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Polymers, Volume 6, Issue 8 (August 2014) – 12 articles , Pages 2082-2308

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Review
Advanced Shape Memory Technology to Reshape Product Design, Manufacturing and Recycling
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2287-2308; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082287 - 22 Aug 2014
Cited by 76 | Viewed by 7496
Abstract
This paper provides a brief review on the advanced shape memory technology (ASMT) with a focus on polymeric materials. In addition to introducing the concept and fundamentals of the ASMT, the potential applications of the ASMT either alone or integrated with an existing [...] Read more.
This paper provides a brief review on the advanced shape memory technology (ASMT) with a focus on polymeric materials. In addition to introducing the concept and fundamentals of the ASMT, the potential applications of the ASMT either alone or integrated with an existing mature technique (such as, 3D printing, quick response (QR) code, lenticular lens) and phenomena (e.g., wrinkling and stress-enhanced swelling effect) in product design, manufacturing, and recycling are demonstrated. It is concluded that the ASMT is indeed able to provide a range of powerful approaches to reshape part of the life cycle or the whole life cycle of products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape-Memory Polymers)
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Article
An Internally Heated Shape Memory Polymer Dry Adhesive
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2274-2286; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082274 - 22 Aug 2014
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 5605
Abstract
A conductive epoxy-based shape memory polymer (SMP) is demonstrated using carbon black (CB) as a dopant for the purpose of creating an SMP dry adhesive system which can internally generate the heat required for activation. The electrical and mechanical properties of the CB/SMP [...] Read more.
A conductive epoxy-based shape memory polymer (SMP) is demonstrated using carbon black (CB) as a dopant for the purpose of creating an SMP dry adhesive system which can internally generate the heat required for activation. The electrical and mechanical properties of the CB/SMP blends for varying dopant concentrations are characterized. A composite adhesive is created to minimize surface contact resistance to conductive tape acting as electrodes, while maintaining bulk resistivity required for heat generation due to current flow. The final adhesive can function on flat or curved surfaces. As a demonstration, a 25 mm wide by 45 mm long dry adhesive strip is shown to heat evenly from an applied voltage, and can easily hold a mass in excess of 6 kg when bonded to a spherical concave glass surface using light pressure at 75 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape-Memory Polymers)
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Review
A Review on Potentiality of Nano Filler/Natural Fiber Filled Polymer Hybrid Composites
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2247-2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082247 - 22 Aug 2014
Cited by 392 | Viewed by 16546
Abstract
The increasing demand for greener and biodegradable materials leading to the satisfaction of society requires a compelling towards the advancement of nano-materials science. The polymeric matrix materials with suitable and proper filler, better filler/matrix interaction together with advanced and new methods or approaches [...] Read more.
The increasing demand for greener and biodegradable materials leading to the satisfaction of society requires a compelling towards the advancement of nano-materials science. The polymeric matrix materials with suitable and proper filler, better filler/matrix interaction together with advanced and new methods or approaches are able to develop polymeric composites which shows great prospective applications in constructions and buildings, automotive, aerospace and packaging industries. The biodegradability of the natural fibers is considered as the most important and interesting aspects of their utilization in polymeric materials. Nanocomposite shows considerable applications in different fields because of larger surface area, and greater aspect ratio, with fascinating properties. Being environmentally friendly, applications of nanocomposites offer new technology and business opportunities for several sectors, such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, and biotechnology industries. Hybrid bio-based composites that exploit the synergy between natural fibers in a nano-reinforced bio-based polymer can lead to improved properties along with maintaining environmental appeal. This review article intended to present information about diverse classes of natural fibers, nanofiller, cellulosic fiber based composite, nanocomposite, and natural fiber/nanofiller-based hybrid composite with specific concern to their applications. It will also provide summary of the emerging new aspects of nanotechnology for development of hybrid composites for the sustainable and greener environment. Full article
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Article
Effects of Graphene Nanoplatelets and Reduced Graphene Oxide on Poly(lactic acid) and Plasticized Poly(lactic acid): A Comparative Study
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2232-2246; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082232 - 21 Aug 2014
Cited by 73 | Viewed by 6239
Abstract
The superlative mechanical properties of graphene-based materials make them the ideal filler materials for polymer composites reinforcement. Two types of graphene-based materials, graphene nanoplatelets (xGnP) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO), were used as nanofiller in poly(lactic acid) (PLA) polymer matrix, as well as [...] Read more.
