Special Issue "Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fotouhi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
Interests: generative design; lightweight/smart bio-inspired composites; 4D printed self-morphing structures and multi-functional materials
Dr. Hamed Yazdani Nezhad
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, University of London, London EC1V 0HB, UK
Interests: multifunctional composites; smart materials; composite manufacturing; composite joints; computational damage mechanics; composite repair
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Han Zhang
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS, UK
Interests: multifunctional composites; hierarchial composites; sustainable manufacturing; nanocomposites; sensing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The invention of multifunctional polymers and polymeric composites (MPPC) was one of the most revolutionary steps in the field of materials. Recently, research on the underlying mechanisms of MPPC to an external stimulus (for example, heat, electricity, magnetism, light, and moisture) and structures has grown rapidly in different fields. Due to their novel properties, MPPC can address challenges in many applications such as automotive, aerospace, wind, and soft robotics. This Special Issue aims to provide a platform for communication and fast publications of high-quality original research and review papers for scientists working on different aspects of MPPC across the world. It includes but is not limited to the synthesis, processing, manufacturing, and practical applications of these materials. Different types of research (such as analytical, modeling, and experimental) on MPPC are welcomed.

Dr. Hamed Yazdani Nezhad
Dr. Mohamad Fotouhi
Dr. Han Zhang
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

  • multifunctionality
  • polymers, composites
  • smart materials
  • bio-inspiration
  • stimuli

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Tailoring of Thermo-Mechanical Properties of Hybrid Composite-Metal Bonded Joints
Polymers 2021, 13(2), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13020170 - 06 Jan 2021
Viewed by 538
Abstract
Metallic substrates and polymer adhesive in composite-metal joints have a relatively large coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch, which is a barrier in the growing market of electric vehicles and their battery structures. It is reported that adding carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to the [...] Read more.
Metallic substrates and polymer adhesive in composite-metal joints have a relatively large coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch, which is a barrier in the growing market of electric vehicles and their battery structures. It is reported that adding carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to the adhesive reduces the CTE of the CNT-enhanced polymer adhesive multi-material system, and therefore when used in adhesively bonded joints it would, theoretically, result in low CTE mismatch in the joint system. The current article presents the influence of two specific mass ratios of CNTs on the CTE of the enhanced polymer. It was observed that the addition of 1.0 wt% and 2.68 wt% of multi-walled CNTs (MWCNTs) decreased the CTE of the polymer adhesive from 7.5×105 °C1 (pristine level) to 5.87×105 °C1 and 4.43×105 °C1, respectively, by 22% and 41% reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites)
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Article
A Study of Physico-Mechanical Properties of Hollow Glass Bubble, Jute Fibre and Rubber Powder Reinforced Polypropylene Compounds with and without MuCell® Technology for Lightweight Applications
Polymers 2020, 12(11), 2664; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12112664 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 529
Abstract
Lightweighting is one of the key solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles. Nowadays, it is still challenging to achieve this target because there is a conflict between the cost and final material performance, as well as the fact that many lightweight [...] Read more.
Lightweighting is one of the key solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles. Nowadays, it is still challenging to achieve this target because there is a conflict between the cost and final material performance, as well as the fact that many lightweight solutions are restricted to laboratory or small-scale production. In this work, a commercially feasible strategy was adopted to fabricate materials for lightweight applications. Hollow glass bubbles, jute fibres, and rubber powder were used as fillers with polypropylene as the base polymer. Various samples were fabricated using conventional and MuCell® injection moulding. Their performance was then characterised by their density and morphological, mechanical, and rheological properties. A comparison among hybrid fillers/polypropylene compounds with and without MuCell® technology was investigated. The filler hybridisation resulted in not only a density reduction of up to approximately 10%, but also improved tensile/flexural modulus and strength. The use of MuCell® led to a further reduction in density of roughly 10%. Meanwhile, although some compounds fabricated by MuCell® exhibited some deterioration in their tensile yield strength, tensile modulus, and impact strength, they maintained acceptable mechanical properties for automotive applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites)
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Article
Influence of Polylactide (PLA) Stereocomplexation on the Microstructure of PLA/PBS Blends and the Cell Morphology of Their Microcellular Foams
Polymers 2020, 12(10), 2362; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12102362 - 15 Oct 2020
Viewed by 648
Abstract
Polylactide foaming materials with promising biocompatibility balance the lightweight and mechanical properties well, and thus they can be desirable candidates for biological scaffolds used in tissue engineering. However, the cells are likely to coalesce and collapse during the foaming process of polylactide (PLA) [...] Read more.
