Special Issue "Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2022 | Viewed by 28145

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Somen K. Bhudolia
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Guest Editor
Research Fellow (Polymers and Advanced Composites) School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 50 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639798, Singapore
Interests: thermoplastic composites; out of autoclave processes; non crimp fabrics; thin ply composites; microwave curing; fusion joining of thermoplastic composites; automation and mass production of composite structures; aerospace structures; acrylic Elium-based composites
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Sunil Chandrakant Joshi
E-Mail
Guest Editor
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Nanyang Technological University Singapore 50 Nanyang Ave, Singapore 639798, Singapore
Interests: thermoplastic composites; fibre reinforced aerospace composites and structures; multi-functional composites; numerical simulation and optimization of composite manufacturing processes; analysis and testing of thermal controls for micro-satellites; thermo-mechanical analysis of coated and composite structures
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last decade, design and material innovation for manufacturing composites have reached new heights. Thermoplastic polymers and their composites have become the most in demand materials in recent times as they provide numerous advantages over thermoset composites. Thermoplastic polymers have a high damage tolerance, high impact resistance, recyclability, formability, weldability, repairability, and cost-effectiveness productivity compared with thermoset composites. Thermoplastic polymers and composites are widely used in automotive, aerospace, electrical and electronics, industrial, and medical applications. Thermoplastic composites are estimated to grow from USD 28.0 billion in 2019 to USD 36.0 billion by 2024. High performance thermoplastic materials are used in conjunction with a multitude of manufacturing processes like injection molding, thermoforming, prepreg, liquid injection processes (especially reactive thermoplastics), automated tape placement, filament winding, pultrusion, additive manufacturing, and other processes. The material limits, design, and assembly requirements, as well as the processing constraints, are significantly important for the realisation of novel product development using a manufacturing process by simultaneously optimising the reliability, safety, and other performance-related issues. The current thermoplastic material systems and the manufacturing techniques still have plenty of room for optimisation and advancement.

This Special Issue aims to present the latest scientific and technical advances in thermoplastic materials and their composites, processing, characterization, product development, manufacturing process parameter optimisations, and modelling. Manuscripts pertaining to both scientific as well as applied research on thermoplastic polymers and composites are highly welcome.

Dr. Somen K. Bhudolia 
Dr. Sunil Chandrakant Joshi
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 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

  • Thermoplastic polymers
  • Thermoplastic composite
  • Reactive thermoplastics
  • Thermoplastic composites manufacturing
  • Thermoplastic composite processing
  • Thermoplastic joining
  • Recyclability
  • Thermoplastic blends and co-polymers
  • Prototyping and modeling with thermoplastics
  • Out of autoclave thermoplastic processes
  • Effect of reinforcement sizing in thermoplastic bonding

Published Papers (28 papers)

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Article
Off-Axis and On-Axis Performance of Novel Acrylic Thermoplastic (Elium®) 3D Fibre-Reinforced Composites under Flexure Load
Polymers 2022, 14(11), 2225; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14112225 - 30 May 2022
Viewed by 428
Abstract
The flexure response of novel thermoplastic (Elium®) 3D fibre-reinforced composites (FRC) was evaluated and compared with a conventional thermoset (Epolam®)-based 3D-FRC. Ten different types of sample 3D-FRC were prepared by varying fibre orientations, i.e., 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and [...] Read more.
The flexure response of novel thermoplastic (Elium®) 3D fibre-reinforced composites (FRC) was evaluated and compared with a conventional thermoset (Epolam®)-based 3D-FRC. Ten different types of sample 3D-FRC were prepared by varying fibre orientations, i.e., 0°, 30°, 45°, 60° and 90°, and resin system, i.e., thermoplastic and thermoset. The bending characteristics and failure mechanisms were determined by conducting a three-point bend test. Results elucidate that the on-axis specimens show linear response and brittle failure; in contrast, the off-axis specimens depicted highly nonlinear response and ductile failure. The thermoplastic on-axis specimen exhibited almost similar flexure strength; in comparison, the off-axis specimens show ~17% lower flexure strength compared to thermoset 3D-FRC. Thermoplastic 3D-FRC shows ~40% higher energy absorption, ~23% lower flexure modulus and ~27% higher flexure strains as compared to its thermoset counterpart. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Application of Taguchi Method to Optimize the Parameter of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Using Oil Palm Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites
Polymers 2022, 14(11), 2140; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14112140 - 24 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 703
Abstract
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is capable of producing complicated geometries and a variety of thermoplastic or composite products. Thus, it is critical to carry out the relationship between the process parameters, the finished part’s quality, and the part’s mechanical performance. In this study, [...] Read more.
Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is capable of producing complicated geometries and a variety of thermoplastic or composite products. Thus, it is critical to carry out the relationship between the process parameters, the finished part’s quality, and the part’s mechanical performance. In this study, the optimum printing parameters of FDM using oil palm fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites were investigated. The layer thickness, orientation, infill density, and printing speed were selected as optimization parameters. The mechanical properties of printed specimens were examined using tensile and flexural tests. The experiments were designed using a Taguchi experimental design using a L9 orthogonal array with four factors, and three levels. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the significant parameter or factor that influences the responses, including tensile strength, Young’s modulus, and flexural strength. The fractured surface of printed parts was investigate using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The results show the tensile strength of the printed specimens ranged from 0.95 to 35.38 MPa, the Young’s modulus from 0.11 to 1.88 GPa, and the flexural strength from 2.50 to 31.98 MPa. In addition, build orientation had the largest influence on tensile strength, Young’s modulus, and flexural strength. The optimum printing parameter for FDM using oil palm fiber composite was 0.4 mm layer thickness, flat (0 degree) of orientation, 50% infill density, and 10 mm/s printing speed. The results of SEM images demonstrate that the number of voids seems to be much bigger when the layer thickness is increased, and the flat orientation has a considerable influence on the bead structure becoming tougher. In a nutshell, these findings will be a valuable 3D printing dataset for other researchers who utilize this material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Integration of Material Characterization, Thermoforming Simulation, and As-Formed Structural Analysis for Thermoplastic Composites
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1877; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091877 - 04 May 2022
Viewed by 485
Abstract
An improved simulation-based thermoforming design process based on the integration of material characterization and as-formed structural analysis is proposed. The tendency of thermoplastic composites to wrinkle during forming has made simulation critical to optimized manufacturing, but the material models required are complex and [...] Read more.
