Materials2014, 7(3), 1984-1994; doi:10.3390/ma7031984 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A representative of the fluoride-containing iron pnictide high-temperature superconductors, namely CaFFeAs, was doped with sodium up to the composition Ca0.86Na0.14FFeAs for the first time. Single crystals with an edge length in the range of 0.1 – 2.0 mm were obtained via solid-state and flux syntheses, respectively. The composition of the crystals was verified by means of single crystal X-ray diffractometry and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Measurements of the electrical resistivity, as well as the magnetization on a crystal of Ca0.89Na0.11FFeAs both show a transition to the superconducting state on cooling to 34.5 K. Investigations of the upper critical fields reveal an anisotropy ratio of about five. The lattice parameters and molar volumes increase with rising sodium content. This effect is clearly observable for the c-axis and the volume, whereas the increase of the a-axis is rather minor.
Materials2014, 7(3), 1975-1983; doi:10.3390/ma7031975 (doi registration under processing) - published online 7 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We demonstrate the fabrication of an all-carbon electrode by plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition for use in flexible electrochemical applications. The electrode is composed of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that are grown directly on a flexible graphite foil. Being all-carbon, the simple fabrication process and the excellent electrochemical characteristics present an approach through which high-performance, highly-stable and cost-effective electrochemical applications can be achieved.
Materials2014, 7(3), 1957-1974; doi:10.3390/ma7031957 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In addition to good mechanical properties needed for three-dimensional tissue engineering, the combination of alginate dialdehyde, gelatin and nano-scaled bioactive glass (45S5) is supposed to combine excellent cellular adhesion, proliferation and differentiation properties, good biocompatibility and predictable degradation rates. The goal of this study was to evaluate the in vitro and in vivo biocompatibility as a first step on the way to its use as a scaffold in bone tissue engineering. In vitro evaluation showed good cell adherence and proliferation of bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells seeded on covalently crosslinked alginate dialdehyde-gelatin (ADA-GEL) hydrogel films with and without 0.1% nano-Bioglass® (nBG). Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)- and mitochondrial activity significantly increased in both ADA-GEL and ADA-GEL-nBG groups compared to alginate. However, addition of 0.1% nBG seemed to have slight cytotoxic effect compared to ADA-GEL. In vivo implantation did not produce a significant inflammatory reaction, and ongoing degradation could be seen after four weeks. Ongoing vascularization was detected after four weeks. The good biocompatibility encourages future studies using ADA-GEL and nBG for bone tissue engineering application.
Materials2014, 7(3), 1927-1956; doi:10.3390/ma7031927 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Preceramic polymers, i.e., polymers that are converted into ceramics upon heat treatment, have been successfully used for almost 40 years to give advanced ceramics, especially belonging to the ternary SiCO and SiCN systems or to the quaternary SiBCN system. One of their main advantages is the possibility of combining the shaping and synthesis of ceramics: components can be shaped at the precursor stage by conventional plastic-forming techniques, such as spinning, blowing, injection molding, warm pressing and resin transfer molding, and then converted into ceramics by treatments typically above 800 °C. The extension of the approach to a wider range of ceramic compositions and applications, both structural and thermo-structural (refractory components, thermal barrier coatings) or functional (bioactive ceramics, luminescent materials), mainly relies on modifications of the polymers at the nano-scale, i.e., on the introduction of nano-sized fillers and/or chemical additives, leading to nano-structured ceramic components upon thermal conversion. Fillers and additives may react with the main ceramic residue of the polymer, leading to ceramics of significant engineering interest (such as silicates and SiAlONs), or cause the formation of secondary phases, significantly affecting the functionalities of the polymer-derived matrix.
Materials2014, 7(3), 1912-1926; doi:10.3390/ma7031912 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The transformation-induced stress relaxation and stress recovery of TiNi shape memory alloy (SMA) in stress-controlled subloop loading were investigated based on the local variation in temperature and transformation band on the surface of the tape in the tension test. The results obtained are summarized as follows. (1) In the loading process, temperature increases due to the exothermic martensitic transformation (MT) until the holding strain and thereafter temperature decreases while holding the strain constant, resulting in stress relaxation due to the MT; (2) In the unloading process, temperature decreases due to the endothermic reverse transformation until the holding strain and thereafter temperature increases while holding the strain constant, resulting in stress recovery due to the reverse transformation; (3) Stress varies markedly in the initial stage followed by gradual change while holding the strain constant; (4) If the stress rate is high until the holding strain in the loading and unloading processes, both stress relaxation and stress recovery are large; (5) It is important to take into account this behavior in the design of SMA elements, since the force of SMA elements varies even if the atmospheric temperature is kept constant.
Materials2014, 7(3), 1899-1911; doi:10.3390/ma7031899 - published online 5 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: We describe the preparation of nanocomposites which exhibit dichroism in the near infrared region (NIR). These materials consist of crosslinked poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) and gold nanoparticles, coated with 1-dodecanethiol or tert-tetradecanethiol. The alkanethiols improve dispersibility of the gold particles, and accordingly composites were manufactured by diffusion of the particles into swollen self-supporting PDMS elastomer films. After drying, the films were exposed to solvents for one minute, stretched in wet state, dried again and annealed. This procedure led to formation of oriented linear gold particle assemblies within stretched polymer. If the aspect ratio of the particle assemblies is high, the absorption of polarized light in the NIR region is expected to depend on the angle between the polarization plane and the orientation direction of the particle assemblies, and this was observed to be the case.