.
Biodiesel production from first-generation feedstock has shown a strong correlation with the increase in deforestation and the necessity of larger areas for land farming. Recent estimation from the European Federation for Transport and Environment evidenced that since the 2000s decade, an area equal to the Netherlands was deforested to supply global biodiesel demand, mainly originating from first-generation feedstock. Nevertheless, biodiesel is renewable, and it can be a greener source of energy than petroleum. A promising approach to make biodiesel independent from large areas of farming is to shift as much as possible the biodiesel production chain to second and third generations of feedstock. The second generation presents three main advantages, where it does not compete with the food industry, its commercial value is negligible, or none, and its usage as feedstock for biodiesel production reduces the overall waste disposal. In this manuscript, we present an oligomeric catalyst designed to be multi-functional for second-generation feedstock transesterification reactions, mainly focusing our efforts to optimize the conversion of tallow fat and sauteing oil to FAME and FAEE, applying our innovative catalyst. Named as Oligocat, our catalyst acts as a Brønsted-Lowry acid catalyst, providing protons to the reaction medium, and at the same time, with the course of the reaction, it sequesters glycerol molecules from the medium and changes its physical phase during the transesterification reaction. With this set of properties, Oligocat presents a pseudo-homogenous behavior, reducing the purification and separation steps of the biodiesel process production. Reaction conditions were optimized applying a 42 factorial planning. The output parameter evaluated was the conversion rate of triacylglycerol to mono alkyl esters, measured through gel permeation chromatography (GPC). After the optimization studies, a conversion yield of 96.7 (±1.9) wt% was achieved, which allows classifying the obtained mono alkyl esters as biodiesel by ASTM D6751 or EN 14214:2003. After applying the catalyst in three reaction cycles, Oligocat still presented a conversion rate above 96.5 wt% and as well an excellent recovery rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Functional Polymeric Materials)
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22 pages, 6648 KiB  
Review
How Fiber Surface Topography Affects Interactions between Cells and Electrospun Scaffolds: A Systematic Review
by Alex Lopez Marquez, Iván Emilio Gareis, Fernando José Dias, Christoph Gerhard and María Florencia Lezcano
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010209 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2359
Abstract
Electrospun scaffolds have a 3D fibrous structure that attempts to imitate the extracellular matrix in order to be able to host cells. It has been reported in the literature that controlling fiber surface topography produces varying results regarding cell–scaffold interactions. This review analyzes [...] Read more.
Electrospun scaffolds have a 3D fibrous structure that attempts to imitate the extracellular matrix in order to be able to host cells. It has been reported in the literature that controlling fiber surface topography produces varying results regarding cell–scaffold interactions. This review analyzes the relevant literature concerning in vitro studies to provide a better understanding of the effect that controlling fiber surface topography has on cell–scaffold interactions. A systematic approach following PRISMA, GRADE, PICO, and other standard methodological frameworks for systematic reviews was used. Different topographic interventions and their effects on cell–scaffold interactions were analyzed. Results indicate that nanopores and roughness on fiber surfaces seem to improve proliferation and adhesion of cells. The quality of the evidence is different for each studied cell–scaffold interaction, and for each studied morphological attribute. The evidence points to improvements in cell–scaffold interactions on most morphologically complex fiber surfaces. The discussion includes an in-depth evaluation of the indirectness of the evidence, as well as the potentially involved publication bias. Insights and suggestions about dose-dependency relationship, as well as the effect on particular cell and polymer types, are presented. It is concluded that topographical alterations to the fiber surface should be further studied, since results so far are promising. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Biomaterials for Biomedical Applications)
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13 pages, 3853 KiB  
Article
Effect of Antibacterial Peptide Microsphere Coating on the Microbial and Physicochemical Characteristics of Tricholoma matsutake during Cold Storage
by Hongli Li, Yan Feng, Peng Zhang, Mingwei Yuan and Minglong Yuan
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010208 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2201
Abstract
The effect of novel antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and antimicrobial peptide microspheres (AMS) on the physicochemical and microbial quality of Tricholoma matsutake wild edible mushrooms was investigated. In the experiments, 1.0 g/L, 0.5 g/L of AMS, and 1.0 g/L AMPs were used as preservatives. [...] Read more.
