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Polymers, Volume 16, Issue 11 (June-1 2024) – 170 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Polyurethane foam is widely used in automotive parts such as seat cushions, interior components, dashboards, and steering wheels. Our expertise in polyurethane foam control technology, developed through creating such products, has enabled us to develop a novel in vitro model for drug screening systems. This model features anisotropic pores that allow direct cell interactions, accurately replicating the alveolar structure. It facilitates the precise measurement of drug efficacy, inflammation response, and pharmacokinetics, providing an advanced platform for respiratory research. View this paper
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28 pages, 12145 KiB  
Review
Eco-Friendly and High-Performance Bio-Polyurethane Adhesives from Vegetable Oils: A Review
by Sena Maulana, Eko Setio Wibowo, Efri Mardawati, Apri Heri Iswanto, Antonios Papadopoulos and Muhammad Adly Rahandi Lubis
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1613; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111613 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 571
Abstract
Current petrochemical-based adhesives adversely affect the environment through substantial volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions during production, contributing to air pollution and climate change. In contrast, vegetable oils extracted from bio-resources provide a compelling alternative owing to their renewability, abundance, and compatibility with adhesive [...] Read more.
Current petrochemical-based adhesives adversely affect the environment through substantial volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions during production, contributing to air pollution and climate change. In contrast, vegetable oils extracted from bio-resources provide a compelling alternative owing to their renewability, abundance, and compatibility with adhesive formulation chemistry. This review aimed to critically examine and synthesize the existing scholarly literature on environmentally friendly, sustainable, and high-performance polyurethane adhesives (PUAs) developed from vegetable oils. The use of PUAs derived from vegetable oils promises to provide a long-term replacement while simultaneously maintaining or improving adhesive properties. This quality renders these adhesives appropriate for widespread use in various sectors, including construction, automotive manufacturing, packaging, textile, and footwear industries. This review intended to perform a comprehensive assessment and integration of the existing research, thereby identifying the raw materials, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in knowledge concerning vegetable oil-based PUAs. In doing so, it responded to these gaps and proposes potential avenues for future research. Therefore, this review accomplishes more than merely evaluating the existing research; it fosters the advancement of greener PUA technologies by identifying areas for improvement and innovation towards more sustainable industrial practices by showcasing vegetable oil-based PUAs as viable, high-performance alternatives to their petroleum-based counterparts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Valorization of Biopolymer from Renewable Biomass)
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12 pages, 3186 KiB  
Article
Extraction of Nanocellulose from the Residue of Sugarcane Bagasse Fiber for Anti-Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) Application
by Krairop Charoensopa, Kotchaporn Thangunpai, Peifu Kong, Toshiharu Enomae and Wat Ploysri
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1612; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111612 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 379
Abstract
Nanocellulose contains a large number of hydroxyl groups that can be used to modify its surface due to its structure. Owing to its appealing features, such as high strength, great stiffness, and high surface area, nanocellulose is currently gaining popularity in research and [...] Read more.
Nanocellulose contains a large number of hydroxyl groups that can be used to modify its surface due to its structure. Owing to its appealing features, such as high strength, great stiffness, and high surface area, nanocellulose is currently gaining popularity in research and industry. The extraction of nanocellulose from the leftover bagasse fiber from sugarcane production by alkaline and acid treatment was successful in this study, with a production yield of 55.6%. The FTIR and XPS results demonstrated a difference in the functional and chemical composition of untreated sugarcane bagasse and extracted nanocellulose. SEM imaging was used to examined the size of the nanocellulose with ImageJ software v1.8.0. TGA, DTG, and XRD analyses were also performed to demonstrate the successful extraction of nanocellulose in terms of its morphology, thermal stability, and crystal structure before and after extraction. The anti-S. aureus activity of the extracted nanocellulose was discovered by using an OD600 test and a colony counting method, and an inhibitory rate of 53.12% was achieved. According to the results, nanocellulose produced from residual sugarcane bagasse could be employed as an antibacterial agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Valorization of Biopolymer from Renewable Biomass)
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21 pages, 8420 KiB  
Review
In Situ Generation of Nanoparticles on and within Polymeric Materials
by Antonios Kelarakis
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111611 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 390
Abstract
It is well-established that the structural, morphological and performance characteristics of nanoscale materials critically depend upon the dispersion state of the nanofillers that is, in turn, largely determined by the preparation protocol. In this report, we review synthetic strategies that capitalise on the [...] Read more.
It is well-established that the structural, morphological and performance characteristics of nanoscale materials critically depend upon the dispersion state of the nanofillers that is, in turn, largely determined by the preparation protocol. In this report, we review synthetic strategies that capitalise on the in situ generation of nanoparticles on and within polymeric materials, an approach that relies on the chemical transformation of suitable precursors to functional nanoparticles synchronous with the build-up of the nanohybrid systems. This approach is distinctively different compared to standard preparation methods that exploit the dispersion of preformed nanoparticles within the macromolecular host and presents advantages in terms of time and cost effectiveness, environmental friendliness and the uniformity of the resulting composites. Notably, the in situ-generated nanoparticles tend to nucleate and grow on the active sites of the macromolecular chains, showing strong adhesion on the polymeric host. So far, this strategy has been explored in fabrics and membranes comprising metallic nanoparticles (silver, gold, platinum, copper, etc.) in relation to their antimicrobial and antifouling applications, while proof-of-concept demonstrations for carbon- and silica-based nanoparticles as well as titanium oxide-, layered double hydroxide-, hectorite-, lignin- and hydroxyapatite-based nanocomposites have been reported. The nanocomposites thus prepared are ideal candidates for a broad spectrum of applications such as water purification, environmental remediation, antimicrobial treatment, mechanical reinforcement, optical devices, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Smart and Functional Polymers)
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17 pages, 12048 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Lignin Nanoparticles from Different Plant Sources
by Isidora Ortega-Sanhueza, Victor Girard, Isabelle Ziegler-Devin, Hubert Chapuis, Nicolas Brosse, Francisca Valenzuela, Aparna Banerjee, Cecilia Fuentealba, Gustavo Cabrera-Barjas, Camilo Torres, Alejando Méndez, César Segovia and Miguel Pereira
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111610 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 405
Abstract
This article presents new research on producing lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) using the antisolvent nanoprecipitation method. Acetone (90%) served as the lignin solvent and water (100%) as the antisolvent, using five types of lignins from various sources. Comprehensive characterization techniques, including NMR, GPC, FTIR, [...] Read more.
