Special Issue "Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Roberto Pantani
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Industrial Engineering Department, University of Salerno, I-84084 Fisciano (Salerno), Italy
Interests: analysis and simulation of injection moulding of thermoplastics; structure development in polymer processing; volume accuracy and stability in polymer processing; processing and degradation of biodegradable polymers
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Sara Liparoti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Salerno, Fisciano (SA), Italy
Interests: advanced Injection molding, polymer structure development during injection molding, advanced characterization of the mechanical properties within injection molding objects; tuning of surface topography and properties by injection molding; rheology of hydrogels; supercritical fluid based processes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The extraordinary capacity of plastics to modify their properties according to a particular structure could be a difficulty, but also an opportunity, and it is one of the keys to the success of this class of materials.
The same polymer can be transparent or opaque, rigid or flexible, permeable or impermeable, according to the spatial organization of its macromolecules or of a particular filler.
Obviously, the key to taking profit of this peculiar capacity of plastics relies on our capacity of inducing, by means of a suitable processing, that specific spatial organization.
The aim of this Special Issue is to collect a number of research or review papers which can depict the state of the art on the possible correlations between processing variables, obtained structure and the special property, which this structure induces on the plastic part. We would welcome contributions dealing with the related research fields, and I do hope that this stimulating subject will induce you to submit a manuscript to this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Roberto Pantani
Dr. Sara Liparoti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 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

  • effect of polymer processing on resulting morphology and/or properties mechanical
  • optical
  • thermal
  • transport properties of polymers induced by particular processing conditions and their relationship with the structure composite or nano-composites or in general multiphase polymeric materials with special properties induced by processing

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Article
Constitutive Modelling of Polylactic Acid at Large Deformation Using Multiaxial Strains
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2967; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13172967 - 31 Aug 2021
Viewed by 788
Abstract
Sheet specimens of a PLLA-based polymer have been extended at a temperature near to the glass transition in both uniaxial and planar tension, with stress relaxation observed for some time after reaching the final strain. Both axial and transverse stresses were recorded in [...] Read more.
Sheet specimens of a PLLA-based polymer have been extended at a temperature near to the glass transition in both uniaxial and planar tension, with stress relaxation observed for some time after reaching the final strain. Both axial and transverse stresses were recorded in the planar experiments. In all cases during loading, yielding at small strain was followed by a drop in true stress and then strain hardening. This was followed by stress relaxation at constant strain, during which stress dropped to reach an effectively constant level. Stresses were modelled as steady state and transient components. Steady-state components were identified with the long-term stress in stress relaxation and associated with an elastic component of the model. Transient stresses were modelled using Eyring mechanisms. The greater part of the stress during strain hardening was associated with dissipative Eyring processes. The model was successful in predicting stresses in both uniaxial and planar extension over a limited range of strain rate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Layer-by-Layer (LbL) Surface Augmented Modification of Poly(Styrene/Divinylbenzene)High Internal Phase Emulsion for Carbon Dioxide Capture
Polymers 2021, 13(14), 2247; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13142247 - 09 Jul 2021
Viewed by 702
Abstract
In this study, we used amines electrolyte solution with layer-by-layer (LbL) technique to modify and increase the CO2 adsorption capacity of highly porous polymer from high internal phase emulsion template polymer. This perspective presents the extraordinary versatility of emulsion templating polymerization, which [...] Read more.
In this study, we used amines electrolyte solution with layer-by-layer (LbL) technique to modify and increase the CO2 adsorption capacity of highly porous polymer from high internal phase emulsion template polymer. This perspective presents the extraordinary versatility of emulsion templating polymerization, which has emerged with the growing numbers of HIPE systems and modification. In this study, we used polyHIPE prepared from styrene (S) and divinylbenzene (DVB) with varying ratios; 80:20, 20:80, and 0:100 to improve the surface area, thermal properties, and mechanical properties of the materials. Furthermore, the surface of the polyHIPE was modified by LbL technique to increase the adsorption efficiency. This technique consisted of two main layers, the primary layer of poly(diallyldimethylammonium chloride) (PDADMAC) and polystyrene sulfonate (PSS) and the secondary layer, which was the CO2 adsorbing layer, of polyethylene imine (PEI) or tetraethylene pentamine (TEPA). Poly(S/DVB)HIPE modified by PEI terminated as the secondary coating showed the highest CO2 adsorption capacity, with up to 42% (from 0.71 to 1.01 mmol/g). The amine-multilayered modified material still possessed an open cell structure, since the solution did not block the pore structure of the poly(S/DVB)HIPE and was suitable for being used as an adsorbent in adsorption technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Migration Behavior of Lubricants in Polypropylene Composites under Accelerated Thermal Aging
Polymers 2021, 13(11), 1723; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13111723 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 581
Abstract
The surface migration of lubricants degrades the quality of thermoplastic polymer composites. In this study, the surface migration of lubricants in polypropylene composites were studied to improve the quality of the composites. Polypropylene (PP)/lubricant composites were manufactured using a co-rotating twin-screw extruder and [...] Read more.
