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Physics and Chemistry of Polymers and Sustainable Polymer-Based Materials

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymeric Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 January 2025 | Viewed by 2768

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
1. Centre for Polymer and Material Technologies (CPMT), Ghent University, Technologiepark 130, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
2. Laboratory for Chemical Technology (LCT), Department of Materials, Textiles and Chemical Engineering, Ghent University, Technologiepark 125, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
Interests: sustainable polymers; bio-based polymers; alginate hydrogels; starch; enzymatic polymerization
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Guest Editor Assistant
Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ZIAM), University of Groningen, Broerstraat 5, 9712 CP Groningen, The Netherlands
Interests: polymer science; 3D printing; hydrogels; polymer colloids; emulsions; stimuli responsive polymers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymers are large molecules made up of repeating subunits called monomers. They are essential in our daily lives and play a crucial role in various fields, including materials science, medicine, and engineering. The physics and chemistry of polymers involve understanding their structure, properties, and behavior.

From a chemical perspective, polymers can be classified into three major types: addition polymers, condensation polymers, and copolymers. Addition polymers are formed through a reaction where monomers join together without the elimination of any byproducts. Examples include polyethylene and polypropylene. Condensation polymers, on the other hand, are formed by a reaction between two different monomers, with the elimination of small molecules such as water or alcohol. Common examples include polyesters and polyamides. Copolymers consist of two or more different types of monomers and can be either alternating, random, or block copolymers.

The physical properties of polymers are influenced by their molecular structure and arrangement. The length and flexibility of the polymer chains, as well as the presence of side groups or branches, affect properties like strength, elasticity, and solubility. Polymers can exist in various states, including amorphous and crystalline phases, which further influence their mechanical and thermal behavior. Crystalline polymers have ordered arrangements of polymer chains, leading to increased stiffness and melting points compared to amorphous polymers. Polymer physics explores the behavior of polymers under different conditions. The mechanical properties of polymers, such as tensile strength, elasticity, and viscosity, are studied using techniques like stress–strain analysis and rheology. Understanding polymer viscoelasticity is crucial for designing materials with desired properties, such as in the development of flexible packaging or durable construction materials.

In summary, the physics and chemistry of polymers delve into the study of their structure, properties, and behavior. By understanding the relationships between molecular structure and material properties, scientists and engineers can develop and optimize polymers for a wide range of applications, revolutionizing industries and advancing technology in numerous fields. This strategy and interplay between polymer chemistry and physics will also be beneficial in the commercialization of bio-based and sustainable polymers.

Dr. Khaled Sebakhy
Guest Editor
Dr. Julien Es Sayed
Guest Editor Assistant

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • polymer synthesis
  • polymer chemistry
  • polymer physics
  • polymer applications
  • living radical polymerization (LRP)
  • polymer rheology
  • bio-based polymers
  • sustainable polymers