This article presents new research on producing lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) using the antisolvent nanoprecipitation method. Acetone (90%) served as the lignin solvent and water (100%) as the antisolvent, using five types of lignins from various sources. Comprehensive characterization techniques, including NMR, GPC, FTIR, TEM, and DLS, were employed to assess both lignin and LNP properties. The antioxidant activity of the LNPs was evaluated as well. The results demonstrated the successful formation of spherical nanoparticles below 100 nm with initial lignin concentrations of 1 and 2%w/v. The study highlighted the crucial role of lignin purity in LNP formation and colloidal stability, noting that residual carbohydrates adversely affect efficiency. This method offers a straightforward, environmentally friendly approach using cost-effective solvents, applicable to diverse lignin sources. The innovation of this study lies in its demonstration of a cost-effective and eco-friendly method to produce stable, nanometric-sized spherical LNPs. These LNPs have significant potential as reinforcement materials due to their reinforcing capability, hydrophilicity, and UV absorption. This work underscores the importance of starting material purity for optimizing the process and achieving the desired nanometric dimensions, marking a pioneering advancement in lignin-based nanomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Applied Lignin Research)
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15 pages, 3449 KiB  
Article
Oxidized Starch-Reinforced Aqueous Polymer Isocyanate Cured with High-Frequency Heating
by Yanrui Li, Detao Kong, Qinghua Yang, Hao Sun, Yaolong He, Nenghui Zhang and Hongjiu Hu
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111609 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 305
Abstract
In this research, an oxidized starch/styrene–butadiene rubber system with high capability of absorbing electromagnetic energy was adopted as the main component, the effect of oxidized starch content on the bonding and mechanical properties of aqueous polymer isocyanate (API) after high-frequency curing was evaluated, [...] Read more.
In this research, an oxidized starch/styrene–butadiene rubber system with high capability of absorbing electromagnetic energy was adopted as the main component, the effect of oxidized starch content on the bonding and mechanical properties of aqueous polymer isocyanate (API) after high-frequency curing was evaluated, and the effect mechanisms were explored by combining thermodynamic tests and material characterization methods. Our findings revealed that the addition of oxidized starch enhanced the mechanical properties of API after high-frequency curing and the increase in the amount of oxidized starch enhanced the improvement effect of high-frequency curing on API bonding and mechanical properties. At 5 wt% oxidized starch, high-frequency curing improved API bonding properties by 18.0% and 17.3% under ambient conditions and after boiling water aging, respectively. An increase in oxidized starch content to 25 wt% increased enhancement to 25.1% and 26.4% for the above conditions, respectively. The enhancement effects of tensile strength and Young’s modulus of the API adhesive body were increased from 9.4% and 18.2% to 18.7% and 22.6%, respectively. The potential enhancement mechanism could be that oxidized starch could increase the dielectric loss of API, converting more electromagnetic energy into thermal energy creating more cross-linked structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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21 pages, 5226 KiB  
Article
Characterization and Implementation of Cocoa Pod Husk as a Reinforcing Agent to Obtain Thermoplastic Starches and Bio-Based Composite Materials
by Andrés Mauricio Holguín Posso, Juan Carlos Macías Silva, Juan Pablo Castañeda Niño, Jose Herminsul Mina Hernandez and Lety del Pilar Fajardo Cabrera de Lima
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1608; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111608 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 736
Abstract
When the cocoa pod husk (CPH) is used and processed, two types of flour were obtained and can be differentiated by particle size, fine flour (FFCH), and coarse flour (CFCH) and can be used as a possible reinforcement for the development of bio-based [...] Read more.
When the cocoa pod husk (CPH) is used and processed, two types of flour were obtained and can be differentiated by particle size, fine flour (FFCH), and coarse flour (CFCH) and can be used as a possible reinforcement for the development of bio-based composite materials. Each flour was obtained from chopping, drying by forced convection, milling by blades, and sieving using the 100 mesh/bottom according to the Tyler series. Their physicochemical, thermal, and structural characterization made it possible to identify the lower presence of lignin and higher proportions of cellulose and pectin in FFCH. Based on the properties identified in FFCH, it was included in the processing of thermoplastic starch (TPS) from the plantain pulp (Musa paradisiaca) and its respective bio-based composite material using plantain peel short fiber (PPSF) as a reinforcing agent using the following sequence of processing techniques: extrusion, internal mixing, and compression molding. The influence of FFCH contributed to the increase in ultimate tensile strength (7.59 MPa) and higher matrix–reinforcement interaction when obtaining the freshly processed composite material (day 0) when compared to the bio-based composite material with higher FCP content (30%) in the absence of FFCH. As for the disadvantages of FFCH, reduced thermal stability (323.57 to 300.47 °C) and losses in ultimate tensile strength (0.73 MPa) and modulus of elasticity (142.53 to 26.17 MPa) during storage progress were identified. In the case of TPS, the strengthening action of FFCH was not evident. Finally, the use of CFCH was not considered for the elaboration of the bio-based composite material because it reached a higher lignin content than FFCH, which was expected to decrease its affinity with the TPS matrix, resulting in lower mechanical properties in the material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preparation and Application of Biomass-Based Materials)
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21 pages, 12406 KiB  
Article
Investigations into the Material Characteristics of Selected Plastics Manufactured Using SLA-Type Additive Methods
by Dominika Grygier, Adam Kurzawa, Mateusz Stachowicz, Karina Krawiec, Maksymilian Stępczak, Maciej Roszak, Mikołaj Kazimierczak, Dorota Aniszewska and Dariusz Pyka
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1607; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111607 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 425
Abstract
In this study, the authors performed a strength analysis of seven groups of commercially available materials based on SLS incremental technology. Test samples were made with Original PRUSA SL1S printers, with 10 samples of each type from 7 resins selected for testing. The [...] Read more.
In this study, the authors performed a strength analysis of seven groups of commercially available materials based on SLS incremental technology. Test samples were made with Original PRUSA SL1S printers, with 10 samples of each type from 7 resins selected for testing. The tests were carried out on an MTS Bionix machine in a static tensile test, during which the basic mechanical properties were determined. This is also a preliminary study to determine material constants in the Johnson-Cook strength model. The authors then performed numerical simulations to mirror the experimental tests in order to tune the rheological model. In addition, a fracture criterion was determined based on a hybrid FEM/SPH numerical method. This allowed for the expansion of material libraries currently used in numerical simulations, as well as the sensitivity of the materials’ models. In subsequent studies, in order to determine the nature of material destruction, analysis of fracture surfaces was performed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The final study was a biocompatibility test to assess the biological properties of the material. The conducted research made it possible to determine the strength properties of resins currently used in 3D printers, expand the libraries of material models in the computational environment (with an error rate of less than 5%), as well as observe the nature of the cracks formed and biocompatibility in the context of predicting the use of these materials for biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Functional and Multi-Scale Aspects in Polymer Composites)
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12 pages, 5213 KiB  
Article
Tuning Electro-Optical Characteristics through Polymerization Monomer Content in PSVA Liquid Crystal Displays: Simulation and Experimentation
by Xiaoyu Zhang, Wei Lin, Jiezhen Liu, Jiangwen Liu and Can Weng
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1606; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111606 - 6 Jun 2024
Viewed by 314
Abstract
The enhancement of display performance and durability in polymer-stabilized vertical alignment liquid crystal and the liquid crystal are negative liquid crystals, which can be vertically aligned under the action of a vertical orientation layer and an electric field. Devices (PSVA LCDs) are crucial [...] Read more.