The effect of novel antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and antimicrobial peptide microspheres (AMS) on the physicochemical and microbial quality of Tricholoma matsutake wild edible mushrooms was investigated. In the experiments, 1.0 g/L, 0.5 g/L of AMS, and 1.0 g/L AMPs were used as preservatives. Mushrooms coated with 1.0 g/L and 0.5 g/L of AMS as a preservative had better physicochemical and sensory qualities than did mushrooms coated with 1.0 g/L of AMPs. In the experiment, 1.0 g/L of blank microspheres without cathelicidin-BF-30 (PLGA-1.0) and distilled water was used as the control. Samples with these two treatments had minimal changes in texture, weight loss, total bacteria count, and sensory attributes. Research results suggests that the use of AMS can maintain the quality of Tricholoma matsutake wild edible mushrooms and could extend the postharvest life to 20 d. Full article
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13 pages, 3458 KiB  
Article
An Essential Role of Polymeric Adhesives in the Reinforcement of Acidified Paper Relics
by Jiaojiao Liu, Huiping Xing, Yajun Zhou, Xiaolian Chao, Yuhu Li and Daodao Hu
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010207 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2333
Abstract
Paper acidification causes paper relics to undergo embrittlement and decay, to form dregs, and even to break upon a single touch; therefore, reinforcement and deacidification treatments are essential steps for paper conservation and to retard the deterioration and prolong the life of objects. [...] Read more.
Paper acidification causes paper relics to undergo embrittlement and decay, to form dregs, and even to break upon a single touch; therefore, reinforcement and deacidification treatments are essential steps for paper conservation and to retard the deterioration and prolong the life of objects. Polymeric adhesives play an essential role in reinforcement and deacidification treatments, although it is not well studied. In this work, the effect of polymeric adhesives on the conservation process and their protective effects on acidified paper relics were studied. Firstly, three polymeric adhesives, including wheat starch paste, polyvinyl butyral (PVB), and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), were selected as research objects. Subsequently, their effects on four popular conservation methods were further discussed, including traditional mounting, hot-melt with silk net, alcohol-soluble cotton mesh, and water-soluble cotton mesh. Additionally, as an example, the reversibility and long-term durability of water-soluble adhesive PVA-217 were assessed. Using a computer measured and controlled folding endurance tester, pendulum tensile strength tester, tear tester, burst tester, FT-IR, video optical contact angle tester, and other instruments, the conservation application of water-soluble adhesives in paper relics was evaluated. This study provides a scientific basis and experimental data for the application of polymeric adhesives in the conservation of paper relics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials in Modern-Contemporary Art)
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22 pages, 866 KiB  
Article
Odor and Constituent Odorants of HDPE–Lignin Blends of Different Lignin Origin
by Bianca Lok, Gunnar Mueller, Johannes Ganster, Jens Erdmann, Andrea Buettner and Philipp Denk
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010206 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2669
Abstract
The still-rising global demand for plastics warrants the substitution of non-renewable mineral oil-based resources with natural products as a decisive step towards sustainability. Lignin is one of the most abundant natural polymers and represents an ideal but hitherto highly underutilized raw material to [...] Read more.
The still-rising global demand for plastics warrants the substitution of non-renewable mineral oil-based resources with natural products as a decisive step towards sustainability. Lignin is one of the most abundant natural polymers and represents an ideal but hitherto highly underutilized raw material to replace petroleum-based resources. In particular, the use of lignin composites, especially polyolefin–lignin blends, is currently on the rise. In addition to specific mechanical property requirements, a challenge of implementing these alternative polymers is their heavy odor load. This is especially relevant for lignin, which exhibits an intrinsic odor that limits its use as an ingredient in blends intended for high quality applications. The present study addressed this issue by undertaking a systematic evaluation of the odor properties and constituent odorants of commercially available lignins and related high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blends. The potent odors of the investigated samples could be attributed to the presence of 71 individual odorous constituents that originated primarily from the structurally complex lignin. The majority of them was assignable to six main substance classes: carboxylic acids, aldehydes, phenols, furan compounds, alkylated 2-cyclopenten-1-ones, and sulfur compounds. The odors were strongly related to both the lignin raw materials and the different processes of their extraction, while the production of the blends had a lower but also significant influence. Especially the investigated soda lignin with hay- and honey-like odors was highly different in its odorant composition compared to lignins resulting from the sulfurous kraft process predominantly characterized by smoky and burnt odors. These observations highlight the importance of sufficient purification of the lignin raw material and the need for odor abatement procedures during the compounding process. The molecular elucidation of the odorants causing the strong odor represents an important procedure to develop odor reduction strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and the Circular Economy Model)
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9 pages, 1394 KiB  
Article
Expanded Beads of High Melt Strength Polypropylene Moldable at Low Steam Pressure by Foam Extrusion
by Daniele Tammaro, Alberto Ballesteros, Claudio Walker, Norbert Reichelt and Ulla Trommsdorff
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010205 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3294
Abstract
We explore the foam extrusion of expanded polypropylene with a long chain branched random co-polypropylene to make its production process simpler and cheaper. The results show that the presence of long chain branches infer high melt strength and, hence, a wide foamability window. [...] Read more.
