Advanced Polymeric Materials and Composites: Structure-Property Relationships

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2024 | Viewed by 8799

Special Issue Editors


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Polymer Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dubravska Cesta 9, 84541 Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Interests: fotoactive derivatives; syntetic polymers; biobased polymers; nanomaterials; composites
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« Petru Poni » Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry, Aleea Grigore Ghica Voda 41A, 700487 Iasi, Romania
Interests: structure-property correlation in (bio)polymers; thermomechanical characterization of polymers and polymeric materials; rheology of polymers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Contemporary times, burdened by a deepening crisis, not only in terms of energy but also those related to resources, require more and more innovative solutions. Advanced polymeric materials due to their wide range of properties, they can be used on a large scale, but also in niche areas where greater precision in their selection is required. Modifications of polymeric materials can be carried out in various ways, also by using fillers to obtain composites. Different types of fillers used in polymer composites not only reduce the price of the material but also increase the possibilities of their applications. Full characteristics of the materials, assessment of the structure, properties and relationships allow to find the right application. On the other hand, it can be chosen the right material for a specific application, having full knowledge about it. However, the selection of material to be used should also take into account the lifetime of a specific product, which extends the research to degradation tests.

In this Special Issue, we aim to present a contemporary overview of recent developments in the field of polymer or composites applications. Reviews, full papers, and short communications covering aspects of the current trends in the expansion of advanced polymeric material are all welcome.

Dr. Marta Musioł
Dr. Anita Eckstein Andicsová
Dr. Mariana Cristea
Guest Editors

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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.

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Keywords

  • advanced polymeric materials
  • composites
  • materials structure and property
  • viscoelasticity
  • thermo-rheological properties
  • mechanical and degradation tests
  • possible application
  • lifetime predictions

