Abstract: Tung oil is uniquely reactive among plant-based natural oils due to the series ofconjugated carbon-carbon double bonds in its fatty acid chains. These conjugatedcarbon-carbon double bonds impart a high reactivity towards cationic polymerization in thepresence of other reactive co-monomers, such as divinylbenzene and styrene. An impressivedecrease in the cure time of tung oil-based thermosets has been achieved when the resinsinvestigated were microwaved in the presence of carbon nanotubes (CNTs). However, thefast cure compromised the overall thermo-mechanical properties of the materialsinvestigated. Microwave power, exposure time, and CNT loading effects have been assessedby means of dielectric analysis (DEA), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differentialscanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), and proton nuclearmagnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy of extracts obtained by Soxhlet extraction.Possible reasons were proposed to explain the overall inferior properties observed wheneverfaster cure rates were achieved.
Abstract: The photocatalyst composite coatings on alumina (Al2O3) balls had been prepared by mechanical coating technique (MCT) with titanium (Ti) powder, adding a certain content of chromium (Cr) powder and a subsequent oxidation process. The effect of oxidation conditions and adding Cr on the composite coatings of chromium-titanium dioxide (Cr-TiO2) was investigated. The results show Cr-TiO2 coatings are with mixed-phase of anatase and rutile under different oxidation conditions, and the mass fraction of the rutile phase (XR) has been obviously increased when under 973 K. The SEM images indicate that adding Cr could significantly accelerate the growth of surface structures, especially at 1073 K. The photocatalytic activity of Cr-TiO2 coatings firstly increases, then decreases, with the addition of Cr. Compared with that of two other oxidation conditions, the enhancement on photocatalytic activity by adding Cr under visible light is relatively higher, especially at 973 K for 10 h.
Abstract: This work reports on a very effective route to produce bio-based polyurethanes (PUs) and composites with high content of renewable carbon sources. The PUs are prepared with polyols synthesized from macauba oil (Acrocomia aculeata) and methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, at different [NCO]/[OH] molar ratios. Later, biocomposites are prepared with the as-obtained PUs reinforced with coconut husk fibers. The successful synthesis of natural oil-based polyols is ascribed to the hydroxylation and consumption of carbon-carbon double bonds in the fatty acid chains of the original starting oil as attested by FTIR spectroscopy. According to different thermal analysis techniques (TG, DTG, and DTA), the increase in the [NCO]/[OH] molar ratio improves the thermal stability of PUs, likely due to an increase of crosslinks. Dynamic mechanical analysis evidences the reinforcement effect of coconut husk fibers in bio-based PUs. The present PUs and composites are of low-cost and environmentally friendly materials for structural applications.
Abstract: The effect of synthesis conditions and niobium incorporation levels on the photocatalytic properties of Nb/MCM-41 molecular sieves was assessed. Niobium pentoxide supported on MCM-41 mesoporous silica was obtained using two methods: sol-gel and incipient impregnation, in each case also varying the percentage of niobium incorporation. The synthesized Nb-MCM-41 ceramic powders were characterized using the spectroscopic techniques of infrared spectroscopy (IR), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The photodegradation capacity of the powders was studied using the organic molecule, methylene blue. The effect of both the method of synthesis and the percentage of niobium present in the sample on the photodegradation action of the solids was determined. The mesoporous Nb-MCM-41 that produced the greatest photodegradation response was obtained using the sol-gel method and 20% niobium incorporation.
Abstract: This paper is an attempt to elucidate the effects of the important spray characteristics on the surface morphology and light absorbance of spray-on P3HT:PCBM thin-films, used as an active layer in polymer solar cells (PSCs). Spray coating or deposition is a viable scalable technique for the large-scale, fast, and low-cost fabrication of solution-processed solar cells, and has been widely used for device fabrication, although the fundamental understanding of the underlying and controlling parameters, such as spray characteristics, droplet dynamics, and surface wettability, is still limited, making the results on device fabrication not reproducible and unreliable. In this paper, following the conventional PSC architecture, a PEDOT:PSS layer is first spin-coated on glass substrates, followed by the deposition of P3HT:PCBM using an automatic ultrasonic spray coating system, with a movable nozzle tip, to mimic an industrial manufacturing process. To gain insight, the effects of the spray carrier air pressure, the number of spray passes, the precursor flow rate, and precursor concentration are studied on the surface topography and light absorbance spectra of the spray-on films. Among the results, it is found that despite the high roughness of spray-on films, the light absorbance of the film is satisfactory. It is also found that the absorbance of spray-on films is a linear function of the number of spray passes or deposition layers, based on which an effective film thickness is defined for rough spray-on films. The effective thickness of a rough spray-on P3HT:PCBM film was found to be one-quarter of that of a flat film predicted by a simple mass balance.
Abstract: Confocal microscopy is introduced as a new and generally applicable method for the characterization of the vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNT) forest height. With this technique process control is significantly intensified. The topography of the substrate and VACNT can be mapped with a height resolution down to 15 nm. The advantages of confocal microscopy, compared to scanning electron microscopy (SEM), are demonstrated by investigating the growth kinetics of VACNT using Al2O3 buffer layers with varying thicknesses. A process optimization using confocal microscopy for fast VACNT forest height evaluation is presented.