Special Issue "Functional Polymer Composites"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Phuong Nguyen-Tri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physique, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Trois-Rivières, QC G8Z 4M3, Canada
2. Laboratory of Advanced Materials for Energy and Environment, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Trois-Rivières, QC G8Z 4M3, Canada
Interests: nanoconcretes; cement-based materials; nanomaterials; nanocomposites; organic coatings; polymer crystallization; functional composites
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Tuan Anh Nguyen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Microanalysis Department, Institute for Tropical Technology, Hanoi, Vietnam
Interests: polymer composites; conducting polymers; functional composites; nanomaterials; corrosion protection
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Functional polymer composites are now making significant strides in synthesis, design, preparation, processing, and promising applications. Today, polymer composites are becoming lighter, cheaper, more durable, and more versatile. At present, great progress has been made in the design, preparation, and characterization of polymer composite materials, making them smarter and versatile. By creating new properties using suitable fillers and matrix, functional polymer composites can meet the most difficult standards of users, especially in high-tech industries. Functional polymer composites are crucial to the development of new cutting-edge technologies, especially in the fourth industrial revolution. Advances in functional polymer composites will promote human welfare by creating new solutions and materials to overcome global energy and environmental crises.

Advanced polymer composites reinforced by high-performance carbon fibers and nanofillers are popular in the automotive and aerospace industries thanks to their significant advantages, such as high specific strength to weight ratio and noncorrosion properties. In addition to the improvement of the mechanical performance, polymer composites today are designed to provide new functions dealing with antibacterial, electrical conducting, superhydrophobic, self-cleaning, self-healing, self-healing, self-actuating, biocompatibles, super-hard, solar reflective, heath monitoring and diagnosis, and high energy storage and conversion, for desired end-used applications. On the other hand, composite materials can contribute to reducing environmental issues by providing renewable energy technologies in conjunction with multifunctional, lightweight energy storage systems with high performance and noncorrosive properties. They are also used to prepare a new generation of batteries and directly contribute to H2 production or CO2 reduction in fuels and chemicals.

This Special Issue aims to collect articles reporting on recent developments dealing with preparative methods, design, properties, structure, characterization methods, as well as promising applications of functional polymer composites. It covers potential applications in various areas, such as anticorrosion, photocatalyst, absorbers, renewable energy, energy storage systems, structural batteries and energy devices, solar panels, smart textiles, construction, water treatment, and electrical and electronic devices. Advanced modeling, simulation, and experimentation processes involving the design, preparation, and prediction of properties of functional polymer composites as well as those performing experimental studies involving these polymer composites are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Phuong Nguyen-Tri
Prof. Dr. Tuan Anh Nguyen
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 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

  • Antibacterial polymer composites
  • Properties and structure of functional polymer composites
  • Self-cleaning polymer composites
  • Functional polymer composites for H2 production and storage
  • Functional polymer composites for CO2 storage, conversion, and utilization
  • Functional polymer composites for environment
  • Photocatalytic polymer composites
  • Degradation and stability of polymer composites
  • Biodegradable polymer composites
  • Smart textiles
  • Polymer composites for structural batteries and energy devices
  • Self-actuating polymer composites
  • Shape memory polymer composites
  • Two- and three-dimensional materials based polymer composites
  • Self-healing polymer composites
  • Photocurable polymer composites
  • Electrical conducting polymer composites
  • Nanoscale characterization of polymer composites
  • Computer simulation of polymer composite design and preparation
  • Superabsorbant polymer composites
  • Anticorrosion polymer composites
  • Renewable polymer composites

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Editorial for the Special Issue: Functional Polymer Composites
Polymers 2021, 13(6), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13060909 - 16 Mar 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Functional polymer composites are now making significant strides in synthesis, design, preparation, processing, and promising applications [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)

Research

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Article
Water-Borne ZnO/Acrylic Nanocoating: Fabrication, Characterization, and Properties
Polymers 2021, 13(5), 717; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13050717 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 659
Abstract
This work aims to explore how ZnO nanoparticles enhance the mechanical, photoaging, and self cleaning properties of water borne acrylic coating. Micro/nano ZnO particles (at 2 wt.% of total solid resin) were dispersed into the acrylic polymer matrices using ultrasonication to understand the [...] Read more.