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 5390 KiB  
Article
Mechanical and Rheological Evaluation of Polyester-Based Composites Containing Biochar
by Sebastian Jurczyk, Jacek Andrzejewski, Adam Piasecki, Marta Musioł, Joanna Rydz and Marek Kowalczuk
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091231 - 28 Apr 2024
Viewed by 601
Abstract
The use of biodegradable polymers as matrices in composites gives a wide range of applications, especially in niche areas. The assessment of the effect of the filler content on the change of mechanical properties makes it possible to optimize the composition for specific [...] Read more.
The use of biodegradable polymers as matrices in composites gives a wide range of applications, especially in niche areas. The assessment of the effect of the filler content on the change of mechanical properties makes it possible to optimize the composition for specific needs. Biochar was used as a filler in the studied composites with two different biodegradable blends as a matrix. Poly(1,4-butylene adipate-co-1,4-butylene terephthalate)/polylactide/biochar (PBAT/PLA/BC) and polylactide/poly[(R)-3-hydroxybutyrate-co-4-hydroxybutyrate]/biochar (PLA/P(3HB-co-4HB)/BC) composites with 0, 10, 15, 20 and 30 wt% of biochar underwent mechanical tests. The test results revealed a change in the properties of the composites related to the filler content. The results of the tensile test showed that increasing the biochar content increased the tensile modulus values by up to 100% for composites with 30 wt% of biochar, compared to unfilled matrices, and decreased the elongation associated with the breaking of PBAT/PLA and PLA/P(3HB-co-4HB) matrix composites. The elongation values at break of PBAT/PLA and PLA/(3HB-co-4HB) composites with 30 wt% biochar were reduced by 50% and 65%, respectively, compared to the unfilled matrices. PLA/P(3HB-co-4HB) matrix composites, in contrast to PBAT/PLA/BC, showed a decrease in tensile strength with the increases in filler content from 35.6 MPa for unfilled matrix to 27.1 MPa for PLA/P(3HB-co-4HB)/BC30 composites. An increase in filler content increased the brittleness of the composites regardless of the matrix used, as determined under the Charpy impact-test. This phenomenon was observed for all tested PLA/P(3HB-co-4HB) composites, for which the impact strength decreased from 4.47 kJ/m2 for the matrix to 1.61 kJ/m2 for the composite containing 30 wt% biochar. PBAT/PLA-based composites with 10 wt% of biochar showed slightly lower impact strength compared to the unfilled matrix, but composites with 30 wt% biochar showed 30% lower impact strength than PBAT/PLA. The complex viscosity value increased with increased filler content. For all composites tested on both polyester matrices, the viscosity decreased with increasing angular frequency. Full article
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14 pages, 4547 KiB  
Article
Structure–Property Relationships for Fluorinated and Fluorine-Free Superhydrophobic Crack-Free Coatings
by Sevil Turkoglu, Jinde Zhang, Hanna Dodiuk, Samuel Kenig, Jo Ann Ratto Ross, Saurabh Ankush Karande, Yujie Wang, Nathalia Diaz Armas, Margaret Auerbach and Joey Mead
Polymers 2024, 16(7), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16070885 - 24 Mar 2024
Viewed by 812
Abstract
In this study, particle loading, polyfluorinated alkyl silanes (PFAS or FAS) content, superhydrophobicity, and crack formation for nanocomposite coatings created by the spray coating process were investigated. The formulations comprised hydrophobic silica, epoxy resin, and fluorine-free or FAS constituents. The effect of FAS [...] Read more.
In this study, particle loading, polyfluorinated alkyl silanes (PFAS or FAS) content, superhydrophobicity, and crack formation for nanocomposite coatings created by the spray coating process were investigated. The formulations comprised hydrophobic silica, epoxy resin, and fluorine-free or FAS constituents. The effect of FAS content and FAS-free compositions on the silica and epoxy coatings’ chemistry, topography, and wetting properties was also studied. All higher particle loadings (~30 wt.%) showed superhydrophobicity, while lower particle loading formulations did not show superhydrophobic behavior until 13% wt. FAS content. The improved water repellency of coatings with increased FAS (low particle loadings) was attributed to a combination of chemistry and topography as described by the Cassie state. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) spectra showed fluorine enrichment on the coating surface, which increases the intrinsic contact angle. However, increasing the wt.% of FAS in the final coating resulted in severe crack formation for higher particle loadings (~30 wt.%). The results show that fluorine-free and crack-free coatings exhibiting superhydrophobicity can be created. Full article
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16 pages, 23935 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Properties and Synergistic Interfacial Interactions of ZnO Nanorod-Reinforced Polyamide–Imide Composites
by Dallas Kesler, Bhanuka P. Ariyawansa and Hemali Rathnayake
Polymers 2023, 15(6), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15061522 - 19 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1796
Abstract
Metal oxide nanoparticle -reinforced polymers have received considerable attention due to their favorable mechanical properties compared to neat materials. However, the effect of nanoscale reinforcements of the interface on the composites’ mechanical properties has not been investigated in-depth to reach their optimal performance [...] Read more.
Metal oxide nanoparticle -reinforced polymers have received considerable attention due to their favorable mechanical properties compared to neat materials. However, the effect of nanoscale reinforcements of the interface on the composites’ mechanical properties has not been investigated in-depth to reach their optimal performance in structural applications. Aiming at revealing the effect of synergistic interfacial interactions on the mechanical properties of polymer composites, using a nanoscale reinforcement, herein, a series of zinc oxide nanorod-reinforced polyamide–imide (PAI)/ZnO) composites were fabricated and their mechanical properties and viscoelastic responses were investigated. The composite prepared by reinforcing them with 5 wt % ZnO nanorods resulted in improved elastic modulus, stiffness, and hardness values by 32%, 14% and 35%, respectively, compared to neat polymer thin films. The viscoelastic dynamics of the composites revealed that there was an 11% increase in elastic wave speed in the composite, containing 5 wt % ZnO nanorods, indicating better response to high impacts. Delayed viscoelastic response decreased by 67% spatially and 51% temporally, with a corresponding decrease in the creep rate, for the 5 wt % ZnO nanorod- containing composite, evidencing its potential applicability in high strength lightweight structures. The improved mechanical properties with respect to the filler concentration evidence strong particle–polymer interfacial interactions, creating “chain-bound” clusters, providing clear reinforcement and polymer chain mobility retardation. However, hypervelocity impact testing revealed that all the composites’ films were vulnerable to hypervelocity impact, but the spallation region of the composite films reinforced with 2.5 wt % and 5 wt % ZnO nanorods exhibited a cellular-like matrix with shock-induced voids compared to a rather hardened spallation region with cracks in the neat film. Full article
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20 pages, 9750 KiB  
Article
In Situ Compatibilized Blends of PLA/PCL/CAB Melt-Blown Films with High Elongation: Investigation of Miscibility, Morphology, Crystallinity and Modelling
by Nantaprapa Tuancharoensri, Gareth M. Ross, Arisa Kongprayoon, Sararat Mahasaranon, Supatra Pratumshat, Jarupa Viyoch, Narin Petrot, Wuttipong Ruanthong, Winita Punyodom, Paul D. Topham, Brian J. Tighe and Sukunya Ross
Polymers 2023, 15(2), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15020303 - 6 Jan 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2637
Abstract
Ternary-blended, melt-blown films of polylactide (PLA), polycaprolactone (PCL) and cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) were prepared from preliminary miscibility data using a rapid screening method and optical ternary phase diagram (presented as clear, translucent, and opaque regions) as a guide for the composition selection. [...] Read more.
Ternary-blended, melt-blown films of polylactide (PLA), polycaprolactone (PCL) and cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB) were prepared from preliminary miscibility data using a rapid screening method and optical ternary phase diagram (presented as clear, translucent, and opaque regions) as a guide for the composition selection. The compositions that provided optically clear regions were selected for melt blending. The ternary (PLA/PCL/CAB) blends were first melt-extruded and then melt-blown to form films and characterized for their tensile properties, tensile fractured-surface morphology, miscibility, crystallinity, molecular weight and chemical structure. The results showed that the tensile elongation at the break (%elongation) of the ternary-blended, melt-blown films (85/5/10, 75/10/15, 60/15/25 of PLA/PCL/CAB) was substantially higher (>350%) than pure PLA (ca. 20%). The range of compositions in which a significant increase in %elongation was observed at 55–85% w/w PLA, 5–20% w/w PCL and 10–25% w/w CAB. Films with high %elongation all showed good interfacial interactions between the dispersed phase (PCL and CAB) and matrix (PLA) in FE-SEM and showed improvements in miscibility (higher intermolecular interaction and mixing) and a decrease in the glass transition temperature, when compared to the low %elongation films. The decrease in Mw and Mn and the formation of the new NMR peaks (1H NMR at 3.68–3.73 ppm and 13C NMR at 58.54 ppm) were observed in only the high %elongation films. These are expected to be in situ compatibilizers that are generated during the melt processing, mostly by chain scission. In addition, mathematical modelling was used to study the optimal ratio and cost-effectiveness of blends with optimised mechanical properties. These ternary-blended, melt-blown films have the potential for use in both packaging and medical devices with excellent mechanical performance as well as inherent economic and environmental capabilities. Full article
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Review