Polylactide foaming materials with promising biocompatibility balance the lightweight and mechanical properties well, and thus they can be desirable candidates for biological scaffolds used in tissue engineering. However, the cells are likely to coalesce and collapse during the foaming process of polylactide (PLA) due to its intrinsic low melt strength. This work introduces a unique PLA stereocomplexation into the microcellular foaming of poly (l-lactide)/poly (butylene succinate) (PLLA/PBS) based on supercritical carbon dioxide. The rheological properties of PLA/PBS with 5 wt% or 10 wt% poly (d-lactide) (PDLA) present enhanced melt strength owing to the formation of PLA stereocomplex crystals (sc-PLA), which act as physical pseudo-cross-link points in the molten blends by virtue of the strong intermolecular interaction between PLLA and the added PDLA. Notably, the introduction of either PBS or PDLA into the PLLA matrix could enhance its crystallization, while introducing both in the blend triggers a decreasing trend in the PLA crystallinity, which it is believed occurs due to the constrained molecular chain mobility by formed sc-PLA. Nevertheless, the enhanced melt strength and decreased crystallinity of PLA/PBS/PDLA blends are favorable for the microcellular foaming behavior, which enhanced the cell stability and provided amorphous regions for gas adsorption and homogeneous nucleation of PLLA cells, respectively. Furthermore, although the microstructure of PLA/PBS presents immiscible sea-island morphology, the miscibility was improved while the PBS domains were also refined by the introduction of PDLA. Overall, with the addition of PDLA into PLA/10PBS blends, the microcellular average cell size decreased from 3.21 to 0.66 μm with highest cell density of 2.23 × 1010 cells cm−3 achieved, confirming a stable growth of cells was achieved and more cell nucleation sites were initiated on the heterogeneous interface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites)
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Article
Transforming Marble Waste into High-Performance, Water-Resistant, and Thermally Insulative Hybrid Polymer Composites for Environmental Sustainability
Polymers 2020, 12(8), 1781; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12081781 - 09 Aug 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1188
Abstract
Marble waste is generated by marble processing units in large quantities and dumped onto open land areas. This creates environmental problems by contaminating soil, water, and air with adverse health effects on all the living organisms. In this work, we report on understanding [...] Read more.
Marble waste is generated by marble processing units in large quantities and dumped onto open land areas. This creates environmental problems by contaminating soil, water, and air with adverse health effects on all the living organisms. In this work, we report on understanding the use of calcium-rich marble waste particulates (MPs) as economic reinforcement in recyclable polypropylene (PP) to prepare sustainable composites via the injection molding method. The process was optimized to make lightweight and high-strength thermally insulated sustainable composites. Physicochemical, mineralogical, and microscopic characterization of the processed marble waste particulates were carried out in detail. Composite samples were subsequently prepared via the injection molding technique with different filler concentrations (0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80%) on weight fraction at temperatures of 160, 180, and 200 °C. Detailed analysis of the mechanical and thermal properties of the fabricated composites was carried out. The composites showed a density varying from 0.96 to 1.27 g/cm3, while the water absorption capacity was very low at 0.006%–0.034%. Marble waste particulates were found to considerably increase the tensile, as well as flexural, strength of the sustainable composites, which varied from 22.06 to 30.65 MPa and 43.27 to 58.11MPa, respectively, for the molding temperature of 160 °C. The impact strength of the sustainable composites was found to surge with the increment in filler concentration, and the maximum impact strength was recorded as 1.66 kJ/m2with 20% particulates reinforcement at a molding temperature of 200 °C. The thermal conductivity of the particulates-reinforced sustainable composites was as low as 0.23 Wm−1K−1 at a 200 °C molding temperature with 20% and 40% filler concentrations, and the maximum thermal conductivity was 0.48 Wm−1K−1 at a 160 °C molding temperature with 80% filler concentration. Our findings have shown a technically feasible option for manufacturing a lightweight composite with better mechanical and thermal properties using marble waste particulates as a potential civil infrastructural material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites)
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Article
Enhanced Interface Adhesion by Novel Eco-Epoxy Adhesives Based on the Modified Tannic Acid on Al and CFRP Adherends
Polymers 2020, 12(7), 1541; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12071541 - 12 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1035
Abstract
This paper presents a new process for obtaining eco-epoxide adhesives synthesized from bio-renewable raw material (tannic acid—TA) and used for bonding lightweight materials (aluminum (Al) and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP)). Two synthesized bio-epoxy components based on TA, (A) glycidyl ether and (B) [...] Read more.