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 1309 KiB  
Article
Polyurethane Composites Recycling with Styrene–Acrylonitrile and Calcium Carbonate Recovery
by J. del Amo, S. Iswar, T. Vanbergen, A. M. Borreguero, D. De Vos, I. Verlent, J. Willems and J. F. Rodriguez
Materials 2024, 17(12), 2844; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17122844 - 11 Jun 2024
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Abstract
The glycolysis process of flexible polyurethane foams containing styrene–acrylonitrile and calcium carbonate as fillers was explored in detail. The use of DABCO as a catalyst allowed us to reduce the catalyst concentration and the polyurethane-to-glycol mass ratio to 0.1% and 1:1, respectively. The [...] Read more.
The glycolysis process of flexible polyurethane foams containing styrene–acrylonitrile and calcium carbonate as fillers was explored in detail. The use of DABCO as a catalyst allowed us to reduce the catalyst concentration and the polyurethane-to-glycol mass ratio to 0.1% and 1:1, respectively. The glycolysis process allowed us to obtain a high-purity polyol (99%), which can totally replace raw polyols in the synthesis of new flexible polyurethane foams, maintaining the standard mechanical properties of the original one and modifying the ratio of isocyanates employed to correct the closed cell structure caused by the impurities present in the recovered polyol. This isocyanate mixture was also optimized, resulting in a ratio of 30 and 70% of the isocyanates TDI80 and TDI65, respectively. Additionally, the fillers incorporated in the glycolyzed foams were recovered. Both recovered fillers, styrene–acrylonitrile and calcium carbonate, were fully characterized, showing a quality very similar to that of commercial compounds. Finally, the replacement of commercial fillers by the recovered ones in the synthesis of new polyurethane foams was studied, demonstrating the feasibility of using them in the synthesis of new foams without significantly altering their properties. Full article
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15 pages, 3198 KiB  
Article
Antibacterial Zirconia Surfaces from Organocatalyzed Atom-Transfer Radical Polymerization
by Nesrine Harfouche, Philippe Marie, Diana Dragoe, Hung Le, Pascal Thébault, Christelle Bilot, Arnaud Fouchet, Jacques Rouden, Jérôme Baudoux and Bénédicte Lepoittevin
Materials 2024, 17(8), 1775; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17081775 - 12 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Antibacterial coatings are becoming increasingly attractive for application in the field of biomaterials. In this framework, we developed polymer coating zirconia with antibacterial activity using the “grafting from” methodology. First, 1-(4-vinylbenzyl)-3-butylimidazolium chloride monomer was synthesized. Then, the surface modification of zirconia substrates was [...] Read more.
Antibacterial coatings are becoming increasingly attractive for application in the field of biomaterials. In this framework, we developed polymer coating zirconia with antibacterial activity using the “grafting from” methodology. First, 1-(4-vinylbenzyl)-3-butylimidazolium chloride monomer was synthesized. Then, the surface modification of zirconia substrates was performed with this monomer via surface-initiated photo atom transfer radical polymerization for antibacterial activity. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, ellipsometry, static contact angle measurements, and an atomic force microscope were used to characterize the films for each step of the surface modification. The results revealed that cationic polymers could be successfully deposited on the zirconia surfaces, and the thickness of the grafted layer steadily increased with polymerization time. Finally, the antibacterial adhesion test was used to evaluate the antibacterial activity of the modified zirconia substrates, and we successfully showed the antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa strains. Full article
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16 pages, 8532 KiB  
Article
Thermo-Responsive Shape-Memory Dual-Cured Polymers Based on Vegetable Oils
by Rokas Petrauskas, Sigita Grauzeliene and Jolita Ostrauskaite
Materials 2024, 17(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17010024 - 20 Dec 2023
Viewed by 794
Abstract
The development of thermo-responsive shape-memory polymers has attracted attention due to their ability to undergo reversible deformations based on temperature changes. Vegetable oils are confirmed to be an excellent biorenewable source of starting materials for the synthesis of polymers. Therefore, the objective of [...] Read more.
The development of thermo-responsive shape-memory polymers has attracted attention due to their ability to undergo reversible deformations based on temperature changes. Vegetable oils are confirmed to be an excellent biorenewable source of starting materials for the synthesis of polymers. Therefore, the objective of this research was to synthesize thermo-responsive shape-memory polymers based on vegetable oils by using the dual-curing technique and obtaining polymers with tailorable properties. Acrylated epoxidized soybean oil and two epoxidized vegetable oils, linseed oil and camelina oil, were chosen for dual curing with m-xylylenediamine. Rheological tests were used to analyze the curing kinetics of systems undergoing radical photopolymerization, thermal cationic polymerization, and dual-curing processes. The rheological, mechanical, and thermal characteristics of the polymers were enhanced by the second curing stage. Dual-cured vegetable oil-based polymers had shape-memory properties with a recovery ratio of 100%, making them suitable for a variety of applications, including electronics, biomedical devices, and robotics. Full article
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