An improved simulation-based thermoforming design process based on the integration of material characterization and as-formed structural analysis is proposed. The tendency of thermoplastic composites to wrinkle during forming has made simulation critical to optimized manufacturing, but the material models required are complex and time consuming to create. A suite of experimental methods has been developed for measurement of several required properties of the molten thermoplastic composite. These methods have the potential to enhance thermoplastic composites manufacturing by simplifying and expediting the process. These material properties have been verified by application to thermomechanical forming predictions using commercial simulation software. The forming predictions showed improved agreement with experimental results compared to those using representative material properties. A tool for using thermoforming simulations to inform more accurate structural models has been tested on a simple case study, and produced results that clearly differ from those of models using idealized fiber orientations and thicknesses. This provides evidence that this type of as-formed analysis may be necessary in some cases, and may be further investigated as an open source alternative to commercial analysis software. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Effect of Compatibilizer on the Persistent Luminescence of Polypropylene/Strontium Aluminate Composites
Polymers 2022, 14(9), 1711; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14091711 - 22 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 448
Abstract
There is a demand for long afterglow composites due to their potential applications in nighttime signal boards, sensors, and biomedical areas. In this study, Polypropylene (PP)/strontium aluminate-based composites [SrAl2O4:Eu2+/Dy3+ (SAO1) and Sr4Al [...] Read more.
There is a demand for long afterglow composites due to their potential applications in nighttime signal boards, sensors, and biomedical areas. In this study, Polypropylene (PP)/strontium aluminate-based composites [SrAl2O4:Eu2+/Dy3+ (SAO1) and Sr4Al14O25: Eu+2, Dy+3 (SAO2)] with maleic anhydride grafted PP compatibilizer (PRIEX) were prepared, and their auto-glowing properties were examined. After UV excitation at 320 nm, the PP/5PRIEX/SAO1 composites showed green emission at 520 nm, and blue emission was observed for PP/5PRIEX/SAO2 around 495 nm. The intensity of phosphorescence emission and phosphorescence decay was found to be proportional to the filler content (SAO1 and SAO2). The FTIR analysis excluded the copolymerization reaction between the SAO1 and SAO2 fillers and the PP matrix during the high-temperature melt mixing process. The SAO1 and SAO2 fillers decreased the overall crystallinity of the composites without affecting the Tm and Tc (melting and crystallization temperature) values. The thermal stability of the composites was slightly improved with the SAO1 and SAO2 fillers, as seen from the TGA curve. Due to the plasticizing effect of the compatibilizer and the agglomeration of the SAO1 and SAO2 fillers, the tensile modulus, tensile strength, and storage modulus of the composites was found to be decreased with an increase in the SAO1 and SAO2 content. The decreasing effect was more pronounced, especially with the bulk-sized SAO2 filler. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Communication
Thermoset/Thermoplastic Interphases: The Role of Initiator Concentration in Polymer Interdiffusion
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1493; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071493 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 479
Abstract
In the co-bonding of thermoset and thermoplastic polymers, the interdiffusion of the polymers results in the formation of an interphase between them. Understanding the factors influencing the interdiffusion and the resulting interphase is crucial in order to optimize the mechanical performance of the [...] Read more.
In the co-bonding of thermoset and thermoplastic polymers, the interdiffusion of the polymers results in the formation of an interphase between them. Understanding the factors influencing the interdiffusion and the resulting interphase is crucial in order to optimize the mechanical performance of the bond. Herein, for the first time, the effect of the initiator concentration of the thermoset resin-initiator mixture on the interphase thickness of co-bonded thermoset-thermoplastic polymers is investigated. The dependence of the gelation time on the initiator concentration is determined by rheometer measurements. Differential scanning calorimetry measurements are carried out to determine the speed of cure. To co-bond the polymers, pieces of already-manufactured thermoplastic plates are embedded in a resin-initiator mixture. The interphase thickness of the co-bonded polymers is measured with an optical microscope. The results of this study show that the gelation time decreases as the initiator concentration increases. This decrease leads to a significant reduction in both interphase thickness and diffusivity. For instance, increasing the initiator/resin weight ratio from 1% to 3% reduces the gelation time by 74% and the interphase thickness by 63%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Research on Void Dynamics during In Situ Consolidation of CF/High-Performance Thermoplastic Composite
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1401; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071401 - 30 Mar 2022
Viewed by 583
Abstract
Automated fiber placement (AFP) in situ consolidation of continuous CF/high-performance thermoplastic composite is the key technology for efficient and low-cost manufacturing of large thermoplastic composites. However, the void in the in situ composite is difficult to eliminate because of the high pressure and [...] Read more.