This work aims to explore how ZnO nanoparticles enhance the mechanical, photoaging, and self cleaning properties of water borne acrylic coating. Micro/nano ZnO particles (at 2 wt.% of total solid resin) were dispersed into the acrylic polymer matrices using ultrasonication to understand the effect of the size of the coating properties. The effect of ZnO particles on the properties of composite coatings (25 µm of thick) have been evaluated through various tests, such as abrasion measurement, ultraviolet/condensation (UV/CON) weathering aging, and methylene blue self cleaning. Experimental data indicated that the incorporation of ZnO particles enhanced both abrasion resistance and methylene blue removal efficiency of the water borne acrylic coatings, with nano ZnO particles being the best. However, the weathering degradation of nanocomposite coatings was more severe as compared to the coating with micro ZnO (at the same ZnO content). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Investigation of Functionalized Surface Charges of Thermoplastic Starch/Zinc Oxide Nanocomposite Films Using Polyaniline: The Potential of Improved Antibacterial Properties
Polymers 2021, 13(3), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13030425 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1133
Abstract
Improving the antibacterial activity of biodegradable materials is crucial for combatting widespread drug-resistant bacteria and plastic pollutants. In this work, we studied polyaniline (PANI)-functionalized zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) to improve surface charges. A PANI-functionalized ZnO NP surface was prepared using a simple [...] Read more.
Improving the antibacterial activity of biodegradable materials is crucial for combatting widespread drug-resistant bacteria and plastic pollutants. In this work, we studied polyaniline (PANI)-functionalized zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) to improve surface charges. A PANI-functionalized ZnO NP surface was prepared using a simple impregnation technique. The PANI functionalization of ZnO successfully increased the positive surface charge of the ZnO NPs. In addition, PANI-functionalized ZnO improved mechanical properties and thermal stability. Besides those properties, the water permeability of the bionanocomposite films was decreased due to their increased hydrophobicity. PANI-functionalized ZnO NPs were applied to thermoplastic starch (TPS) films for physical properties and antibacterial studies using Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The PANI-functionalized ZnO bionanocomposite films exhibited excellent antibacterial activity for both E. coli (76%) and S. aureus (72%). This result suggests that PANI-functionalized ZnO NPs can improve the antibacterial activity of TPS-based bionanocomposite films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Utilization of Leather Waste Fibers in Polymer Matrix Composites Based on Acrylonitrile-Butadiene Rubber
Polymers 2021, 13(1), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13010117 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 843
Abstract
In this study, we present the fabrication of nitrile butadiene rubber/waste leather fiber (NBR/WLF) composites with different weight percentages of WLF and NBR (0/100, 20/80, 30/70, 40/60, 50/50, 60/40 wt/wt). WLF was prepared by cutting the scrap leathers from the [...] Read more.