We explore the foam extrusion of expanded polypropylene with a long chain branched random co-polypropylene to make its production process simpler and cheaper. The results show that the presence of long chain branches infer high melt strength and, hence, a wide foamability window. We explored the entire window of foaming conditions (namely, temperature and pressure) by means of an ad-hoc extrusion pilot line design. It is shown that the density of the beads can be varied from 20 to 100 kg/m3 using CO2 and isobutane as a blowing agent. The foamed beads were molded by steam-chest molding using moderate steam pressures of 0.3 to 0.35 MPa independently of the closed cell content. A characterization of the mechanical properties was performed on the molded parts. The steam molding pressure for sintering expanded polypropylene beads with a long chain branched random co-polypropylene is lower than the one usually needed for standard polypropylene beads by extrusion. The energy saving for the sintering makes the entire manufacturing processes cost efficient and can trigger new applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Cellular Polymers)
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15 pages, 2274 KiB  
Article
Bio-Based Hydrogel and Aerogel Composites Prepared by Combining Cellulose Solutions and Waterborne Polyurethane
by Ling-Jie Huang, Wen-Jau Lee and Yi-Chun Chen
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010204 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4544
Abstract
Hydrogel composites can be prepared from cellulose-based materials and other gel materials, thus combining the advantages of both kinds of material. The aerogel, porous material formed after removing the water in the hydrogel, can maintain the network structure. Hydrogel and aerogel have high [...] Read more.
Hydrogel composites can be prepared from cellulose-based materials and other gel materials, thus combining the advantages of both kinds of material. The aerogel, porous material formed after removing the water in the hydrogel, can maintain the network structure. Hydrogel and aerogel have high application potential. However, low mechanical strength and weight loss of cellulose hydrogel due to the water dehydration/absorption limit the feasibility of repeated use. In this study, cellulose hydrogels were prepared using microcrystalline cellulose (MC), carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and hydroxyethyl cellulose (HEC) as raw materials. Waterborne polyurethane (WPU) was added during the preparation process to form cellulose/WPU composite hydrogel and aerogel. The influence of the cellulose type and WPU addition ratio on the performance of hydrogel and aerogel were investigated. The results show that the introduction of WPU can help strengthen and stabilize the structure of cellulose hydrogel, reduce weight loss caused by water absorption and dehydration, and improve its reusability. The mixing of cellulose and WPU at a weight ratio of 90/10 is the best ratio to make the cellulose/WPU composite aerogel with the highest water swelling capacity and heat resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-Based Polymers for Industrial Applications)
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13 pages, 4210 KiB  
Article
Designing Phenyl Porous Organic Polymers with High-Efficiency Tetracycline Adsorption Capacity and Wide pH Adaptability
by Wenjie Nie, Jiao Liu, Xue Bai, Zefeng Xing and Ying Gao
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010203 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1815
Abstract
Adsorption is an effective method to remove tetracycline (TC) from water, and developing efficient and environment-friendly adsorbents is an interesting topic. Herein, a series of novel phenyl porous organic polymers (P-POPs), synthesized by one-pot polymerization of different ratios of biphenyl and triphenylbenzene under [...] Read more.