Automated fiber placement (AFP) in situ consolidation of continuous CF/high-performance thermoplastic composite is the key technology for efficient and low-cost manufacturing of large thermoplastic composites. However, the void in the in situ composite is difficult to eliminate because of the high pressure and the short consolidation time; the void content percentage consequently is the important defect that determines the performance of the thermoplastic composite parts. In this paper, based on the two-dimensional Newtonian fluid extrusion flow model, the void dynamics model and boundary conditions were established. The changes of the void content percentage were predicted by the cyclic iteration method. It was found that the void content percentage increased gradually along the direction of the layers’ thickness. With the increasing of the laying speed, the void content percentage increased gradually. With the increasing of the pressure of the roller, the void content percentage gradually decreased. When the AFP speed was 11 m/min and the pressure of the compaction roller reached 2000 N, the void content percentage of the layers fell below 2%. It was verified by the AFP test that the measured results of the layers’ thickness were in good agreement with the predicted results of the model, and the test results of the void content percentage were basically equivalent to the predicted results at different AFP speeds, which indicates that the kinetic model established in this paper is representative to predict the void content percentage. According to the metallographic observation, it was also found that the repeated pressure of the roller was helpful to reduce the void content percentage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Behaviour of Rectangular Hollow Thin Ply Carbon Thermoset and Thermoplastic Composite Tubes Subjected to Bending
Polymers 2022, 14(7), 1386; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071386 - 29 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 556
Abstract
Tubular composites are widely used in many industrial applications, and there is need to use new material and reliable manufacturing processes to improve the performance and process aspects. The current research presents a detailed study to understand the flexure response of rectangular tubular [...] Read more.
Tubular composites are widely used in many industrial applications, and there is need to use new material and reliable manufacturing processes to improve the performance and process aspects. The current research presents a detailed study to understand the flexure response of rectangular tubular composites based on thin ply carbon fibres and Elium® resin. Another aim was to understand the failure mechanisms of novel tubular thermoplastic composite systems and carry out a baseline comparison with Epoxy-based tubular systems. In the current research, a bladder-assisted resin transfer moulding process was used to manufacture hollow thermoplastic composite tubes, and the bending behaviour of thin ply carbon (TPC) composite parts with novel Elium® (EL) and Epoxy (EP) resin as the matrix material was studied using a detailed experimental study. A testing method with optimized support span and a saddle was used to carry out three-point bending tests on the tubular composite structures. The TPC/EL composite tubes have shown 10% higher bending strength, with a noticeable increase in deformation due the presence of extended plasticity attributes for acrylic Elium resin. Failure mechanisms studied with the detailed microscopic investigation have shown severe catastrophic failure for epoxy-based composite tubes; however, acrylic Elium®-based composite tubes have shown different damage modes such as fibre splitting, resin infragmentation, and fibre resin-interfacial cracking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Fabrication and Property Characterization of Long-Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Polypropylene Composites Processed Using a Three-Barrel Injection Molding Machine
Polymers 2022, 14(6), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14061251 - 20 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 858
Abstract
Processing equipment and parameters will highly influence the properties of long-fiber-reinforced injection-molded thermoplastic composites, leading to different fiber lengths and orientations. Thus, maintaining fiber length during the injection molding process is always a big challenge for engineers. This study uses long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene with [...] Read more.
Processing equipment and parameters will highly influence the properties of long-fiber-reinforced injection-molded thermoplastic composites, leading to different fiber lengths and orientations. Thus, maintaining fiber length during the injection molding process is always a big challenge for engineers. This study uses long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene with 25 mm fiber length and a special-built novel injection molding machine with a three-barrel injection unit, including a plasticizing screw, an injection plunger, and a packing plunger, to fabricate injection molding parts while retaining long fiber length. This study also discusses the influence of process parameters, such as back pressure, screw speed, melt temperature, and different flow paths, on the properties of long-glass-fiber-reinforced composites. The experiment results show that a higher screw speed and back pressure will reduce the fiber length in the injection-molded parts. However, using appropriate parameter settings can maintain the fiber length to more than 10 mm. It was found that by increasing the back pressure, the cross direction of the fiber orientation can be increased by up to 15% and the air trap volume fraction can be decreased by up to 86%. Setting appropriate back pressure under a low screw speed will increase the tensile strength. Finally, it was found that the single-edge-gate path results in a higher tensile strength than that of the single-sprue-gate path due to the retainment of longer fiber length in the injection-molded part. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Dielectric Properties of Fluorinated Aromatic Polyimide Films with Rigid Polymer Backbones
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 649; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030649 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 945
Abstract
Fluorinated aromatic polyimide (FAPI) films with rigid polymer backbones have been prepared by chemical imidization approach. The polyimide films exhibited excellent mechanical properties including elastic modulus of up to 8.4 GPa and tensile strength of up to 326.7 MPa, and outstanding thermal stability [...] Read more.
Fluorinated aromatic polyimide (FAPI) films with rigid polymer backbones have been prepared by chemical imidization approach. The polyimide films exhibited excellent mechanical properties including elastic modulus of up to 8.4 GPa and tensile strength of up to 326.7 MPa, and outstanding thermal stability including glass transition temperature (Tg) of 346.3–351.6 °C and thermal decomposition temperature in air (Td5) of 544.1–612.3 °C, as well as high colorless transmittance of >81.2% at 500 nm. Moreover, the polyimide films showed stable dielectric constant and low dielectric loss at 10–60 GHz, attributed to the close packing of rigid polymer backbones that limited the deflection of the dipole in the electric field. Molecular dynamics simulation was also established to describe the relationship of molecular structure and dielectric loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
3D Printing Processability of a Thermally Conductive Compound Based on Carbon Nanofiller-Modified Thermoplastic Polyamide 12
Polymers 2022, 14(3), 470; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14030470 - 25 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1020
Abstract
A polyamide (PA) 12-based thermoplastic composite was modified with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), CNTs grafted onto chopped carbon fibers (CFs), and graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) with CNTs to improve its thermal conductivity for application as a heat sink in electronic components. The carbon-based nanofillers were [...] Read more.