The superlative mechanical properties of graphene-based materials make them the ideal filler materials for polymer composites reinforcement. Two types of graphene-based materials, graphene nanoplatelets (xGnP) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO), were used as nanofiller in poly(lactic acid) (PLA) polymer matrix, as well as plasticized PLA. The addition of rGO into PLA or plasticized PLA substantially enhanced the tensile strength without deteriorating elasticity, compared to xGnP nanocomposites. In addition, the investigation of the thermal properties has found that the presence of rGO in the system is very beneficial for improving thermal stability of the PLA or plasticized PLA. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of the rGO nanocomposites display homogenous and good uniformity morphology. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images revealed that the rGO remained intact as graphene sheet layers and were dispersed well into the polymer matrix, and it was confirmed by X-ray diffraction (XRD) results, which shows no graphitic peak in the XRD pattern. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Graphene-based Polymer Composites)
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Article
Synthesis and Structure Characterization of Phenol-Urea-Formaldehyde Resins in the Presence of Magnesium Oxide as Catalyst
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2221-2231; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082221 - 20 Aug 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 8522
Abstract
The objective of this research was to provide a useful approach of polymer synthesis for accelerating the fast cure of phenol-urea-formaldehyde (PUF) resin as wood adhesive by optimizing its structure and composition. The PUF resins containing high contents of very reactive groups such [...] Read more.
The objective of this research was to provide a useful approach of polymer synthesis for accelerating the fast cure of phenol-urea-formaldehyde (PUF) resin as wood adhesive by optimizing its structure and composition. The PUF resins containing high contents of very reactive groups such as para-methylol groups were synthesized by reacting methylolurea, phenol, and formaldehyde in the presence of magnesium oxide (MgO) as catalyst. The effects of synthesis parameters including F/(P + U), OH/P, and MgO/P mole ratios on the structure, composition, curing characteristics, and their relationships of PUF resins were investigated. The results indicated that MgO seemed to be an efficacious catalyst for PUF resin synthesis and promote its faster cure. The increase in the F/(P + U) mole ratio or/and OH/P mole ratio appeared to be beneficial for the formation of para-methylol groups and cocondensed methylene linkages between phenolic methylol groups and urea units, and for the removal of unreacted urea. In case of Catalyst/P mole ratio, an appropriate dosage of added metal-ion was very important for synthesizing the high-content reactive groups of PUF resins, otherwise leading to the reverse effects. Full article
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Article
Impact of the Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) Effect and Cathepsins Levels on the Activity of Polymer-Drug Conjugates
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2186-2220; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082186 - 20 Aug 2014
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 7140
Abstract
Polymer-drug conjugates have demonstrated clinical potential in the context of anticancer therapy. However, such promising results have, to date, failed to translate into a marketed product. Polymer-drug conjugates rely on two factors for activity: (i) the presence of a defective vasculature, for passive [...] Read more.
Polymer-drug conjugates have demonstrated clinical potential in the context of anticancer therapy. However, such promising results have, to date, failed to translate into a marketed product. Polymer-drug conjugates rely on two factors for activity: (i) the presence of a defective vasculature, for passive accumulation of this technology into the tumour tissue (enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect) and (ii) the presence of a specific trigger at the tumour site, for selective drug release (e.g., the enzyme cathepsin B). Here, we retrospectively analyse literature data to investigate which tumour types have proved more responsive to polymer-drug conjugates and to determine correlations between the magnitude of the EPR effect and/or expression of cathepsin B. Lung, breast and ovarian cancers showed the highest response rate (30%, 47% and 41%, respectively for cathepsin-activated conjugates and 31%, 43%, 40%, across all conjugates). An analysis of literature data on cathepsin content in various tumour types showed that these tumour types had high cathepsin content (up to 3835 ng/mg for lung cancer), although marked heterogeneity was observed across different studies. In addition, these tumour types were also reported as having a high EPR effect. Our results suggest that a pre-screening of patient population could bring a more marked clinical benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers for Drug Delivery)
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Review
Non-Stoichiometric Polymer-Cyclodextrin Inclusion Compounds: Constraints Placed on Un-Included Chain Portions Tethered at Both Ends and Their Relation to Polymer Brushes
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2166-2185; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082166 - 13 Aug 2014
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4931
Abstract
When non-covalently bonded crystalline inclusion compounds (ICs) are formed by threading the host cyclic starches, cyclodextrins (CDs), onto guest polymer chains, and excess polymer is employed, non-stoichiometric (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs, with partially uncovered and “dangling” chains result. The crystalline host CD lattice is stable to [...] Read more.
