Special Issue "Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ana María Díez-Pascual

Analytical Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Sciences, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
Website | E-Mail
Interests: nanomaterials; polymers; nanocomposites; inorganic nanoparticles; antibacterial agents; surfactants; interphases

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Polymer/nanoparticle nanocomposites have attracted considerable research interest over the last few years in order to develop advanced materials for a wide range of applications. One of the main goals of the addition of nanoparticles to polymers is to improve their mechanical performance. The nanoparticles exhibit higher specific surface area, surface energy and density compared to microparticles; hence, lower nanofiller concentrations are needed to attain properties comparable to or even better than those obtained by conventional microfiller loadings, which facilitates processing and minimizes the increase in composite weight. Nonetheless, a number of challenges have to be faced. Nanoparticle agglomeration within the polymer matrix and poor interfacial adhesion between the nanofillers and the matrix frecuently hinder property improvements, demanding for modifying the surface chemistry to promote physical or chemical interactions with the polymer chains. Further, the fabrication procedure of the nanoparticle-modified polymers leads to different morphologies that have a strong influence on the final properties of the materials.

This Special Issue is planned to bring together a number of original papers and reviews covering (but not restricted to) the following topics:

  • Novel fabrication methods of polymer/nanoparticle composites
  • Properties of nanoparticle-reinforced polymers (mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, chemical, magnetic, etc.)
  • Structure–property relationships in polymer nanocomposites
  • Applications of nanoparticle-reinforced polymers
  • Adverse effects of nanofiller-reinforced polymeric materials
  • Future perspectives for nanofiller-reinforced polymeric nanomaterials
Prof. Dr. Ana María Díez Pascual
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nanocomposites
  • nanoparticles
  • polymers
  • mechanical properties
  • electrical performance
  • thermal properties

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Highly Sensitive Detection of Melamine Based on the Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer between Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles and Gold Nanoparticles
Polymers 2018, 10(8), 873; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10080873
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 2 August 2018 / Published: 6 August 2018
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Abstract
Adding melamine as additives in food products will lead to many diseases and even death. However, the present techniques of melamine detection require time-consuming steps, complicated procedures and expensive analytical apparatus. The fluorescent assay method was facile and highly sensitive. In this work,
[...] Read more.
Adding melamine as additives in food products will lead to many diseases and even death. However, the present techniques of melamine detection require time-consuming steps, complicated procedures and expensive analytical apparatus. The fluorescent assay method was facile and highly sensitive. In this work, a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) system for melamine detection was constructed based on conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs) and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The energy transfer efficiency is up to 82.1%, and the system is highly selective and sensitive to melamine detection with a lower detection limit of 1.7 nmol/L. Moreover, the interaction mechanism was explored. The results showed that the fluorescence of CPNs were firstly quenched by AuNPs, and then restored after adding melamine because of reducing FRET between CPNs and AuNPs. Lastly, the proposed method was carried out for melamine detection in powdered infant formula with satisfactory results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of SiO2/TiO2 Nanocomposite on the Optoelectronic Properties of PFO/MEH-PPV-Based OLED Devices
Polymers 2018, 10(7), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10070800
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 20 July 2018
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Abstract
The influence of SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites on the performance of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) based on poly(9,9′-di-n-octylfluorenyl-2,7-diyl) (PFO) and various amounts of poly(2-methoxy-5-(2-ethyl-hexyloxy)-1,4-phenylene-vinylene) (MEH-PPV) was investigated. Prior to the fabrication of the OLEDs on indium-tin oxide (ITO) substrates, the hybrids of
[...] Read more.
