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Fibers, Volume 7, Issue 5 (May 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Splendid water-absorbing nanofiber meshes were developed as a potential material for a new method [...] Read more.
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Open AccessEditorial
Hollow-Core Optical Fibers
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050050
Received: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 22 May 2019 / Published: 24 May 2019
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Abstract
The possibility of guiding light in air has fascinated optical scientists and engineers since the dawn of optical fiber technology [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hollow core optical fibers)
Open AccessArticle
Reaction Spinning Titanium Dioxide Particle-Coated Carbon Fiber for Photoelectric Energy Conversion
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050049
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 17 May 2019 / Accepted: 20 May 2019 / Published: 23 May 2019
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Abstract
In this paper, a titanium dioxide particle coated carbon fiber was prepared by reaction spinning. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) was used as the precursor to generate a continuous carbon nanofiber. A solution containing 10% wt PAN polymer dissolved in dimethylformamide (DMF) was made as the [...] Read more.
In this paper, a titanium dioxide particle coated carbon fiber was prepared by reaction spinning. Polyacrylonitrile (PAN) was used as the precursor to generate a continuous carbon nanofiber. A solution containing 10% wt PAN polymer dissolved in dimethylformamide (DMF) was made as the core fluid. The sheath fluid contains 10% titanium (IV) isopropoxide, 85% ethanol, and 5% acetic acid. The two solutions were co-spun onto an aluminium plate covered with a layer of soft tissue paper. A titanium hydroxide layer formed at the surface of the PAN fiber through the hydrolysis of titanium isopropoxide due to the moisture absorption in the co-spinning process. The reaction spun fiber was converted to a partially carbonized nanofiber by the heat treatment in air at 250 °C for two hours, then in hydrogen at 500 °C for two hours. During the early stage of the heat treatment, the titanium hydroxide decomposed and produced titanium dioxide nanoparticles at the surface of the carbon fiber. The structure and composition of the carbonized fiber were studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The photosensitivity of the particle-containing fiber was characterized by measuring the open circuit voltage under visible light excitation. The photoelectric energy conversion behavior of the fiber was confirmed by open circuit potential measurement. The potential applications of the composite fiber for photovoltaics and photonic sensing were discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Spectroscopic Study of Solid-Phase Chitosan/Cyclodextrin-Based Electrospun Fibers
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050048
Received: 1 April 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 22 May 2019
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Abstract
In this study, chitosan (chi)/hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPCD) 2:20 and 2:50 Chi:HPCD fibers were assembled via an electrospinning process that contained a mixture of chitosan and HPCD with trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) as a solvent. Complementary thermal analysis (thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA)/differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)) and [...] Read more.
In this study, chitosan (chi)/hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HPCD) 2:20 and 2:50 Chi:HPCD fibers were assembled via an electrospinning process that contained a mixture of chitosan and HPCD with trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) as a solvent. Complementary thermal analysis (thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA)/differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)) and spectroscopic methods (Raman/IR/NMR) were used to evaluate the structure and composition of the fiber assemblies. This study highlights the multifunctional role of TFA as a solvent, proton donor and electrostatically bound pendant group to chitosan, where the formation of a ternary complex occurs via supramolecular host–guest interactions. This work contributes further insight on the formation and stability of such ternary (chitosan + HPCD + solvent) electrospun fibers and their potential utility as “smart” fiber coatings for advanced applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Coatings on Fibers and Textiles)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Serpentines from Different Regions by Transmission Electron Microscopy, X-ray Diffraction, BET Specific Surface Area and Vibrational and Electronic Spectroscopy
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050047
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Serpentinite powdered samples from four different regions were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), SBET and porosity measurements, UV-Vis and Infrared Spectroscopy of the skeletal region and surface OH groups. SEM micrographs of the samples showed a prismatic morphology [...] Read more.
