Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Polymer Processing and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 19767

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Facultad de Ciencias, Departamento de Química Analítica, Universidad de Alcalá, Química Física e Ingeniería Química, Ctra. Madrid-Barcelona Km. 33.6, 28805 Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
Interests: nanomaterials; polymers; nanocomposites; inorganic nanoparticles; antibacterial agents; surfactants; interphases
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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, 95125 Catania, Italy
Interests: additive manufacturing; polymers; composites; recycling
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Guest Editor
Department of Materials Science and Chemistry, University of Hyogo, Shosha, Himeji 2167, Hyogo, Japan
Interests: controlled/living radical polymerization; RAFT; TERP; water-soluble polymer; self-organization; polymer micelle; bioconjugate polymer
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The 2nd International Online Conference on Polymers Science—Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0 (IOCPS 2021) was held on 1–15 November 2021. The conference was organized by the MDPI open access journal Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360; IF: 4.329), and it provided researchers in the field of materials science and technology with the opportunity to present their research and exchange ideas with colleagues.

The conference was organized based on the following general topics, providing a forum for presenting and discussing new results. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Smart Polymeric Synthesis and Modification for Industry 4.0;
  • Polymer Development for Additive Manufacturing;
  • Advanced Functional Testing of Polymeric Materials;
  • Nanotechnologies in Polymer Science;
  • Biotechnologies and Functional Biopolymers;
  • Applications of Polymers in Industry 4.0;
  • Polymer Recycling.

Authors of related high-quality papers will be invited to submit the extended versions of their papers to be published in this Special Issue. In this regard, contributions in the form of research or review articles are welcome. All invited articles will be subjected to a rigorous  peer-review process.

We look forward to receiving your contribution.

Prof. Dr. Ana María Díez-Pascual
Prof. Dr. Gianluca Cicala
Prof. Dr. Shin-ichi Yusa
Guest Editors

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. Polymers 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 2700 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

  • smart polymeric synthesis and modification for Industry 4.0
  • polymer development for additive manufacturing
  • advanced functional testing of polymeric materials
  • nanotechnologies in polymer science
  • biotechnologies and functional biopolymers
  • applications of polymers in Industry 4.0
  • polymer recycling