In this study, we present the fabrication of nitrile butadiene rubber/waste leather fiber (NBR/WLF) composites with different weight percentages of WLF and NBR (0/100, 20/80, 30/70, 40/60, 50/50, 60/40 wt/wt). WLF was prepared by cutting the scrap leathers from the waste product of the Vietnamese leather industry. Subsequently, in order to make the short fibers, it was mixed by a hammer mill. The characteristics of WLF/NBR composites such as mechanical properties (tensile strength, tear strength, hardness), dynamic mechanical properties, toluene absorption, and morphology were carefully evaluated. As a result, the tensile strength and tear strength become larger with increasing WLF content from 0 to 50 wt% and they decrease when further increasing WLF content. The highest tensile strength of 12.5 MPa and tear strength of 72.47 N/mm were achieved with the WLF/NBR ratio of 50/50 wt%. Both hardness and resistance of the developed materials with toluene increased with increasing WLF content. The SEM results showed a good adhesion of NBR matrix and the WLF. The increasing of storage modulus (E’) in comparison with raw NBR showed good compatibility between WLF and NBR matrix. This research showed that the recycled material from waste leather and NBR was successfully prepared and has great potential for manufacturing products such as floor covering courts and playgrounds, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Structural Optimization through Biomimetic-Inspired Material-Specific Application of Plant-Based Natural Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites (NFRP) for Future Sustainable Lightweight Architecture
Polymers 2020, 12(12), 3048; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12123048 - 19 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
Under normal conditions, the cross-sections of reinforced concrete in classic skeleton construction systems are often only partially loaded. This contributes to non-sustainable construction solutions due to an excess of material use. Novel cross-disciplinary workflows linking architects, engineers, material scientists and manufacturers could offer [...] Read more.
Under normal conditions, the cross-sections of reinforced concrete in classic skeleton construction systems are often only partially loaded. This contributes to non-sustainable construction solutions due to an excess of material use. Novel cross-disciplinary workflows linking architects, engineers, material scientists and manufacturers could offer alternative means for more sustainable architectural applications with extra lightweight solutions. Through material-specific use of plant-based Natural Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites (NFRP), also named Biocomposites, a high-performance lightweight structure with topology optimized cross-sections has been here developed. The closed life cycle of NFRPs promotes sustainability in construction through energy recovery of the quickly generative biomass-based materials. The cooperative design resulted in a development that were verified through a 1:10 demonstrator, whose fibrous morphology was defined by biomimetically-inspired orthotropic tectonics, generated with by the fiber path optimization software tools, namely EdoStructure and EdoPath in combination with the appliance of the digital additive manufacturing technique: Tailored Fiber Placement (TFP). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Mechanical Properties of Polymer Coatings Applied to Fabric
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2684; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112684 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 578
Abstract
The polymer film, formed on fabric, has a diverse resistance to impact (shear) forces during deformation. An original model of the capillary-porous structure of the fabric, partially filled with polymer, was presented and discussed in this paper. Polymer material fixing relations were developed, [...] Read more.
The polymer film, formed on fabric, has a diverse resistance to impact (shear) forces during deformation. An original model of the capillary-porous structure of the fabric, partially filled with polymer, was presented and discussed in this paper. Polymer material fixing relations were developed, taking into account the fabric structure and changes of polymer temperature. Experimental studies were performed on three different materials: artificial leather SK-2, GOST 16119-70 (230 g/m2); genuine beef skin, GOST 939-75 (2.2 g/m3); and fabric denim, GOST 29298-2005 (225 g/m2). The value of mathematical model analysis deviation compared with the experimental value was approximately 12%. The obtained mathematical dependences were the basis for predicting the increase of the dimensional stability of garments by applying hot melt polymer to its surface. It is also possible to design new equipment for its implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Development of Laser Drilling Strategy for Thick Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites (CFRP)
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2674; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112674 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 668
Abstract
Composites from carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) play a significant role in modern manufacturing. They are typically used in aerospace and other industries that require high strength-to-weight ratios. Composite machining, however, remains a challenging job and sometimes is hampered by poor efficiency. Despite [...] Read more.
Composites from carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRPs) play a significant role in modern manufacturing. They are typically used in aerospace and other industries that require high strength-to-weight ratios. Composite machining, however, remains a challenging job and sometimes is hampered by poor efficiency. Despite considerable research being conducted over the past few years on the machining of composite materials, the material nevertheless suffers from delamination, fibre loss, and imperfect finishing of the fuselage. Laser technology is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative approach to cutting and drilling composites. Experiments have been conducted with a CFRP thickness of 25.4 mm using fibre laser to test the effect of the machining parameters on the primary performance measurements. In this study, different machining criteria are used to assess the fibre laser ability of thick CFRP composites for drilling operation. The experimental findings revealed that a fibre laser is capable of penetrating a thick CFRP to a depth of 22 mm by using a novel drilling procedure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Augmentation of the Delamination Factor in Drilling of Carbon Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Composites (CFRP)
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2461; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112461 - 23 Oct 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 938
Abstract
Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite materials play an increasingly important role in modern manufacturing, and they are among the more prominent materials used in aircraft manufacturing today. However, CFRP is highly prone to delamination and other damage when drilled due to it being [...] Read more.
