Polymers2014, 6(3), 651-666; doi:10.3390/polym6030651 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Polymer gels are known to be opaque when the preparation conditions, such as the reaction temperature and the composition, are changed. The increase of the opaqueness of the gel suggests strongly the change of network structure. Here, we are going to review the recent studies on the structure and the frictional study of the opaque poly(acrylamide) gel. The results indicate that the opaque poly(acrylamide) gel consists of the fractal aggregate of the colloidal particles of sub-micrometer in size. The density of the colloid particle is calculated from the structural parameters and is found to be of the order of about 1 g/cm3. The results indicate that the main chain component and the cross-linker is densely cross-linked into the particle. The frictional property of poly(acrylamide) gel is analyzed in terms of the structural parameters of the gel. It is found that the frictional property of the opaque gel is well explained in terms of the structural parameters of the opaque gel.
Polymers2014, 6(3), 634-650; doi:10.3390/polym6030634 - published online 6 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study reports on the cellular uptake of folate tethered micelles using a branched skeleton of poly(ethylene glycol) and poly(ε-caprolactone). The chemical structures of the copolymers were characterized by proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Doxorubicin (DOX) was utilized as an anticancer drug. The highest drug loading efficiencies of DOX in the folate decorated micelle (DMCF) and folate-free micelle (DMC) were found to be 88.5% and 88.2%, respectively, depending on the segment length of the poly(ε-caprolactone) in the copolymers. A comparison of fluorescent microscopic images of the endocytosis pathway in two cell lines, human breast cancer cells (MCF-7) and human oral cavity carcinoma cells (KB), revealed that the micelles were engulfed by KB and MCF-7 cells following in vitro incubation for one hour. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that free folic acid can inhibit the uptake of DOX by 48%–57% and 26%–39% in KB cells and MCF-7 cells, respectively. These results prove that KB cells are relatively sensitive to folate-tethered micelles. Upon administering methyl-β-cyclodextrin, an inhibitor of the caveolae-mediated endocytosis pathway, the uptake of DOX by KB cells was reduced by 69% and that by MCF-7 cells was reduced by 56%. This finding suggests that DMCF enters cells via multiple pathways, thus implying that the folate receptor is not the only target of tumor therapeutics.
Polymers2014, 6(3), 613-633; doi:10.3390/polym6030613 - published online 5 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The use of mechanically-fastened fiber-reinforced polymer (MF-FRP) systems has recently emerged as a competitive solution for the flexural strengthening of reinforced concrete (RC) beams and slabs. An overview of the experimental research has proven the effectiveness and the potentiality of the MF-FRP technique which is particularly suitable for emergency repairs or when the speed of installation and immediacy of use are imperative. A finite-element (FE) model has been recently developed by the authors with the aim to simulate the behavior of RC beams strengthened in bending by MF-FRP laminates; such a model has also been validated by using a wide experimental database collected from the literature. By following the previous study, the FE model and the assembled database are considered herein with the aim of better exploring the influence of some specific aspects on the structural response of MF-FRP strengthened members, such as the bearing stress-slip relationship assumed for the FRP-concrete interface, the stress-strain law considered for reinforcing steel rebars and the cracking process in RC members resulting in the well-known tension stiffening effect. The considerations drawn from this study will be useful to researchers for the calibration of criteria and design rules for strengthening RC beams through MF-FRP laminates.
Polymers2014, 6(3), 604-612; doi:10.3390/polym6030604 - published online 5 March 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: As a breakthrough in the cost and durability of molds for nanoimprint lithography (NIL), replica molds are fabricated by injection compression molding (ICM). ICM is commonly used for optical disks such as DVDs or Blu-ray disks and is also a practical fabrication method for nanostructures. In this paper, I successfully demonstrated the fabrication of cycloolefin polymer replica molds with structures smaller than 60 nm by ICM. Furthermore, ultraviolet (UV)-NIL using these replica molds was demonstrated. UV-cured resist was replicated over an area of 60 mm diameter. The degree of replication by UV-NIL in the first usage of each replica mold had good repeatability. Because ICM is a high-throughput, low-cost process, the replica mold can be disposed of after a certain time for UV-NIL. This method leads to a high-integrity UV-NIL process of patterned media because multiple large-area replica molds can be fabricated simultaneously.
Polymers2014, 6(2), 583-600; doi:10.3390/polym6020583 - published online 21 February 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The isothermal crystallization of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) homopolymers with different molecular weight was studied in a wide temperature range (140–230 °C) using different experimental techniques. Three different morphological regions, labeled r1, r2 and r3, were distinguished as a function of crystallization temperature (Tc). In r1 (low Tc) crystallized samples were characterized by a low crystalline degree with a small spherulite texture containing thin crystals. In r2 (intermediate Tc) samples showed medium size spherulites composed of two distinct crystalline families (thin and thick crystals). In this temperature range, the crystallization exhibited a maximum value and it was associated with a high content of secondary crystals. In r3 (high Tc), samples presented considerable amorphous zones and regions consisting of oversized spherulites containing only thick crystals. Time-resolved wide-angle X-ray diffraction measurements, using synchrotron radiation, indicated a rapid evolution of the crystalline degree within the second region, in contrast with the quite slow evolution observed in the third region. On the other hand, by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and time-resolved SAXS experiment, it was found that the long period (L) as well as the lamellar thickness (lc) increase as a function of Tc, corroborating the formation of the thickest crystals in the third region. From all these observations, a morphological model was proposed for each region.