Special Issue "Eurofillers Polymer Blends"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Francesco Paolo La Mantia
Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università di Palermo INSTM, Firenze, Italy
Interests: polymer processing, mechanical behaviour of polymer-based systems, rheological behaviour of polymer-based systems, green composites, biocomposites, nanocomposites, biodegradable polymers, polymer blends, degradation and recycling of polymer-based systems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Luigi Botta
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, RU INSTM of Palermo, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze ed.6, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: polymer composites and nanocomposites; polymer blends; bioplastics; rheology; degradation and stabilization of polymer systems; antimicrobial polymeric systems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is devoted to the papers of communications presented at the Eurofillers Polymer Blends 2019 Conference, Palermo, April 23–26, 2019. The main topics are as follows:

  • Polymer blends, copolymers, and hybrid systems
  • New (nano and micro) fillers, bio-based fillers, coupling agents, and surface treatments
  • Interfaces and interphases in multicomponent materials
  • Polymer composites and nanocomposites
  • Nanostructured polymer-based materials
  • Functional polymer-based materials
  • Bio-based polymers and biocomposites
  • Innovative non-reactive and reactive processing methods
  • Modern applications of polymer systems.

The Conference and this Special Issue intend to assess the state-of-the-art and the recent advances of all these multiphase polymer  systems.

It is my pleasure to invite all of the participants to the Eurofillers PolymerBlends 2019 Conference to submit a manuscript for this Special Issue. Papers from invited lectures, keynote lectures, oral communications, and posters are all welcome.

Please note that all submissions are subject to a 20% discount.

Prof. Francesco La Mantia
Dr. Luigi Botta
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Polymers is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Polymer blends
  • Compatibilization
  • Morphology
  • Interfacial agents
  • Reactive blending

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Barrier Properties of GnP–PA-Extruded Films
Polymers 2020, 12(3), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12030669 - 17 Mar 2020
Abstract
It is generally known that significant improvements in the properties of nanocomposites can be achieved with graphene types currently commercially available. However, so far this is only possible on a laboratory scale. Thus, the aim of this study was to transfer results from [...] Read more.
It is generally known that significant improvements in the properties of nanocomposites can be achieved with graphene types currently commercially available. However, so far this is only possible on a laboratory scale. Thus, the aim of this study was to transfer results from laboratory scale experiments to industrial processes. Therefore, nanocomposites based on polyamide (PA) and graphene nanoplatelets (GnP) were prepared in order to produce membranes with improved gas barrier properties, which are characterized by reduced permeation rates of helium. First, nanocomposites were prepared with different amounts of commercial availably graphene nanoplatelets using a semi-industrial-scale compounder. Subsequently, films were produced by compression molding at different temperatures, as well as by flat film extrusion. The extruded films were annealed at different temperatures and durations. In order to investigate the effect of thermal treatment on barrier properties in correlation to thermal, structural, and morphological properties, the films were characterized by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), wide angle X-ray scattering (WAXS), optical microscopy (OM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), melt rheology measurements, and permeation measurements. In addition to structural characterization, mechanical properties were investigated. The results demonstrate that the permeation rate is strongly influenced by the processing conditions and the filler content. If the filler content is increased, the permeation rate is reduced. The annealing process can further enhance this effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Polyurethane-Based Composites: Effects of Antibacterial Fillers on the Physical-Mechanical Behavior of Thermoplastic Polyurethanes
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020362 - 06 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The challenge to manufacture medical devices with specific antibacterial functions, and the growing demand for systems able to limit bacterial resistance growth, necessitates the development of new technologies which can be easily produced at an industrial level. The object of this work was [...] Read more.
The challenge to manufacture medical devices with specific antibacterial functions, and the growing demand for systems able to limit bacterial resistance growth, necessitates the development of new technologies which can be easily produced at an industrial level. The object of this work was the study and the development of silver, titanium dioxide, and chitosan composites for the realization and/or implementation of biomedical devices. Thermoplastic elastomeric polyurethane was selected and used as matrix for the various antibacterial functions introduced during the processing phase (melt compounding). This strategy was employed to directly incorporate antimicrobial agents into the main constituent material of the devices themselves. With the exception of the composite filled with titanium dioxide, all of the other tested composites were shown to possess satisfactory mechanical properties. The best antibacterial effects were obtained with all the composites against Staphylococcus aureus: viability was efficiently inhibited by the prepared materials in four different bacterial culture concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Graphene/Carbon Nanotube Hybrid Nanocomposites: Effect of Compression Molding and Fused Filament Fabrication on Properties
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010101 - 04 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The present work reports on the production and characterization of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) hybrid nanocomposite filaments incorporating graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) suitable for fused filament fabrication (FFF). At first, nanocomposites with a total nanofiller content of GNP and/or CNT [...] Read more.