Adsorption is an effective method to remove tetracycline (TC) from water, and developing efficient and environment-friendly adsorbents is an interesting topic. Herein, a series of novel phenyl porous organic polymers (P-POPs), synthesized by one-pot polymerization of different ratios of biphenyl and triphenylbenzene under AlCl3 catalysis in CH2Cl2, was studied as a highly efficient adsorbent to removal of TC in water. Notably, the obtained POPs possessed abundant phenyl-containing functional groups, large specific surface area (1098 m2/g) with abundant microporous structure, high pore volume (0.579 cm3/g), favoring the removal of TC molecules. The maximum adsorption capacity (fitted by the Sips model) could achieve 581 mg/g, and the adsorption equilibrium is completed quickly within 1 h while obtaining excellent removal efficiency (98%). The TC adsorption process obeyed pseudo-second-order kinetics and fitted the Sips adsorption model well. Moreover, the adsorption of POPs to TC exhibited a wide range of pH (2–10) adaptability and outstanding reusability, which could be reused at least 5 times without significant changes in structure and efficiency. These results lay a theoretical foundation for the application of porous organic polymer adsorbents in antibiotic wastewater treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Design and Synthesis of Polymers)
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39 pages, 3480 KiB  
Review
Natural Fiber-Reinforced Polylactic Acid, Polylactic Acid Blends and Their Composites for Advanced Applications
by R. A. Ilyas, M. Y. M. Zuhri, H. A. Aisyah, M. R. M. Asyraf, S. A. Hassan, E. S. Zainudin, S. M. Sapuan, S. Sharma, S. P. Bangar, R. Jumaidin, Y. Nawab, A. A. M. Faudzi, H. Abral, M. Asrofi, E. Syafri and N. H. Sari
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010202 - 5 Jan 2022
Cited by 170 | Viewed by 10788
Abstract
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a thermoplastic polymer produced from lactic acid that has been chiefly utilized in biodegradable material and as a composite matrix material. PLA is a prominent biomaterial that is widely used to replace traditional petrochemical-based polymers in various applications owing [...] Read more.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a thermoplastic polymer produced from lactic acid that has been chiefly utilized in biodegradable material and as a composite matrix material. PLA is a prominent biomaterial that is widely used to replace traditional petrochemical-based polymers in various applications owing environmental concerns. Green composites have gained greater attention as ecological consciousness has grown since they have the potential to be more appealing than conventional petroleum-based composites, which are toxic and nonbiodegradable. PLA-based composites with natural fiber have been extensively utilized in a variety of applications, from packaging to medicine, due to their biodegradable, recyclable, high mechanical strength, low toxicity, good barrier properties, friendly processing, and excellent characteristics. A summary of natural fibers, green composites, and PLA, along with their respective properties, classification, functionality, and different processing methods, are discussed to discover the natural fiber-reinforced PLA composite material development for a wide range of applications. This work also emphasizes the research and properties of PLA-based green composites, PLA blend composites, and PLA hybrid composites over the past few years. PLA’s potential as a strong material in engineering applications areas is addressed. This review also covers issues, challenges, opportunities, and perspectives in developing and characterizing PLA-based green composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Composites and Nanocomposites)
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13 pages, 9148 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Rigid Polyurethane Foam from Wasted Palm Oil and Water Hyacinth Fiber Composite—A Green Sound-Absorbing Material
by Nathapong Sukhawipat, Laksana Saengdee, Pamela Pasetto, Jatupol Junthip and Ekkachai Martwong
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010201 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3915
Abstract
A novel rigid sound-absorbing material made from used palm oil-based polyurethane foam (PUF) and water hyacinth fiber (WHF) composite was developed in this research. The NCO index was set at 100, while the WHF content was set at 1%wt with mesh sizes ranging [...] Read more.
A novel rigid sound-absorbing material made from used palm oil-based polyurethane foam (PUF) and water hyacinth fiber (WHF) composite was developed in this research. The NCO index was set at 100, while the WHF content was set at 1%wt with mesh sizes ranging from 80 to 20. The mechanical properties, the morphology, the flammability, and the sound absorption coefficient (SAC) of the PUF composite were all investigated. When the WHF size was reduced from 80 to 20, the compression strength of the PUF increased from 0.33 to 0.47 N/mm2. Furthermore, the use of small fiber size resulted in a smaller pore size of the PUF composite and improved the sound absorption and flammability. A feasible sound-absorbing material was a PUF composite with a WHF mesh size of 80 and an SAC value of 0.92. As a result, PUF derived from both water hyacinth and used palm oil could be a promising green alternative material for sound-absorbing applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Polymeric Materials)
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17 pages, 4985 KiB  
Article
Structure–Property Relationship in Melt-Spun Poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hexanoate) Monofilaments
by Figen Selli, Rudolf Hufenus, Ali Gooneie, Umit Halis Erdoğan and Edith Perret
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010200 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2667
Abstract
Poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hexanoate) (PHBH) is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester with the potential to be used in textile and medical applications. We have aimed at developing an upscalable melt-spinning method to produce fine biodegradable PHBH filaments without the use of an ice water bath or offline [...] Read more.
Poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hexanoate) (PHBH) is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester with the potential to be used in textile and medical applications. We have aimed at developing an upscalable melt-spinning method to produce fine biodegradable PHBH filaments without the use of an ice water bath or offline drawing techniques. We have evaluated the effect of different polymer grades (mol% 3-hydroxy hexanoate, molecular weight etc.) and production parameters on the tensile properties of melt-spun filaments. PHBH monofilaments (diameter < 130 µm) have been successfully melt-spun and online drawn from three different polymer grades. We report thermal and rheological properties of the polymer grades as well as morphological, thermal, mechanical, and structural properties of the melt-spun filaments thereof. Tensile strengths up to 291 MPa have been achieved. Differences in tensile performance have been correlated to structural differences with wide-angle X-ray diffraction and small-angle X-ray scattering. The measurements obtained have revealed that a synergetic interaction of a highly oriented non-crystalline mesophase with highly oriented α-crystals leads to increased tensile strength. Additionally, the effect of aging on the structure and tensile performance has been investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure-Property Relationships in Polymer Fibers)
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12 pages, 3624 KiB  
Article
CaCO3 Polymorphs Used as Additives in Filament Production for 3D Printing
by Lucie Zárybnická, Radek Ševčík, Jaroslav Pokorný, Dita Machová, Eliška Stránská and Jiří Šál
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010199 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3429
Abstract
Nowadays, additive manufacturing—also called 3D printing—represents a well-established technology in the field of the processing of various types of materials manufacturing products used in many industrial sectors. The most common type of 3D printing uses the fused filament fabrication (FFF) method, in which [...] Read more.
Nowadays, additive manufacturing—also called 3D printing—represents a well-established technology in the field of the processing of various types of materials manufacturing products used in many industrial sectors. The most common type of 3D printing uses the fused filament fabrication (FFF) method, in which materials based on thermoplastics or elastomers are processed into filaments. Much effort was dedicated to improving the properties and processing of such printed filaments, and various types of inorganic and organic additives have been found to play a beneficial role. One of them, calcium carbonate (CaCO3), is standardly used as filler for the processing of polymeric materials. However, it is well-known from its different applications that CaCO3 crystals may represent particles of different morphologies and shapes that may have a crucial impact on the final properties of the resulting products. For this reason, three different synthetic polymorphs of CaCO3 (aragonite, calcite, and vaterite) and commercially available calcite powders were applied as fillers for the fabrication of polymeric filaments. Analysis of obtained data from different testing techniques has shown significant influence of filament properties depending on the type of applied CaCO3 polymorph. Aragonite particles showed a beneficial impact on the mechanical properties of produced filaments. The obtained results may help to fabricate products with enhanced properties using 3D printing FFF technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Composites for 3D Printing)
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17 pages, 19062 KiB  
Review
A Mini-Review of Strategies for Quantifying Anthropogenic Activities in Microplastic Studies in Aquatic Environments
by Chun-Ting Lin, Ming-Chih Chiu and Mei-Hwa Kuo
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010198 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2911
Abstract
Microplastic pollution is no longer neglected worldwide, as recent studies have unveiled its potential harm to ecosystems and, even worse, to human health. Numerous studies have documented the ubiquity of microplastics, reflecting the necessity of formulating corresponding policies to mitigate the accumulation of [...] Read more.
Microplastic pollution is no longer neglected worldwide, as recent studies have unveiled its potential harm to ecosystems and, even worse, to human health. Numerous studies have documented the ubiquity of microplastics, reflecting the necessity of formulating corresponding policies to mitigate the accumulation of microplastics in natural environments. Although anthropogenic activities are generally acknowledged as the primary source of microplastics, a robust approach to identify sources of microplastics is needed to provide scientific suggestions for practical policymaking. This review elucidates recent microplastic studies on various approaches for quantifying or reflecting the degree to which anthropogenic activities contribute to microplastic pollution. Population density (i.e., often used to quantify anthropogenic activities) was not always significantly correlated with microplastic abundance. Furthermore, this review argues that considering potential sources near sample sites as characteristics that may serve to predict the spatial distribution of microplastics in aquatic environments is equivocal. In this vein, a watershed-scale measure that uses land-cover datasets to calculate different percentages of land use in the watershed margins delineated by using Geographic Information System (GIS) software is discussed and suggested. Progress in strategies for quantifying anthropogenic activities is important for guiding future microplastic research and developing effective management policies to prevent microplastic contamination in aquatic ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics Degradation and Characterization)
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46 pages, 4344 KiB  
Review
Fouling Prevention in Polymeric Membranes by Radiation Induced Graft Copolymerization
by Muhammad Nidzhom Zainol Abidin, Mohamed Mahmoud Nasef and Takeshi Matsuura
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010197 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3147
Abstract
The application of membrane processes in various fields has now undergone accelerated developments, despite the presence of some hurdles impacting the process efficiency. Fouling is arguably the main hindrance for a wider implementation of polymeric membranes, particularly in pressure-driven membrane processes, causing higher [...] Read more.