The surface migration of lubricants degrades the quality of thermoplastic polymer composites. In this study, the surface migration of lubricants in polypropylene composites were studied to improve the quality of the composites. Polypropylene (PP)/lubricant composites were manufactured using a co-rotating twin-screw extruder and injection molding, and the migration phenomena of the lubricant in the PP/lubricant composites were investigated under accelerated aging conditions with temperatures in the range of 20 to 90 °C and humidity of 100% for 72 h. The interrelation between the surface migration properties of PP/lubricant composites were investigated by considering their microstructural and morphological features, which were influenced by the thermal aging conditions. Further, the microstructural and morphological features were examined by contact angle, surface energy, attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, close-up digital imaging, and atomic force microscopy analyses. The polypropylene composites containing the magnesium stearate as the lubricant were found to exhibit a more stable migration behavior than the polypropylene composites containing a calcium stearate lubricant. This is attributed to multiple synergistic factors, such as interfacial tension and work of adhesion between PP and the lubricant. The findings of this study can be utilized to effectively manufacture high-quality thermoplastic composites for the fourth industrial revolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Thermoelectric Generator Using Polyaniline-Coated Sb2Se3/β-Cu2Se Flexible Thermoelectric Films
Polymers 2021, 13(9), 1518; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13091518 - 09 May 2021
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Herein, Sb2Se3 and β-Cu2Se nanowires are synthesized via hydrothermal reaction and water evaporation-induced self-assembly methods, respectively. The successful syntheses and morphologies of the Sb2Se3 and β-Cu2Se nanowires are confirmed via X-ray powder diffraction [...] Read more.
Herein, Sb2Se3 and β-Cu2Se nanowires are synthesized via hydrothermal reaction and water evaporation-induced self-assembly methods, respectively. The successful syntheses and morphologies of the Sb2Se3 and β-Cu2Se nanowires are confirmed via X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Raman spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), and field emission transmission electron microscopy (FE-TEM). Sb2Se3 materials have low electrical conductivity which limits application to the thermoelectric generator. To improve the electrical conductivity of the Sb2Se3 and β-Cu2Se nanowires, polyaniline (PANI) is coated onto the surface and confirmed via Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), FE-TEM, and XPS analysis. After coating PANI, the electrical conductivities of Sb2Se3/β-Cu2Se/PANI composites were increased. The thermoelectric performance of the flexible Sb2Se3/β-Cu2Se/PANI films is then measured, and the 70%-Sb2Se3/30%-β-Cu2Se/PANI film is shown to provide the highest power factor of 181.61 μW/m·K2 at 473 K. In addition, a thermoelectric generator consisting of five legs of the 70%-Sb2Se3/30%-β-Cu2Se/PANI film is constructed and shown to provide an open-circuit voltage of 7.9 mV and an output power of 80.1 nW at ΔT = 30 K. This study demonstrates that the combination of inorganic thermoelectric materials and flexible polymers can generate power in wearable or portable devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Nanosized SnO2 Prepared by Electrospinning: Influence of the Polymer on Both Morphology and Microstructure
Polymers 2021, 13(6), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13060977 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
An electrospinning (ES) procedure of polymeric solutions containing metal oxide precursors, followed by thermal treatments, was exploited to obtain SnO2 nanofibers. Attention was focused on the effect of different templating polymers (polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP), polyethylene oxide (PEO) and polyvinyl acetate (PVAc)) on [...] Read more.