Carbon fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite materials play an increasingly important role in modern manufacturing, and they are among the more prominent materials used in aircraft manufacturing today. However, CFRP is highly prone to delamination and other damage when drilled due to it being extremely strong with a good strength-to-weight ratio and high thermal conductivity. Because of this problem and CFRP’s growing importance in aircraft manufacture, research has focused on the entry and exit holes as indicators of damage occurrence during drilling of screws, rivets, and other types of holes. The inside of the hole was neglected in past research and a proper way to quantify the internal side of a hole by combining the entry and exit hole should be included. To fill this gap and improve the use of CFRP, this paper reports a novel technique to measure the holes by using the extension of the adjusted delamination factor (SFDSR) for drilling thick CFRP composites in order to establish the influence of machining input variables on key output measures, i.e., delamination and other damages. The experimental results showed a significant difference in interpretation of the damage during the analysis. Improvement was made by providing better perspectives of identifying hole defects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Organic Aluminum Hypophosphite/Graphitic Carbon Nitride Hybrids as Halogen-Free Flame Retardants for Polyamide 6
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2323; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102323 - 11 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 581
Abstract
The novel organic aluminum hypophosphite (ALCPA) and its hybrid (CNALCPA) with graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) were successfully synthesized and applied as halogen-free flame retardants in polyamide 6 (PA6). Their structures, morphology, thermal stability, and fire properties were characterized. Results [...] Read more.
The novel organic aluminum hypophosphite (ALCPA) and its hybrid (CNALCPA) with graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) were successfully synthesized and applied as halogen-free flame retardants in polyamide 6 (PA6). Their structures, morphology, thermal stability, and fire properties were characterized. Results showed that both ALCPA and CNALCPA had good flame retardancy. PA6/CNALCPA composites achieved a high limited-oxygen-index (LOI) value of 38.3% and a V-0 rating for UL94 at 20 wt % loading, while PA6/ALCPA composites could reach a V-1 rating for UL94. The flame-retardant mechanism was also studied. On the one hand, the incorporation of g-C3N4 produced more gas-phase products, which indicated a gas-phase mechanism. On the other hand, g-C3N4 could catalyze the thermal degradation of ALCPA and PA6 to form a compact char layer that was evidence for a solid-phase mechanism. The tensile test of the PA6 composites also displayed good mechanical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Curved Foldable Tailored Fiber Reinforcements for Moldless Customized Bio-Composite Structures. Proof of Concept: Biomimetic NFRP Stools
Polymers 2020, 12(9), 2000; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12092000 - 02 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) are increasingly popular building materials, mainly because of their high strength to weight ratio. Despite these beneficial properties, these composites are often fabricated in standardized mass production. This research aims to eliminate costly molds in order to simplify the [...] Read more.