The enhancement of display performance and durability in polymer-stabilized vertical alignment liquid crystal and the liquid crystal are negative liquid crystals, which can be vertically aligned under the action of a vertical orientation layer and an electric field. Devices (PSVA LCDs) are crucial for advancing LCD technology. This study aims to investigate the electro-optical characteristics of PSVA LCDs by varying polymerization monomer concentrations. Using both simulations via TechWiz LCD 3D and experimental methods, such as polymer-induced phase separation, we developed an optoelectronic testing framework to assess voltage transmittance and response times. In our main findings, we show that an increase in polymeric monomer concentration from 3% to 7% resulted in a 67% increase in threshold voltage and a 44% decrease in saturation voltage. The on-state response time increased by about a factor of three, while the off-state response time decreased by about a factor of three. The alignment of our simulation results with experimental data validates our methodology, offering the potential of simulation tools as a pivotal resource in the PSVA LCDs. The alignment of our simulation results with experimental data validates our methodology, offering the potential of simulation tools as a pivotal resource in the PSVA LCDs. These advancements promise significant improvements in PSVA LCD performance and durability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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14 pages, 2912 KiB  
Article
Effect of Cremophor RH40, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, and Mixing Speed on Physicochemical Properties of Films Containing Nanostructured Lipid Carriers Loaded with Furosemide Using the Box–Behnken Design
by Pakorn Kraisit, Namon Hirun, Premjit Limpamanoch, Yongthida Sawaengsuk, Narumol Janchoochai, Ornpreeya Manasaksirikul and Sontaya Limmatvapirat
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111605 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 361
Abstract
This study aimed to examine the characteristics of H-K4M hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) films containing nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) loaded with furosemide. A hot homogenization technique and an ultrasonic probe were used to prepare and reduce the size of the NLCs. Films were made [...] Read more.
This study aimed to examine the characteristics of H-K4M hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) films containing nanostructured lipid carriers (NLCs) loaded with furosemide. A hot homogenization technique and an ultrasonic probe were used to prepare and reduce the size of the NLCs. Films were made using the casting technique. This study used a Box–Behnken design to evaluate the influence of three key independent variables, specifically H-K4M concentration (X1), surfactant Cremophor RH40 concentration (X2), and mixing speed (X3), on the physicochemical properties of furosemide-loaded NLCs and films. The furosemide-loaded NLCs had a particle size ranging from 54.67 to 99.13 nm, and a polydispersity index (PDI) ranging from 0.246 to 0.670. All formulations exhibited a negative zeta potential, ranging from −7.05 to −5.61 mV. The prepared films had thicknesses and weights ranging from 0.1240 to 0.2034 mm and 0.0283 to 0.0450 g, respectively. The drug content was over 85%. Film surface wettability was assessed based on the contact angle, ranging from 32.27 to 68.94°. Film tensile strength varied from 1.38 to 7.77 MPa, and their elongation at break varied from 124.19 to 170.72%. The ATR-FTIR analysis confirmed the complete incorporation of the drug in the film matrix. Therefore, the appropriate selection of values for key parameters in the synthesis of HPMC films containing drug-loaded NLCs is important in the effective development of films for medical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart and Bio-Medical Polymers)
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13 pages, 4339 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Lithium-Ion Transport in Lithium Metal Batteries Using ZSM-5 Nanosheets Hybridized Solid Polymer Electrolytes
by Xiaoyan Hu, Jialiang Liu and Baoquan Zhang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1604; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111604 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) are the key components of lithium metal batteries to overcome the obstacle of insecurity in conventional liquid electrolytes; however, the trade-off between their ionic conductivity and mechanical properties remains a significant challenge. In this work, two-dimensional ZSM-5 nanosheets as [...] Read more.
Solid polymer electrolytes (SPEs) are the key components of lithium metal batteries to overcome the obstacle of insecurity in conventional liquid electrolytes; however, the trade-off between their ionic conductivity and mechanical properties remains a significant challenge. In this work, two-dimensional ZSM-5 nanosheets as fillers are incorporated into a poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) matrix and lithium salts to obtain composite polymer electrolytes (CPEs). The improved physicochemical and electrochemical properties of the CPE membranes are characterized in full detail. Stripping/plating measurements in symmetric Li/Li cells and cyclic charge/discharge tests are performed to investigate the cyclability and stability of the CPEs. All-solid-state LiFePO4/Li batteries deliver excellent cycling performance with an initial discharge capacity of 152.3 mAh g−1 and 91.4% capacity retention after 200 cycles at 0.2 C, with a discharge specific capacity of 118.8 mAh g−1 remaining after 350 cycles at 0.5 C. Therefore, CPEs containing ZSM-5 nanosheets are a promising option for all-solid-state lithium-ion batteries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Conductive Polymers in Energy Conversion and Storage)
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12 pages, 1254 KiB  
Article
A New Class of Chiral Polyethers and Polyesters Based on the [2.2]Paracyclophane Scaffold
by Patrick Kern, Henrik Tappert and Stefan Bräse
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1603; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111603 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Over the past decades, the research on optically active polymers (OAPs) has significantly grown, and extensive studies have been carried out on their syntheses, conformations, and applications. The most commonly used OAPs are based on natural products such as sugars or amino acids, [...] Read more.
Over the past decades, the research on optically active polymers (OAPs) has significantly grown, and extensive studies have been carried out on their syntheses, conformations, and applications. The most commonly used OAPs are based on natural products such as sugars or amino acids, which limits their scope. A broader range of applications can be achieved by synthesizing lab-tailored monomers, which allow precise control over structure and properties. This research developed a four-step synthetic route to a previously unreported chiral [2.2]paracyclophane-based epoxide monomer. An aluminum catalyst and an alkylammonium initiating system were applied and optimized for its polymerization to provide access to a novel class of chiral polyethers. Furthermore, we demonstrated the copolymerization viability of the (4-[2.2]paracyclophanyl)oxirane monomer using phthalic anhydride. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Chemistry)
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17 pages, 7805 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Quick-Dissolving Nanofiber Face Masks Based on Needleless Electrostatic Spinning
by Jingyi Hu, Xiaojie Chen, Jianmin Jiang, Renbiao Mai, Han Wang, Qiming Xu and Ting Zhang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1602; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111602 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 314
Abstract
As the global facial mask market continues to grow, consumers have put forward higher requirements for the functionality and ingredients of mask products. Ordinary facial masks mostly use ordinary non-woven fabrics as the mask base fabric and are used with essence. Preservatives are [...] Read more.