When non-covalently bonded crystalline inclusion compounds (ICs) are formed by threading the host cyclic starches, cyclodextrins (CDs), onto guest polymer chains, and excess polymer is employed, non-stoichiometric (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs, with partially uncovered and “dangling” chains result. The crystalline host CD lattice is stable to ~300 °C, and the uncovered, yet constrained, portions of the guest chains emanating from the CD-IC crystal surfaces behave very distinctly from their neat bulk samples. In CD-IC crystals formed with α- and γ-CD hosts, each containing, respectively, six and eight 1,4-α-linked glucose units, the channels constraining the threaded portions of the guest polymer chains are ~0.5 and 1.0 nm in diameter and are separated by ~1.4 and 1.7 nm. This results in dense brushes with ~0.6 and 0.4 chains/nm2 (or 0.8 if two guest chains are included in each γ-CD channel) of the un-included portions of guest polymers emanating from the host CD-IC crystal surfaces. In addition, at least some of the guest chains leaving from a crystalline CD-IC surface re-enter another CD-IC crystal creating a network structure that leads to shape-memory behavior for (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs. To some extent, (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs can be considered as dense polymer brushes with chains that are tethered on both ends. Not surprisingly, the behavior of the un-included portions of the guest polymer chains in (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs are quite different from those of their neat bulk samples, with higher glass-transition and melt crystallization temperatures and crystallinities. Here we additionally compare their behaviors to samples coalesced from their stoichiometric ICs, and more importantly to dense polymer brushes formed by polymer chains chemically bonded to surfaces at only one end. Judging on the basis of their glass-transition, crystallization and melting temperatures, and crystallinities, we generally find the un-included portions of chains in (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs to be more constrained than those in neat bulk as-received and coalesced samples and in high density brushes. The last observation is likely because many of the un-included chain portions in (n-s)-polymer-CD-ICs are tethered/constrained at both ends, while the chains in their dense brushes are tethered at only one end. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Polymer Brushes)
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Communication
Release of Insulin from Calcium Carbonate Microspheres with and without Layer-by-Layer Thin Coatings
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2157-2165; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082157 - 11 Aug 2014
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 3344
Abstract
The release of insulin from insulin-containing CaCO3 microspheres was investigated. The microspheres were prepared by mixing aqueous solutions of CaCl2 and Na2CO3 in the presence of insulin. The surface of the insulin-containing CaCO3 microspheres was coated with [...] Read more.
The release of insulin from insulin-containing CaCO3 microspheres was investigated. The microspheres were prepared by mixing aqueous solutions of CaCl2 and Na2CO3 in the presence of insulin. The surface of the insulin-containing CaCO3 microspheres was coated with a layer-by-layer thin film consisting of poly(allylamine hydrochloride) and poly(styrene sulfonate) to regulate the release kinetics of insulin. The release rate of insulin from the coated CaCO3 microspheres was significantly suppressed compared with that of uncoated CaCO3 microspheres, and depended on the thickness of the films. Rhombohedral calcite crystals of CaCO3 formed from the microspheres during the release of insulin, suggesting that the CaCO3 microspheres dissolved and recrystallized during the release of insulin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stimuli-Responsive Polymers and Colloids)
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Article
Polyamide 11/Poly(vinylidene fluoride)/Vinyl Acetate-Maleic Anhydride Copolymer as Novel Blends Flexible Materials for Capacitors
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2146-2156; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082146 - 11 Aug 2014
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 6671
Abstract
A novel all-polymeric blend with high dielectric constant (K) has been developed by blending polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polyamide (PA11) via co-melt-pressing technology with a compatilizer vinyl acetate-maleic anhydride (VA-MA) copolymer. Adding a copolymer of vinyl acetate and maleic anhydride decreased the dielectric [...] Read more.