Fiber Reinforced Polymers (FRPs) are increasingly popular building materials, mainly because of their high strength to weight ratio. Despite these beneficial properties, these composites are often fabricated in standardized mass production. This research aims to eliminate costly molds in order to simplify the fabrication and allow for a higher degree of customization. Complex three-dimensional shapes were instead achieved by a flat reinforcement, which was resin infused and curved folded into a spatial object before hardening. Structural stability was gained through geometries with closed cross-sections. To enable this, the resource-saving additive fabrication technique of tailored fiber placement (TFP) was chosen. This method allowed for precise fibers’ deposition, making a programmed anisotropic behavior of the material possible. Principles regarding the fiber placement were transferred from a biological role-model. Five functional stools were produced as demonstrators to prove the functionality and advantages of the explained system. Partially bio-based materials were applied to fabricate the stool models of natural fiber-reinforced polymer composites (NFRP). A parametric design tool for the global design and fiber layout generation was developed. As a result, varieties of customized components can be produced without increasing the design and manufacturing effort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
High-Performance Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal Enabled by Uniquely Designed Acrylate Monomer
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1625; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081625 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1101
Abstract
The widespread electro–optical applications of polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) are hampered by their high-driving voltage. Attempts to fabricate PDLC devices with low driving voltage sacrifice other desirable features of PDLCs. There is thus a clear need to develop a method to reduce [...] Read more.
The widespread electro–optical applications of polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs) are hampered by their high-driving voltage. Attempts to fabricate PDLC devices with low driving voltage sacrifice other desirable features of PDLCs. There is thus a clear need to develop a method to reduce the driving voltage without diminishing other revolutionary features of PDLCs. Herein, we report a low-voltage driven PDLC system achieved through an elegantly simple and uniquely designed acrylate monomer (A3DA) featuring a benzene moiety with a dodecyl terminal chain. The PDLC films were fabricated by the photopolymerization of mono- and di-functional acrylate monomers (19.2 wt%) mixed in a nematic liquid crystal E7 (80 wt%). The PDLC film with A3DA exhibited an abrupt decline of driving voltage by 75% (0.55 V/μm) with a high contrast ratio (16.82) while maintaining other electro–optical properties almost the same as the reference cell. The response time was adjusted to satisfactory by tuning the monomer concentration while maintaining the voltage significantly low (3 ms for a voltage of 0.98 V/μm). Confocal laser scanning microscopy confirmed the polyhedral foam texture morphology with an average mesh size of approximately 2.6 μm, which is less in comparison with the mesh size of reference PDLC (3.4 μm), yet the A3DA-PDLC showed low switching voltage. Thus, the promoted electro–optical properties are believed to be originated from the unique polymer networks formed by A3DA and its weak anchoring behavior on LCs. The present system with such a huge reduction in driving voltage and enhanced electro–optical performance opens up an excellent way for abundant perspective applications of PDLCs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
DFT Prediction of Factors Affecting the Structural Characteristics, the Transition Temperature and the Electronic Density of Some New Conjugated Polymers
Polymers 2020, 12(6), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12061207 - 26 May 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1603
Abstract
Conjugated polymers are promising materials for various cutting-edge technologies, especially for organic conducting materials and in the energy field. In this work, we have synthesized a new conjugated polymer and investigated the effect of distance between bond layers, side-chain functional groups (H, Br, [...] Read more.
Conjugated polymers are promising materials for various cutting-edge technologies, especially for organic conducting materials and in the energy field. In this work, we have synthesized a new conjugated polymer and investigated the effect of distance between bond layers, side-chain functional groups (H, Br, OH, OCH3 and OC2H5) on structural characteristics, phase transition temperature (T), and electrical structure of C13H8OS using Density Functional Theory (DFT). The structural characteristics were determined by the shape, network constant (a, b and c), bond length (C–C, C–H, C–O, C–S, C–Br and O–H), phase transition temperatures, and the total energy (Etot) on a base cell. Our finding shows that the increase of layer thickness (h) of C13H8OS–H has a negligible effect on the transition temperature, while the energy bandgap (Eg) increases from 1.646 eV to 1.675 eV. The calculation of bond length with different side chain groups was carried out for which C13H8OS–H has C–H = 1.09 Å; C13H8OS–Br has C–Br = 1.93 Å; C13H8OS–OH has C–O = 1.36 Å, O–H = 0.78 Å; C13H8OS–OCH3 has C–O = 1.44 Å, O–H =1.10 Å; C13H8OS–OC2H5 has C–O = 1.45 Å, C–C = 1.51Å, C–H = 1.10 Å. The transition temperature (T) for C13H8OS–H was 500 K < T < 562 K; C13H8OS–Br was 442 K < T < 512 K; C13H8OS–OH was 487 K < T < 543 K; C13H8OS–OCH3 was 492 K < T < 558 K; and C13H8OS–OC2H5 was 492 K < T < 572 K. The energy bandgap (Eg) of Br is of Eg = 1.621 eV, the doping of side chain groups H, OH, OCH3, and OC2H5, leads to an increase of Eg from 1.621 eV to 1.646, 1.697, 1.920, and 2.04 eV, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Simulation and Experimental Investigation on Carbonized Tracking Failure of EPDM/BN-Based Electrical Insulation
Polymers 2020, 12(3), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12030582 - 05 Mar 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1114
Abstract
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is broadly employed as an insulating material for high voltage applications. Surface discharge-induced thermal depolymerization and carbon tracking adversely affect its performance. This work reports the electrical field modeling, carbon tracking lifetime, infrared thermal distribution, and leakage current [...] Read more.
