Special Issue "Synthesis–Processing–Structure–Property Interrelationship of Multifunctional Polymer Nanocomposites"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mohammad Arjmand
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7, Canada
Interests: nanomaterials synthesis; carbon nanotube; graphene; metal-organic framework; MXene; polymer processing; multifunctional polymer nanocomposites; gas sensors; additive manufacturing/3D printing; wastewater treatment; electromagnetic interference shielding
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Amir Ameli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Advanced Composites Laboratory, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, 2710 Crimson Way, Richland, WA 99354, USA
Interests: multifunctional polymer nanocomposites; additive manufacturing; bioproducts; smart materials and structures; advanced polymer-based foams; mechanics of materials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymers offer remarkable physical properties such as their light weight, low cost, easy processability, corrosion resistance, improved design options, etc. These properties distinguish polymers from their traditional rivals such as ceramics and metals. Nonetheless, in order to employ polymers as the next generation of advanced materials, their physical properties must be significantly improved. This can be carried out via incorporating multifunctional nanomaterials into the polymer matrices.

Despite the outstanding physical properties of different types of nanomaterials, the full exploitation of their physical properties toward the development of multifunctional polymer nanocomposites is still a challenge, due to their synthesis challenges, agglomeration, poor affinity toward polymers, nanofiller-polymer processing challenges, etc. This Special Issue aims to address partial or full coverage of the diamond of Synthesis–Processing–Structure–Property toward the development of multifunctional polymer nanocomposites containing various types of nanomaterials. Covering the diamond will generate a platform to achieve a better understanding of the physical properties of polymer nanocomposites and their relationship with nanofiller synthesis, nanofiller structure, nanofiller–polymer processing, and nanocomposite morphology.

In this regard, this Special Issue aims to create an interdisciplinary forum of discussion on applications and advancements in the area of the development of multifunctional polymer nanocomposites holding various types of nanomaterials. This Issue accepts high-quality research articles as well as review articles that will illustrate and stimulate the continuing effort to understand the area of multifunctional nanomaterial/polymer nanocomposites.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Design and Engineering of Various Types of Multifunctional Nanomaterials
  • Synthesis;
  • Surface modification and functionalization;
  • Characterization of physical and structural properties.
  • Fabrication of Nanocomposites
  • Melt mixing and solution mixing;
  • Injection molding;
  • Extrusion;
  • Compression molding;
  • Electrospinning;
  • Foaming;
  • 3D Printing.
  • Structure of Nanocomposites
  • Characterization (microscopy, spectroscopy, etc.);
  • Hybrid nanocomposites and blends;
  • Nanofiller localization.
  • Properties of Nanocomposites
  • Electrical conductivity;
  • Electromagnetic interference shielding;
  • Dielectric;
  • Thermoelectric;
  • Piezoresistive and piezoelectric;
  • Thermal;
  • Mechanical;
  • Rheological;
  • Tribological;
  • Barrier.

Dr. Mohammad Arjmand
Dr. Amir Ameli
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

  • Multifunctional nanomaterials
  • Synthesis
  • Polymer processing
  • Structure
  • Polymer nanocomposites
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Electromagnetic interference shielding
  • Mechanical properties
  • Thermal properties
  • Dielectric properties
  • Thermoelectric
  • Piezoelectric
  • Piezoresistive
  • Tribological properties
  • Barrier

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Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Effects of Zirconium Silicide on the Vulcanization, Mechanical and Ablation Resistance Properties of Ceramifiable Silicone Rubber Composites
Polymers 2020, 12(2), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12020496 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1164
Abstract
Ceramifiable silicone rubber composites play important roles in the field of thermal protection systems (TPS) for rocket motor cases due to their advantages. Ceramifiable silicone rubber composites filled with different contents of ZrSi2 were prepared in this paper. The fffects of ZrSi [...] Read more.