Serpentinite powdered samples from four different regions were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), SBET and porosity measurements, UV-Vis and Infrared Spectroscopy of the skeletal region and surface OH groups. SEM micrographs of the samples showed a prismatic morphology when the lizardite was the predominant phase, while if antigorite phase prevailed, the particles had a globular morphology. The few fibrous-shaped particles, only observed by SEM and weakly detected by XRD on MO-9C and MO13 samples, were characteristic of the chrysotile phase. All diffraction XRD patterns showed characteristic peaks of antigorite and lizardite serpentine phases, with crystallite sizes in the range 310–250 Å and with different degrees and types of carbonation processes, one derived from the transformation of the serpentine, generating dolomite, and another by direct precipitation of calcite. The SBET reached values between 38–24 m2∙g−1 for the samples less crystalline, in agreement with the XRD patterns, while those with a higher degree of crystallinity gave values close to 8–9 m2∙g−1. In the UV region all electronic spectra were dominated by the absorption edge due to O2− → Si4+ charge transfer transition, with Si4+ in tetrahedral coordination, corresponding to a band gap energy of ca 4.7 eV. In the visible region, 800–350 nm, the spectra of all samples, except Donai, presented at least two weak and broad absorptions centred in the range 650–800 and 550–360 nm, associated with the presence of Fe3+ ions from the oxidation of structural Fe2+ ions in the serpentinites ((MgxFe2+1−x)3Si2O5(OH)4). The relative intensity of the IR bands corresponding to the stretching modes of the OH’s groups indicated the prevalence of one of the two phases, antigorite or lizardite, in the serpentinites. We proposed that the different relative intensity of these bands could be considered as diagnostic to differentiate the predominance of these phases in serpentinites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Fibres)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Oxygen-Plasma-Surface-Treated UHMWPE Fabric Coated with a Mixture of SiC/Polyurethane for Protection against Puncture and Needle Threats
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050046
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 3 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Although considerable research has been directed at developing materials for ballistic protection, considerably less has been conducted to address non-firearm threats. Even fewer studies have examined the incorporation of particle-laden elastomers with textiles for spike, knife, and needle protection. We report on a [...] Read more.
Although considerable research has been directed at developing materials for ballistic protection, considerably less has been conducted to address non-firearm threats. Even fewer studies have examined the incorporation of particle-laden elastomers with textiles for spike, knife, and needle protection. We report on a new composite consisting of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fabric impregnated with nanoparticle-loaded elastomer, specifically designed for spike- and needle-resistant garments. Failure analysis and parametric studies of particle-loading and layer-count were conducted using a mixture of SiC and polyurethane at 0, 30, and 50 wt.%. The maximum penetration resistance force of a single-layer of uncoated fabric increased up to 218–229% due to nanoparticle loading. Multiple-layer stacks of coated fabric show up to 57% and 346% improvement in spike puncture and hypodermic needle resistance, respectively, and yet were more flexible and 21–55% thinner than a multiple-layer stack of neat fabric (of comparable areal density). We show that oxygen-plasma-treatment of UHMWPE is critical to enable effective coating. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Coatings on Fibers and Textiles)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Naturally Occurring Asbestos in the Area of Episcopia (Lucania, Southern Italy)
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050045
Received: 5 April 2019 / Revised: 30 April 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Over the last few years, the risk to human health related to asbestos fiber exposure has been widely demonstrated by many studies. Serpentinites are the main rocks associated with naturally occurring asbestos (NOA). In order to investigate the presence of NOA, a mineralogical [...] Read more.
Over the last few years, the risk to human health related to asbestos fiber exposure has been widely demonstrated by many studies. Serpentinites are the main rocks associated with naturally occurring asbestos (NOA). In order to investigate the presence of NOA, a mineralogical study was conducted on eleven serpentinite samples collected nearby the village of Episcopia (Lucania, Southern Italy). Various analytical techniques such as X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), scanning electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM-EDS) and derivative thermogravimetry (DTG) were used to determine the occurrence of asbestos minerals and to make morphological observations. Results pointed out that all of the samples contain asbestos minerals (e.g., tremolite, actinolite and chrysotile). Moreover, it was observed that both natural processes and human activity may disturb NOA-bearing outcrops and provoke the formation of potentially inhalable airborne dust causing the release of asbestos fibers into the environment, thereby increasing the risk to human health. For this reason, our study aims to highlight the requirement of a natural asbestos survey and periodic update in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Fibres)
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Open AccessArticle
Cellulose Nanofibers Preparation from Cassava Peels via Mechanical Disruption
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050044
Received: 8 December 2018 / Revised: 12 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
In this study, cellulose and cellulose nanofibers (CNF) were extracted and prepared from cassava peels (CPs). The method of the cellulose extraction was performed by alkali treatment followed by a bleaching process. The CNF were prepared by mechanical disruption procedure (homogenization and ultrasonication), [...] Read more.