A polyamide (PA) 12-based thermoplastic composite was modified with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), CNTs grafted onto chopped carbon fibers (CFs), and graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) with CNTs to improve its thermal conductivity for application as a heat sink in electronic components. The carbon-based nanofillers were examined by SEM and Raman. The laser flash method was used to measure the thermal diffusivity in order to calculate the thermal conductivity. Electrical conductivity measurements were made using a Keithley 6517B electrometer in the 2-point mode. The composite structure was examined by SEM and micro-CT. PA12 with 15 wt% of GNPs and 1 wt% CNTs demonstrated the highest thermal conductivity, and its processability was investigated, utilizing sequential interdependence tests to evaluate the composite material behavior during fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printing processing. Through this assessment, selected printing parameters were investigated to determine the optimum parametric combination and processability window for the composite material, revealing that the selected composition meets the necessary criteria to be processable with FFF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Closed-Cell Rigid Polyimide Foams for High-Temperature Applications: The Effect of Structure on Combined Properties
Polymers 2021, 13(24), 4434; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13244434 - 17 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 742
Abstract
Closed-cell rigid polyimide foams with excellent thermal stability and combined properties were prepared by thermal foaming of a reactive end-capped polyimide precursor powder in a closed mold. The precursor powder was obtained by thermal treatment of a polyester-amine salt (PEAS) solution derived from [...] Read more.
Closed-cell rigid polyimide foams with excellent thermal stability and combined properties were prepared by thermal foaming of a reactive end-capped polyimide precursor powder in a closed mold. The precursor powder was obtained by thermal treatment of a polyester-amine salt (PEAS) solution derived from the reaction of the diethyl ester of 2,3,3′,4′-biphenyl tetracarboxylic dianhydride (α-BPDE) with an aromatic diamine mixture of p-phenylenediamine (PDA) and 2-(4-aminophenyl)-5-aminobenzimidazole (BIA) in the presence of an end-capping agent (mono-ethyl ester of nadic acid anhydride, NE) in an aliphatic alcohol. The effect of polymer mainchain structures on the foaming processability and combined properties of the closed-cell rigid polyimide foams were systematically investigated. The polyimide foams (100–300 kg/m3) with closed-cell rates of 91–95% show an outstanding thermal stability with an initial thermal decomposition temperature of ≥490 °C and a glass transition temperature of 395 °C. Polyimide foams with density of 250 kg/m3 exhibited compression creep deformation as low as 1.6% after thermal aging at 320 °C/0.4 MPa for 2 h. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Effect of Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Molecular Chains on the Morphology, Crystallization, and Mechanical Properties of Polypropylene
Polymers 2021, 13(23), 4222; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13234222 - 01 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 880
Abstract
The effects of the ultra-high-molecular-weight (UHMW) component of polypropylene (PP) on its rheological properties, crystallization behavior, and solid-state mechanical properties were investigated using various measurement techniques. The terminal relaxation time—determined by measuring the linear viscoelasticity—was increased by adding the UHMW component. The increase [...] Read more.
The effects of the ultra-high-molecular-weight (UHMW) component of polypropylene (PP) on its rheological properties, crystallization behavior, and solid-state mechanical properties were investigated using various measurement techniques. The terminal relaxation time—determined by measuring the linear viscoelasticity—was increased by adding the UHMW component. The increase in the melt elasticity produced by adding the UHMW component was observed by measuring the steady-state shear flow, although the shear viscosity was not greatly affected. Owing to the long characteristic time of the Rouse relaxation of the UHMW component, PP with the UHMW component formed highly oriented structures through a shear-induced crystallization process. The addition of the UHMW component enhanced the orientation and regularity of crystalline structure for extruded films. Therefore, the Young′s modulus, yield stress, and strength were higher in the PP film containing the UHMW component than in one without the UHMW component, irrespective of the direction of tensile deformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Optimizing Bladder Resin Transfer Molding Process to Manufacture Complex, Thin-Ply Thermoplastic Tubular Composite Structures: An Experimental Case Study
Polymers 2021, 13(23), 4093; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13234093 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 610
Abstract
The bladder molding process is primarily used in sporting applications but mostly with prepregs. Bladder-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (B-RTM) presents the tremendous potential to automate and mass produce the complex hollow-composite profiles. Thin-ply, non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) provide excellent mechanical, fracture toughness, and vibration [...] Read more.
The bladder molding process is primarily used in sporting applications but mostly with prepregs. Bladder-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (B-RTM) presents the tremendous potential to automate and mass produce the complex hollow-composite profiles. Thin-ply, non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) provide excellent mechanical, fracture toughness, and vibration damping properties on top of the weight saving it offers to a final product. However, these fiber architectures are difficult to inject due to the resistance they provide for the polymer flow using the liquid injection process. Therefore, it is mandatory to optimize the process parameters to reduce the time for injection and simultaneously achieve better consolidation. This work presents a first, detailed, experimental case study to successfully inject a low-permeability, thin-ply, complex, thermoplastic tubular structure, and the effect of process parameters, boundary conditions, the associated manufacturing challenges, and proposed solutions are deliberated in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Effect of Processing Temperature and the Content of Carbon Nanotubes on the Properties of Nanocomposites Based on Polyphenylene Sulfide
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3816; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213816 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 620
Abstract
The study aimed to investigate the effect of processing temperature and the content of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on the rheological, thermal, and electrical properties of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)/MWCNT nanocomposites. It was observed that the increase in MWCNT content influenced the increase of [...] Read more.