As the global facial mask market continues to grow, consumers have put forward higher requirements for the functionality and ingredients of mask products. Ordinary facial masks mostly use ordinary non-woven fabrics as the mask base fabric and are used with essence. Preservatives are generally added. At the same time, they are susceptible to the influence of the external environment and are easily oxidized, causing the mask to deteriorate and cause skin allergic reactions. In addition, traditional facial masks have problems such as poor fit with the skin, poor breathability, insufficient absorption of nutrient solutions, and easy dripping. The high specific surface area and high porosity of a nanofiber mask prepared by electrospinning technology are beneficial to the skin’s absorption of nutrients, and it has good fit with the skin and strong breathability. A unique advantage of this nanofiber mask is that it uses spray. After the mask is sprayed with water or essence, the water-soluble polymer within it can be quickly dissolved, saving a lot of time. Nanofiber facial mask products can effectively solve consumer pain points and are conducive to the high-end development of facial masks. Therefore, this article combines needleless electrospinning technology to develop a new solid-state, preservative-free, quick-dissolving nanofiber facial mask that can be prepared on a large scale. Based on needleless electrospinning technology, this article deeply explores the process parameters and their influencing mechanisms for preparing nanofiber, quick-dissolving facial masks to achieve the stable preparation of nanofiber facial masks with the best morphology; a comprehensive analysis of the structure and influence of nanofiber facial masks from micro and macro perspectives demonstrates their performance and allows evaluation of them. The experimental results show that the mask morphology is optimal under the process conditions of using a spinning liquid of 20% collagen peptide solution, a spinning voltage of 30 kV, a collection distance of 19 cm, and a liquid supply speed of 130 mL/h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Processing and Engineering)
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13 pages, 2110 KiB  
Article
Decay and Termite Resistance of Wood Modified by High-Temperature Vapour-Phase Acetylation (HTVPA), a Simultaneous Acetylation and Heat Treatment Modification Process
by Zhong-Yao Wang, Jin-Wei Xu, Jian-Wei Liu, Ke-Chang Hung, Tung-Lin Wu, Wen-Shao Chang and Jyh-Horng Wu
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1601; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111601 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 247
Abstract
High-temperature vapour-phase acetylation (HTVPA) is a simultaneous acetylation and heat treatment process for wood modification. This study was the first investigation into the impact of HTVPA treatment on the resistance of wood to biological degradation. In the termite resistance test, untreated wood exhibited [...] Read more.
High-temperature vapour-phase acetylation (HTVPA) is a simultaneous acetylation and heat treatment process for wood modification. This study was the first investigation into the impact of HTVPA treatment on the resistance of wood to biological degradation. In the termite resistance test, untreated wood exhibited a mass loss (MLt) of 20.3%, while HTVPA-modified wood showed a reduced MLt of 6.6–3.2%, which decreased with an increase in weight percent gain (WPG), and the termite mortality reached 95–100%. Furthermore, after a 12-week decay resistance test against brown-rot fungi (Laetiporus sulfureus and Fomitopsis pinicola), untreated wood exhibited mass loss (MLd) values of 39.6% and 54.5%, respectively, while HTVPA-modified wood exhibited MLd values of 0.2–0.9% and −0.2–0.3%, respectively, with no significant influence from WPG. Similar results were observed in decay resistance tests against white-rot fungi (Lenzites betulina and Trametes versicolor). The results of this study demonstrated that HTVPA treatment not only effectively enhanced the decay resistance of wood but also offered superior enhancement relative to separate heat treatment or acetylation processes. In addition, all the HTVPA-modified wood specimens prepared in this study met the requirements of the CNS 6717 wood preservative standard, with an MLd of less than 3% for decay-resistant materials. Full article
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16 pages, 4501 KiB  
Article
Influence of Thermal Aging on Space Charge Characteristics and Electrical Conduction Behavior of Cross-Linked Polyethylene Cable Insulation
by Jie Yang, Ruizhe Li, Leiyu Hu and Weiwang Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111600 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 265
Abstract
The aging of cable insulation presents a significant threat to the safe operation of cables, with space charge serving as a crucial factor influencing cable insulation degradation. However, the characteristics related to space charge and conduction current behavior during thermal aging remain unclear. [...] Read more.
The aging of cable insulation presents a significant threat to the safe operation of cables, with space charge serving as a crucial factor influencing cable insulation degradation. However, the characteristics related to space charge and conduction current behavior during thermal aging remain unclear. This study focused on the thermal aging of cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) material and utilizes a combined pulse electro-acoustic (PEA) and conduction current testing system to analyze the space charge and conduction current characteristics in the sample under varying electric fields and temperatures. The average charge density, short-circuit residual electric field, electric field distortion rate, and conduction current were studied. The findings indicate that the space charge in the samples following thermal aging is predominantly governed by the injected charge. The amorphous region of XLPE decreases, while the cross-linking degree increases after aging, thereby facilitating charge carrier migration within the sample and reducing the generation of charge carriers through thermal pyrolysis. The minimum temperature required for charge injection is reduced by thermal aging. Furthermore, modifications in conduction current, residual electric field, and average charge density indicate that thermal aging has the potential to alter the microstructure and trap characteristics of XLPE. This study provides empirical evidence to elucidate the underlying mechanism of cable insulation aging. Full article
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12 pages, 9150 KiB  
Article
Theory-Driven Tailoring of the Microenvironment of Quaternary Ammonium Binding Sites on Electrospun Nanofibers for Efficient Bilirubin Removal in Hemoperfusion
by Xingyu Fu, Minsi Shi, Dingyang Chen, Xinyue Zhao, Tingting Jiang and Rui Zhao
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1599; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111599 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 282
Abstract
Efficient adsorbents for excess bilirubin removal are extremely important for the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia. However, traditional adsorbents, such as activated carbons and ion-exchange resins, still suffer from dissatisfactory adsorption performance and poor blood compatibility. Herein, we adopted a rational design strategy guided by [...] Read more.
Efficient adsorbents for excess bilirubin removal are extremely important for the treatment of hyperbilirubinemia. However, traditional adsorbents, such as activated carbons and ion-exchange resins, still suffer from dissatisfactory adsorption performance and poor blood compatibility. Herein, we adopted a rational design strategy guided by density functional theory (DFT) calculations to prepare blood-compatible quaternary ammonium group grafted electrospun polyacrylonitrile nanofiber adsorbents. The calculation analysis and adsorption experiments were used to investigate the structure–function relationship between group types and bilirubin adsorption, both indicating that quaternary ammonium groups with suitable configurations played a crucial role in bilirubin binding. The obtained nanofiber adsorbents showed the bilirubin removal efficiency above 90% even at a coexisting BSA concentration of 50 g L−1. The maximum adsorption capacities were 818.9 mg g−1 in free bilirubin solution and 163.7 mg g−1 in albumin bound bilirubin solution. The nanofiber adsorbents also showed considerable bilirubin removal in dynamic adsorption to reduce the bilirubin concentration to a normal level, which was better than commercial activated carbons. Our study demonstrates the high feasibility of a theory-driven design method for the development of grafted electrospun nanofibers, which have good potential as bilirubin adsorbents in hemoperfusion applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Application of Electrospun Fiber)
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15 pages, 5478 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Properties of PA10T/PPO Blends Compatibilized with SEBS-g-MAH
by Housheng Xia, Zhen Jiang, Jiaxiang Tang, Jiao Tang, Jianping Zhou, Zize Yang, Rongbo Zheng and Junfeng Niu
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1598; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111598 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 426
Abstract
Plant-derived PA10T is regarded as one of the most promising semi-aromatic polyamides; however, shortcomings, including low dimensional accuracy, high moisture absorption, and relatively high dielectric constant and loss, have impeded its extensive utilization. Polymer blending is a versatile and cost-effective method to fabricate [...] Read more.