Ceramifiable silicone rubber composites play important roles in the field of thermal protection systems (TPS) for rocket motor cases due to their advantages. Ceramifiable silicone rubber composites filled with different contents of ZrSi2 were prepared in this paper. The fffects of ZrSi2 on the vulcanization, mechanical and ablation resistance properties of the composites were also investigated. The results showed that the introduction of ZrSi2 decreased the vulcanization time of silicone rubber. FTIR spectra showed that ZrSi2 did not participate in reactions of the functional groups of silicone rubber. With the increasing content of ZrSi2, the tensile strength increased first and then decreased. The elongation at break decreased and the permanent deformation increased gradually. The thermal conductivity of the composite increased from 0.553 W/(m·K) to 0.694 W/(m·K) as the content of the ZrSi2 increased from 0 to 40 phr. In addition, the thermal conductivity of the composite decreased with the increase of temperature. Moreover, thermal analysis showed that the addition of ZrSi2 increased the initial decomposition temperature of the composite, but had little effect on the peak decomposition temperature in nitrogen. However, the thermal decomposition temperature of the composite in air was lower than that in nitrogen. The addition of ZrSi2 decreased the linear and mass ablation rate, which improved the ablative resistance of the composite. With the ZrSi2 content of 30 phr, the linear and mass ablation rate were 0.041 mm/s and 0.029 g/s, decreasing by 57.5% and 46.3% compared with the composite without ZrSi2, respectively. Consequently, the ceramifiable silicone rubber composite filled with ZrSi2 is very promising for TPS. Full article
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Article
Surface Modification Design for Improving the Strength and Water Vapor Permeability of Waterborne Polymer/SiO2 Composites: Molecular Simulation and Experimental Analyses
Polymers 2020, 12(1), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym12010170 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1551
Abstract
Polymer-based nanocomposites properties are greatly affected by interfacial interaction. Polyacrylate nanocomposites have been widely studied, but few studies have been conducted on their interface mechanism. Therefore, there was an urgent demand for providing a thorough understanding of the polymethyl acrylate/SiO2 (PMA/SiO2 [...] Read more.
Polymer-based nanocomposites properties are greatly affected by interfacial interaction. Polyacrylate nanocomposites have been widely studied, but few studies have been conducted on their interface mechanism. Therefore, there was an urgent demand for providing a thorough understanding of the polymethyl acrylate/SiO2 (PMA/SiO2) nanocomposites to obtain the desired macro-performance. In this paper, a methodology, which combined molecular dynamics simulation with experimental researches, was established to expound the effect of the surface structure of SiO2 particles which were treated with KH550, KH560 or KH570 (KH550-SiO2, KH560-SiO2 and KH570-SiO2) on the mechanical characteristic and water vapor permeability of polymethyl acrylate/SiO2 nanocomposites. The polymethyl acrylate/SiO2 nanocomposites were analyzed in binding energy and mean square displacement. The results indicate that PMA/KH570-SiO2 had the highest tensile strength, while PMA/KH550-SiO2 had the highest elongation at break at the same filler content; KH550-SiO2 spheres can significantly improve water vapor permeability of polyacrylate film. Full article
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Article
Improved Processing and Properties for Polyphenylene Oxide Modified by Diallyl Orthophthalate Prepolymer
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11122016 - 05 Dec 2019
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
Diallyl orthophthalate (DAOP) prepolymer was investigated as a reactive plasticizer to improve the processability of thermoplastics. The rheology of blends of DAOP prepolymer initiated by 2,3-dimethyl-2,3-diphenylbutane (DMDPB) and polyphenylene oxide (PPO) was monitored during the curing process, and their thermal properties and morphology [...] Read more.