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is broadly employed as an insulating material for high voltage applications. Surface discharge-induced thermal depolymerization and carbon tracking adversely affect its performance. This work reports the electrical field modeling, carbon tracking lifetime, infrared thermal distribution, and leakage current development on EPDM-based insulation with the addition of nano-BN (boron nitride) contents. Melt mixing and compression molding techniques were used for the fabrication of nanocomposites. An electrical tracking resistance test was carried out as per IEC-60587. Simulation results show that contamination significantly distorted the electrical field distribution and induced dry band arcing. Experimental results indicate that electric field stress was noticed significantly higher at the intersection of insulation and edges of the area of contamination. Moreover, the field substantially intensified with the increasing voltage levels. Experimental results show improved carbonized tracking lifetime with the addition of nano-BN contents. Furthermore, surface temperature was reduced in the critical contamination flow path. The third harmonic component in the leakage current declined with the increase of the nano-BN contents. It is concluded that addition of nano-BN imparts a better tracking failure time, and this is attributed to better thermal conductivity and thermal stability, as well as an improved shielding effect to electrical discharges on the surface of nanocomposite insulators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Thermomechanical Properties of SiC-Filled Polybutylene Succinate Composite Fabricated via Melt Extrusion
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020418 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1059
Abstract
Polybutylene succinate (PBS) composites filled with various mass fractions of silicon carbide (SiC) particles were fabricated via slow melt extrusion. The morphological analysis revealed that the fabrication technique assisted in achieving a good adhesion between the PBS and SiC, along with excellent filler [...] Read more.
Polybutylene succinate (PBS) composites filled with various mass fractions of silicon carbide (SiC) particles were fabricated via slow melt extrusion. The morphological analysis revealed that the fabrication technique assisted in achieving a good adhesion between the PBS and SiC, along with excellent filler dispersion throughout the PBS matrix. The inclusion of 40 wt.% SiC in the PBS composite afforded a 10 °C increase in the thermal degradation temperature and a 160% enhancement in the thermal conductivity relative to the neat PBS. The crystallization temperature also increased with the inclusion of SiC particles, thus making the composites easier to process. Furthermore, the improvement in the Young’s modulus of the PBS composites increased their rigidity and stiffness relative to the neat PBS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Article
Multifunctional Stretchable Conductive Woven Fabric Containing Metal Wire with Durable Structural Stability and Electromagnetic Shielding in the X-Band
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020399 - 10 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Elastomeric, conductive composite yarns have recently received attention around the opportunity for them to offer special protective fields. A straightforward approach for fabricating tri-component elastic-conductive composite yarns (t-ECCYs) containing stainless steel wire (SSW) was proposed previously. This work mainly focuses on the electromagnetic [...] Read more.