The present work reports on the production and characterization of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) hybrid nanocomposite filaments incorporating graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) suitable for fused filament fabrication (FFF). At first, nanocomposites with a total nanofiller content of GNP and/or CNT of 6 wt.% and a GNP/CNT relative percentage ratio of 0, 10, 30, 50, 70, and 100 were produced by melt compounding and compression molding. Their mechanical, electrical resistivity, and electromagnetic interference shielding effectiveness (EMI SE) properties were evaluated. The hybrid nanocomposites showed a linear increase in modulus and decrease in strength as a function of GNP content; on the other hand, the addition of CNT in hybrid nanocomposites determined a positive increase in electrical conductivity, but a potentially critical decrease of melt flow index. Due to the favorable compromise between processability and enhancement of performance (i.e., mechanical and electrical properties), the hybrid composition of 50:50 GNP/CNT was selected as the most suitable for the filament production of 6 wt.% carbonaceous nanocomposites. EMI SE of ABS-filled single CNT and hybrid GNP/CNT nanofillers obtained from compression molding reached the requirement for applications (higher than −20 dB), while slightly lower EMI SE values (in the range −12/−16 dB) were obtained for FFF parts dependent on the building conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Different Carbon-Based Fillers on Electrical and Mechanical Properties of a PC/ABS Blend
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010029 - 23 Dec 2019
Abstract
The present work examines the influence of different carbon-based fillers on the performance of electrically conductive polymer blend composites. More specifically, we examined and compared the effects of graphene (GR), carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon black (CB) on a PC/ABS matrix by morphological [...] Read more.
The present work examines the influence of different carbon-based fillers on the performance of electrically conductive polymer blend composites. More specifically, we examined and compared the effects of graphene (GR), carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and carbon black (CB) on a PC/ABS matrix by morphological investigation, electrical and physic-mechanical characterization. Electrical analyses showed volume resistivity decreased when the CNTs and CB content were increased, although the use of melt-mixed GR did not really influence this property. For the latter, solution blending was found to be more suitable to obtain better GR dispersion, and it obtained electrical percolation with a graphene content ranging from 0.5% to 1% by weight, depending on the solvent removal method that was applied. There was a gradual improvement in all of the composites’ dielectric properties, in terms of loss factor, with temperature and the concentration of the filler. As expected, the use of rigid fillers increased the composite stiffness, which is reflected in a continuous increment in the composites’ modulus of elasticity. The improvements in tensile strength and modulus were coupled with a reduction in impact strength, indicating a decrease in polymer toughness and flexibility. TEM micrographs allowed us to confirm previous results from studies on filler dispersion. According to this study and the comparison of the three carbon-based fillers, CNTs are the best filler choice in terms of electrical and mechanical performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Hybrid Composites Based on Polypropylene with Basalt/Hazelnut Shell Fillers: The Influence of Temperature, Thermal Aging, and Water Absorption on Mechanical Properties
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010018 - 20 Dec 2019
Abstract
The aim of the research was to study the effects of adding natural fillers to a polypropylene (PP) matrix on mechanical and physical properties of hybrid composites. The 10%, 15%, and 20% by weight basalt fibers (BF) and ground hazelnut shells (HS) were [...] Read more.