In this study, cellulose and cellulose nanofibers (CNF) were extracted and prepared from cassava peels (CPs). The method of the cellulose extraction was performed by alkali treatment followed by a bleaching process. The CNF were prepared by mechanical disruption procedure (homogenization and ultrasonication), and the results were compared with a common acid hydrolysis procedure. The resulting cellulose and CNF from both procedures were then analyzed using FTIR, SEM, TEM, XRD, and TGA. The results show that cellulose and CNF were successfully prepared from both procedures. The physical properties of the produced CNF were different; however, they had similar chemical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Progress in Cellulose Dissolution and Regeneration)
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Open AccessArticle
Elaboration of High Permeable Macrovoid Free Polysulfone Hollow Fiber Membranes for Air Separation
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050043
Received: 31 March 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
In this work, polysulfone hollow fibers with oxygen permeance 70 L (STP)/(m2·h·bar) and selectivity α(O2/N2) = 6 were obtained. A decrease in the dope solution temperature allowed to diminish macrovoids due to the increase of the dope [...] Read more.
In this work, polysulfone hollow fibers with oxygen permeance 70 L (STP)/(m2·h·bar) and selectivity α(O2/N2) = 6 were obtained. A decrease in the dope solution temperature allowed to diminish macrovoids due to the increase of the dope viscosity from 15.5 Pa·s at 62 °C to 35 Pa·s at 25 °C. To reduce the fiber diameter, thereby increasing the packing density, they were spun at high linear velocities. A hollow fiber membrane element was produced with effective membrane area 2.75 m2 and packing density 53%. Its air separation performance was evaluated to bridge laboratory studies and practical application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Hollow Fiber Membrane 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Analytical Approach for Asbestos Minerals and Their Non-Asbestiform Analogues: Inferences from Host Rock Textural Constraints
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050042
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 3 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract
Asbestos is a hazardous mineral, as well as a common and well-known issue worldwide. However, amphiboles equal in composition but not in morphology, as well as the fibrous antigorite and lizardite, are not classified as asbestos even if more common than other forms [...] Read more.
Asbestos is a hazardous mineral, as well as a common and well-known issue worldwide. However, amphiboles equal in composition but not in morphology, as well as the fibrous antigorite and lizardite, are not classified as asbestos even if more common than other forms of the mineral. Still, their potential hazardous properties requires further exploration. The proposed multi-instrumental approach focuses on the influence of textural constraints on the subsequent origin of asbestiform products in massive rock. This aspect has a significant effect on diagnostic policies addressing environmental monitoring and the clinical perspective. Concerning minerals that are chemically and geometrically (length > 5 μm, width < 3 μm and length:diameter > 3:1) but not morphologically analogous to regulated asbestos, the debate about their potential hazardous properties is open and ongoing. Therefore, a selection of various lithotypes featuring the challenging identification of fibrous phases with critical counting dimensions was investigated; this selection consisted of two serpentinites, one metabasalt and one pyroxenite. The analytical protocol included optical microscopy (OM), scanning and transmission electron microscopy combined with energy dispersive spectrometry (SEM/EDS; TEM/EDS), micro-Raman spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation X-ray microtomography (SR X-ray μCT). The latter is an original non-destructive approach that allows the observation of the fiber arrangement in a three-dimensional space, avoiding morphological influence as a result of comminution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineral Fibres)
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Open AccessArticle
Bio-Polyamide 11 Hybrid Composites Reinforced with Basalt/Flax Interwoven Fibers: A Tough Green Composite for Semi-Structural Applications
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050041
Received: 11 March 2019 / Revised: 25 April 2019 / Accepted: 29 April 2019 / Published: 6 May 2019
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Abstract
Intraply hybrid green composites were prepared by film stacking and hot-pressing of bio-based polyamide 11 (PA11) sheets and commercial hybrid fabrics made by interweaving flax and basalt fibers (2/2 twill structure). Two matrices were considered, one of them containing a plasticizing agent. After [...] Read more.
Intraply hybrid green composites were prepared by film stacking and hot-pressing of bio-based polyamide 11 (PA11) sheets and commercial hybrid fabrics made by interweaving flax and basalt fibers (2/2 twill structure). Two matrices were considered, one of them containing a plasticizing agent. After preliminary thermal and rheological characterizations of the neat matrices, the laminates were studied in terms of flexural properties at low and high deformation rates, and the results were interpreted in the light of morphological analyses (scanning electron and optical microscopy). Despite the poor interfacial adhesion detected for all investigated composite samples, the latter exhibited a good combination of flexural strength, modulus, and impact resistance. Such well-balanced mechanical properties make the studied samples potential candidates for semi-structural applications, e.g., in the transportation sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Fiber-Reinforced Hybrid Composites)
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Open AccessReview
A Brief Review of Nanocellulose Based Hybrid Membranes for CO2 Separation
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050040
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 29 April 2019 / Published: 6 May 2019
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Abstract
Due to the high specific surface area, high mechanical strength and broad possibility of surface modification, nanocellulose has obtained much attention as a new class of bio-based nanomaterials with promising potential in a wide variety of applications. Recently, a considerable amount of research [...] Read more.