The study aimed to investigate the effect of processing temperature and the content of multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) on the rheological, thermal, and electrical properties of polyphenylene sulfide (PPS)/MWCNT nanocomposites. It was observed that the increase in MWCNT content influenced the increase of the complex viscosity, storage modulus, and loss modulus. The microscopic observations showed that with an increase in the amount of MWCNTs, the areal ratio of their agglomerates decreases. Thermogravimetric analysis showed no effect of processing temperature and MWCNT content on thermal stability; however, an increase in stability was observed as compared to neat PPS. The differential scanning calorimetry was used to assess the influence of MWCNT addition on the crystallization phenomenon of PPS. The calorimetry showed that with increasing MWCNT content, the degree of crystallinity and crystallization temperature rises. Thermal diffusivity tests proved that with an increase in the processing temperature and the content of MWCNTs, the diffusivity also increases and declines at higher testing temperatures. The resistivity measurements showed that the conductivity of the PPS/MWCNT nanocomposite increases with the increase in MWCNT content. The processing temperature did not affect resistivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Mono–Material 4D Printing of Digital Shape–Memory Components
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3767; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213767 - 30 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1172
Abstract
Dynamic shading systems in buildings help reduce solar gain. Actuated systems, which depend on renewable energy with reduced mechanical parts, further reduce building energy consumption compared to traditional interactive systems. This paper investigates stimuli-responsive polymer application in architectural products for sustainable energy consumption, [...] Read more.
Dynamic shading systems in buildings help reduce solar gain. Actuated systems, which depend on renewable energy with reduced mechanical parts, further reduce building energy consumption compared to traditional interactive systems. This paper investigates stimuli-responsive polymer application in architectural products for sustainable energy consumption, complying with sustainable development goals (SDGs). The proposed research method posits that, by varying the infill percentage in a pre-determined manner inside a 3D-printed mono-material component, directionally controlled shape change can be detected due to thermal stimuli application. Thus, motion behavior can be engineered into a material. In this study, PLA+, PETG, TPU and PA 6 printed components are investigated under a thermal cycle test to identify a thermally responsive shape-memory polymer candidate that actuates within the built environment temperature range. A differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) test is carried out on TPU 95A and PA 6 to interpret the material shape response in terms of transitional temperatures. All materials tested show an anisotropic shape-change reaction in a pre-programmed manner, complying with the behavior engineered into the matter. Four-dimensional (4D)-printed PA6 shows shape-shifting behavior and total recovery to initial position within the built environment temperature range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Rheological and Morphological Properties of Oil Palm Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites for Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3739; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213739 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 923
Abstract
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is a filament-based rapid prototyping technology that allows new composite materials to be introduced into the FDM process as long as they can be manufactured in feedstock filament form. The purpose of this research was to analyze the rheological [...] Read more.
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is a filament-based rapid prototyping technology that allows new composite materials to be introduced into the FDM process as long as they can be manufactured in feedstock filament form. The purpose of this research was to analyze the rheological behavior of oil palm fiber-reinforced acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) composites when used as a feedstock material, as well as to determine the best processing conditions for FDM. The composite’s shear thinning behavior was observed, and scanning electron microscopy was used to reveal its composition. The morphological result found that there was a good fiber/matrix adhesion with a 3 wt% fiber loading, as no fiber pullouts or gaps developed between the oil palm fiber and ABS. However, some pores and fiber pullouts were found with a 5 and 7 wt% fiber loading. Next, the rheological results showed that the increment of fiber content (wt%) increased the viscosity. This discovery can definitely be used in the extrusion process for making wire filament for FDM. The shear thinning effect was increased by adding 3, 5, or 7 wt% of oil palm fiber. The non-Newtonian index (n) of the composites increased as the number of shear rates increased, indicating that the fiber loading had a significant impact on the rheological behavior. As the fiber loading increased, the viscosity and shear stress values increased as well. As a result, oil fiber reinforced polymer composites can be used as a feedstock filament for FDM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Communication
Synthesis and Properties of Copolyphenylene Sulphones with Cardo Fragments
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3689; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213689 - 26 Oct 2021
Viewed by 447
Abstract
Copolymers based on 4,4′-dihydroxydiphenyl, phenolphthalein and 4,4′-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone were synthesized by the method of high temperature polycondensation. The structure of the synthesized copolymers was confirmed by IR spectroscopy. Their physical, mechanical and thermal properties were investigated. It is shown that increases in the [...] Read more.
Copolymers based on 4,4′-dihydroxydiphenyl, phenolphthalein and 4,4′-dichlorodiphenyl sulfone were synthesized by the method of high temperature polycondensation. The structure of the synthesized copolymers was confirmed by IR spectroscopy. Their physical, mechanical and thermal properties were investigated. It is shown that increases in the content of carded fragments lead to higher glass transition temperatures and heat resistance of the copolymers, as well as higher elastic and strength properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Recycled Porcine Bone Powder as Filler in Thermoplastic Composite Materials Enriched with Chitosan for a Bone Scaffold Application
Polymers 2021, 13(16), 2751; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162751 - 16 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1008
Abstract
This work aims to synthesize biocompatible composite materials loaded with recycled porcine bone powder (BP) to fabricate scaffolds for in-situ reconstruction of bone structures. Polylactic acid (PLA) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) were tested as matrices in percentages from 40 wt% to 80 wt%. Chitosan [...] Read more.