The aim of the research was to study the effects of adding natural fillers to a polypropylene (PP) matrix on mechanical and physical properties of hybrid composites. The 10%, 15%, and 20% by weight basalt fibers (BF) and ground hazelnut shells (HS) were added to the PP matrix. Composites were produced by making use of an injection molding method. Tensile strength, tensile modulus, strain at break, Charpy impact strength, and the coefficient of thermal expansion were determined. The influence of temperature, thermal aging, and water absorption on mechanical properties was also investigated. In addition, short-time creep tests were carried out. To characterize the morphology and the filler distribution within the matrix, a scanning electron microscope (SEM) was used. The results showed that the addition of the two types of filler enhanced mechanical properties. Furthermore, improvements in thermal stability were monitored. After water absorption, the changes in the tensile properties of the tested composites were moderate. However, thermal aging caused a decrease in tensile strength and tensile modulus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
The Puncture and Water Resistance of Polyurethane- Impregnated Fabrics after UV Weathering
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010015 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Polyurethane is a polymer adaptable to different scientific and industrial requirements; nevertheless it is also extremely susceptible to UV radiation, which compromises the physical and mechanical functionality. In this framework, our study investigated the effect of waterborne polyurethane dispersion (WPUD) applied to a [...] Read more.
Polyurethane is a polymer adaptable to different scientific and industrial requirements; nevertheless it is also extremely susceptible to UV radiation, which compromises the physical and mechanical functionality. In this framework, our study investigated the effect of waterborne polyurethane dispersion (WPUD) applied to a polyester (PET)-based fabric, through the impregnation method, on the puncturing and water resistance of the pristine material, before and after UV weathering. Results confirmed an increment of both features in the prepared fabrics, attributed to the PUR textile treatment; but a partially loss of the gained properties in the samples due to the UV weathering. In order to improve the efficiency of the impregnating dispersions, in protecting the durability of the treated materials, the addition of different UV light stabilizers, or/and of crosslinking agent into WPUD was also tested. From the experimental data, it can be concluded that formulations based on WPUD, containing both the crosslinker and UV organic absorber, have displayed an increment of their perforation and water resistance for the treated samples with respect to the starting textile, and contemporary have preserved the features against the UV light. Finally, microscopic and spectroscopic analyses have been performed as further characterization techniques of the samples surface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Transparent PC/PMMA Blends Via Reactive Compatibilization in a Twin-Screw Extruder
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 2070; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11122070 - 12 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The effect of different catalysts on reactive compatibilization of 50/50 polycarbonate (PC)/polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) blends achieved via transesterification that occurs during compounding in a twin-screw extruder was investigated on a phenomenological (optical and mechanical properties), mesoscopic (phase morphology), and molecular level (PC-graft(g)-PMMA-copolymer formation and [...] Read more.
The effect of different catalysts on reactive compatibilization of 50/50 polycarbonate (PC)/polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) blends achieved via transesterification that occurs during compounding in a twin-screw extruder was investigated on a phenomenological (optical and mechanical properties), mesoscopic (phase morphology), and molecular level (PC-graft(g)-PMMA-copolymer formation and polymer molecular weight degradation). Formation of PC-(g)-PMMA-copolymer by transesterification resulting in transparent mono-phase PC/PMMA blends with obviously improved compatibility of the two polymer constituents requires use of a suitable catalyst. As a side-effect, PC-(g)-PMMA-copolymer formation by transesterification is always accompanied by a significant simultaneous decomposition of the molecular weight (Mw) of the PC. For the first time, a colorless, transparent (mono-phase) PC/PMMA 50/50 blend was achieved by a twin-screw extrusion process that can be easily transferred into industrial scale. To achieve this milestone, 0.05 wt% of a weakly acidic phosphonium salt catalyst had to be applied. As a result of the decrease in Mw of the PC, the mechanical properties (e.g., tensile strain at break and impact strength) of the obtained blends were significantly deteriorated rather than improved as targeted by the polymer compatibilization; therefore, the produced transparent PC/PMMA blends are considered not yet technically suitable for any industrial applications. Different manufacturing process strategies that do not inherently result in PC degradation as a side effect of PC-graft(g)-PMMA-copolymer formation have to be developed to potentially achieve transparent PC/PMMA blends with a useful balance of properties. Based on the experimental observations of this study, a new mechanism of the transesterification reaction occurring during reactive compounding of PC and PMMA in the presence of the effective catalysts is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Physico-Mechanical Properties of the Poly(oxymethylene) Composites Reinforced with Glass Fibers under Dynamical Loading
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 2064; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11122064 - 11 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The paper evaluated the possibility of potential reinforcing of poly(oxymethylene) (POM) by glass fiber and the influence of fiberglass addition on mechanical properties under dynamic load. Four types of composites with glass fiber and another four with carbon fiber were produced. The fiber [...] Read more.