This paper presents a new process for obtaining eco-epoxide adhesives synthesized from bio-renewable raw material (tannic acid—TA) and used for bonding lightweight materials (aluminum (Al) and carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP)). Two synthesized bio-epoxy components based on TA, (A) glycidyl ether and (B) glycidyl phosphate ester of TA, were used as a replacement for the toxic epoxy component based on Bisphenol A. The effect of eco-epoxy components on the interface adhesion was measured by the determination of adhesion parameter b, which was compared to the reference epoxy (REF). The increase of adhesion parameter b was 77.5% for A and 151.5% for B. The adhesion of both eco-adhesives was tested using the bell peel test (BPT) with the Al and CFRP adherends. When compared to REF, the average peel load for B was 17.6% (39.3%) and 58.3% (176.9%) higher for the Al and CFRP adherends, respectively. Complete adhesion failure of REF reflected the weak adhesion to both Al and CFRP, which was improved by the addition of eco-epoxy components A and B showing the presence of cohesive failure. The microhardness testing method of interface adhesion was proven to be a fast and reliable testing method, providing a qualitative indication in adhesive selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites)
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Article
Influence of Polymer Composites and Memory Foam on Energy Absorption in Vehicle Application
Polymers 2020, 12(6), 1222; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12061222 - 27 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1035
Abstract
The automotive industry is one of the biggest consumers of polymer composites. Aside from good mechanical properties, polymer composites have low mass, which positively affects the overall vehicle weight reduction and improves energy efficiency. Although polymer composites are used in various vehicle components, [...] Read more.
The automotive industry is one of the biggest consumers of polymer composites. Aside from good mechanical properties, polymer composites have low mass, which positively affects the overall vehicle weight reduction and improves energy efficiency. Although polymer composites are used in various vehicle components, this paper focused on the application in vehicle bumper production. Two different composite plates with hybrid fiber layup were made; the first plate with a combination of glass and carbon fibers and the second with carbon and aramid. For comparison, and as a cheaper variant, a third plate was made only with glass fibers. In the first two plates, epoxy resin was used as the matrix, while in the third plate, polyester resin was used. Polyurethane memory foams of different densities (60, 80, 100 kg/m3) and thicknesses (10, 15, 20 mm) were used as impact force energy absorbers. With the factorial design of experiments, it was found that the thickness of the memory foam was the main influence factor. Without the use of memory foam, the hybrid composite, made of glass and carbon fibers, showed the highest energy absorption, while with the use of foam, the highest energy absorption was achieved with the glass fiber composite. Without the memory foam, the impact force measured on the glass/carbon hybrid composite was 9319.11 ± 93.18 N. Minimum impact force to the amount of 5143.19 ± 237.65 N was measured when the glass fiber composite plate was combined with the memory foam. When using memory foam, the impact force was reduced by 30–48%, depending on the type of composite used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Smart Polymers and Polymeric Composites)
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