This work aims to synthesize biocompatible composite materials loaded with recycled porcine bone powder (BP) to fabricate scaffolds for in-situ reconstruction of bone structures. Polylactic acid (PLA) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) were tested as matrices in percentages from 40 wt% to 80 wt%. Chitosan (CS) was selected for its antibacterial properties, in the amount from 5 wt% to 15 wt%, and BP from 20 wt% to 50 wt% as active filler to promote osseointegration. In this preliminary investigation, samples have been produced by solvent casting to introduce the highest possible percentage of fillers. PCL has been chosen as a matrix due to its greater ability to incorporate fillers, ensuring their adequate dispersion and lower working temperatures compared to PLA. Tensile tests demonstrated strength properties (6–10 MPa) suitable for hard tissue engineering applications. Based on the different findings (integration of PLA in the composite system, improvements in CS adhesion and mechanical properties), the authors supposed an optimization of the synthesis process, focused on the possible implementation of the electrospinning technique to develop PCL-BP composites reinforced with PLA-CS microfibers. Finally, biological tests were conducted to evaluate the antibacterial activity of CS, demonstrating the applicability of the materials for the biomedical field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Fluoropolymer/Glycidyl Azide Polymer (GAP) Block Copolyurethane as New Energetic Binders: Synthesis, Mechanical Properties, and Thermal Performance
Polymers 2021, 13(16), 2706; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162706 - 13 Aug 2021
Viewed by 757
Abstract
In order to enhance the application performance of glycidyl azide polymer (GAP) in solid propellant, an energetic copolyurethane binder, (poly[3,3-bis(2,2,2-trifluoro-ethoxymethyl)oxetane] glycol-block-glycidylazide polymer (PBFMO-b-GAP) was synthesized using poly[3,3-bis(2,2,2-trifluoro-ethoxymethyl)oxetane] glycol (PBFMO), which was prepared from cationic polymerization with GAP as the [...] Read more.
In order to enhance the application performance of glycidyl azide polymer (GAP) in solid propellant, an energetic copolyurethane binder, (poly[3,3-bis(2,2,2-trifluoro-ethoxymethyl)oxetane] glycol-block-glycidylazide polymer (PBFMO-b-GAP) was synthesized using poly[3,3-bis(2,2,2-trifluoro-ethoxymethyl)oxetane] glycol (PBFMO), which was prepared from cationic polymerization with GAP as the raw material and toluene diisocyanate (TDI) as the coupling agent via a prepolymer process. The molecular structure of copolyurethanes was confirmed by attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (ATR–FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry (NMR), and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). The impact sensitivity, mechanical performance, and thermal behavior of PBFMO-b-GAP were studied by drop weight test, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic (XPS), tensile test, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), respectively. The results demonstrated that the introduction of fluoropolymers could evidently reduce the sensitivity of GAP-based polyurethane and enhance its mechanical behavior (the tensile strength up to 5.75 MPa with a breaking elongation of 1660%). Besides, PBFMO-b-GAP exhibited excellent resistance to thermal decomposition up to 200 °C and good compatibility with Al and cyclotetramethylene tetranitramine (HMX). The thermal performance of the PBFMO-b-GAP/Al complex was investigated by a cook-off test, and the results indicated that the complex has specific reaction energy. Therefore, PBFMO-b-GAP may serve as a promising energetic binder for future propellant formulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Antimicrobial Property of Polypropylene Composites and Functionalized Copper Nanoparticles
Polymers 2021, 13(11), 1694; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13111694 - 22 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1388
Abstract
Copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) functionalized with polyethyleneimine (PEI) and 4-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were used to obtain composites with isotactic polypropylene (iPP). The iPP/CuNPs composites were prepared at copper concentrations of 0.25–5.0 wt % by melt mixing, no evidence of oxidation of the CuNP was [...] Read more.
Copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) functionalized with polyethyleneimine (PEI) and 4-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were used to obtain composites with isotactic polypropylene (iPP). The iPP/CuNPs composites were prepared at copper concentrations of 0.25–5.0 wt % by melt mixing, no evidence of oxidation of the CuNP was observed. Furthermore, the release of copper ions from iPP/CuNPs composites in an aqueous medium was studied. The release of cupric ions was higher in the composites with 2.5 and 5.0 wt %. These composites showed excellent antibacterial activity (AA) toward Pseudomona aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The incorporation of CuNP into the iPP polymeric matrix slightly decreased the thermal stability of the composite material but improved the crystallinity and the storage modulus. This evidence suggests that CuNPs could work as nucleating agents in the iPP crystallization process. The iPP/CuNPs composites presented better AA properties compared to similar composites reported previously. This behavior indicates that the new materials have great potential to be used in various applications that can be explored in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Finite Element Modelling and Experimental Validation of Scratches on Textured Polymer Surfaces
Polymers 2021, 13(7), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13071022 - 25 Mar 2021
Viewed by 760
Abstract
Surface texturing is a common modification method for altering the surface properties of a material. Predicting the response of a textured surface to scratching is significant in surface texturing and material design. In this study, scratches on a thermoplastic material with textured surface [...] Read more.
Surface texturing is a common modification method for altering the surface properties of a material. Predicting the response of a textured surface to scratching is significant in surface texturing and material design. In this study, scratches on a thermoplastic material with textured surface are simulated and experimentally tested. The effect of texture on scratch resistance, surface visual appearance, surface deformation and material damage are investigated. Bruise spot scratches on textured surfaces are found at low scratch forces (<3 N) and their size at different scratch forces is approximately the same. There is a critical point between the bruise spot damage and the texture pattern damage caused by continuous scratching. Scratch resistance coefficients and an indentation depth-force pattern are revealed for two textured surfaces. A texture named “Texture CB” exhibits high effectiveness in enhancing scratch visibility resistance and can increase the scratch resistance by more than 40% at low scratch forces. The simulation method and the analysis of the power spectral density of the textured surface enable an accurate prediction of scratches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Article
Fibre Alignment and Void Assessment in Thermoplastic Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymers Manufactured by Automated Tape Placement
Polymers 2021, 13(3), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030473 - 02 Feb 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1399
Abstract
Automated Tape Placement (ATP) technology is one of the processes that is used for the production of the thermoplastic composite materials. The ATP process is complex, requiring multiple melting/crystallization cycles. In the current paper, laser-assisted ATP was used to manufacture two thermoplastic composites [...] Read more.
