New Trends in Polymer Science: Health of the Planet, Health of the People

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 August 2022) | Viewed by 22608

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Department of Chemistry, University of Torino, Via Pietro Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
Interests: UHMWPE; PEEK; implant retrieval analysis; polymers degradation; antioxidants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Department of Chemistry, University of Torino, Via Pietro Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
Interests: polymer degradation and stability; electrospinning; nanocomposites; carbon materials; flame retardant; biomedical polymers
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is dedicated to the 2nd Polymers conference “Polymers 2022: New Trends in Polymers Science: Health of the Planet, Health of the People”, organized in collaboration with the MDPI open-access journal Polymers. The conference will be held as a three-day event in Turin, Italy, 25–27 May 2022.

The broad themes that will be addressed during the conference include synthesis, modification, and characterization of synthetic and natural polymers, polymer hybrids, nanocomposites, polymer biomaterials, polymers in drug delivery and tissue engineering, bio-based and biodegradable polymers, polymer recycling and re-use, functional polymers, and polymers in energy, among others. Participants of the conference are cordially invited to contribute original research papers to this thematic issue. We welcome cutting-edge research in the field of polymer science.

Please note that all submissions are subject to a 20% discount on article processing charges (APCs).

Prof. Francesco Trotta
Prof. Dr. Pierangiola Bracco
Prof. Marco Zanetti
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