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 3181 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Isocyanate Index and Filler Functionalities on the Performance of Flexible Foamed Polyurethane/Ground Tire Rubber Composites
by Adam Olszewski, Paulina Kosmela, Adam Piasecki, Mateusz Barczewski and Aleksander Hejna
Polymers 2022, 14(24), 5558; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245558 - 19 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2436
Abstract
The structure and performance of polyurethane (PU) foams are strongly driven by the stoichiometry of the polyaddition reaction, quantitatively described by the isocyanate index. It determines the balance between isocyanate and hydroxyl groups in the reacting system and is affected by the introduction [...] Read more.
The structure and performance of polyurethane (PU) foams are strongly driven by the stoichiometry of the polyaddition reaction, quantitatively described by the isocyanate index. It determines the balance between isocyanate and hydroxyl groups in the reacting system and is affected by the introduction of additional functionalities originated, e.g., from applied fillers. Nevertheless, this issue is hardly taken into account in research works. Herein, the structure and performance of PU/ground tire rubber (GTR) composites differing in their isocyanate index (from 0.8 to 1.2) and prepared with and without considering the GTR functionalities in formulation development were investigated. Incorporating GTR into the PU matrix led to a reduction in average cell diameter (from 2 to 30% depending on the isocyanate index) compared to unfilled foams. However, formulation adjustments did not show a significant impact on cellular structure. The only decrease in open cell content was noted, from 10% for the 0.9 index to 40% for 1.2. Such changes were related to the increasing strength of the PU cellular structure able to maintain inside the increasing amount of carbon dioxide. On the other hand, considering hydroxyl values of GTR noticeably affected the thermomechanical performance of composites. The shift of glass transition temperature (Tg), even by 10 °C for 1.2 isocyanate index, enhanced the performance of materials, which was expressed in an 8–62% drop in the composite performance factor, pointing to the enhanced reinforcing effect resulting from filler incorporation. The stiffening of foams, related to the variations in PU segmental structure, also caused minor changes in the course of thermal degradation of PU/GTR composites due to the inferior thermal stability of hard segments. The obtained results provide important insights into the development of formulations of PU composites filled with materials containing reactive functional groups able to disrupt the stoichiometric balance of the polyaddition reaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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18 pages, 7632 KiB  
Article
Thermal Aging Properties of 500 kV AC and DC XLPE Cable Insulation Materials
by Ling Zhang, Zhaowei Wang, Jihuan Tian, Shaoxin Meng and Yuanxiang Zhou
Polymers 2022, 14(24), 5400; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245400 - 9 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2278
Abstract
Despite similar material composition and insulation application, the alternating current (AC) cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) and direct current (DC) XLPE materials cannot replace each other due to different voltage forms. Herein, this work presents a systematical investigation into the effects of thermal aging on [...] Read more.
Despite similar material composition and insulation application, the alternating current (AC) cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) and direct current (DC) XLPE materials cannot replace each other due to different voltage forms. Herein, this work presents a systematical investigation into the effects of thermal aging on the material composition and properties of 500 kV-level commercial AC XLPE and DC XLPE materials. A higher content of antioxidants in the AC XLPE than in the DC XLPE was experimentally demonstrated via thermal analysis technologies, such as oxidation-induced time and oxidation-induced temperature. Retarded thermal oxidation and suppression of space charge effects were observed in thermally aged AC XLPE samples. On the other hand, the carbonyl index of DC XLPE dramatically rose when thermal aging was up to 168 h. The newly generated oxygen-containing groups provided deep trapping sites (~0.95 eV) for space charges and caused severe electric field distortion (120%) under −50 kV/mm at room temperature in the aged DC XLPE samples. For the unaged XLPE materials, the positive space charge packets were attributed to the residue crosslinking byproducts, even after being treated in vacuum at 70 °C for 24 h. Thus, it was reasoned that the DC XLPE material had a lower crosslinking degree to guarantee fewer crosslinking byproducts. This work offers a simple but accurate method for evaluating thermal oxidation resistance and space charge properties crucial for developing high-performance HVDC cable insulation materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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19 pages, 8582 KiB  
Article
Raman Study of Block Copolymers of Methyl Ethylene Phosphate with Caprolactone and L-lactide
by Sergei O. Liubimovskii, Vasiliy S. Novikov, Andrey V. Shlyakhtin, Vladimir V. Kuzmin, Maria M. Godyaeva, Sergey V. Gudkov, Elena A. Sagitova, Leila Yu. Ustynyuk and Goulnara Yu. Nikolaeva
Polymers 2022, 14(24), 5367; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14245367 - 8 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
We present an in-depth analysis of Raman spectra of novel block copolymers of methyl ethylene phosphate (MeOEP) with caprolactone (CL) and L-lactide (LA), recorded with the excitation wavelengths of 532 and 785 nm. The experimental peak positions, relative intensities and profiles of the [...] Read more.