The application of membrane processes in various fields has now undergone accelerated developments, despite the presence of some hurdles impacting the process efficiency. Fouling is arguably the main hindrance for a wider implementation of polymeric membranes, particularly in pressure-driven membrane processes, causing higher costs of energy, operation, and maintenance. Radiation induced graft copolymerization (RIGC) is a powerful versatile technique for covalently imparting selected chemical functionalities to membranes’ surfaces, providing a potential solution to fouling problems. This article aims to systematically review the progress in modifications of polymeric membranes by RIGC of polar monomers onto membranes using various low- and high-energy radiation sources (UV, plasma, γ-rays, and electron beam) for fouling prevention. The feasibility of the modification method with respect to physico-chemical and antifouling properties of the membrane is discussed. Furthermore, the major challenges to the modified membranes in terms of sustainability are outlined and the future research directions are also highlighted. It is expected that this review would attract the attention of membrane developers, users, researchers, and scientists to appreciate the merits of using RIGC for modifying polymeric membranes to mitigate the fouling issue, increase membrane lifespan, and enhance the membrane system efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer Membranes)
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19 pages, 4183 KiB  
Article
Lifting the Sustainability of Modified Pet-Based Multilayer Packaging Material with Enhanced Mechanical Recycling Potential and Processing
by Lynn Trossaert, Matthias De Vel, Ludwig Cardon and Mariya Edeleva
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010196 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2889
Abstract
Sustainability and recyclability are among the main driving forces in the plastics industry, since the pressure on crude oil resources and the environment is increasing. The aim of this research is to develop a sustainable thermoformable multilayer food packaging, based on co-polyesters, which [...] Read more.
Sustainability and recyclability are among the main driving forces in the plastics industry, since the pressure on crude oil resources and the environment is increasing. The aim of this research is to develop a sustainable thermoformable multilayer food packaging, based on co-polyesters, which is suitable for hot-fill applications and allows for recycling in a conventional waste stream. As a polymer material for the outer layer, we selected a modified polyethylene terephthalate (PETM), which is an amorphous co-polyester with a high glass transition temperature (±105 °C) and thus high thermal stability and transparency. The inner layer consists of 1,4-cyclohexylene dimethanol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (PETg), which is allowed to be recycled in a PET stream. Multilayers with a total thickness of 1 mm and a layer thickness distribution of 10/80/10 have been produced. To test the recyclability, sheets which contained 20% and 50% regrind of the initial multilayer in their middle PETg layer have been produced as well. The sheet produced from virgin pellets and the one containing 20% regrind in the middle layer showed no visible haze. This was not the case for the one containing 50% regrind in the middle layer, which was confirmed by haze measurements. The hot-fill test results showed no shrinkage or warpage for the multilayer trays for all temperatures applied, namely 95, 85, 75 and 65 °C. This is a remarkable improvement compared to pure PETg trays, which show a visible deformation after exposure to hot-fill conditions of 95 °C and 85 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Multi-Scale Polymer Processing)
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14 pages, 12938 KiB  
Article
A Freestanding Chitin-Derived Hierarchical Nanocomposite for Developing Electrodes in Future Supercapacitor Industry
by Zheng Dong, Chen Chen, Kaihua Wen, Xiaoyi Zhao, Xihong Guo, Zhongzheng Zhou, Guangcai Chang, Yi Zhang and Yuhui Dong
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010195 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2003
Abstract
Crustacean cuticles are receiving extensive attention for its potential in developing environmentally friendly and high energy density electrodes for supercapacitor applications. In the current work, the demineralized tergite cuticle of mantis shrimp was employed as a precursor for the fabrication porous biochar. The [...] Read more.