10 pages, 2130 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Properties of a Random Copolymer and a Molten Blend PA6/PA6.9
by Maddalena Bertolla, Michele Cecchetto, Mattia Comotto and Anacleto Dal Moro
Polymers 2022, 14(19), 4115; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14194115 - 1 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2139
Abstract
This study compares the thermal and mechanical properties of two different materials, obtained via two diverse synthetic pathways. The first one is a mixed blend of PA6/PA6.9, while the second is a random copolymer (PA6.9-ran–PA6, obtained via copolymerization of its monomers, i.e., caprolactam, [...] Read more.
This study compares the thermal and mechanical properties of two different materials, obtained via two diverse synthetic pathways. The first one is a mixed blend of PA6/PA6.9, while the second is a random copolymer (PA6.9-ran–PA6, obtained via copolymerization of its monomers, i.e., caprolactam, hexamethylenediamine and azelaic acid). Several tests are carried out according to the aforementioned pathways, varying the relative ratio between the two polymeric building blocks. The role of the synthetized plastic is to be coupled to polyamide material, such as PA6, to confer its better properties. The synthetized random copolymer, besides displaying ease of processability with respect to conventional methods, exhibits interesting features. It has a low melting point (135 °C, PA6.9-ran-PA6 50:50) and therefore it might be used as a hot-melt adhesive in composite material. Owing to its low crystallinity content, the material displays a rubber-like behavior and may be employed to confer elastomeric properties to PA6 matrix, in place of non-amidic material (for example elastomeric polyurethanes). This leads to a further advantage in terms of chemical recyclability of the end-of-life material, since the additive increases the percentage of PA6 in waste material and, consequently, the yield of caprolactam recovery. Full article
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11 pages, 5871 KiB  
Article
Polylactic Acid–Glass Fiber Composites: Structural, Thermal, and Electrical Properties
by Teodoro Klaser, Luka Balen, Željko Skoko, Luka Pavić and Ana Šantić
Polymers 2022, 14(19), 4012; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14194012 - 25 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2092
Abstract
The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of different glass fibers made of commercial silicate, borosilicate, and laboratory-made iron–phosphate compositions, on the preparation of polylactic acid (PLA) composites and their structural and physical properties. The thermal, structural, and electrical properties [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of different glass fibers made of commercial silicate, borosilicate, and laboratory-made iron–phosphate compositions, on the preparation of polylactic acid (PLA) composites and their structural and physical properties. The thermal, structural, and electrical properties of prepared PLA–glass fiber composites were studied using differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, microscopy, and impedance spectroscopy. The structural as well as morphological, thermal, and electrical properties of all PLA–glass composites were found to be very similar and independent of the composition and aspect ratio of glass fibers. All types of glass fibers improve mechanical properties, increase thermal stability, and decrease the electrical conductivity of PLA, thereby producing mechanical strong electrically insulating composite material with potential in various applications. Full article
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22 pages, 8683 KiB  
Article
Crystallinity of Amphiphilic PE-b-PEG Copolymers
by Sophie Bistac, Maurice Brogly and Diane Bindel
Polymers 2022, 14(17), 3639; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14173639 - 2 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1701
Abstract
The crystallinity and the growth rate of crystalline structures of polyethylene glycol and polyethylene blocks in polyethylene-b-polyethylene glycol diblock copolymers (PE-b-PEG) were evaluated and compared to polyethylene and polyethylene glycol homopolymers. Melting and crystallization behaviours of PE-b-PEG copolymers with different molecular weights and [...] Read more.
The crystallinity and the growth rate of crystalline structures of polyethylene glycol and polyethylene blocks in polyethylene-b-polyethylene glycol diblock copolymers (PE-b-PEG) were evaluated and compared to polyethylene and polyethylene glycol homopolymers. Melting and crystallization behaviours of PE-b-PEG copolymers with different molecular weights and compositions are investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The polyethylene/polyethylene glycol block ratio of the copolymers varies from 17/83 to 77/23 (weight/weight). The influence of the composition of PE-b-PEG copolymer on the ability of each block to crystallize has been determined. Thermal transition data are correlated with optical polarized microscopy, used to investigate the morphology and growth rate of crystals. The results show that the crystallization of the polyethylene block is closer to the polyethylene homopolymer when the copolymer contains more than 50 wt. % of polyethylene in the copolymer. For PE-b-PEG copolymers containing more than 50 wt. % of polyethylene glycol, the polyethylene glycol block morphology is almost similar to the PEG homopolymer. An important hindrance of each block on the crystallization growth rate of the other block has been revealed. Full article
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14 pages, 1897 KiB  
Article
Trend of Polymer Research Related to COVID-19 Pandemic: Bibliometric Analysis
by Williams Chiari, Rizki Damayanti, Harapan Harapan, Kana Puspita, Saiful Saiful, Rahmi Rahmi, Diva Rayyan Rizki and Muhammad Iqhrammullah
Polymers 2022, 14(16), 3297; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14163297 - 12 Aug 2022
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2589
Abstract
Polymeric materials are used for personal protective equipment (PPE), which is mandatory for clinicians to use when handling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. The development of diagnostic tools and vaccines for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is also dependent on polymer [...] Read more.