Elastomeric, conductive composite yarns have recently received attention around the opportunity for them to offer special protective fields. A straightforward approach for fabricating tri-component elastic-conductive composite yarns (t-ECCYs) containing stainless steel wire (SSW) was proposed previously. This work mainly focuses on the electromagnetic shielding effectiveness (EMSE) of weft-stretchable woven fabric containing t-ECCY over the X-band under different testing conditions, e.g., single step-by-step elongation, cyclic stretch and lamination events. Results showed that a woven cotton fabric with weft yarn of t-ECCY not only exhibited superior weft stretch-ability to a higher elongation (>40%) compared with a pure cotton control but also had an acceptable 15-cyclic stability with 80% shape recovery retention. The t-ECCY weft fabric was effective in shielding electromagnetic radiation, and its EMSE was also enhanced at elevated elongations during stretch at parallel polarization of EM waves. There was also no decay in EMSE before and after the t-ECCY fabric was subject to 15 stretch cycles at extension of 20%. In addition, a 90° by 90° cross lamination of t-ECCY fabric remarkably improved the EMSE compared to a 0°/90° one. The scalable fabrication strategy and excellent EMSE seen in t-ECCY-incorporated fabrics represent a significant step forward in protective fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Review

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Review
Recent Advances in Natural Functional Biopolymers and Their Applications of Electronic Skins and Flexible Strain Sensors
Polymers 2021, 13(5), 813; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13050813 - 06 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
In order to replace nonrenewable resources and decrease electronic waste disposal, there is a rapidly rising demand for the utilization of reproducible and degradable biopolymers in flexible electronics. Natural biopolymers have many remarkable characteristics, including light weight, excellent mechanical properties, biocompatibility, non-toxicity, low [...] Read more.
In order to replace nonrenewable resources and decrease electronic waste disposal, there is a rapidly rising demand for the utilization of reproducible and degradable biopolymers in flexible electronics. Natural biopolymers have many remarkable characteristics, including light weight, excellent mechanical properties, biocompatibility, non-toxicity, low cost, etc. Thanks to these superior merits, natural functional biopolymers can be designed and optimized for the development of high-performance flexible electronic devices. Herein, we provide an insightful overview of the unique structures, properties and applications of biopolymers for electronic skins (e-skins) and flexible strain sensors. The relationships between properties and sensing performances of biopolymers-based sensors are also investigated. The functional design strategies and fabrication technologies for biopolymers-based flexible sensors are proposed. Furthermore, the research progresses of biopolymers-based sensors with various functions are described in detail. Finally, we provide some useful viewpoints and future prospects of developing biopolymers-based flexible sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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Review
Recent Applications of Advanced Atomic Force Microscopy in Polymer Science: A Review
Polymers 2020, 12(5), 1142; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12051142 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2378
Abstract
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been extensively used for the nanoscale characterization of polymeric materials. The coupling of AFM with infrared spectroscope (AFM-IR) provides another advantage to the chemical analyses and thus helps to shed light upon the study of polymers. This paper [...] Read more.
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been extensively used for the nanoscale characterization of polymeric materials. The coupling of AFM with infrared spectroscope (AFM-IR) provides another advantage to the chemical analyses and thus helps to shed light upon the study of polymers. This paper reviews some recent progress in the application of AFM and AFM-IR in polymer science. We describe the principle of AFM-IR and the recent improvements to enhance its resolution. We also discuss the latest progress in the use of AFM-IR as a super-resolution correlated scanned-probe infrared spectroscopy for the chemical characterization of polymer materials dealing with polymer composites, polymer blends, multilayers, and biopolymers. To highlight the advantages of AFM-IR, we report several results in studying the crystallization of both miscible and immiscible blends as well as polymer aging. Finally, we demonstrate how this novel technique can be used to determine phase separation, spherulitic structure, and crystallization mechanisms at nanoscales, which has never been achieved before. The review also discusses future trends in the use of AFM-IR in polymer materials, especially in polymer thin film investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Polymer Composites)
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