An electrospinning (ES) procedure of polymeric solutions containing metal oxide precursors, followed by thermal treatments, was exploited to obtain SnO2 nanofibers. Attention was focused on the effect of different templating polymers (polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP), polyethylene oxide (PEO) and polyvinyl acetate (PVAc)) on the morphologies and particle size distributions of SnO2. We demonstrated that with different polymers, the final oxide’s morphology and crystallite size change. Defined fibers, with homogeneous diameter, were obtained with each polymer, but, after calcination, the morphology of the oxide changes, leading to fibers, “flakes” or “sphere-shaped” particles when PVP, PEO or PVAc were used, respectively, as evidenced by SEM images. Data from HR-TEM and XRD measurements confirm that SnO2 samples consist of crystalline cassiterite, with small mean particle dimensions calculated by Debye–Scherrer equation, i.e., 30, 11 and 25 nm with PVP, PEO and PVAc, respectively. TEM measurements put in evidence lower average particle sizes and for SnO2 obtained with PEO average size of 8.5 nm with a standard deviation of ±4.9 nm was evidenced. By applying different calcination temperatures on fiber mat obtained by the same polymer, i.e., PEO, the influence of polymer not only on the final shape of the oxide particles but also on the crystallite size was definitively demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Creep Response of Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Composite Using Homogenization Method
Polymers 2021, 13(6), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13060867 - 11 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 514
Abstract
The homogenization theory, used for the study of differential equations with periodic coefficients, with a rapid variation, is used in the paper for the analysis of the creep phenomenon of composite materials, reinforced with fibers. Generally, a polymer composite having a matrix with [...] Read more.
The homogenization theory, used for the study of differential equations with periodic coefficients, with a rapid variation, is used in the paper for the analysis of the creep phenomenon of composite materials, reinforced with fibers. Generally, a polymer composite having a matrix with a viscoelastic response manifests a creep behavior. A good knowledge of mechanical constants allows us to predict the time response under the action of a load, which is important in engineering. The homogenization method is used to determine the engineering constants for a composite reinforced with carbon fibers. The method is applied for the particular case of fiber-reinforced unidirectional composites to obtain the equations that finally offer the required values. The epoxy matrix Fibredux 6376C is reinforced with carbon fibers T800 and the thermoplastic specimens made by APC2 material is reinforced with carbon fibers of the type IM6. The experimental results give a good concordance with the theoretical predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Fused Filament Deposition of PLA: The Role of Interlayer Adhesion in the Mechanical Performances
Polymers 2021, 13(3), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030399 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 506
Abstract
A set of criteria to enhance mechanical performances of standard specimens (Type V, ANSI D368) made of polylactic acid (PLA) were proposed. Fused PLA deposition was conducted with nozzle temperature ranging from 180 to 230 °C and deposition plate temperature ranging from 70 [...] Read more.
A set of criteria to enhance mechanical performances of standard specimens (Type V, ANSI D368) made of polylactic acid (PLA) were proposed. Fused PLA deposition was conducted with nozzle temperature ranging from 180 to 230 °C and deposition plate temperature ranging from 70 to 110 °C. Optical microscopy, elastic modulus analysis and density measurement allowed emphasizing the effect of temperature field, also measured during the process, on the morphology and the mechanical characteristics of the specimen. Atomic force microscopy revealed a morphology typical of amorphous samples with globular structures. Poor interlayer adhesion was detected in the part of the specimen located at larger distance from the deposition plate, showing an elastic modulus lower than those measured in the central part (220 MPa vs. 500 MPa). The specimen crystallinity degree was below 3%. The molecular weight between entanglements was adopted as a measure of the interlayer molecular diffusion. A successful diffusion and re-entanglement of the polymer melt at the interface was the key to improving mechanical performance. A mathematical model describing the transient heat transfer during the fused PLA deposition and accounting for solidification and the nonisothermal crystallization kinetics was introduced. Simulated temperature evolutions were consistent with the experimental ones. They were related to the mechanical performances, the morphology, and the molecular weight between entanglements of the parts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Ultrasonic Welding of PBT-GF30 (70% Polybutylene Terephthalate + 30% Fiber Glass) and Expanded Polytetrafluoroethylene (e-PTFE)
Polymers 2021, 13(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13020298 - 19 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
The ultrasonic welding of polymeric materials is one of the methods often used in practice. However, each couple of material subjected to ultrasonic welding is characterized by different values of technological parameters. Therefore, the main objective of the research presented in this paper [...] Read more.