The paper evaluated the possibility of potential reinforcing of poly(oxymethylene) (POM) by glass fiber and the influence of fiberglass addition on mechanical properties under dynamic load. Four types of composites with glass fiber and another four with carbon fiber were produced. The fiber content ranged from 5% to 40% by weight. In the experimental part, the basic mechanical and fatigue properties of POM-based composites were determined. The impact of water absorption was also investigated. The influence of fiber geometry on the mechanical behavior of fiber-reinforced composites of various diameters was determined. To refer to the effects of reinforcement and determine the features of the structure scanning electron microscopy images were taken. The results showed that the addition of up to 10 wt %. fiberglass increases the tensile properties and impact strength more than twice, the ability to absorb energy also increases in relation to neat poly(oxymethylene). Fiber geometry also has a significant impact on the mechanical properties. The study of the mechanical properties at dynamic loads over time suggests that composites filled with a smaller fiber diameter have better fatigue properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Flat Die Extruded Biocompatible Poly(Lactic Acid) (PLA)/Poly(Butylene Succinate) (PBS) Based Films
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1857; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111857 - 11 Nov 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Biodegradable polymers are promising materials for films and sheets used in many widely diffused applications like packaging, personal care products and sanitary products, where the synergy of high biocompatibility and reduced environmental impact can be particularly significant. Plasticized poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) [...] Read more.
Biodegradable polymers are promising materials for films and sheets used in many widely diffused applications like packaging, personal care products and sanitary products, where the synergy of high biocompatibility and reduced environmental impact can be particularly significant. Plasticized poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) blend-based films, showing high cytocompatibility and improved flexibility than pure PLA, were prepared by laboratory extrusion and their processability was controlled by the use of a few percent of a commercial melt strength enhancer, based on acrylic copolymers and micro-calcium carbonate. The melt strength enhancer was also found effective in reducing the crystallinity of the films. The process was upscaled by producing flat die extruded films in which elongation at break and tear resistance were improved than pure PLA. The in vitro biocompatibility, investigated through the contact of flat die extruded films with cells, namely, keratinocytes and mesenchymal stromal cells, resulted improved with respect to low density polyethylene (LDPE). Moreover, the PLA-based materials were able to affect immunomodulatory behavior of cells and showed a slight indirect anti-microbial effect. These properties could be exploited in several applications, where the contact with skin and body is relevant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Selection of Immiscible Polymer Blends Filled with Carbon Nanotubes for Heating Applications
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1827; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111827 - 06 Nov 2019
Abstract
In many application fields, such as medicine or sports, heating textiles use electrically conductive multifilaments. This multifilament can be developed from conductive polymer composites (CPC), which are blends of an insulating polymer filled with electrically conductive particles. However, this multifilament must have filler [...] Read more.
In many application fields, such as medicine or sports, heating textiles use electrically conductive multifilaments. This multifilament can be developed from conductive polymer composites (CPC), which are blends of an insulating polymer filled with electrically conductive particles. However, this multifilament must have filler content above the percolation threshold, which leads to an increase of the viscosity and problems during the melt spinning process. Immiscible blends between two polymers (one being a CPC) can be used to allow the reduction of the global filler content if each polymer is co-continuous with a selective localization of the fillers in only one polymer. In this study, three immiscible blends were developed between polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, or polyamide 6 and a filled polycaprolactone with carbon nanotubes. The morphology of each blend at different ratios was studied using models of co-continuity and prediction of fillers localization according to viscosity, interfacial energy, elastic modulus, and loss factor of each polymer. This theoretical approach was compared to experimental values to find out differences between methods. The electrical properties (electrical conductivity and Joule effect) were also studied. The co-continuity, the selective localization in the polycaprolactone, and the Joule effect were only exhibited by the polypropylene/filled polycaprolactone 50/50 wt.%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Organic Zinc Salts as Pro-Ecological Activators for Sulfur Vulcanization of Styrene–Butadiene Rubber
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1723; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101723 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Organic zinc salts and complexes were applied as activators for sulfur vulcanization of styrene–butadiene elastomer (SBR) in order to reduce the content of zinc ions in rubber compounds as compared with conventionally used zinc oxide. In this article, the effects of different organic [...] Read more.
