Special Issue "Functionalization Procedures and Emerging Applications of Polymer Foams and Composites"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Miguel Angel Rodríguez-Pérez Website E-Mail
Director CellMat Laboratory, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
Interests: cellular polymers; nanocellular polymers; cellular nanocomposites; biocellular polymers; polyurethane foams
Guest Editor
Dr. Javier Pinto Website E-Mail
Researcher CellMat Laboratory, University of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain
Interests: cellular polymers; functionalized polymers; environmental remediation; polymer nanocomposites; nanocellular polymers

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The journal Polymers is preparing a Special Issue title “Functionalization Procedures and Emerging Applications of Polymer Foams and Composites”. In this Special issue, recent research on the functionalization of polymer foams and composites, as well as on the development of new or optimized applications of these materials, is considered.

Polymer foams and composites are current materials of great technological relevance and widely employed in our present world. These materials could present a wide range of tunable properties, which are directly related to their inner multiphasic structure. The different possible combinations of polymer matrices with a gaseous phase and/or a filler (e.g., fibers, microparticles, or nanoparticles), together with the fine control about the structure or dispersion of these secondary phases, allows for the obtaining of an extraordinarily wide range of bulk physical and chemical properties, making these materials suitable for a wide range of applications (from packaging to aeronautics).

However, fine control of the interfacial properties of polymer foams and composites is usually not achieved by the conventional production routes of these materials, since these properties are extremely important in several applications, such as water treatment, biomedical, catalysis, etc. Generally speaking, to obtain a noticeable effect on the surface properties by conventional production routes, it could be necessary to include a large number of fillers to ensure a sufficient presence of them in the surfaces of polymer foams and composites. On the other hand, an improved production process could selectively locate the particles in the surfaces, or a later functionalization procedure could modify the surface with the exact amount of particles required.

Moreover, recent advances in both production routes and functionalization procedures could improve their use in current applications of these materials, present additional advantages (e.g., biodegradability), or even make them suitable for new applications. Therefore, the Editors are pleased to launch this Special Issue and invite researchers to contribute their reviews and original papers on the development of functionalization procedures of polymer foams and composites, as well as on the study of potential new applications for these materials. Potential topics cover but are not restricted to the following:

  • Functionalization procedures of polymer foams and composites, and technologies to control their surface morphology;
  • Water treatment technologies based on polymer foams and composites;
  • Biomedical developments based on polymer foams and composites (e.g., scaffolds, drug delivery);
  • Gas capture and storage using polymer foams and composites;
  • Catalysis and other chemistry procedures (e.g., degradation of dangerous chemicals) using polymer foams and composites;
  • Polymer foams and composites with magnetic response or electromagnetic shielding capability;
  • Polymer foams and composites with improved thermal or acoustic isolation capability;
  • Biodegradable or sustainable polymer foams and composites with improved surface or bulk properties;
  • Transparent or optically active polymer foams and composites.

Prof. Miguel Angel Rodríguez-Pérez
Dr. Javier Pinto
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 papers will be 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 monthly 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 1500 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 foam
  • Cellular polymer
  • Polymer composite
  • Functional polymer
  • Surface properties
  • Environmental remediation
  • Water treatment
  • Transparent foams
  • Biodegradable polymers.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Physical Foaming and Crosslinking of Polyethylene with Modified Talcum
Polymers 2019, 11(9), 1472; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11091472 - 09 Sep 2019
Abstract
The aim of this study was the investigation of the use of modified talcum for supporting crosslinking and as novel nucleating agent for physical foaming of polyethylene. For the modification of the talcum, a thermal initiator was linked to the talcum surface. During [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was the investigation of the use of modified talcum for supporting crosslinking and as novel nucleating agent for physical foaming of polyethylene. For the modification of the talcum, a thermal initiator was linked to the talcum surface. During the extrusion process, the initiator decomposes, and gas and radicals are formed. The gas generates the nucleation of cells and the radicals support the crosslinking process between the polymer chains. The modification of the talcum was performed in three steps: The first step was the grafting of alkoxysilanes onto the talcum surface. The second step was the chlorination of the thermal initiator for an easier linkage, and the last step was the linking between the initiator and the silanes grafted onto the talcum surface. For this study, two investigations were carried out. One investigation was the analysis of the crosslinking effect with the modified talcum. For this purpose, polyethylene plates were compression molded and the viscoelastic properties were measured with a parallel plate rheometer. The use of the modified talcum led to a higher crosslinking density. The second investigation was the physical foaming experiment in an extrusion process with nitrogen as blowing agent using both a pure and the modified talcum as nucleating agents. The foamed samples were characterized in terms of density, cell size and cell density, and compared with each other. The blend with the modified nucleating agent indicated a foam structure with a smaller mean cell size and a lower density compared to the use of the pristine nucleating agent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Quantification of Cell Gas Evolution in Rigid Polyurethane Foams by Novel GCMS Methodology
Polymers 2019, 11(7), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11071192 - 17 Jul 2019
Abstract
This paper presents a new methodology based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) in order to separate and quantify the gases presented inside the cells of rigid polyurethane (RPU) foams. To demonstrate this novel methodology, the gas composition along more than three years of [...] Read more.
This paper presents a new methodology based on gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) in order to separate and quantify the gases presented inside the cells of rigid polyurethane (RPU) foams. To demonstrate this novel methodology, the gas composition along more than three years of aging is herein determined for two samples: a reference foam and foam with 1.5 wt% of talc. The GCMS method was applied, on one hand, for the accurate determination of C5H10 and CO2 cell gases used as blowing agents and, on the other hand, for N2 and O2 air gases that diffuse rapidly from the surrounding environment into foam cells. GCMS results showed that CO2 leaves foam after 2.5 month (from 21% to 0.03% for reference foam and from 17% to 0.03% for foam with 1.5% talc). C5H10 deviates during 3.5 months (from 28% up to 39% for reference foam and from 29% up to 36% for foam with talc), then it starts to leave the foam and after 3.5 year its content is 13% for reference and 10% for foam with talc. Air diffuses inside the cells faster for one year (from 51% up to 79% for reference and from 54% up to 81% for foam with talc) and then more slowly for 3.5 years (reaching 86% for reference and 90% for foam with talc). Thus, the fast and simple presented methodology provides valuable information to understand the long-term thermal conductivity of the RPU foams. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preparation of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Perforated Membrane via CO2 Foaming and Its Particle Separation Performance
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11050847 - 10 May 2019
Abstract
The way in which a perforated structure is formed has attracted much interest in the porous membrane research community. This novel structure gives materials an excellent antifouling property as well as a low operating pressure and other benefits. Unfortunately, the current membrane fabrication [...] Read more.
The way in which a perforated structure is formed has attracted much interest in the porous membrane research community. This novel structure gives materials an excellent antifouling property as well as a low operating pressure and other benefits. Unfortunately, the current membrane fabrication methods usually involve multi-step processes and the use of organic solvents or additives. Our study is the first to offer a way to prepare perforated membrane by using a physical foaming technique with CO2 as the blowing agent. We selected thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) as the base material because it is a biocompatible elastomer with excellent tensility, high abrasion resistance, and good elastic resilience. Various processing parameters, which included the saturation pressure, the foaming temperature, and the membrane thickness, were applied to adjust the TPU membrane’s perforated morphology. We proposed a possible formation mechanism of the perforated membrane. The as-prepared TPU membrane had good mechanical properties with a tensile strength of about 5 MPa and an elongation at break above 100%. Such mechanical properties make this novel membrane usable as a self-standing filter device. In addition, its straight-through channel structure can separate particles and meet different separation requirements. Full article
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