Plant-derived PA10T is regarded as one of the most promising semi-aromatic polyamides; however, shortcomings, including low dimensional accuracy, high moisture absorption, and relatively high dielectric constant and loss, have impeded its extensive utilization. Polymer blending is a versatile and cost-effective method to fabricate new polymeric materials with excellent comprehensive performance. In this study, various ratios of PA10T/PPO blends were fabricated via melt blending with the addition of a SEBS-g-MAH compatibilizer. Molau test and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were employed to study the influence of SEBS-g-MAH on the compatibility of PA10T and PPO. These studies indicated that SEBS-g-MAH effectively refines the domain size of the dispersed PPO phase and improves the dispersion stability of PPO particles within a hexafluoroisopropanol solvent. This result was attributed to the in situ formation of the SEBS-g-PA10T copolymer, which serves as a compatibilizer. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) results showed that the melting–crystallization behavior and thermal stability of blends closely resembled that of pure PA10T. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) revealed that as the PPO content increased, there was a decrease in the glass transition temperature and storage modulus of PA10T. The water absorption rate, injection molding shrinkage, dielectric properties, and mechanical strength of blends were also systematically investigated. As the PPO content increased from 10% to 40%, the dielectric loss at 2.5 GHz decreased significantly from 0.00866 to 0.00572, while the notched Izod impact strength increased from 7.9 kJ/m2 to 13.7 kJ/m2. Full article
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33 pages, 7301 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances in Conductive Polymers-Based Electrochemical Sensors for Biomedical and Environmental Applications
by Youheng Pan, Jing Zhang, Xin Guo, Yarou Li, Lanlan Li and Lijia Pan
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1597; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111597 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Electrochemical sensors play a pivotal role in various fields, such as biomedicine and environmental detection, due to their exceptional sensitivity, selectivity, stability, rapid response time, user-friendly operation, and ease of miniaturization and integration. In addition to the research conducted in the application field, [...] Read more.
Electrochemical sensors play a pivotal role in various fields, such as biomedicine and environmental detection, due to their exceptional sensitivity, selectivity, stability, rapid response time, user-friendly operation, and ease of miniaturization and integration. In addition to the research conducted in the application field, significant focus is placed on the selection and optimization of electrode interface materials for electrochemical sensors. The detection performance of these sensors can be significantly enhanced by modifying the interface of either inorganic metal electrodes or printed electrodes. Among numerous available modification materials, conductive polymers (CPs) possess not only excellent conductivity exhibited by inorganic conductors but also unique three-dimensional structural characteristics inherent to polymers. This distinctive combination allows CPs to increase active sites during the detection process while providing channels for rapid ion transmission and facilitating efficient electron transfer during reaction processes. This review article primarily highlights recent research progress concerning CPs as an ideal choice for modifying electrochemical sensors owing to their remarkable features that make them well-suited for biomedical and environmental applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High-Performance Conducting Polymer Materials)
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15 pages, 4961 KiB  
Article
The Low-Waste Grafting Copolymerization Modification of Chitosan Is a Promising Approach to Obtaining Materials for Food Applications
by Maria S. Lavlinskaya, Andrey V. Sorokin, Anastasia A. Mikhaylova, Egor I. Kuznetsov, Diana R. Baidamshina, Igor A. Saranov, Margaryta V. Grechkina, Marina G. Holyavka, Yuriy F. Zuev, Ayrat R. Kayumov and Valeriy G. Artyukhov
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1596; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111596 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 331
Abstract
Chitosan takes second place of the most abundant polysaccharides naturally produced by living organisms. Due to its abundance and unique properties, such as its polycationic nature, ability to form strong elastic porous films, and antibacterial potential, it is widely used in the food [...] Read more.
Chitosan takes second place of the most abundant polysaccharides naturally produced by living organisms. Due to its abundance and unique properties, such as its polycationic nature, ability to form strong elastic porous films, and antibacterial potential, it is widely used in the food industry and biomedicine. However, its low solubility in both water and organic solvents makes its application difficult. We have developed an environmentally friendly method for producing water-soluble graft copolymers of chitosan and poly (N-vinylpyrrolidone) with high grafting efficiency and a low yield of by-products. By using AFM, SEM, TGA, DSC, and XRD, it has been demonstrated that the products obtained have changed properties compared to the initial chitosan. They possess a smoother surface and lower thermal stability but are sufficient for practical use. The resulting copolymers have a higher viscosity than the original chitosan, making them a promising thickener and stabilizer for food gels. Moreover, the copolymers exhibit an antibacterial effect, suggesting their potential use as a component in smart food packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Development of Chitosan-Based Composites)
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15 pages, 5923 KiB  
Article
Ultrafast Polymerization of a Self-Adhesive and Strain Sensitive Hydrogel-Based Flexible Sensor for Human Motion Monitoring and Handwriting Recognition
by Bin Du, Mengwei Yin, Kenan Yang, Sainan Wang, Yiting Pei, Rubai Luo, Shisheng Zhou and Huailin Li
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111595 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Hydrogel-based flexible electronic devices have great potential in human motion monitoring, electronic skins, and human-computer interaction applications; hence, the efficient preparation of highly sensitive hydrogel-based flexible sensors is important. In the present work, the ultrafast polymerization of a hydrogel (1–3 min) was achieved [...] Read more.
Hydrogel-based flexible electronic devices have great potential in human motion monitoring, electronic skins, and human-computer interaction applications; hence, the efficient preparation of highly sensitive hydrogel-based flexible sensors is important. In the present work, the ultrafast polymerization of a hydrogel (1–3 min) was achieved by constructing a tannic acid (TA)-Fe3+ dynamic redox system, which endowed the hydrogel with good adhesion performance (the adhesion strength in wood was 17.646 kPa). In addition, the uniform dispersal ensured by incorporating polydopamine-decorated polypyrrole (PPy@PDA) into the hydrogel matrix significantly improved the hydrogel’s stretching ability (575.082%). The as-prepared PAM/CS/PPy@PDA/TA hydrogel-based flexible sensor had a high-fidelity low detection limit (strain = 1%), high sensitivity at small strains (GF = 5.311 at strain = 0–8%), and fast response time (0.33 s) and recovery time (0.25 s), and it was reliably applied to accurate human motion monitoring and handwriting recognition. The PAM/CS/PPy@PDA/TA hydrogel opens new horizons for wearable electronic devices, electronic skins, and human-computer interaction applications. Full article
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18 pages, 3580 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Cellulosic Pulps Isolated from Two Widespread Agricultural Wastes: Cotton and Sunflower Stalks
by M. Dolores La Rubia, Sofía Jurado-Contreras, Francisco Javier Navas-Martos, Ángeles García-Ruiz, Francisca Morillas-Gutiérrez, Alberto J. Moya, Soledad Mateo and José Antonio Rodríguez-Liébana
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1594; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111594 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Globally, huge amounts of cotton and sunflower stalks are generated annually. These wastes are being underutilized since they are mostly burned in the fields. So, in this work, we proposed a three-step method consisting of acid pre-treatment, alkaline hydrolysis, and bleaching for the [...] Read more.