Organic zinc salts and complexes were applied as activators for sulfur vulcanization of styrene–butadiene elastomer (SBR) in order to reduce the content of zinc ions in rubber compounds as compared with conventionally used zinc oxide. In this article, the effects of different organic zinc activators on the curing characteristics, crosslink densities, and mechanical properties of SBR as well as the aging resistance and thermal behavior of vulcanizates are discussed. Organic zinc salts seem to be good substitutes for zinc oxide as activators for sulfur vulcanization of SBR rubber, without detrimental effects to the vulcanization time and temperature. Moreover, vulcanizates containing organic zinc salts exhibit higher tensile strength and better damping properties than vulcanizate crosslinked with zinc oxide. The application of organic zinc activators allows the amount of zinc ions in SBR compounds to be reduced by 70–90 wt % compared to vulcanizate with zinc oxide. This is very important for ecological reasons, since zinc oxide is classified as being toxic to aquatic species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Titanium Dioxide Surface Modification on the Dispersion, Morphology, and Mechanical Properties of Recycled PP/PET/TiO2 PBNANOs
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1692; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101692 - 16 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles have recently appeared in PET waste because of the introduction of opaque PET bottles. We prepare polymer blend nanocomposites (PBNANOs) by adding hydrophilic (hphi), hydrophobic (hpho), and hydrophobically modified (hphoM) titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles to [...] Read more.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles have recently appeared in PET waste because of the introduction of opaque PET bottles. We prepare polymer blend nanocomposites (PBNANOs) by adding hydrophilic (hphi), hydrophobic (hpho), and hydrophobically modified (hphoM) titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles to 80rPP/20rPET recycled blends. Contact angle measurements show that the degree of hydrophilicity of TiO2 decreases in the order hphi > hpho > hphoM. A reduction of rPET droplet size occurs with the addition of TiO2 nanoparticles. The hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance controls the nanoparticles location. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM_ shows that hphi TiO2 preferentially locates inside the PET droplets and hpho at both the interface and PP matrix. HphoM also locates within the PP matrix and at the interface, but large loadings (12%) can completely cover the surfaces of the droplets forming a physical barrier that avoids coalescence, leading to the formation of smaller droplets. A good correlation is found between the crystallization rate of PET (determined by DSC) and nanoparticles location, where hphi TiO2 induces the highest PET crystallization rate. PET lamellar morphology (revealed by TEM) is also dependent on particle location. The mechanical behavior improves in the elastic regime with TiO2 addition, but the plastic deformation of the material is limited and strongly depends on the type of TiO2 employed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Nucleation and Crystallization of PA6 Composites Prepared by T-RTM: Effects of Carbon and Glass Fiber Loading
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1680; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101680 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Thermoplastic resin transfer molding (T-RTM) is attracting much attention due to the need for recyclable alternatives to thermoset materials. In this work, we have prepared polyamide-6 (PA6) and PA6/fiber composites by T-RTM of caprolactam. Glass and carbon fibers were employed in a fixed [...] Read more.
Thermoplastic resin transfer molding (T-RTM) is attracting much attention due to the need for recyclable alternatives to thermoset materials. In this work, we have prepared polyamide-6 (PA6) and PA6/fiber composites by T-RTM of caprolactam. Glass and carbon fibers were employed in a fixed amount of 60 and 47 wt.%, respectively. Neat PA6 and PA6 matrices (of PA6-GF and PA6-CF) of approximately 200 kg/mol were obtained with conversion ratios exceeding 95%. Both carbon fibers (CF) and glass fibers (GF) were able to nucleate PA6, with efficiencies of 44% and 26%, respectively. The α crystal polymorph of PA6 was present in all samples. The lamellar spacing, lamellar thickness and crystallinity degree did not show significant variations in the samples with or without fibers as result of the slow cooling process applied during T-RTM. The overall isothermal crystallization rate decreased in the order: PA6-CF > PA6-GF > neat PA6, as a consequence of the different nucleation efficiencies. The overall crystallization kinetics data were successfully described by the Avrami equation. The lamellar stack morphology observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) is consistent with 2D superstructural aggregates (n = 2) for all samples. Finally, the reinforcement effect of fibers was larger than one order of magnitude in the values of elastic modulus and tensile strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
PLA/PHB Blends: Biocompatibilizer Effects
Polymers 2019, 11(9), 1416; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11091416 - 28 Aug 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The purpose of this work was to formulate a fully bio-based blend with superior properties, based on two immiscible polymers: polylactic acid (PLA) and poly-hydroxy butyrate (PHB). To improve the miscibility between the polymeric phases, two different kinds of compatibilizers with a different [...] Read more.