Polymeric materials are used for personal protective equipment (PPE), which is mandatory for clinicians to use when handling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. The development of diagnostic tools and vaccines for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is also dependent on polymer technology. This current report aims to provide readers with the trend of polymer research regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, by employing bibliometric analysis. A literature search on the Scopus database (31 January 2022) was carried out using predetermined terms. Using Scopus database features, the publications were filtered based on the year of publication (2020–2022), types of articles (original research and review), and language (English). The metadata were extracted in a CSV (.csv) file, to be later used in VOSviewer software. The data were presented in a table, graph, and network visualization. As many as 512 publications were included, consisting of 66.4% original research articles and 33.6% review articles. Most of the publications were written by authors whose affiliation was in the United States (n = 118, 23%) and covering the Materials Science subject area (n = 142, 27.7%). The Ministry of Education of China was the most productive organization, publishing 11 articles. The National Science Foundation of China was the top funding source, supporting 45 publications. Heinz C. Schröder was the most prolific author, publishing nine articles. Science of the Total Environment was the leading journal publishing the included studies. The trend of polymer technology related to COVID-19 mostly covers PPE and waste-management themes. The use of polymer technology as a delivery system for the anti-SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 vaccine is also among the frequently researched areas. We encourage more research in the field of polymer technology be carried out, to overcome the global pandemic. Full article
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12 pages, 3156 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Gamma Radiation Protection Effectiveness of Nano/Micro-MgO-Reinforced Novel Silicon Rubber for Medical Applications
by M. I. Sayyed, Hanan Al-Ghamdi, Aljawhara H. Almuqrin, Sabina Yasmin and Mohamed Elsafi
Polymers 2022, 14(14), 2867; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14142867 - 14 Jul 2022
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 2153
Abstract
In this work, we examined novel polymer composites for use in radiation protection applications. These prepared polymers are non-toxic compared with lead and show potential to be used as protective gear in different medical applications where low-energy photons are utilized. We prepared silicon [...] Read more.
In this work, we examined novel polymer composites for use in radiation protection applications. These prepared polymers are non-toxic compared with lead and show potential to be used as protective gear in different medical applications where low-energy photons are utilized. We prepared silicon rubber (SR) with different concentrations of micro- and nano-sized MgO. We used a HPGe detector to measure radiation attenuation factors at different photon energies, ranging from 59.6 to 1333 keV. We reported the effect of particle size on the attenuation parameters and found that the linear attenuation factors for SR with nano-MgO were higher than for SR with micro-MgO. The mean free path (MFP) for pure SR and SR with micro- and nano-sized MgO were determined, and we found that silicon rubber with MgO (both micro- and nano-sized) has a lower MFP than pure SR. The linear attenuation coefficient results show the importance of using SR with high MgO content for low-energy radiation protection applications. Moreover, the half-value layer (HVL) results demonstrate that we need a certain thickness of SR with nano-MgO to effectively reduce the intensity of the low-energy photons. Full article
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16 pages, 4275 KiB  
Article
Bio-Nanocomposite Hydrogel Based on Zinc Alginate/Graphene Oxide: Morphology, Structural Conformation, Thermal Behavior/Degradation, and Dielectric Properties
by Roser Sabater i Serra, José Molina-Mateo, Constantino Torregrosa-Cabanilles, Andreu Andrio-Balado, José María Meseguer Dueñas and Ángel Serrano-Aroca
Polymers 2020, 12(3), 702; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12030702 - 22 Mar 2020
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 5219
Abstract
Bio-nanocomposite hydrogels based on sodium alginate (SA) as polymer matrix and graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets with zinc as crosslinking agent were synthesized with the aim of incorporating the intrinsic properties of their constituents (bioactivity and antimicrobial activity). Thus, stable and highly interconnected networks [...] Read more.
Bio-nanocomposite hydrogels based on sodium alginate (SA) as polymer matrix and graphene oxide (GO) nanosheets with zinc as crosslinking agent were synthesized with the aim of incorporating the intrinsic properties of their constituents (bioactivity and antimicrobial activity). Thus, stable and highly interconnected networks were obtained from GO nanosheets dispersed in SA matrices through interactions with low amounts of zinc. The GO nanosheets were successfully incorporated into the alginate matrix in the form of a complex nano-network involving different interactions: Bonds between alginate chains induced by Zn ions (egg box structure), interactions between GO nanosheets through Zn ions and hydrogen bonds between alginate chains, and GO nanosheets. The molecular interactions and morphology were confirmed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The composite’s structural organization showed enhanced thermal stability. The glass transition temperature shifted to a higher temperature due to the reduced mobility induced by additional crosslinking bonds after incorporating the GO nanosheets and Zn into the polymer matrix. Finally, the dielectric behavior revealed that charge carrier mobility was hampered by the compact structure of the nanonetwork, which reduced conductivity. The combined properties of these nanocomposite hydrogels make them attractive biomaterials in the field of regenerative medicine and wound care since both surface bioactivity and antibacterial behavior are two critical factors involved in the success of a biomaterial. Full article
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13 pages, 4261 KiB  
Article
Fire Suppression and Thermal Behavior of Biobased Rigid Polyurethane Foam Filled with Biomass Incineration Waste Ash
by Agnė Kairytė, Arūnas Kremensas, Saulius Vaitkus, Sylwia Członka and Anna Strąkowska
Polymers 2020, 12(3), 683; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12030683 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 3608
Abstract
Currently, there is great demand to implement circular economy principles and motivate producers of building materials to integrate into a closed loop supply chain system and improve sustainability of their end-product. Therefore, it is of great interest to replace conventional raw materials with [...] Read more.
Currently, there is great demand to implement circular economy principles and motivate producers of building materials to integrate into a closed loop supply chain system and improve sustainability of their end-product. Therefore, it is of great interest to replace conventional raw materials with inorganic or organic waste-based and filler-type additives to promote sustainability and the close loop chain. This article investigates the possibility of bottom waste incineration ash (WA) particles to be used as a flame retardant replacement to increase fire safety and thermal stability under higher temperatures. From 10 wt.% to 50 wt.% WA particles do not significantly deteriorate performance characteristics, such as compressive strength, thermal conductivity, and water absorption after 28 days of immersion, and at 32 °C WA particles improve the thermal stability of resultant PU foams. Furthermore, 50 wt.% WA particles reduce average heat release by 69% and CO2 and CO yields during fire by 76% and 77%, respectively. Unfortunately, WA particles do not act as a smoke suppressant and do not reduce smoke release rate. Full article
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