Diallyl orthophthalate (DAOP) prepolymer was investigated as a reactive plasticizer to improve the processability of thermoplastics. The rheology of blends of DAOP prepolymer initiated by 2,3-dimethyl-2,3-diphenylbutane (DMDPB) and polyphenylene oxide (PPO) was monitored during the curing process, and their thermal properties and morphology in separated phases were also studied. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results showed that the cure degree of the reactively plasticized DAOP prepolymer was reduced with increasing PPO due to the dilution effect. The increasing amount of the DAOP prepolymer led to a gradual decrease in the viscosity of the blends and the rheology behavior was consistent with the chemical gelation of DAOP prepolymer in blends. This indicated that the addition of the DAOP prepolymer effectively improved processability. The phase separation occurring during curing of the blend and the transition from the static to dynamic mode significantly influences the development of the morphology of the blend corresponding to limited evolution of the conversion around the gel point. Full article
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Article
Investigation on Plugging and Profile Control of Polymer Microspheres as a Displacement Fluid in Enhanced Oil Recovery
Polymers 2019, 11(12), 1993; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11121993 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1042
Abstract
Polymer microspheres (PMs) are used as a new material to recover residual oil left in unswept oil areas after secondary recovery methods. The fact that the PMs plug the macropores causes the flow direction of the injection fluid to be transferred from macropores [...] Read more.
Polymer microspheres (PMs) are used as a new material to recover residual oil left in unswept oil areas after secondary recovery methods. The fact that the PMs plug the macropores causes the flow direction of the injection fluid to be transferred from macropores to micropores. In order to investigate the plugging and profile control mechanisms of PMs in reservoirs, four kinds of PMs with different particle sizes and four kinds of artificial cores with different permeability were selected for flooding tests, including plugging experiments and profile control experiments. The pore throat size distribution of cores was characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology. The particle size distribution of PMs used in the experiment was characterized using a laser particle size analyzer. The results showed that there are six matching relationships existing simultaneously between pore throats and PMs based on theoretical analysis, which are completely plugging, single plugging, bridge plugging, smooth passing, deposition, and deformable passing. A key principle for optimizing PMs in profile control is that the particle size of the selected PMs can enter the high permeability layer well, but it is difficult for it to enter the low permeability layer. The results of this paper provide a theoretical basis for the optimal particle size of PMs during the oil field profile control process. Full article
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Article
Nanofiller Dispersion, Morphology, Mechanical Behavior, and Electrical Properties of Nanostructured Styrene-Butadiene-Based Triblock Copolymer/CNT Composites
Polymers 2019, 11(11), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11111831 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1298
Abstract
A nanostructured linear triblock copolymer based on styrene and butadiene with lamellar morphology is filled with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) of up to 1 wt% by melt compounding. This study deals with the dispersability of the MWCNTs within the nanostructured matrix and its [...] Read more.
A nanostructured linear triblock copolymer based on styrene and butadiene with lamellar morphology is filled with multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) of up to 1 wt% by melt compounding. This study deals with the dispersability of the MWCNTs within the nanostructured matrix and its consequent impact on block copolymer (BCP) morphology, deformation behavior, and the electrical conductivity of composites. By adjusting the processing parameters during melt mixing, the dispersion of the MWCNTs within the BCP matrix are optimized. In this study, the morphology and glass transition temperatures (Tg) of the hard and soft phase are not significantly influenced by the incorporation of MWCNTs. However, processing-induced orientation effects of the BCP structure are reduced by the addition of MWCNT accompanied by a decrease in lamella size. The stress-strain behavior of the triblock copolymer/MWCNT composites indicate higher Young’s modulus and pronounced yield point while retaining high ductility (strain at break ~ 400%). At a MWCNT content of 1 wt%, the nanocomposites are electrically conductive, exhibiting a volume resistivity below 3 × 103 Ω·cm. Accordingly, the study offers approaches for the development of mechanically flexible functional materials while maintaining a remarkable structural property profile. Full article
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Article
Adsorption of Pb2+ from Aqueous Solutions Using Novel Functionalized Corncobs via Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1715; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101715 - 19 Oct 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 914
Abstract
The present study developed novel functionalized corncobs introducing brushes with dense and active carboxyl groups (–COOH), named MC-g-PAA, for the highly efficient adsorption of Pb2+ from aqueous solutions. MC-g-PAA were synthesized via atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and characterized by Fourier transform [...] Read more.