The influence of SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites on the performance of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) based on poly(9,9′-di-n-octylfluorenyl-2,7-diyl) (PFO) and various amounts of poly(2-methoxy-5-(2-ethyl-hexyloxy)-1,4-phenylene-vinylene) (MEH-PPV) was investigated. Prior to the fabrication of the OLEDs on indium-tin oxide (ITO) substrates, the hybrids of PFO/MEH-PPV, in the presence and absence of the SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites, were prepared via the solution blending technique. Improvement of the performances of the devices in the presence of the SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites was detected. The existence of the SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites led to better charge carrier injection and, thus, a significant reduction in the turn-on voltage of the devices. The enhancement of MEH-PPV electroluminescence peaks in the hybrids in the presence of SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites is not only a result of the Förster resonance energy transfer, but also of hole-electron recombination, which is of greater significance. Moreover, the existence of the SiO2/TiO2 nanocomposites led to a shift of the CIE chromaticity coordinates of the devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Adsorption Behavior of Polymer Chain with Different Topology Structure at the Polymer-Nanoparticle Interface
Polymers 2018, 10(6), 590; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10060590
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 21 May 2018 / Accepted: 25 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
The effect of the polymer chain topology structure on the adsorption behavior in the polymer-nanoparticle (NP) interface is investigated by employing coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations in various polymer-NP interaction and chain stiffness. At a weak polymer-NP interaction, ring chain with a closed topology
[...] Read more.
The effect of the polymer chain topology structure on the adsorption behavior in the polymer-nanoparticle (NP) interface is investigated by employing coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations in various polymer-NP interaction and chain stiffness. At a weak polymer-NP interaction, ring chain with a closed topology structure has a slight priority to occupy the interfacial region than linear chain. At a strong polymer-NP interaction, the “middle” adsorption mechanism dominates the polymer local packing in the interface. As the increase of chain stiffness, an interesting transition from ring to linear chain preferential adsorption behavior occurs. The semiflexible linear chain squeezes ring chain out of the interfacial region by forming a helical structure and wrapping tightly the surface of NP. In particular, this selective adsorption behavior becomes more dramatic for the case of rigid-like chain, in which 3D tangent conformation of linear chain is absolutely prior to the 2D plane orbital structure of ring chain. The local packing and competitive adsorption behavior of bidisperse matrix in polymer-NP interface can be explained based on the adsorption mechanism of monodisperse (pure ring or linear) case. These investigations may provide some insights into polymer-NP interfacial adsorption behavior and guide the design of high-performance nanocomposites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Thermo-Responsive Fluorescent Polymers with Diverse LCSTs for Ratiometric Temperature Sensing through FRET
Polymers 2018, 10(3), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10030283
Received: 30 January 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 March 2018 / Published: 8 March 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1865 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Temperature is a significant parameter to regulate biological reactions and functions inside cells. Sensing the intracellular temperature with a competent method is necessary to understand life science. In this work, an energy-transfer polymeric thermometer was designed for temperature sensing. The thermometer was prepared
[...] Read more.
Temperature is a significant parameter to regulate biological reactions and functions inside cells. Sensing the intracellular temperature with a competent method is necessary to understand life science. In this work, an energy-transfer polymeric thermometer was designed for temperature sensing. The thermometer was prepared from two thermo-responsive polymers with different lower critical solution temperatures (LCSTs) of 31.1 °C and 48.6 °C, coupling with blue and red fluorescent molecules, respectively, developed for ratiometric temperature sensing based on the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) mechanism. The polymers were synthesized from two monomers, N-isopropylacrylamide (NIPA) and N-isopropylmethacrylamide (NIPmA), which provided different temperature responses. The fluorescent intensity of each polymer (peaked at 436 and 628 nm, respectively) decreased upon the heating of the polymer aqueous solution. While these two polymer aqueous solutions were mixed, the fluorescent intensity decrease at 436 nm and substantial fluorescence enhancement at 628 nm was observed with the increasing temperature due to FRET effect. The cell imaging of HeLa cells by these thermo-responsive polymers was explored. The difference of LCSTs resulting in ratiometric fluorescence change would have a potential impact on the various biomedical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Butyl Rubber Nanocomposites with Monolayer MoS2 Additives: Structural Characteristics, Enhanced Mechanical, and Gas Barrier Properties
Polymers 2018, 10(3), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10030238
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 22 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8675 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emerging two-dimensional (2D) materialsm, such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), offer opportunities to tailor the mechanical and gas barrier properties of polymeric materials. In this study, MoS2 was exfoliated to monolayers by modification with ethanethiol and nonanethiol. The thicknesses of resulting
[...] Read more.