The purpose of this work was to formulate a fully bio-based blend with superior properties, based on two immiscible polymers: polylactic acid (PLA) and poly-hydroxy butyrate (PHB). To improve the miscibility between the polymeric phases, two different kinds of compatibilizers with a different chemical structure were used, namely, an ethylene oxide/propylene oxide block copolymer in the form of flakes and a mixture of two liquid surfactants with a variable lipophilic–hydrophilic index. The morphology of the blends and their thermal, mechanical, and rheological behavior were evaluated, aiming at assessing the influence of the selected compatibilizers on the microstructure and final properties of the systems. Morphological analyses of the compatibilized blends indicated that the liquid surfactant is more effective than the solid copolymer in inducing morphology refinement, as also suggested by results coming from rheological measurements. Furthermore, thermal analyses demonstrated that the presence of both kinds of compatibilizers induced an enhancement of the crystallinity content of blends. Finally, a remarkable increase of the elastic modulus values was obtained for the compatibilized blends as compared to the pure counterparts, with a consequent significant enhancement of the HDT values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Electron Induced Crosslinking of Masticated Natural Rubber at Different Temperatures
Polymers 2019, 11(8), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11081279 - 31 Jul 2019
Abstract
In this work, natural rubber (NR) was masticated using an internal mixer to fit the requirements of reactive blending with polylactide and characterized by size exclusion chromatography (SEC), Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and dynamic rheology measurements. Subsequently, the effect of elevated temperatures (25 [...] Read more.
In this work, natural rubber (NR) was masticated using an internal mixer to fit the requirements of reactive blending with polylactide and characterized by size exclusion chromatography (SEC), Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and dynamic rheology measurements. Subsequently, the effect of elevated temperatures (25 °C, 80 °C, and 170 °C) on the electron beam (EB) induced crosslinking and degradation of masticated natural rubber (mNR) in a nitrogen atmosphere without adding crosslinking agents has been investigated. The sol gel investigation showed that the gel dose of mNR slightly increased with increasing irradiation temperature, which is also confirmed by the swelling test. The chain scission to crosslinking ratio (Gs/Gx) was found to be less than 1 for irradiated mNR at 25 °C and 80 °C, suggesting a dominating crosslinking behavior of mNR. However, a significant increase of Gs/Gx ratio (~1.12) was observed for mNR irradiated at 170 °C due to the enhanced thermal degradation behavior at high temperature. A remarkably improved elasticity (higher complex viscosity, higher storage modulus, and longer relaxation time) for EB modified mNR was demonstrated by dynamic rheological analysis. Particularly, the samples modified at higher temperatures represented more pronounced elasticity behavior which resulted from the higher number of branches and/or the longer branched chains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrically Conductive, Transparent Polymeric Nanocomposites Modified by 2D Ti3C2Tx (MXene)
Polymers 2019, 11(8), 1272; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11081272 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The electrically conductive, transparent, and flexible self-standing thin nanocomposite films based on copolyamide matrix (coPA:Vestamelt X1010) modified with 2D Ti3C2Tx (MXene) nanosheets were prepared by casting and their electrical, mechanical and optical properties and then, were investigated. The [...] Read more.