We present an in-depth analysis of Raman spectra of novel block copolymers of methyl ethylene phosphate (MeOEP) with caprolactone (CL) and L-lactide (LA), recorded with the excitation wavelengths of 532 and 785 nm. The experimental peak positions, relative intensities and profiles of the poly(methyl ethylene phosphate) (PMeOEP), polycaprolactone (PCL) and poly(L-lactide) (PLA) bands in the spectra of the copolymers and in the spectra of the PMeOEP, PCL and PLA homopolymers turn out to be very similar. This clearly indicates the similarity between the conformational and phase compositions of PMeOEP, PCL and PLA parts in molecules of the copolymers and in the PMeOEP, PCL and PLA homopolymers. Experimental ratios of the peak intensities of PMeOEP bands at 737 and 2963 cm−1 and the PCL bands at 1109, 1724 and 2918 cm−1 can be used for the estimation of the PCL—b—PMeOEP copolymers chemical composition. Even though only one sample of the PMeOEP—b—PLA copolymers was experimentally studied in this work, we assume that the ratios of the peak intensities of PLA bands at 402, 874 and 1768 cm−1 and the PMeOEP band at 737 cm−1 can be used to characterize the copolymer chemical composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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15 pages, 2896 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Crystal Violet Lactone Complex and Its Effect on Discoloration of Metal Surface Coating
by Wenbo Li, Xiaoxing Yan and Wenting Zhao
Polymers 2022, 14(20), 4443; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14204443 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2025
Abstract
In this paper, a thermochromic complex was prepared from crystal violet lactone (CVL), bisphenol A (BPA) and tetradecanol. The color-changing temperature of the color-changing compound was found to be 25 °C by orthogonal experiment. Microcapsules coated with a thermochromic compound were added into [...] Read more.
In this paper, a thermochromic complex was prepared from crystal violet lactone (CVL), bisphenol A (BPA) and tetradecanol. The color-changing temperature of the color-changing compound was found to be 25 °C by orthogonal experiment. Microcapsules coated with a thermochromic compound were added into alkyd resin at different mass concentrations. With the increase in temperature and mass fraction of microcapsules in the coating, the color difference of the coating showed an upward trend. The highest variation in the coating’s color difference occurs when there were 10% microcapsules. When the mass fraction of microcapsules was 15.0~25.0%, there was little change to the gloss of the coating. With the increase in the mass fraction of the coating microcapsules, the hardness of the coating gradually increased. The hardness was at its best when the microcapsule concentration was 25%. When the microcapsule concentration was 20%, the impact resistance of the coating was at its best. The coating had good cold-liquid resistance to acetic acid, ethanol, and NaCl solutions, and there was basically no mark on the coating surface before and after the cold-liquid-resistance test. The addition of microcapsules did not change the chemical composition of the coating, and it improved the performance of the coating. When the microcapsule concentration was 10%, the overall performance of the coating was at its best, which laid the technical foundation for thermochromic coating on the metal surface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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11 pages, 1161 KiB  
Article
Impact of Traces of Hydrogen Sulfide on the Efficiency of Ziegler–Natta Catalyst on the Final Properties of Polypropylene
by Joaquín Hernández-Fernández, Heidi Cano and Miguel Aldas
Polymers 2022, 14(18), 3910; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14183910 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2767
Abstract
Sulfur compounds are removed from propylene through purification processes. However, these processes are not 100% effective, so low concentrations of compounds such as H2S may be present in polymer-grade propylene. This article studies the effects of H2S content on [...] Read more.
Sulfur compounds are removed from propylene through purification processes. However, these processes are not 100% effective, so low concentrations of compounds such as H2S may be present in polymer-grade propylene. This article studies the effects of H2S content on polypropylene polymerization through the controlled dosage of this compound with concentrations between 0.07 and 5 ppm and its monitoring during the process to determine possible reaction mechanisms and evaluate variations in properties of the material by TGA, FTIR, MFI, and XDR analysis. It was found that the fluidity index increases directly proportional to the concentration of H2S. In addition, the thermo-oxidative degradation is explained by means of the proposed reaction mechanisms of the active center of the Ziegler–Natta catalyst with the H2S molecule and the formation of substances with functional groups such as alcohol, ketones, aldehydes, CO, and CO2 by the oxidation of radical complexes. This study shows for the first time a reaction mechanism between the active center formed for polymerization and H2S, in addition to showing how trace impurities in the raw materials can affect the process, highlighting the importance of optimizing the processes of removal and purification of polymer-grade materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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22 pages, 8188 KiB  
Article
Fused Deposition Modeling Parameter Optimization for Cost-Effective Metal Part Printing
by Claudio Tosto, Jacopo Tirillò, Fabrizio Sarasini, Claudia Sergi and Gianluca Cicala
Polymers 2022, 14(16), 3264; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14163264 - 10 Aug 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2684
Abstract
