Special Issue "Polymer Science, Technology and Engineering beyond 2020: Novel, Safer and Sustainable Materials"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Paul Joseph
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia
Interests: polymer synthesis; environmentally sustainable flame retardant materials; cellulosic combustion and bush fires; waste recycling/management; adaptation of the existing processes/strategies towards more effective means of combustion
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Svetlana Tretsiakova-McNally
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Ulster University, Newtownabbey BT37 0QB, Northern Ireland, UK
Interests: chain-growth polymers; combustion; thermal decomposition; flammability; fire retardants; ligno-cellulosic materials; waste recycling and management; sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Malavika Arun
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, Victoria University, P.O. Box 14428, Melbourne, VIC 8001, Australia
Interests: polymer processing; polymer engineering; polymer syntheses and characterisation; functional materials; combustion chemistry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are currently going through unprecedented times, with an ongoing pandemic at a scale that has not been seen since the Spanish flu about 100 years ago. Within the same period, we have also witnessed great scientific and practical strides in the realm of polymeric materials, and an ensuing era of synthetic commodity plastics and associated materials for high-tech engineering applications. Concomitantly, we have become acutely aware of the problem that has unfolded owing to an enhanced use of these materials in our everyday life. The predominance of stronger covalent linkages between the prominent elements constituting the macromolecules render them significantly resistant  to natural degradation, and this has led to the  mammoth task of deposal of the polymer-based products upon reaching the end of their service life. Naturally, the attention of the scientific community has turned, especially in the last 10 years or so, towards preparing and formulating bio-degradable polymers and hybrid materials that are derived from bio-inspired sources.

It is highly likely that any post-COVID economic recovery will entail fast-paced construction, including both residential homes and infrastructural provisions, as well as fuel-efficient and more integrated transportation networks. Needless to say, we need to expend a more concerted effort in designing and developing  novel, safer, and sustainable materials. This would reduce our dependency on fossil-fuel-derived materials and technologies, and at the same time uphold the principle of  the much-needed circular economy. Ideally, we should rely more on materials that can be sourced from the natural world and/or devise methods to fabricate hybrid materials that incorporate them as a major component. The current Special Issue will therefore focus on concepts, synthetic methodologies, characterization techniques, and engineering aspects of polymeric materials that help to serve the underpinning ethos of novelty, safety, and sustainability beyond 2020. Through this Issue, we invite original papers and review  articles, primarily in the following categories and cognate subject areas:

  1. Theoretical basis and validation of the performance of hybrid polymeric materials;
  2. Novel synthetic strategies and formulation techniques pertaining to sustainable materials;
  3. Morphological and structural characteristics of  modern materials;
  4. Physical and performance evaluations of materials;
  5. Bio-degradable polymers;
  6. Bio-sourced components for hybrid materials;
  7. Recycling/reuse and life-cycle analyses of materials in the construction and transport sectors;
  8. Stimuli-responsive and three-dimensional networks;
  9. Sustainable polymeric materials beyond 2020;
  10. Modern materials in the context of circular economy.

Prof. Dr. Paul Joseph
Dr. Svetlana Tretsiakova-McNally
Dr. Malavika Arun
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 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.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Production of Rigid Polyurethane Foams Using Polyol from Liquefied Oil Palm Biomass: Variation of Isocyanate Indexes
Polymers 2021, 13(18), 3072; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13183072 - 11 Sep 2021
Viewed by 507
Abstract
Development of polyurethane foam (PUF) containing bio-based components is a complex process that requires extensive studies. This work reports on the production of rigid PUFs from polyol obtained via liquefaction of oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) biomass with different isocyanate (NCO) indexes. [...] Read more.
Development of polyurethane foam (PUF) containing bio-based components is a complex process that requires extensive studies. This work reports on the production of rigid PUFs from polyol obtained via liquefaction of oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) biomass with different isocyanate (NCO) indexes. The effect of the NCO index on the physical, chemical and compressive properties of the liquefied EFB-based PUF (EFBPUF) was evaluated. The EFBPUFs showed a unique set of properties at each NCO index. Foaming properties had affected the apparent density and cellular morphology of the EFBPUFs. Increasing NCO index had increased the crosslink density and dimensional stability of the EFBPUFs via formation of isocyanurates, which had also increased their thermal stability. Combination of both foaming properties and crosslink density of the EFBPUFs had influenced their respective compressive properties. The EFBPUF produced at the NCO index of 120 showed the optimum compressive strength and released the least toxic hydrogen cyanide (HCN) gas under thermal degradation. The normalized compressive strength of the EFBPUF at the NCO index of 120 is also comparable with the strength of the PUF produced using petrochemical polyol. Full article
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Article
Influence of 3D-Printed TPU Properties for the Design of Elastic Products
Polymers 2021, 13(15), 2519; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13152519 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 419
Abstract
The design of products with elastic properties is a paradigm for design engineers because the properties of the material define the correct functionality of the product. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) allows for the printing of products in thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). Therefore, it offers [...] Read more.
The design of products with elastic properties is a paradigm for design engineers because the properties of the material define the correct functionality of the product. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) allows for the printing of products in thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). Therefore, it offers the ability to design elastic products with the freedom of forms that this technology allows and also with greater variation of elastic properties than with a conventional process. The internal structures and the variation in thickness that can be used facilitate the design of products with different elastic realities, producing variations in the elasticity of the product with the same material. This work studies the influence of the variation of internal density as a function of basic geometries in order to quantify the difference in elasticity produced on a product when it is designed. Likewise, a case study was carried out with the creation of a fully elastic computer keyboard printed in 3D. The specimens were subjected to compression to characterize the behavior of the structures. The tests showed that the elasticity varies depending on the orientation and geometry, with the highest compressive strength observed in the vertical orientation with 80% lightening. In addition, the internal lightening increases the elasticity progressively but not uniformly with respect to the solid geometry, and also the flat faces favour the reduction in elasticity. This study classifies the behavior of TPU with the aim of being applied to the design and manufacture of products with specific properties. In this work, a totally flexible and functional keyboard was designed, obtaining elasticity values that validate the study carried out. Full article
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Article
Acetylation Modification of Waste Polystyrene and Its Use as a Crude Oil Flow Improver
Polymers 2021, 13(15), 2505; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13152505 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 416
Abstract
Polystyrene is used in a wide range of applications in our lives, from machine housings to plastic cups and miniature electronic devices. When polystyrene is used, a large amount of waste is produced, which can cause pollution to the environment and even harm [...] Read more.
Polystyrene is used in a wide range of applications in our lives, from machine housings to plastic cups and miniature electronic devices. When polystyrene is used, a large amount of waste is produced, which can cause pollution to the environment and even harm biological and human health. Due to its low bulk density (especially the foamed type) and low residual value, polystyrene cannot be easily recycled. Often waste polystyrene is difficult to recycle. In this paper, waste polystyrene has been modified by using acetic anhydride which caused a crude oil flow improver. The results showed that modified polystyrene improves the flow properties of the crude oil, reducing the viscosity and the pour point of the crude oil by up to 84.6% and 8.8 °C, respectively. Based on the study of the paraffin crystal morphology, the mechanism of improving the flow capacity of crude oil by modified polystyrene was proposed and analyzed. Full article
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