Globally, huge amounts of cotton and sunflower stalks are generated annually. These wastes are being underutilized since they are mostly burned in the fields. So, in this work, we proposed a three-step method consisting of acid pre-treatment, alkaline hydrolysis, and bleaching for the extraction of cellulose pulps. These pulps were characterized to assess their morpho-structural and thermal properties. The design of experiments and response surface methodology were used for the optimization of the acid pre-treatment in order to achieve maximum removal of non-cellulosic compounds and obtain pulps enriched in cellulose. For cotton stalks, optimal conditions were identified as a reaction time of 190 min, a reaction temperature of 96.2 °C, and an acid (nitric acid) concentration of 6.3%. For sunflower stalks, the optimized time, temperature, and acid concentration were 130 min, 73.8 °C, and 8.7%, respectively. The pulps obtained after bleaching contained more than 90% cellulose. However, special care must be taken during the process, especially in the acid pre-treatment, as it causes the solubilization of a great amount of material. The characterization revealed that the extraction process led to cellulose pulps with around 69–70% crystallinity and thermal stability in the range of 340–350 °C, ready to be used for their conversion into derivatives for industrial applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polymer Materials: Cellulose, Lignin and Chitosan)
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13 pages, 5300 KiB  
Article
Improving Pore Characteristics, Mechanical Properties and Thermal Performances of Near-Net Shape Manufacturing Phenolic Resin Aerogels
by Ruyi Sha, Jixiang Dai, Bingzhu Wang and Jianjun Sha
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1593; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111593 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 314
Abstract
Thermally stable high-performance phenolic resin aerogels (PRAs) are of great interest for thermal insulation because of their light weight, fire retardancy and low thermal conductivity. However, the drawbacks of PRA synthesis, such as long processing time, inherent brittleness and significant shrinkage during drying, [...] Read more.
Thermally stable high-performance phenolic resin aerogels (PRAs) are of great interest for thermal insulation because of their light weight, fire retardancy and low thermal conductivity. However, the drawbacks of PRA synthesis, such as long processing time, inherent brittleness and significant shrinkage during drying, greatly restrict their wide applications. In this work, PRAs were synthesized at ambient pressure through a near-net shape manufacturing technique, where boron-containing thermosetting phenolic resin (BPR) was introduced into the conventional linear phenolic resin (LPR) to improve the pore characteristics, mechanical properties and thermal performances. Compared with the traditional LPR-synthesized aerogel, the processing time and the linear shrinkage rate during the drying of the PRAs could be significantly reduced, which was attributed to the enhanced rigidity and the unique bimodal pore size distribution. Furthermore, no catastrophic failure and almost no mechanical degradation were observed on the PRAs, even with a compressive strain of up to 60% at temperatures ranging from 25 to 200 °C, indicating low brittleness and excellent thermo-mechanical stability. The PRAs also showed outstanding fire retardancy. On the other hand, the PRAs with a density of 0.194 g/cm3 possessed a high Young’s modulus of 12.85 MPa and a low thermal conductivity of 0.038 W/(m·K). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resin-Based Polymer Materials and Related Applications: Volume 2)
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22 pages, 5564 KiB  
Article
Fabrication of k-Carrageenan/Alginate/Carboxymethyl Cellulose basedScaffolds via 3D Printing for Potential Biomedical Applications
by Cristina Stavarache, Adi Ghebaur, Andrada Serafim, George Mihail Vlăsceanu, Eugeniu Vasile, Sorina Alexandra Gârea and Horia Iovu
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1592; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111592 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 409
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology was able to generate great attention because of its unique methodology and for its major potential to manufacture detailed and customizable scaffolds in terms of size, shape and pore structure in fields like medicine, pharmaceutics and food. This study [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology was able to generate great attention because of its unique methodology and for its major potential to manufacture detailed and customizable scaffolds in terms of size, shape and pore structure in fields like medicine, pharmaceutics and food. This study aims to fabricate an ink entirely composed of natural polymers, alginate, k-carrageenan and carboxymethyl cellulose (AkCMC). Extrusion-based 3D printing was used to obtain scaffolds based on a crosslinked interpenetrating polymer network from the alginate, k-carrageenan, carboxymethyl cellulose and glutaraldehide formulation using CaCl2, KCl and glutaraldehyde in various concentrations of acetic acid. The stabile bonding of the crosslinked scaffolds was assessed using infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) as well as swelling, degradation and mechanical investigations. Moreover, morphology analysis (µCT and SEM) confirmed the 3D printed samples’ porous structure. In the AkCMC-GA objects crosslinked with the biggest acetic acid concentration, the values of pores and walls are the highest, at 3.9 × 10−2 µm−1. Additionally, this research proves the encapsulation of vitamin B1 via FT-IR and UV-Vis spectroscopy. The highest encapsulation efficiency of vitamin B1 was registered for the AkCMC-GA samples crosslinked with the maximum acetic acid concentration. The kinetic release of the vitamin was evaluated by UV-Vis spectroscopy. Based on the results of these experiments, 3D printed constructs using AkCMC-GA ink could be used for soft tissue engineering applications and also for vitamin B1 encapsulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers)
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14 pages, 3907 KiB  
Article
Adhesion and Transparency Enhancement between Flexible Polyimide-PDMS Copolymerized Film and Copper Foil for LED Transparent Screen
by Xinming Wang, Yuting Zhao, Heming Li, Weiguo Gao, Yan Liu, Anning Sun, Ke Ma, Zhizhi Hu and Yongqi Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111591 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 305
Abstract
With the increasing demand for innovative electronic products, LED transparent screens are gradually entering the public eye. Polyimide (PI) materials combine high temperature resistance and high transparency, which can be used to prepare flexible copper-clad laminate substrates. The physical and chemical properties of [...] Read more.
With the increasing demand for innovative electronic products, LED transparent screens are gradually entering the public eye. Polyimide (PI) materials combine high temperature resistance and high transparency, which can be used to prepare flexible copper-clad laminate substrates. The physical and chemical properties of PI materials differ from copper, such as their thermal expansion coefficients (CTEs), surface energy, etc. These differences affect the formation and stability of the interface between copper and PI films, resulting in a short life for LED transparent screens. To enhance PI-copper interfacial adhesion, aminopropyl-terminated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) can be used to increase the adhesive ability. Two diamine monomers with a trifluoromethyl structure and a sulfone group structure were selected in this research. Bisphenol type A diether dianhydride is a dianhydride monomer. All three of the above monomers have non−coplanar structures and flexible structural units. The adhesion and optical properties can be improved between the interface of the synthesized PI films and copper foil. PI films containing PDMS 0, 1, 3, and 5 wt% were analyzed using UV spectroscopy. The transmittance of the PI-1/3%, PI-1/5%, PI-2/3%, and PI-2/5% films were all more than 80% at 450 nm. Meanwhile, the Td 5% and Td 10% heat loss and Tg temperatures decreased gradually with the increase in PDMS. The peel adhesion of PI-copper foil was measured using a 180° peel assay. The effect of PDMS addition on peel adhesion was analyzed. PIs-3% films had the greatest peeling intensities of 0.98 N/mm and 0.85 N/mm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Behaviors and Properties of Polymer Materials)
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11 pages, 1887 KiB  
Article
Nitrogen-Blowing Assisted Strategy for Fabricating Large-Area Organic Solar Modules with an Efficiency of 15.6%
by Yingying Cheng, Yitong Ji, Dongyang Zhang, Xiangda Liu, Zezhou Xia, Xiujun Liu, Xueyuan Yang and Wenchao Huang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1590; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111590 - 4 Jun 2024
Viewed by 345
Abstract
Organic solar cells (OSCs) are one of the most promising photovoltaic technologies due to their affordability and adaptability. However, upscaling is a critical issue that hinders the commercialization of OSCs. A significant challenge is the lack of cost-effective and facile techniques to modulate [...] Read more.