Automated Tape Placement (ATP) technology is one of the processes that is used for the production of the thermoplastic composite materials. The ATP process is complex, requiring multiple melting/crystallization cycles. In the current paper, laser-assisted ATP was used to manufacture two thermoplastic composites (IM7/PEEK and AS4/PA12). Those specimens were compared to specimens that were made of thermoset polymeric composites (IM7/8552) manufactured while using a standard autoclave cycle. In order assess the quality, void content, fibre distribution, and fibre misalignment were measured. After manufacturing, specimens from the three materials were assessed using optical microscopy and computed tomography (CT) scans. The results showed that, as compared to the thermoset composites, thermoplastics that are manufactured by the ATP have a higher amount of voids. On the other hand, manufacturing using the ATP showed an improvement in both the fibre distribution inside the matrix and the fibre misalignment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Review

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Review
Green Nanocomposites Based on Thermoplastic Starch: A Review
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3227; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193227 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1376
Abstract
The development of bio-based materials has been a consequence of the environmental awareness generated over time. The versatility of native starch is a promising starting point for manufacturing environmentally friendly materials. This work aims to compile information on the advancements in research on [...] Read more.
The development of bio-based materials has been a consequence of the environmental awareness generated over time. The versatility of native starch is a promising starting point for manufacturing environmentally friendly materials. This work aims to compile information on the advancements in research on thermoplastic starch (TPS) nanocomposites after the addition of mainly these four nanofillers: natural montmorillonite (MMT), organically modified montmorillonite (O-MMT), cellulose nanocrystals (CNC), and cellulose nanofibers (CNF). The analyzed properties of nanocomposites were mechanical, barrier, optical, and degradability. The most important results were that as the nanofiller increases, the TPS modulus and strength increase; however, the elongation decreases. Furthermore, the barrier properties indicate that that the incorporation of nanofillers confers superior hydrophobicity. However, the optical properties (transparency and luminosity) are mostly reduced, and the color variation is more evident with the addition of these fillers. The biodegradability rate increases with these nanocompounds, as demonstrated by the study of the method of burial in the soil. The results of this compilation show that the compatibility, proper dispersion, and distribution of nanofiller through the TPS matrix are critical factors in overcoming the limitations of starch when extending the applications of these biomaterials. TPS nanocomposites are materials with great potential for improvement. Exploring new sources of starch and natural nano-reinforcement could lead to a genuinely eco-friendly material that can replace traditional polymers in applications such as packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Review
Investigating Physio-Thermo-Mechanical Properties of Polyurethane and Thermoplastics Nanocomposite in Various Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(15), 2467; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13152467 - 27 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1377
Abstract
The effect of the soft and hard polyurethane (PU) segments caused by the hydrogen link in phase-separation kinetics was studied to investigate the morphological annealing of PU and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The significance of the segmented PUs is to achieve enough stability for [...] Read more.
The effect of the soft and hard polyurethane (PU) segments caused by the hydrogen link in phase-separation kinetics was studied to investigate the morphological annealing of PU and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). The significance of the segmented PUs is to achieve enough stability for further applications in biomedical and environmental fields. In addition, other research focuses on widening the plastic features and adjusting the PU–polyimide ratio to create elastomer of the poly(urethane-imide). Regarding TPU- and PU-nanocomposite, numerous studies investigated the incorporation of inorganic nanofillers such as carbon or clay to incorporating TPU-nanocomposite in several applications. Additionally, the complete exfoliation was observed up to 5% and 3% of TPU–clay modified with 12 amino lauric acid and benzidine, respectively. PU-nanocomposite of 5 wt.% Cloisite®30B showed an increase in modulus and tensile strength by 110% and 160%, respectively. However, the nanocomposite PU-0.5 wt.% Carbone Nanotubes (CNTs) show an increase in the tensile modulus by 30% to 90% for blown and flat films, respectively. Coating PU influences stress-strain behavior because of the interaction between the soft segment and physical crosslinkers. The thermophysical properties of the TPU matrix have shown two glass transition temperatures (Tg’s) corresponding to the soft and the hard segment. Adding a small amount of tethered clay shifts Tg for both segments by 44 °C and 13 °C, respectively, while adding clay from 1 to 5 wt.% results in increasing the thermal stability of TPU composite from 12 to 34 °C, respectively. The differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was used to investigate the phase structure of PU dispersion, showing an increase in thermal stability, solubility, and flexibility. Regarding the electrical properties, the maximum piezoresistivity (10 S/m) of 7.4 wt.% MWCNT was enhanced by 92.92%. The chemical structure of the PU–CNT composite has shown a degree of agglomeration under disruption of the sp2 carbon structure. However, with extended graphene loading to 5.7 wt.%, piezoresistivity could hit 10−1 S/m, less than 100 times that of PU. In addition to electrical properties, the acoustic behavior of MWCNT (0.35 wt.%)/SiO2 (0.2 wt.%)/PU has shown sound absorption of 80 dB compared to the PU foam sample. Other nanofillers, such as SiO2, TiO2, ZnO, Al2O3, were studied showing an improvement in the thermal stability of the polymer and enhancing scratch and abrasion resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Review
Clay-Based Polymer Nanocomposites: Essential Work of Fracture
Polymers 2021, 13(15), 2399; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13152399 - 22 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1290
Abstract
This work details the general structure of the clays used as a reinforcement phase in polymer nanocomposites. Clays are formed by the molecular arrangement of atomic planes described through diagrams to improve their visualization. The molecular knowledge of clays can facilitate the selection [...] Read more.