A novel all-polymeric blend with high dielectric constant (K) has been developed by blending polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polyamide (PA11) via co-melt-pressing technology with a compatilizer vinyl acetate-maleic anhydride (VA-MA) copolymer. Adding a copolymer of vinyl acetate and maleic anhydride decreased the dielectric loss (tan δ ≈ 0.057) and increased the dielectric constant (Kblend = 15). The blends show high dielectric constants, which give better frequency stability, and excellent mechanical properties. SEM investigations suggest that the enhanced dielectric behavior originates from significant interfacial polymer-polymer interactions. FT-IR, DSC and XRD demonstrate that blending PA11 with PVDF affects the crystalline behavior of each component. The high-K polymeric blends created represent a novel type of material that is flexible and easy to process, moreover, is appropriate for flexible micro-electronics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Blends)
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Review
Crystallization Behaviors and Structure Transitions of Biocompatible and Biodegradable Diblock Copolymers
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2116-2145; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082116 - 04 Aug 2014
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3193
Abstract
Biocompatible and biodegradable block copolymers (BBCPs) containing crystalline blocks become increasingly important in polymer science, and have great potential applications in polymer materials. Crystallization in polymers is accompanied by the adoption of an extended conformation, or often by chain folding. It is important [...] Read more.
Biocompatible and biodegradable block copolymers (BBCPs) containing crystalline blocks become increasingly important in polymer science, and have great potential applications in polymer materials. Crystallization in polymers is accompanied by the adoption of an extended conformation, or often by chain folding. It is important to distinguish between crystallization in homopolymers and in block copolymers. In homopolymers, chain folding leads to metastable structures introduced by the crystallization kinetics. In contrast, equilibrium chain folding in diblocks can be achieved as the equilibrium number of the folds is controlled by the size of the second block. The structures of BBCPs, which are determined by the competition between crystallization, microphase separation, kinetics and processing, have a tremendous influence on the final properties and applications. In this review, we present the recent advances on crystalline–crystalline diblock copolymer in our group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-Equilibrium Blockcopolymer Self-Assembly)
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Review
Polyelectrolyte Multilayers in Microfluidic Systems for Biological Applications
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2100-2115; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082100 - 31 Jul 2014
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3873
Abstract
The formation of polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) for the first time, two decades ago, demonstrating the assembly on charged substrates in a very simple and efficient way, has proven to be a reliable method to obtain structures tunable at the nanometer scale. Much effort [...] Read more.
The formation of polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) for the first time, two decades ago, demonstrating the assembly on charged substrates in a very simple and efficient way, has proven to be a reliable method to obtain structures tunable at the nanometer scale. Much effort has been put into the assembly of these structures for their use in biological applications. A number of these efforts have been in combination with microfluidic systems, which add to the nanoassembly that is already possible with polyelectrolytes, a new dimension in the construction of valuable structures, some of them not possible with conventional systems. This review focuses on the advancements demonstrated by the combination of PEMs and microfluidic systems, and their use in biological applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyelectrolytes 2014)
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Article
Surface-Induced Ordering on Model Liquid Crystalline Dendrimers
Polymers 2014, 6(8), 2082-2099; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym6082082 - 30 Jul 2014
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3002
Abstract
The surface alignment of liquid crystalline dendrimers (LCDrs) is a key factor for many of their potential applications. Here, we present results from Monte Carlo simulations of LCDrs adsorbed on flat, impenetrable aligning substrates. A tractable coarse-grained force field for the inter-dendritic and [...] Read more.
The surface alignment of liquid crystalline dendrimers (LCDrs) is a key factor for many of their potential applications. Here, we present results from Monte Carlo simulations of LCDrs adsorbed on flat, impenetrable aligning substrates. A tractable coarse-grained force field for the inter-dendritic and the dendrimer-substrate interactions is introduced. We investigate the conformational and ordering properties of single, end-functionalized LCDrs under homeotropic, random (or degenerate) planar and unidirectional planar aligning substrates. Depending on the anchoring constrains to the mesogenic units of the LCDr and on temperature, a variety of stable ordered LCDr states, differing in their topology, are observed and analyzed. The influence of the dendritic generation and core functionality on the surface-induced ordering of the LCDrs are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complex Macromolecular Architectures)
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