Emerging two-dimensional (2D) materialsm, such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), offer opportunities to tailor the mechanical and gas barrier properties of polymeric materials. In this study, MoS2 was exfoliated to monolayers by modification with ethanethiol and nonanethiol. The thicknesses of resulting MoS2 monolayers were 0.7 nm for MoS2-ethanethiol and 1.1 nm for MoS2-nonanethiol. MoS2 monolayers were added to chlorobutyl rubber to prepare MoS2-butyl rubber nanocomposites at concentrations of 0.5, 1, 3, and 5 phr. The tensile stress showed a maximum enhancement of about 30.7% for MoS2-ethanethiol-butyl rubber and 34.8% for MoS2-nonanethiol-butyl rubber when compared to pure chlorobutyl rubber. In addition, the gas barrier properties were increased by 53.5% in MoS2-ethanethiol-butyl rubber and 49.6% in MoS2-nonanethiol-butyl rubber. MoS2 nanosheets thus enhanced the mechanical and gas barrier properties of chlorobutyl rubber. The nanocomposites that are presented here may be used to manufacture pharmaceutical stoppers with high mechanical and gas barrier properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Effect of WS2 Inorganic Nanotubes on Isothermal Crystallization Behavior and Kinetics of Poly(3-Hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10020166
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanocomposites of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and tungsten disulfide inorganic nanotubes (INT-WS2) were prepared by blending in solution, and the effects of INT-WS2 on the isothermal crystallization behavior and kinetics of PHBV were investigated for the first time. The isothermal
[...] Read more.
Nanocomposites of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) and tungsten disulfide inorganic nanotubes (INT-WS2) were prepared by blending in solution, and the effects of INT-WS2 on the isothermal crystallization behavior and kinetics of PHBV were investigated for the first time. The isothermal crystallization process was studied in detail using various techniques, with emphasis on the role of INT-WS2 concentration. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and polarized optical microscopy (POM) showed that, in the nucleation-controlled regime, crystallization rates of PHBV in the nanocomposites are influenced by the INT-WS2 loading. Our results demonstrated that low loadings of INT-WS2 (0.1–1.0 wt %) increased the crystallization rates of PHBV, reducing the fold surface free energy by up to 24%. This is ascribed to the high nucleation efficiency of INT-WS2 on the crystallization of PHBV. These observations facilitate a deeper understanding of the structure-property relationships in PHBV biopolymer nanocomposites and are useful for their practical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Cross-Flow Catalysis Behavior of a PVDF/SiO2@Ag Nanoparticles Composite Membrane
Polymers 2018, 10(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10010059
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 6 January 2018 / Accepted: 6 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
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Abstract
A blend of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) and SiO2 microspheres in N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) underwent phase inversion to form a PVDF/SiO2 membrane with SiO2 microspheres in the membrane’s pores. Subsequently, the SiO2 microspheres have been used as platforms
[...] Read more.
A blend of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) and SiO2 microspheres in N,N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) underwent phase inversion to form a PVDF/SiO2 membrane with SiO2 microspheres in the membrane’s pores. Subsequently, the SiO2 microspheres have been used as platforms for in site Ag nanoparticles (NPs) synthesis, forming a composite membrane. Benefitting from the full exposure of Ag NPs to the reactants, the composite membrane shows high catalytic reactivity when catalyzing the reduction of p-nitrophenol under a cross-flow. The catalytic reaction follows the first-order kinetics, and the reaction rate increases with an increase in the amount of Ag NPs in the membrane, the reaction temperature, and the operating pressure. What is more, highly purified products can be produced and separated from the reactants in a timely manner by using the composite membrane. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Green and Facile Synthesis of Highly Stable Gold Nanoparticles via Hyperbranched Polymer In-Situ Reduction and Their Application in Ag+ Detection and Separation
Polymers 2018, 10(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10010042
Received: 26 November 2017 / Revised: 25 December 2017 / Accepted: 30 December 2017 / Published: 3 January 2018
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Abstract
The development of a green and facile strategy for synthesizing high stable gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) is still highly challenging. Additionally, the main problems regarding AuNPs based colorimetric sensors are their poor selectivity and low sensitivity, as well their tendency to aggregate during their
[...] Read more.