This work details the general structure of the clays used as a reinforcement phase in polymer nanocomposites. Clays are formed by the molecular arrangement of atomic planes described through diagrams to improve their visualization. The molecular knowledge of clays can facilitate the selection of the polymer matrix and achieve a suitable process to obtain clay-based polymer nanocomposite systems. This work highlights the development of polymer nanocomposites using the melt intercalation method. The essential work of fracture (EWF) technique has been used to characterize the fracture behavior of materials that show ductility and where complete yielding of the ligament region occurs before the crack propagation. In this sense, the EWF technique characterizes the post-yielding fracture mechanics, determining two parameters: the specific essential work of fracture (we), related to the surface where the actual fracture process occurs, and the specific non-essential work of fracture (wp), related to the plastic work carried out in the outer zone of the fracture zone. The EWF technique has been used successfully in nano-reinforced polymers to study the influence of different variables on fracture behavior. In this work, the fundamentals of the EWF technique are described, and some examples of its application are compiled, presenting a summary of the most relevant contributions in recent years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Review
Review: Filament Winding and Automated Fiber Placement with In Situ Consolidation for Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Polymer Composites
Polymers 2021, 13(12), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13121951 - 11 Jun 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2109
Abstract
Fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites are gaining popularity in many industries due to their short consolidation cycles, among other advantages over thermoset-based composites. Computer aided manufacturing processes, such as filament winding and automated fiber placement, have been used conventionally for thermoset-based composites. The automated [...] Read more.
Fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites are gaining popularity in many industries due to their short consolidation cycles, among other advantages over thermoset-based composites. Computer aided manufacturing processes, such as filament winding and automated fiber placement, have been used conventionally for thermoset-based composites. The automated processes can be adapted to include in situ consolidation for the fabrication of thermoplastic-based composites. In this paper, a detailed literature review on the factors affecting the in situ consolidation process is presented. The models used to study the various aspects of the in situ consolidation process are discussed. The processing parameters that gave good consolidation results in past studies are compiled and highlighted. The parameters can be used as reference points for future studies to further improve the automated manufacturing processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Other

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Technical Note
Innovation in Aircraft Cabin Interior Panels. Part II: Technical Assessment on Replacing Glass Fiber with Thermoplastic Polymers and Panels Fabricated Using Vacuum Forming Process
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3258; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193258 - 24 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 757
Abstract
The manufacturing process of the aircraft cabin interior panels is expensive and time-consuming, and the resulting panel requires rework due to damages that occurred during their fabrication. The aircraft interior panels must meet structural requirements; hence sandwich composites of a honeycomb core covered [...] Read more.
The manufacturing process of the aircraft cabin interior panels is expensive and time-consuming, and the resulting panel requires rework due to damages that occurred during their fabrication. The aircraft interior panels must meet structural requirements; hence sandwich composites of a honeycomb core covered with two layers of pre-impregnated fiberglass skin are used. Flat sandwich composites are transformed into panels with complex shapes or geometries using the compression molding process, leading to advanced manufacturing challenges. Some aircraft interior panels are required for non-structural applications; hence sandwich composites can be substituted by cheaper alternative materials and transformed using disruptive manufacturing techniques. This paper evaluates the feasibility of replacing the honeycomb and fiberglass skin layers core with rigid polyurethane foams and thermoplastic polymers. The results show that the structural composites have higher mechanical performances than the proposed sandwich composites, but they are compatible with non-structural applications. Sandwich composite fabrication using the vacuum forming process is feasible for developing non-structural panels. This manufacturing technique is fast, easy, economical, and ecological as it uses recyclable materials. The vacuum forming also covers the entire panel, thus eliminating tapestries, paints, or finishes to the aircraft interior panels. The conclusion of the article describes the focus of future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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Technical Note
Innovation in Aircraft Cabin Interior Panels Part I: Technical Assessment on Replacing the Honeycomb with Structural Foams and Evaluation of Optimal Curing of Prepreg Fiberglass
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3207; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193207 - 22 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 929
Abstract
Sandwich composites are widely used in the manufacture of aircraft cabin interior panels for commercial aircraft, mainly due to the light weight of the composites and their high strength-to-weight ratio. Panels are used for floors, ceilings, kitchen walls, cabinets, seats, and cabin dividers. [...] Read more.
Sandwich composites are widely used in the manufacture of aircraft cabin interior panels for commercial aircraft, mainly due to the light weight of the composites and their high strength-to-weight ratio. Panels are used for floors, ceilings, kitchen walls, cabinets, seats, and cabin dividers. The honeycomb core of the panels is a very light structure that provides high rigidity, which is considerably increased with fiberglass face sheets. The panels are manufactured using the compression molding process, where the honeycomb core is crushed up to the desired thickness. The crushed core breaks fiberglass face sheets and causes other damage, so the panel must be reworked. Some damage is associated with excessive build-up of resin in localized areas, incomplete curing of the pre-impregnated fiberglass during the manufacturing process, and excessive temperature or residence time during the compression molding. This work evaluates the feasibility of using rigid polyurethane foams as a substitute for the honeycomb core. The thermal and viscoelastic behavior of the cured prepreg fiberglass under different manufacturing conditions is studied. The first part of this work presents the influence of the manufacturing parameters and the feasibility of using rigid foams in manufacturing flat panels oriented to non-structural applications. The conclusion of the article describes the focus of future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoplastic Polymers and Composites)
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