Crustacean cuticles are receiving extensive attention for its potential in developing environmentally friendly and high energy density electrodes for supercapacitor applications. In the current work, the demineralized tergite cuticle of mantis shrimp was employed as a precursor for the fabrication porous biochar. The structural benefits of the cuticle, including the hierarchical nanofiber networks, and the interpenetrating pore systems were maximumly retained, providing a high carbon content and specific surface area scaffold. Graphene oxide sheets were deposited across the biochar through the pore canal systems to further increase the conductivity of the biochar, forming a novel freestanding carbon composite. Throughout the modification process, the material products were examined by a range of methods, which showed desired structural, chemical and functional properties. Our work demonstrates that high performance carbon materials can be manufactured using a simple and green process to realize the great potential in energy storage applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocellulose Based Materials and Applications)
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14 pages, 1871 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Efficiency of Chemical and Thermochemical Depolymerization Methods for Lignin Valorization: Principal Component Analysis (PCA) Approach
by Khaled Younes, Ahmad Moghrabi, Sara Moghnie, Omar Mouhtady, Nimer Murshid and Laurent Grasset
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010194 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2326
Abstract
Energy demand and the use of commodity consumer products, such as chemicals, plastics, and transportation fuels, are growing nowadays. These products, which are mainly derived from fossil resources and contribute to environmental pollution and CO2 emissions, will be used up eventually. Therefore, a [...] Read more.
Energy demand and the use of commodity consumer products, such as chemicals, plastics, and transportation fuels, are growing nowadays. These products, which are mainly derived from fossil resources and contribute to environmental pollution and CO2 emissions, will be used up eventually. Therefore, a renewable inexhaustible energy source is required. Plant biomass resources can be used as a suitable alternative source due to their green, clean attributes and low carbon emissions. Lignin is a class of complex aromatic polymers. It is highly abundant and a major constituent in the structural cell walls of all higher vascular land plants. Lignin can be used as an alternative source for fine chemicals and raw material for biofuel production. There are many chemical processes that can be potentially utilized to increase the degradation rate of lignin into biofuels or value-added chemicals. In this study, two lignin degradation methods, CuO–NaOH oxidation and tetramethyl ammonium hydroxide (TMAH) thermochemolysis, will be addressed. Both methods showed a high capacity to produce a large molecular dataset, resulting in tedious and time-consuming data analysis. To overcome this issue, an unsupervised machine learning technique called principal component analysis (PCA) is implemented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lignin Based Materials: Structure, Properties and Applications)
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20 pages, 44752 KiB  
Article
Thermal, Mechanical, Morphological and Aesthetical Properties of Rotational Molding PE/Pine Wood Sawdust Composites
by Carla I. Martins, Vitória Gil and Sara Rocha
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010193 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2457
Abstract
This research addresses the importance of pine wood sawdust granulometry on the processing of medium-density polyethylene (MDPE)/wood composites by rotational molding and its effects on the morphological, mechanical and aesthetical properties of parts, aiming to contribute for the development of sustainable wood polymer [...] Read more.
This research addresses the importance of pine wood sawdust granulometry on the processing of medium-density polyethylene (MDPE)/wood composites by rotational molding and its effects on the morphological, mechanical and aesthetical properties of parts, aiming to contribute for the development of sustainable wood polymer composites (WPC) for rotational molding applications. Pine wood sawdust was sieved (<150, 150, 300, 500, 710, >1000 µm) and analyzed for its physical, morphological and thermal characteristics. Rotational molded parts were produced with matrix/wood ratios from 90/10 to 70/30 wt% considering different wood granulometries. As a natural material, wood changed its color during processing. Granulometries below 500 µm presented better sintering, homogeneity and less part defects. Furthermore, 300–500 µm favored the impact resistance (1316 N), as irregular brick-shaped wood was able to anchor to PE despite the weak interfacial adhesion observed. The increase of wood content from 10 to 30% reduced the impact properties by 40%, as a result of a highly porous structure formed, revealing sintering difficulties during processing. WPC parts of differentiated aesthetics and functionalities were achieved by rotational molding. A clear relationship between wood granulometry and WPC processing, structure and properties was identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Composites for Structural Applications)
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18 pages, 12077 KiB  
Article
Probing the Nanoscale Heterogeneous Mixing in a High-Performance Polymer Blend
by Alexander Paul Fellows, Debashis Puhan, Janet S. S. Wong, Michael T. L. Casford and Paul B. Davies
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010192 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2144
Abstract
The blend of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polybenzimidazole (PBI) produces a high-performance blend (PPB) that is a potential replacement material in several industries due to its high temperature stability and desirable tribological properties. Understanding the nanoscale structure and interface of the two domains of [...] Read more.