Organic solar cells (OSCs) are one of the most promising photovoltaic technologies due to their affordability and adaptability. However, upscaling is a critical issue that hinders the commercialization of OSCs. A significant challenge is the lack of cost-effective and facile techniques to modulate the morphology of the active layers. The slow solvent evaporation leads to an unfavorable phase separation, thus resulting in a low power conversion efficiency (PCE) of organic solar modules. Here, a nitrogen-blowing assisted method is developed to fabricate a large-area organic solar module (active area = 12 cm2) utilizing high-boiling-point solvents, achieving a PCE of 15.6%. The device fabricated with a high-boiling-point solvent produces a more uniform and smoother large-area film, and the assistance of nitrogen-blowing accelerates solvent evaporation, resulting in an optimized morphology with proper phase separation and finer aggregates. Moreover, the device fabricated by the nitrogen-blowing assisted method exhibits improved exciton dissociation, balanced carrier mobility, and reduced charge recombination. This work proposes a universal and cost-effective technique for the fabrication of high-efficiency organic solar modules. Full article
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24 pages, 12416 KiB  
Article
Experimental and Numerical Investigation Integrated with Machine Learning (ML) for the Prediction Strategy of DP590/CFRP Composite Laminates
by Haichao Hu, Qiang Wei, Tianao Wang, Quanjin Ma, Peng Jin, Shupeng Pan, Fengqi Li, Shuxin Wang, Yuxuan Yang and Yan Li
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111589 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 193
Abstract
This study unveils a machine learning (ML)-assisted framework designed to optimize the stacking sequence and orientation of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP)/metal composite laminates, aiming to enhance their mechanical properties under quasi-static loading conditions. This work pioneers the expansion of initial datasets for ML [...] Read more.
This study unveils a machine learning (ML)-assisted framework designed to optimize the stacking sequence and orientation of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP)/metal composite laminates, aiming to enhance their mechanical properties under quasi-static loading conditions. This work pioneers the expansion of initial datasets for ML analysis in the field by uniquely integrating the experimental results with finite element simulations. Nine ML models, including XGBoost and gradient boosting, were assessed for their precision in predicting tensile and bending strengths. The findings reveal that the XGBoost and gradient boosting models excel in tensile strength prediction due to their low error rates and high interpretability. In contrast, the decision trees, K-nearest neighbors (KNN), and random forest models show the highest accuracy in bending strength predictions. Tree-based models demonstrated exceptional performance across various metrics, notably for CFRP/DP590 laminates. Additionally, this study investigates the impact of layup sequences on mechanical properties, employing an innovative combination of ML, numerical, and experimental approaches. The novelty of this study lies in the first-time application of these ML models to the performance optimization of CFRP/metal composites and in providing a novel perspective through the comprehensive integration of experimental, numerical, and ML methods for composite material design and performance prediction. Full article
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21 pages, 20588 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Mechanical Property Simulations with Results of Limited Flexural Tests of Different Multi-Layer Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites
by Ronald Bastovansky, Lukas Smetanka, Robert Kohar, Rajesh Kumar Mishra and Michal Petru
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111588 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 194
Abstract
This article is focused on the experimental study of flexural properties in different multi-layer carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites and correlations with the results of finite element method (FEM) simulations of mechanical properties. The comparison of the results shows the possibility of reducing [...] Read more.
This article is focused on the experimental study of flexural properties in different multi-layer carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites and correlations with the results of finite element method (FEM) simulations of mechanical properties. The comparison of the results shows the possibility of reducing the number of experimental specimens for testing. The experimental study of flexural properties for four types of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer matrix composites with twill weaves (2 × 2) was carried out. As input materials, pre-impregnated carbon laminate GG 204 T and GG 630 T (prepreg) and two types of carbon fiber fabrics (GG 285 T and GG 300 T (fabric)) were used. Multi-layer samples were manufactured from two types of prepregs and two types of fabrics, which were hand-impregnated during sample preparation. The layers were stacked using same orientation. All specimens for flexural test were cut with the longer side in the weft direction. Pre-impregnated carbon laminates were further impregnated with resin DT 121H. Carbon fabrics were hand-impregnated with epoxy matrix LG 120 and hardener HG 700. To fulfill the aim of this research, finite element method (FEM)-based simulations of mechanical properties were performed. The FEM simulations and analysis were conducted in Hexagon’s MSC Marc Mentat 2022.3 and Digimat 2022.4 software. This paper presents the results of actual experimental bending tests and the results of simulations of bending tests for different composite materials (mentioned previously). We created material models for simulations based on two methods—MF (Mean Field) and FE (Finite Element), and the comparative results show better agreement with the MF model. The composites (GG 285 T and GG 300 T) showed better flexural results than composites made from pre-impregnated carbon laminates (GG 204 T and GG 630 T). The difference in results for the hand-impregnated laminates was about 15% higher than for prepregs, but this is still within an acceptable tolerance as per the reported literature. The highest percentage difference of 14.25% between the simulation and the real experiment was found for the software tool Digimat FE 2022.4—GG 630 T composite. The lowest difference of 0.5% was found for the software tool Digimat MF 2022.4—GG 204 T composite. By comparing the results of the software tools with the results of the experimental measurements, it was found that the Digimat MF 2022.4 tool is closer to the results of the experimental measurements than the Digimat FE 2022.4 tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites)
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11 pages, 3376 KiB  
Article
Synthesis of Polymer Brushes on Tannic Acid-Coated Copper Particles and Surface Co-Assembly
by Chen Wang and Hanying Zhao
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1587; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111587 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 194
Abstract
The synthesis of polymer brushes on inorganic particles is an effective approach to surface modification. The polymer brushes on the surface endow the substrates with new surface properties. However, the lack of functional groups and the difficulty of surface modification have made it [...] Read more.