The development of a green and facile strategy for synthesizing high stable gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) is still highly challenging. Additionally, the main problems regarding AuNPs based colorimetric sensors are their poor selectivity and low sensitivity, as well their tendency to aggregate during their synthesis and sensing process. Herein, we present an in-situ reduction strategy to synthesize thermoresponsive hyperbranched polymer (i.e., Hyperbranched polyethylenimine-terminal isobutyramide (HPEI-IBAm)) functionalized AuNPs. The HPEI-IBAm-AuNPs show excellent thermal stability up to 200 °C, high tolerance of a wide range of pH value (3–13), and high salt resistance. HPEI-IBAm acted as the template, the reducing agent, and the stabilizing agent for the preparation of AuNPs. The HPEI-IBAm-AuNPs can be used as colorimetric sensors for the detection of Ag+. In the detecting process, HPEI-IBAm serves as a trigger agent to cause an unusual color change from red to brown. This new non-aggregation-based colorimetric sensor showed high stability (maintaining the color lasting without fading), high selectivity, and high sensitivity with an extremely low detection limit of 7.22 nM and a good linear relationship in a wide concentration range of 0–2.0 mM (R2 = 0.9921). Significantly, based on the thermoresponsive property of the HPEI-IBAm, the AuNPs/Ag composites can be separated after sensing detection, which can avoid secondary pollutions. Therefore, the green preparation and the applications of the unusual colorimetric sensor truly embody the concepts of energy saving, environmental protection, and sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Open AccessArticle Silica Modified by Alcohol Polyoxyethylene Ether and Silane Coupling Agent Together to Achieve High Performance Rubber Composites Using the Latex Compounding Method
Polymers 2018, 10(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10010001
Received: 9 November 2017 / Revised: 17 December 2017 / Accepted: 18 December 2017 / Published: 21 December 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study of preparing silica/rubber composites used in tires with low rolling resistance in an energy-saving method is fast-growing. In this study, a novel strategy is proposed, in which silica was modified by combing alcohol polyoxyethylene ether (AEO) and 3-mercaptopropyltriethoxysilane (K-MEPTS) for preparing
[...] Read more.
The study of preparing silica/rubber composites used in tires with low rolling resistance in an energy-saving method is fast-growing. In this study, a novel strategy is proposed, in which silica was modified by combing alcohol polyoxyethylene ether (AEO) and 3-mercaptopropyltriethoxysilane (K-MEPTS) for preparing silica/natural rubber (NR) master batches. A thermal gravimetric analyzer and Raman spectroscopy results indicated that both AEO and K-MEPTS could be grafted on to the silica surface, and AEO has a chance to shield the mercaptopropyl group on K-MEPTS. Silica modified by AEO and K-MEPTS together was completely co-coagulated with the rubber in preparing silica/NR composites using the latex compounding method with the help of the interaction between AEO and K-MEPTS. The performance of composites prepared by silica/NR master batches was investigated by a rubber process analyzer (RPA), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and a tensile tester. These results demonstrate that AEO forms a physical interface between silica and rubber, resulting in good silica dispersion in the matrix. K-MEPTS forms a chemical interface between silica and rubber, enhancing the reinforcing effect of silica and reducing the mutual friction between silica particles. In summary, using a proper combination of AEO and K-MEPTS is a user-friendly approach for preparing silica/NR composites with excellent performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Recent Developments in Graphene/Polymer Nanocomposites for Application in Polymer Solar Cells
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10020217
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 21 February 2018 / Published: 22 February 2018
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2783 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Graphene (G) and its derivatives, graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) have enormous potential for energy applications owing to their 2D structure, large specific surface area, high electrical and thermal conductivity, optical transparency, and huge mechanical strength combined with inherent flexibility.
[...] Read more.
Graphene (G) and its derivatives, graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) have enormous potential for energy applications owing to their 2D structure, large specific surface area, high electrical and thermal conductivity, optical transparency, and huge mechanical strength combined with inherent flexibility. The combination of G-based materials with polymers leads to new nanocomposites with enhanced structural and functional properties due to synergistic effects. This review briefly summarizes recent progress in the development of G/polymer nanocomposites for use in polymer solar cells (PSCs). These nanocomposites have been explored as transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs), active layers (ALs) and interfacial layers (IFLs) of PSCs. Photovoltaic parameters, such as the open-circuit voltage (Voc), short-circuit current density (Jsc), fill factor (FF) and power-conversion efficiency (PCE) are compared for different device structures. Finally, future perspectives are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticle-Reinforced Polymers)
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