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: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Somen K. Bhudolia
E-Mail Website
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
Dr. Sunil Chandrakant Joshi
E-Mail Website
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 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 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.

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 (6 papers)

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Research

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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 1 | Viewed by 768
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 432
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
Viewed by 701
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
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
Viewed by 267
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
Viewed by 282
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
Viewed by 486
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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