The synthesis of polymer brushes on inorganic particles is an effective approach to surface modification. The polymer brushes on the surface endow the substrates with new surface properties. However, the lack of functional groups and the difficulty of surface modification have made it difficult to develop an effective method for the synthesis of polymer brushes on metal surfaces. Herein, a simple and versatile strategy for synthesizing polymer brushes on copper particles is reported. Tannic acid (TA) molecules are adsorbed onto the surfaces of copper particles, forming TA coatings. Quaternized poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)-block-polystyrene (qPDMAEMA-b-PS) block copolymer (BCP) chains are grafted on the TA coatings through hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interaction, and PS brushes are grafted on the copper particles. The effects of TA concentration on the adsorption of TA and PS brush synthesis are discussed. The PS brushes are able to form surface nanostructures on the copper particles through co-assembly with PDMAEMA-b-PS BCP chains. The effect of BCP concentration on the surface nanostructures is investigated. It is reasonable to expect that polymer brushes and surface nanostructures can be synthesized on different metal surfaces by using the TA-coating approach reported in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Chemistry)
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16 pages, 5714 KiB  
Article
Freeze-Dried β-Glucan and Poly-γ-glutamic Acid: An Efficient Stabilizer to Strengthen Subgrades of Low Compressible Fine-Grained Soils with Varying Curing Periods
by Muralidaran Vishweshwaran, Evangelin Ramani Sujatha and Jair Arrieta Baldovino
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1586; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111586 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 146
Abstract
The freeze-drying of biopolymers presents a fresh option with greater potential for application in soil subgrade stabilization. A freeze-dried combination of β-glucan (BG) and γ-poly-glutamic acid (GPA) biopolymers was used to treat low compressible clay (CL) and low compressible silt (ML) soils in [...] Read more.
The freeze-drying of biopolymers presents a fresh option with greater potential for application in soil subgrade stabilization. A freeze-dried combination of β-glucan (BG) and γ-poly-glutamic acid (GPA) biopolymers was used to treat low compressible clay (CL) and low compressible silt (ML) soils in dosages of 0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, and 2%. The California bearing ratio (CBR) test for the treated specimens was performed under three curing conditions: (i) thermal curing at 60 °C, (ii) air-curing for seven days followed by submergence for 4 days, and (iii) no curing, i.e., tested immediately after mixing. To investigate the influence of shear strength on the freeze-dried biopolymer-stabilized soil specimens and their variations with aging, unconfined compressive strength (UCS) tests were conducted after thermal curing at 60 °C for 3 days, 7 days, and 7 days of thermal curing followed by 21 days of air curing. The maximum CBR of 125.3% was observed for thermally cured CL and a minimum CBR of 6.1% was observed under soaked curing conditions for ML soils. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), infrared spectroscopy, average particle size, permeability, and adsorption tests revealed the pore filling, biopolymer adsorption and coating on the soil surface, and agglomeration of the soil along with the presence of hydrogen bonds, covalent amide bonds, and Van der Waals forces that contributed to the stiffening of the stabilized soil. Using three-dimensional (3D) finite element analysis (FEA) and layered elastic analysis (LEA), a mechanistic–empirical pavement design was carried out for the stabilized soil and a design thickness catalog was prepared for the maximum CBR. The cost reductions for a 1 km section of the pavement were expected to be 12.5%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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22 pages, 5967 KiB  
Article
Gelation and Plugging Performance of Low-Concentration Partially Hydrolyzed Polyacrylamide/Polyethyleneimine System at Moderate Temperature and in Fractured Low-Permeability Reservoir
by Kai Wang, Mingliang Luo, Mingzhong Li, Xiaoyu Gu, Xu Li, Qiao Fan, Chunsheng Pu and Liangliang Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1585; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111585 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 158
Abstract
HPAM/PEI gel is a promising material for conformance control in hydrocarbon reservoirs. However, its use in low-permeability reservoirs is limited by the high polymer concentrations present. In this study, the gelation performance of an HPAM/PEI system with HPAM < 2.0 wt.% was systematically [...] Read more.
HPAM/PEI gel is a promising material for conformance control in hydrocarbon reservoirs. However, its use in low-permeability reservoirs is limited by the high polymer concentrations present. In this study, the gelation performance of an HPAM/PEI system with HPAM < 2.0 wt.% was systematically investigated. The gelation time for HPAM concentrations ranging from 0.4 to 2.0 wt.% varied from less than 1 h to 23 days, with the highest gel strength identified as grade H. The hydrodynamic radius manifested the primary effect of HPAM on the gelation performance. Branched PEI provided superior gelation performance over linear PEI, and the gelation performance was only affected when the molecular weight of the PEI varied significantly. The optimal number ratio of the PEI-provided imine groups and the HPAM-provided carboxylic acid functional groups was approximately 1.6:1~5:1. Regarding the reservoir conditions, the temperature had a crucial effect on the hydrodynamic radius of HPAM. Salts delayed the gelation process, and the order of ionic influence was Ca2+ > Na+ > K+. The pH controlled the crosslinking reaction, primarily due to the protonation degree of PEI and the hydrolysis degree of HPAM, and the most suitable pH was approximately 10.5. Plugging experiments based on a through-type fracture showed that multi-slug plugging could significantly improve the plugging performance of the system, being favorable for its application in fractured low-permeability reservoirs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Processing and Engineering)
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17 pages, 5685 KiB  
Article
Harnessing Enhanced Flame Retardancy in Rigid Polyurethane Composite Foams through Hemp Seed Oil-Derived Natural Fillers
by Mansi Ahir, Chandan Bodhak and Ram K. Gupta
Polymers 2024, 16(11), 1584; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16111584 - 3 Jun 2024
Viewed by 158
Abstract
Over the past few decades, polymer composites have received significant interest and become protagonists due to their enhanced properties and wide range of applications. Herein, we examined the impact of filler and flame retardants in hemp seed oil-based rigid polyurethane foam (RPUF) composites’ [...] Read more.
Over the past few decades, polymer composites have received significant interest and become protagonists due to their enhanced properties and wide range of applications. Herein, we examined the impact of filler and flame retardants in hemp seed oil-based rigid polyurethane foam (RPUF) composites’ performance. Firstly, the hemp seed oil (HSO) was converted to a corresponding epoxy analog, followed by a ring-opening reaction to synthesize hemp bio-polyols. The hemp polyol was then reacted with diisocyanate in the presence of commercial polyols and other foaming components to produce RPUF in a single step. In addition, different fillers like microcrystalline cellulose, alkaline lignin, titanium dioxide, and melamine (as a flame retardant) were used in different wt.% ratios to fabricate composite foam. The mechanical characteristics, thermal degradation behavior, cellular morphology, apparent density, flammability, and closed-cell contents of the generated composite foams were examined. An initial screening of different fillers revealed that microcrystalline cellulose significantly improves the mechanical strength up to 318 kPa. The effect of melamine as a flame retardant in composite foam was also examined, which shows the highest compression strength of 447 kPa. Significantly better anti-flaming qualities than those of neat foam based on HSO have been reflected using 22.15 wt.% of melamine, with the lowest burning time of 4.1 s and weight loss of 1.88 wt.%. All the composite foams showed about 90% closed-cell content. The present work illustrates the assembly of a filler-based polyurethane foam composite with anti-flaming properties from bio-based feedstocks with high-performance applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flame-Retardant Polymer Composites II)
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