The electrically conductive, transparent, and flexible self-standing thin nanocomposite films based on copolyamide matrix (coPA:Vestamelt X1010) modified with 2D Ti3C2Tx (MXene) nanosheets were prepared by casting and their electrical, mechanical and optical properties and then, were investigated. The percolation threshold of the MXene filler within the coPA matrix was found to be 0.05 vol. %, and the highest determined electrical conductivity was 1.4 × 10−2 S·cm−1 for the composite filled with 5 wt. % (1.8 vol. %) of MXene. The electrical conductivity of the as-prepared MXene was 9.1 S·cm−1, and the electrical conductivity of the MAX phase (the precursor for MXene preparation) was 172 S·cm−1. The transparency of the prepared composite films exceeded 75%, even for samples containing 5 wt. % of MXene, as confirmed by UV spectroscopy. The dynamic mechanical analysis confirmed the improved mechanical properties, such as the storage modulus, which improved with the increasing MXene content. Moreover, all the composite films were very flexible and did not break under repeated twisting. The combination of the relatively high electrical conductivity of the composites filled with low filler content, an appropriate transparency, and good mechanical properties make these materials promising for applications in flexible electronics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Nanotechnology-Based Strategy to Upgrade the Performances of Plastic Flexible Film Waste
Polymers 2019, 11(5), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11050830 - 08 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this work was to improve the performances of Fil-s (film-small), a recycled material obtained from plastic flexible film waste that is made of polyethylene and a minor amount of polypropylene, with traces of polar contaminants (polyamides, maleic anhydride, etc.). The [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to improve the performances of Fil-s (film-small), a recycled material obtained from plastic flexible film waste that is made of polyethylene and a minor amount of polypropylene, with traces of polar contaminants (polyamides, maleic anhydride, etc.). The idea was to upgrade the material’s mechanical properties by applying a nanotechnology-based strategy that takes advantage of the composition of Fil-s. In particular, different amounts of copolyamide (CoPA) and its masterbatch with an organic-modified nanosilicate were melt compounded with Fil-s in a twin-screw extruder. The good affinity between Fil-s and CoPA, proved by means of spectroscopic and rheological analysis, allowed for the obtaining of a well-refined morphology for the neat and hybrid blends. This resulted in very interesting increments of the strain at break, which was particularly impressive (10 times higher) in the case of the blend with the lower amount of copolyamide masterbatch, but without sacrificing the stiffness and strength of Fil-s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Aging Stability of Ethylene-Norbornene Composites Filled with Lawsone-Based Hybrid Pigment
Polymers 2019, 11(4), 723; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11040723 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In this study, we produced a new organic-inorganic hybrid pigment based on a natural chromophore. Lawsone was selected as the active organic compound and incorporated into aluminum-magnesium hydroxycarbonate (LH). The hydroxynaphthoquinone derivative lawsone (Lawsonia inermis L.) is a naturally occurring dye, [...] Read more.
In this study, we produced a new organic-inorganic hybrid pigment based on a natural chromophore. Lawsone was selected as the active organic compound and incorporated into aluminum-magnesium hydroxycarbonate (LH). The hydroxynaphthoquinone derivative lawsone (Lawsonia inermis L.) is a naturally occurring dye, which is commonly used as a colorant because of its nontoxicity and biological functions. The structure and stability of the hybrid colorant were investigated using 27-Al solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and UV-Vis spectroscopy. TOF-SIMS and 27Al NMR spectroscopy revealed interactions between the dye molecules and metal ions present in the LH host, confirming successful formation of an LH-based hybrid (LH/lawsone). In the next part of the study, we examined the effect of the hybrid pigment on the mechanical and thermal properties of ethylene-norbornene (EN) materials, as well as the aging resistance of the colored composites to irradiation across the full solar spectrum. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) and the results of tensile break tests revealed that the EN+LH/lawsone composite had significantly better resistance to solar irradiation in comparison to EN and EN with an unmodified carrier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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Open AccessArticle
Lightweight Poly(ε-Caprolactone) Composites with Surface Modified Hollow Glass Microspheres for Use in Rotational Molding: Thermal, Rheological and Mechanical Properties
Polymers 2019, 11(4), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11040624 - 04 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
In this work, novel composites based on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) were prepared and characterized in terms of morphological, thermal, rheological and mechanical properties. Hollow glass microspheres (HGM), alone or surface modified by treatment with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) in order to enhance the compatibility between the [...] Read more.
In this work, novel composites based on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) were prepared and characterized in terms of morphological, thermal, rheological and mechanical properties. Hollow glass microspheres (HGM), alone or surface modified by treatment with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (APTES) in order to enhance the compatibility between the inorganic particles and the polymer matrix, were used to obtain lightweight composites with improved properties. The silanization treatment implies a good dispersion of filler particles in the matrix and an enhanced filler–polymer adhesion. The addition of HGM to PCL has relevant implications on the rheological and mechanical properties enhancing the stiffness of the material. Furthermore, the presence of HGM strongly interferes with the crystallization behavior and thermo-oxidative degradation of PCL. The increase of PCL crystallization rate was observed as a function of the HGM amount in the composites. Finally, rotational molding tests demonstrated the possibility of successfully producing manufactured goods in PCL and PCL-based composites on both a laboratory and industrial scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eurofillers Polymer Blends)
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