The blend of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polybenzimidazole (PBI) produces a high-performance blend (PPB) that is a potential replacement material in several industries due to its high temperature stability and desirable tribological properties. Understanding the nanoscale structure and interface of the two domains of the blend is critical for elucidating the origin of these desirable properties. Whilst achieving the physical characterisation of the domain structures is relatively uncomplicated, the elucidation of structures at the interface presents a significant experimental challenge. In this work, we combine atomic force microscopy (AFM) with an IR laser (AFM-IR) and thermal cantilever probes (nanoTA) to gain insights into the chemical heterogeneity and extent of mixing within the blend structure for the first time. The AFM-IR and nanoTA measurements show that domains in the blend are compositionally different from those of the pure PEEK and PBI polymers, with significant variations observed in a transition region several microns wide in proximity to domain boundary. This strongly points to physical mixing of the two components on a molecular scale at the interface. The versatility intrinsic to the combined methodology employed in this work provides nano- and microscale chemical information that can be used to understand the link between properties of different length scales across a wide range of materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Blends and Injection Molding)
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16 pages, 6378 KiB  
Article
Multifunctional Dyeing of Wool Fabrics Using Selenium Nanoparticles
by Tarek Abou Elmaaty, Sally Raouf, Khaled Sayed-Ahmed and Maria Rosaria Plutino
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010191 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2065
Abstract
This work aims to utilize selenium nanoparticles (Se-NPs) as a novel dyestuff, which endows wool fibers with an orange color because of their localized surface plasmon resonance. The color characteristics of dyed fibers were evaluated and analyzed. The color depth of the dyed [...] Read more.
This work aims to utilize selenium nanoparticles (Se-NPs) as a novel dyestuff, which endows wool fibers with an orange color because of their localized surface plasmon resonance. The color characteristics of dyed fibers were evaluated and analyzed. The color depth of the dyed fabrics under study was increased with the increase in Se content and dyeing temperature. The colored wool fabrics were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDX) and an X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. The results indicated that spherical Se-NPs with a spherical shape were consistently deposited onto the surface of wool fibers with good distribution. In addition, the influence of high temperature on the color characteristics and imparted functionalities of the dyed fabrics were also investigated. The obtained results showed that the proposed dyeing process is highly durable to washing after 10 cycles of washes, and the acquired functionalities, mainly antimicrobial activity and UV-blocking properties, were only marginally affected, maintaining an excellent fastness property. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Performance Textiles)
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13 pages, 11070 KiB  
Article
Reusable and pH-Stable Luminescent Sensors for Highly Selective Detection of Phosphate
by Do Yeob Kim, Dong Gyu Kim, Bongjin Jeong, Young Il Kim, Jungseok Heo and Hyung-Kun Lee
Polymers 2022, 14(1), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14010190 - 4 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1909
Abstract
Phosphate sensors have been actively studied owing to their importance in water environment monitoring because phosphate is one of the nutrients that result in algal blooms. As with other nutrients, seamless monitoring of phosphate is important for understanding and evaluating eutrophication. However, field-deployable [...] Read more.
Phosphate sensors have been actively studied owing to their importance in water environment monitoring because phosphate is one of the nutrients that result in algal blooms. As with other nutrients, seamless monitoring of phosphate is important for understanding and evaluating eutrophication. However, field-deployable phosphate sensors have not been well developed yet due to the chemical characteristics of phosphate. In this paper, we report on a luminescent coordination polymer particle (CPP) that can respond selectively and sensitively to a phosphate ion against other ions in an aquatic ecosystem. The CPPs with an average size of 88.1 ± 12.2 nm are embedded into membranes for reusable purpose. Due to the specific binding of phosphates to europium ions, the luminescence quenching behavior of CPPs embedded into membranes shows a linear relationship with phosphate concentrations (3–500 μM) and detection limit of 1.52 μM. Consistent luminescence signals were also observed during repeated measurements in the pH range of 3–10. Moreover, the practical application was confirmed by sensing phosphate in actual environmental samples such as tap water and lake water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coordination Polymers: Properties and Applications)
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