Due to the high specific surface area, high mechanical strength and broad possibility of surface modification, nanocellulose has obtained much attention as a new class of bio-based nanomaterials with promising potential in a wide variety of applications. Recently, a considerable amount of research has been aimed to the fabrication of nanocellulose based hybrid membranes for water treatment. However, nanocellulose based hybrid gas separation membrane is still a new research area. Herein, we force on recent advancements in the fabrication methods and separation performances of nanocellulose-based hybrid membranes for CO2 separation, the transport mechanisms involved, along with the challenges in the utilization of nanocellulose in membranes. Finally, some perspectives on future R&D of nanocellulose-based membranes for CO2 separation are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer Hollow Fiber Membrane 2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication of Water Absorbing Nanofiber Meshes toward an Efficient Removal of Excess Water from Kidney Failure Patients
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050039
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 19 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
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Abstract
Excellent water-absorbing nanofiber meshes were developed as a potential material for removing excess fluids from the blood of chronic renal failure patients toward a wearable blood purification system without requiring specialized equipment. The nanofiber meshes were successfully fabricated from poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) under [...] Read more.
Excellent water-absorbing nanofiber meshes were developed as a potential material for removing excess fluids from the blood of chronic renal failure patients toward a wearable blood purification system without requiring specialized equipment. The nanofiber meshes were successfully fabricated from poly(acrylic acid) (PAA) under various applied voltages by appropriately setting the electrospinning conditions. The electrospun PAA nanofibers were thermally crosslinked via heat treatment and then neutralized from their carboxylic acid form (PAA) to a sodium carboxylate form poly(sodium acrylate) (PSA). The PSA nanofiber meshes exhibited a specific surface area 393 times that of the PSA film. The PSA fiber meshes showed a much faster and higher swelling than its corresponding film, owing to the higher capillary forces from the fibers in addition to the water absorption of the PSA gel itself. The proposed PSA fibers have the potential to be utilized in a new approach to remove excess water from the bloodstream without requiring specialized equipment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospun Polymer Nanofibers for Food and Health Applications)
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Open AccessCommunication
Conductive Regenerated Cellulose Fibers by Electroless Plating
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050038
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
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Abstract
Continuous metalized regenerated cellulose fibers for advanced applications (e.g., multi-functional composites) are produced by electroless copper plating. Copper is successfully deposited on the surface of cellulose fibers using commercial cyanide-free electroless copper plating packages commonly available for the manufacturing of printed wiring boards. [...] Read more.
Continuous metalized regenerated cellulose fibers for advanced applications (e.g., multi-functional composites) are produced by electroless copper plating. Copper is successfully deposited on the surface of cellulose fibers using commercial cyanide-free electroless copper plating packages commonly available for the manufacturing of printed wiring boards. The deposited copper was found to enhance the thermal stability, electrical conductivity and resistance to moisture uptake of the fibers. On the other hand, the chemistry involved in plating altered the molecular structure of the fibers, as was indicated by the degradation of their mechanical performance (tensile strength and modulus). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fabrication of a Fluorophore-Doped Cylindrical Waveguide Structure Using Elastomers for Visual Detection of Stress
Fibers 2019, 7(5), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/fib7050037
Received: 15 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
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Abstract
A fiber-optic strain sensor that can show strain via color change and which can be viewed using human eyes has demand in the civil engineering field for alerting purposes. A previous sensor was fabricated using PMMA (Poly(methyl methacrylate)), which had the exceeding hardness [...] Read more.
A fiber-optic strain sensor that can show strain via color change and which can be viewed using human eyes has demand in the civil engineering field for alerting purposes. A previous sensor was fabricated using PMMA (Poly(methyl methacrylate)), which had the exceeding hardness to exhibit satisfactory sensor performance. In this research, an elastomer-based fiber-optic structure was fabricated to enhance the elastic response of such sensors and to enlarge the waveguide cross section. Various organic fluorophores were added to the core and cladding regions of the elastic waveguide to induce energy flow from the core to the cladding when stress is applied to the waveguide. Elastomer pairs suitable for the core and cladding were selected from among several candidate materials having high transparency. A method of dispersing fluorophores to each host elastomer and constructing an excellent core–cladding interface using the selected materials was proposed. To investigate the time-dependent changes in the fluorescence of the doped elastomer waveguide, the absorption and emission spectra were monitored after the host elastomers were cured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Fibers for Next-Generation Flexible Technologies)
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