The ultrasonic welding of polymeric materials is one of the methods often used in practice. However, each couple of material subjected to ultrasonic welding is characterized by different values of technological parameters. Therefore, the main objective of the research presented in this paper is to optimize the parameters for the ultrasonic welding of two materials, namely PBT-GF30 (70% polybutylene terephthalate + 30% fiber glass) and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (e-PTFE). In this sense, the research was carried out considering a plate-type part made of PBT-GF30, which had a thickness of 2.1 mm, and a membrane-type part made of e-PTFE, with a thickness of 0.3 mm. The condition imposed on the welded joints made, namely to correspond from a technical point of view, was that the detachment pressure of the membrane should be at least 4 bar. To this end, a test device was designed. Additionally, the topography of the material layer from the plate-type part was analyzed, as well as the chemical composition and surface condition for the membrane-type part. The obtained results allowed the optimization of the following parameters: The welding force; welding time; amplitude; and holding time. All experimental results were processed using STATISTICS software, which established how each parameter influences the characteristics of welded joints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Comparison of Degradation Behavior of Newly Developed Encapsulation Materials for Photovoltaic Applications under Different Artificial Ageing Tests
Polymers 2021, 13(2), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13020271 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 725
Abstract
The main focus of this work is to investigate the degradation behavior of two newly developed encapsulants for photovoltaic applications (thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyolefin elastomer (POE)), compared to the most widely used Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) upon exposure to two different artificial [...] Read more.
The main focus of this work is to investigate the degradation behavior of two newly developed encapsulants for photovoltaic applications (thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyolefin elastomer (POE)), compared to the most widely used Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) upon exposure to two different artificial ageing tests (with and without ultraviolet (UV) irradiation). Additive composition, optical and thermal properties and chemical structure (investigated by means of Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry, UV-Visible-Near Infrared spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Thermogravimetric Analysis and Fourier Transform-Infrared spectroscopy, respectively) of the analyzed polymers were monitored throughout the exposure to artificial ageing tests. Relevant signs of photo-oxidation were detectable for TPO after the UV test, as well as a depletion of material’s stabilizers. Signs of degradation for EVA and POE were detected when the UV dose applied was equal to 200 kW h m−2. A novel approach is presented to derive information of oxidation induction time/dose from thermogravimetric measurements that correlate well with results obtained by using oxidation indices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Reinforced Smart Foams Produced with Time-Profiled Magnetic Fields
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010024 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 418
Abstract
Polymeric smart foams are lightweight and multifunctional porous materials that are sensitive to the magnetic field due to the presence of magnetic particles embedded in the matrix. Recently, a constant magnetic field has been exploited to align the particles along the magnetic field [...] Read more.
Polymeric smart foams are lightweight and multifunctional porous materials that are sensitive to the magnetic field due to the presence of magnetic particles embedded in the matrix. Recently, a constant magnetic field has been exploited to align the particles along the magnetic field lines during the formation of the porous structure. In this paper, a new field-structuring process was developed that makes use of a time-profiled magnetic field during the foaming process to control the geometrical features of the particles aggregates. The effects of magnetic field strength as well as the switch-on and switch-off times on the magnetoelastic behavior of the smart foams were investigated. It was proven that the alignment of the particles results in both a strong relative sensitivity to the magnetic field and a positive stress change, whose extent depends on the geometrical features of the developed aggregates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Evaluation of a Novel Nanodroplet Cutting Fluid for Diamond Turning of Optical Polymers
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102213 - 27 Sep 2020
Viewed by 582
Abstract
In this study, a novel nanodroplet cutting fluid (NDCF), consisting of emulsified water and oil nanodroplets, was developed to improve the surface quality of the single-point diamond-turned optical polymers. This developed NDCF was able to penetrate the chip–tool interface, contributing to both cooling [...] Read more.