The present study developed novel functionalized corncobs introducing brushes with dense and active carboxyl groups (–COOH), named MC-g-PAA, for the highly efficient adsorption of Pb2+ from aqueous solutions. MC-g-PAA were synthesized via atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The amount of Pb2+ adsorbed on MC-g-PAA by hydrolysis with t-BuOK was 2.28 times greater than that with NaOH, attributed to the larger steric effect of t-BuOK, which reduced the hydrolysis of the bromo-ester groups. The influence of different parameters including the solid/liquid ratio, working solution pH, sorption temperature, and initial concentration and sorption time on the adsorption of Pb2+ were investigated in detail in batch experiments. Thermodynamic studies have shown that the adsorption process was spontaneous, endothermic, and accompanied by an increase in randomness. A better fit for the isotherm data was obtained using the Langmuir model than for the other four models and the maximum amount ( q max ) of Pb2+ adsorbed on MC-g-PAA was 342.47 mg/g, which is 21.11 times greater when compared with that of pristine corncobs (16.22 mg/g). The adsorption of Pb2+ on MC-g-PAA was very fast and followed the pseudo-second-order kinetic equation with a correlation coefficient of 0.99999. This monolayer adsorption process was dominated by chemical adsorption, and may proceed according to complexation and electrostatic interactions between Pb2+ and the carboxylate groups. This study indicated that MC-g-PAA could be successfully used as an adsorbent for the removal of Pb2+ from aqueous solutions due to its excellent efficiency. Full article
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Article
Selective Localization of Carbon Black in Bio-Based Poly (Lactic Acid)/Recycled High-Density Polyethylene Co-Continuous Blends to Design Electrical Conductive Composites with a Low Percolation Threshold
Polymers 2019, 11(10), 1583; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11101583 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1062
Abstract
The electrically conductive poly (lactic acid) (PLA)/recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE)/carbon black (CB) composites with a fine co-continuous micro structure and selective localization of CB in the HDPE component were fabricated by one-step melt processing via a twin-screw extruder. Micromorphology analysis, electrical conductivity, thermal [...] Read more.
The electrically conductive poly (lactic acid) (PLA)/recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE)/carbon black (CB) composites with a fine co-continuous micro structure and selective localization of CB in the HDPE component were fabricated by one-step melt processing via a twin-screw extruder. Micromorphology analysis, electrical conductivity, thermal properties, thermal stability, and mechanical properties were investigated. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images indicate that a co-continuous morphology is formed, and CB is selectively distributed in the HDPE component. With the introduction of CB, the phase size of the PLA component and the HDPE component in PLA/HDPE blends is reduced. In addition, differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermos gravimetric analysis (TGA) results show that the introduction of CB promotes the crystallization behavior of the PLA and HDPE components, respectively, and improves the thermal stability of PLA70/30HDPE/CB composites. The electrically conductive percolation threshold of the PLA70/30HDPE/CB composites is around 5.0 wt %, and the electrical conductivity of PLA70/30HDPE/CB composites reaches 1.0 s/cm and 15 s/cm just at the 10 wt % and 15 wt % CB loading, respectively. Further, the tensile and impact tests show that the PLA70/30HDPE/CB composites have good mechanical properties. The excellent electrical conductivity and good mechanical properties offer the potential to broaden the application of PLA/HDPE/CB composites. Full article
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Article
Tensile and Interfacial Loading Characteristics of Boron Nitride-Carbon Nanosheet Reinforced Polymer Nanocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1075; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061075 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1547
Abstract
The discovery of hybrid boron nitride–carbon (BN–C) nanostructures has triggered enormous research interest in the design and fabrication of new generation nanocomposites. The robust design of these nanocomposites for target applications requires their mechanical strength to be characterized with a wide range of [...] Read more.