Metal 3D-printed parts are critical in industries such as biomedical, surgery, and prosthetics to create tailored components for patients, but the costs associated with traditional metal additive manufacturing (AM) techniques are typically prohibitive. To overcome this disadvantage, more cost-effective manufacturing processes are needed, [...] Read more.
Metal 3D-printed parts are critical in industries such as biomedical, surgery, and prosthetics to create tailored components for patients, but the costs associated with traditional metal additive manufacturing (AM) techniques are typically prohibitive. To overcome this disadvantage, more cost-effective manufacturing processes are needed, and a good approach is to combine fused deposition modeling (FDM) with debinding-sintering processes. Furthermore, optimizing the printing parameters is required to improve material density and mechanical performance. The design of experiment (DoE) technique was used to evaluate the impact of three printing factors, namely nozzle temperature, layer thickness, and flow rate, on the tensile and bending properties of sintered 316L stainless steel in this study. Green and sintered samples were morphologically and physically characterized after printing, and the optimal printing settings were determined by statistical analysis, which included the surface response technique. The mechanical properties of the specimens increased as the flow rate and layer thickness increased and the nozzle temperature decreased. The optimized printing parameters for the ranges used in this study include 110% flow rate, 140 μm layer thickness, and 240 °C nozzle temperature, which resulted in sintered parts with a tensile strength of 513 MPa and an elongation at break of about 60%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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14 pages, 3975 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Refractive Index and Extinction Coefficient of Graphene-Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Nanocomposites
by Lara Velasco Davoise, Rafael Peña Capilla and Ana M. Díez-Pascual
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1828; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091828 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2467
Abstract
Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) is one of the most attractive polymeric donor materials used in organic solar cells because of its high electrical conductivity and solubility in various solvents. However, its carrier mobility is low when compared to that of inorganic semiconductors; hence, the incorporation [...] Read more.
Poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) is one of the most attractive polymeric donor materials used in organic solar cells because of its high electrical conductivity and solubility in various solvents. However, its carrier mobility is low when compared to that of inorganic semiconductors; hence, the incorporation of appropriate nanomaterials to improve its electrical mobility and optical properties are pursued. In this work, a review of the changes in electrical conductivity, bandgap, hole collection properties and carrier mobility of P3HT when adding graphene (G) is presented. The main aim is to assess how the addition of different G contents influences the optical constants: refractive index (n) and extinction coefficient (k). The values of n and k as a function of the wavelength for six P3HT/G nanocomposites with G loadings in the range of 0.1–5 wt% have been fitted to two different models, Forouhi Bloomer and Cauchy, showing very good agreement between the experimental and the theoretical values. Furthermore, a rule of mixtures was successfully applied to calculate n using mass fraction instead of volume fraction, with errors lower than 6% for all the nanocomposites studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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16 pages, 3605 KiB  
Article
Formation and Investigation of Mechanical, Thermal, Optical and Wetting Properties of Melt-Spun Multifilament Poly(lactic acid) Yarns with Added Rosins
by Evaldas Bolskis, Erika Adomavičiūtė and Egidijus Griškonis
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030379 - 19 Jan 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2229
Abstract
One method for adding enhancing properties to textile materials is the insertion of natural ingredients into the textile products during the manufacturing or finishing process. The aim of this research is to investigate the formation of biodegradable melt-spun multifilament Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) yarns [...] Read more.
One method for adding enhancing properties to textile materials is the insertion of natural ingredients into the textile products during the manufacturing or finishing process. The aim of this research is to investigate the formation of biodegradable melt-spun multifilament Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) yarns with different contents (i.e., 5%, 10%, and 15%) of natural material–rosin, also known as colophony. In this study, multifilament yarns were successfully formed from PLA and a natural substance–pine rosin by melt-spinning them at two different draw ratios (i.e., 1.75 and 2.75). The results indicated that a 1.75 draw ratio caused the formation of PLA and PLA/rosin yarns that were brittle. The presence of rosin (i.e., 5% and 10%) in multifilament yarns decreased the mechanical properties of the PLA/rosin melt-spun multifilament yarns’ tenacity (cN/tex), breaking tenacity (cN/tex), and tensile strain (%) and elongation at break (%) and increased absorbance in the entire UV region spectra. In addition, the melting point and degree of crystallinity decreased and there was an increase in the wetting angle compared with pure PLA multifilament. The investigation of melt-spun yarns with Raman spectroscopy proved the presence of rosin in PLA melt-spun yarns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Nanotechnology for Industry 4.0)
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