In this study, a novel nanodroplet cutting fluid (NDCF), consisting of emulsified water and oil nanodroplets, was developed to improve the surface quality of the single-point diamond-turned optical polymers. This developed NDCF was able to penetrate the chip–tool interface, contributing to both cooling and lubricating effects. The performance of NDCF was evaluated from perspectives of the surface irregularity, roughness, and cutting force of the machined groove in a series of taper cutting experiments. Meanwhile, a high-quality optical surface was obtained and the micro-level form error was reduced in the diamond turning of a Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) microlens array. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Physical and Morphological Properties of Tough and Transparent PMMA-Based Blends Modified with Polyrotaxane
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1790; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081790 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1192
Abstract
We prepared several novel, tough, and transparent poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) blends modified with polyrotaxane (PR) and evaluated their physical properties and morphologies. A styrene/methyl methacrylate/maleic anhydride (SMM) copolymer that was miscible with PMMA was used as a reactive compatibilizer to enhance interfacial adhesion [...] Read more.
We prepared several novel, tough, and transparent poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) blends modified with polyrotaxane (PR) and evaluated their physical properties and morphologies. A styrene/methyl methacrylate/maleic anhydride (SMM) copolymer that was miscible with PMMA was used as a reactive compatibilizer to enhance interfacial adhesion between the matrix resin and PR. A twin-screw melt-kneading extruder was used to prepare the polymer blends, and their thermal, morphological, optical, and mechanical properties were characterized. The effect of PR was evaluated by analyzing the deformation behavior of the blends in notched three-point bending tests. A PMMA/PR blend was immiscible and appeared to be a phase-separated system. However, when SMM was added as a compatibilizer, PR was partially miscible and did not form observable PR domains. Viscosity increased, and the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the matrix resin decreased. The surface hardness of a PMMA/SMM/PR blend was only 15% lower than that of PMMA. A 2.5-fold increase in elongation at breakage was observed, and the tensile strength and Young’s modulus decreased by 16%. The PMMA/SMM/PR blend had 60% higher impact strength than PMMA in notched Charpy impact test, which indicated that the balance between stiffness and ductility was excellent. PR served as a starting point for plastic deformation in the PMMA/SMM/PR blend. We found that PR could initiate void and craze formation, even when it was finely dispersed at the nanoscale. The stress-relieving effect of PR was effective when it was tightly bound at the interfaces. The materials obtained in this study are expected to make a significant contribution to reducing the weight of the products by applying them as a replacement for glass. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Systematic Investigation on the Structure-Property Relationship in Isotactic Polypropylene Films Processed via Cast Film Extrusion
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1636; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081636 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 900
Abstract
The effect of cast film extrusion processing conditions, such as the chill-roll temperature, temperature of the melt, and line speed, on the structure of different isotactic polypropylene homo- and random copolymers has been investigated by means of Small- and Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS [...] Read more.
The effect of cast film extrusion processing conditions, such as the chill-roll temperature, temperature of the melt, and line speed, on the structure of different isotactic polypropylene homo- and random copolymers has been investigated by means of Small- and Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS and WAXS) and correlated to stiffness and haze. Stiffness and transparency have been found to be strongly dependent on the temperature of the chill-roll. Interestingly, line speed has been found to affect the total crystallinity when the chill-roll temperature is increased, while an overall minor effect of the melt temperature was found for all cast films. The polymer characteristics, defined by the catalyst nature and comonomer content, affect the final material performance, with the single-site catalyzed grades performing better in both mechanics and optics. Haze levels were found to correlate with the mesophase content rather than to α-crystallinity and to be dependent on the domain size for all grades. The remarkably low haze levels reached by the single-site grade with higher isotacticity can arise from high nucleation rate and orientational effects, which ultimately yield smaller and smoother scattering domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Development of Polypropylene-Based Single-Polymer Composites With Blends of Amorphous Poly-Alpha-Olefin and Random Polypropylene Copolymer
Polymers 2020, 12(6), 1429; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12061429 - 26 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1096
Abstract
We developed polypropylene-based single-polymer composites (PP-SPC) with blends of amorphous poly-alpha-olefin (APAO) and random polypropylene copolymer (rPP) as matrix material and polypropylene (PP) woven fabric as reinforcement. Our goal was to utilize the lower melting temperature of APAO/rPP blends to increase the consolidation [...] Read more.