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23 pages, 2891 KiB  
Review
β-Nucleated Polypropylene: Preparation, Nucleating Efficiency, Composite, and Future Prospects
by Bo Wu, Xian Zheng, Wenjie Xu, Yanwei Ren, Haiqiang Leng, Linzhi Liang, De Zheng, Jun Chen and Huanfeng Jiang
Polymers 2023, 15(14), 3107; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15143107 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2140
Abstract
The β-crystals of polypropylene have a metastable crystal form. The formation of β-crystals can improve the toughness and heat resistance of a material. The introduction of a β-nucleating agent, over many other methods, is undoubtedly the most reliable method through which to obtain [...] Read more.
The β-crystals of polypropylene have a metastable crystal form. The formation of β-crystals can improve the toughness and heat resistance of a material. The introduction of a β-nucleating agent, over many other methods, is undoubtedly the most reliable method through which to obtain β-PP. Furthermore, in this study, certain newly developed β-nucleating agents and their compounds in recent years are listed in detail, including the less-mentioned polymer β-nucleating agents and their nucleation characteristics. In addition, the various influencing factors of β-nucleation efficiency, including the polymer matrix and processing conditions, are analyzed in detail and the corresponding improvement measures are summarized. Finally, the composites and synergistic toughening effects are discussed, and three potential future research directions are speculated upon based on previous research. Full article
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