The discovery of hybrid boron nitride–carbon (BN–C) nanostructures has triggered enormous research interest in the design and fabrication of new generation nanocomposites. The robust design of these nanocomposites for target applications requires their mechanical strength to be characterized with a wide range of factors. This article presents a comprehensive study, with the aid of molecular dynamics analysis, of the tensile loading mechanics of BN–C nanosheet reinforced polyethylene (PE) nanocomposites. It is observed that the geometry and lattice arrangement of the BN–C nanosheet influences the tensile loading characteristics of the nanocomposites. Furthermore, defects in the nanosheet can severely impact the tensile loading resistance, the extent of which is determined by the defect’s location. This study also found that the tensile loading resistance of nanocomposites tends to weaken at elevated temperatures. The interfacial mechanics of the BN–C nanocomposites are also investigated. This analysis revealed a strong dependency with the carbon concentration in the BN–C nanosheet. Full article
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Article
Thermal Conductivity and Electrical Resistivity of Melt-Mixed Polypropylene Composites Containing Mixtures of Carbon-Based Fillers
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1073; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061073 - 21 Jun 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 1726
Abstract
Melt-mixed composites based on polypropylene (PP) with various carbon-based fillers were investigated with regard to their thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity. The composites were filled with up to three fillers by selecting combinations of graphite nanoplatelets (GNP), carbon fibers (CF), carbon nanotubes (CNT), [...] Read more.
Melt-mixed composites based on polypropylene (PP) with various carbon-based fillers were investigated with regard to their thermal conductivity and electrical resistivity. The composites were filled with up to three fillers by selecting combinations of graphite nanoplatelets (GNP), carbon fibers (CF), carbon nanotubes (CNT), carbon black (CB), and graphite (G) at a constant filler content of 7.5 vol%. The thermal conductivity of PP (0.26 W/(m·K)) improved most using graphite nanoplatelets, whereas electrical resistivity was the lowest when using multiwalled CNT. Synergistic effects could be observed for different filler combinations. The PP composite, which contains a mixture of GNP, CNT, and highly structured CB, simultaneously had high thermal conductivity (0.5 W/(m·K)) and the lowest electrical volume resistivity (4 Ohm·cm). Full article
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Article
Carbon Nanotube versus Graphene Nanoribbon: Impact of Nanofiller Geometry on Electromagnetic Interference Shielding of Polyvinylidene Fluoride Nanocomposites
Polymers 2019, 11(6), 1064; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym11061064 - 20 Jun 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1632
Abstract
The similar molecular structure but different geometries of the carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene nanoribbon (GNR) create a genuine opportunity to assess the impact of nanofiller geometry (tube vs. ribbon) on the electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding of polymer nanocomposites. In this regard, GNR [...] Read more.
The similar molecular structure but different geometries of the carbon nanotube (CNT) and graphene nanoribbon (GNR) create a genuine opportunity to assess the impact of nanofiller geometry (tube vs. ribbon) on the electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding of polymer nanocomposites. In this regard, GNR and its parent CNT were melt mixed with a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) matrix using a miniature melt mixer at various nanofiller loadings, i.e., 0.3, 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 wt%, and then compression molded. Molecular simulations showed that CNT would have a better interaction with the PVDF matrix in any configuration. Rheological results validated that CNTs feature a far stronger network (mechanical interlocking) than GNRs. Despite lower powder conductivity and a comparable dispersion state, it was interestingly observed that CNT nanocomposites indicated a highly superior electrical conductivity and EMI shielding at higher nanofiller loadings. For instance, at 2.0 wt%, CNT/PVDF nanocomposites showed an electrical conductivity of 0.77 S·m−1 and an EMI shielding effectiveness of 11.60 dB, which are eight orders of magnitude and twofold higher than their GNR counterparts, respectively. This observation was attributed to their superior conductive network formation and the interlocking ability of the tubular nanostructure to the ribbon-like nanostructure, verified by molecular simulations and rheological assays. Full article
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