We developed polypropylene-based single-polymer composites (PP-SPC) with blends of amorphous poly-alpha-olefin (APAO) and random polypropylene copolymer (rPP) as matrix material and polypropylene (PP) woven fabric as reinforcement. Our goal was to utilize the lower melting temperature of APAO/rPP blends to increase the consolidation of the composites and decrease the heat load of the PP reinforcement. We produced the composites by film-stacking at 160 °C, and characterized the composites with density, peel, static tensile and dynamic falling weight impact tests, and by scanning electron microscopy. The results indicate that consolidation can be enhanced by increasing the APAO content of the matrix. We found that the APAO content of 50% is optimal for tensile properties. With increasing APAO content, the perforation energy decreased, but even the well-consolidated composites showed very high perforation energy. In the case of a pure APAO matrix, fiber content can be increased up to 80 wt% without a severe loss of consolidation, resulting in good tensile properties. The PP-SPCs developed possessed excellent mechanical properties, and well-consolidated composites can be produced with APAO/rPP blends as a matrix with high fiber content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Article
Influence of Different Types of Peroxides on the Long-Chain Branching of PP via Reactive Extrusion
Polymers 2020, 12(4), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12040886 - 11 Apr 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1380
Abstract
Long-chain branching (LCB) is known as a suitable method to increase the melt strength behavior of linear polypropylene (PP), which is a fundamental weakness of this material. This enables the modification of various properties of PP, which can then be used—in the case [...] Read more.
Long-chain branching (LCB) is known as a suitable method to increase the melt strength behavior of linear polypropylene (PP), which is a fundamental weakness of this material. This enables the modification of various properties of PP, which can then be used—in the case of PP recyclates—as a practical “upcycling” method. In this study, the effect of five different peroxides and their effectiveness in building LCB as well as the obtained mechanical properties were studied. A single screw extruder at different temperatures (180 and 240 °C) was used, and long-chain branched polypropylene (PP-LCB) was prepared via reactive extrusion by directly mixing the peroxides. The peroxides used were dimyristyl peroxydicarbonate (PODIC C126), tert-butylperoxy isopropylcarbonate (BIC), tert-Butylperoxy 2-ethylhexyl carbonate (BEC), tert-amylperoxy 2-ethylhexylcarbonate (AEC), and dilauroyl peroxide (LP), all with a concentration of 20 mmol/kg. The influence of the temperature on the competitive prevalent reactions of degradation and branching was documented via melt mass-flow rate (MFR), rheology measurements, and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). However, via extensional rheology, strain hardening could be observed in all cases and the mechanical properties could be maintained or even improved. Particularly, PODIC C126 and LP signaled a promising possibility for LCB in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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Review

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Review
Antiplasticization of Polymer Materials: Structural Aspects and Effects on Mechanical and Diffusion-Controlled Properties
Polymers 2020, 12(4), 769; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12040769 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1460
Abstract
Antiplasticization of glassy polymers, arising from the addition of small amounts of plasticizer, was examined to highlight the developments that have taken place over the last few decades, aiming to fill gaps of knowledge in the large number of disjointed publications. The analysis [...] Read more.
Antiplasticization of glassy polymers, arising from the addition of small amounts of plasticizer, was examined to highlight the developments that have taken place over the last few decades, aiming to fill gaps of knowledge in the large number of disjointed publications. The analysis includes the role of polymer/plasticizer molecular interactions and the conditions leading to the cross-over from antiplasticization to plasticization. This was based on molecular dynamics considerations of thermal transitions and related relaxation spectra, alongside the deviation of free volumes from the additivity rule. Useful insights were gained from an analysis of data on molecular glasses, including the implications of the glass fragility concept. The effects of molecular packing resulting from antiplasticization are also discussed in the context of physical ageing. These include considerations on the effects on mechanical properties and diffusion-controlled behaviour. Some peculiar features of antiplasticization regarding changes in Tg were probed and the effects of water were examined, both as a single component and in combination with other plasticizers to illustrate the role of intermolecular forces. The analysis has also brought to light the shortcomings of existing theories for disregarding the dual cross-over from antiplasticization to plasticization with respect to modulus variation with temperature and for not addressing failure related properties, such as yielding, crazing and fracture toughness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Polymers II)
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