Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (5 February 2022) | Viewed by 33187

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, University of Palermo, RU INSTM, Viale delle Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: polymer processing; mechanical behaviour of polymer-based systems; rheological behaviour of polymer-based systems; green composites; biocomposites; nanocomposites; biodegradable polymers; polymer blends; degradation and recycling of polymer-based systems
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Guest Editor
Department of Polymer Engineering, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
Interests: polymer processing and micro-processing (monitoring, optimization, technology, biodegradable materials); compounding (preparation of composites and nanocomposites, polymer blending and modification); additive manufacturing; polymer characterization (rheology and morphology)
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. International and Interuniversity Centre for Nano Science and Nano Technology, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam 686560, India
2. Basic Department of Biotechnology, School of Fundamental Biology and Biotechnology, Siberian Federal University, 79 Svobodnyi Av., 660041 Krasnoyarsk, Russia
Interests: nanomaterials; polymer blends; fiber-filled polymer composites; polymer nanocomposites; aging and degradation; pervaporation phenomena; sorption and diffusion; interpenetrating polymer systems; recyclability and reuse of waste plastics and rubbers; elastomer crosslinking; dual porous nanocomposite scaffolds for tissue engineering; polymer nanocomposites for electronic applications; water purification; energy storage
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue intends to collect reviews on two important aspects of the polymer industry; namely, processing and performance. Polymer processing is the transformation of polymer formulations into useful products. Processing involves formulation, compounding, functionalization, reactive blending and final shaping using conventional or innovative polymer processing techniques. Moreover, the effect of flow and thermal history is very important in determining the morphology and performance of the products. There are several challenging domains in the fields. These include:

(1) polymer rheology;
(2) polymer processing;
(3) processing induced morphology changes;
(4) processing induced morphology orientation;
(5) processing induced crystallisation;
(6) processing induced mixing and de-mixing of polymer blends and composites;
(7) additive manufacturing technologies;
(8) advances in polymer recycling;
(9) composites and nanocomposites with natural fillers.

Prof. Dr. Francesco Paolo La Mantia
Prof. Dr. José António Covas
Prof. Dr. Sabu Thomas
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2700 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

  • Rheology
  • Reactive processing
  • Reactive blending
  • Polymer processing
  • Blends, composites, nanocomposites, biocomposites, IPNs, Gels
  • Processing-morphology-property correlations
  • Processing-morphology-property correlations
  • Product manufacturing and performance
  • Theory, modelling and simulation.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 4889 KiB  
Article
Miscibility and Phase Separation in PMMA/SAN Blends Investigated by Nanoscale AFM-IR
by Julia Resch, Julia Dreier, Christian Bonten and Marc Kreutzbruck
Polymers 2021, 13(21), 3809; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13213809 - 4 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3016
Abstract
The miscibility and phase separation of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) have already been investigated using various methods. However, these methods have limitations that often result in inconsistent characterization. Consequently, the reasons for the dependence of miscibility on composition as well as [...] Read more.
The miscibility and phase separation of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and styrene-acrylonitrile (SAN) have already been investigated using various methods. However, these methods have limitations that often result in inconsistent characterization. Consequently, the reasons for the dependence of miscibility on composition as well as on processing temperature have not yet been proved. The phase separation of PMMA/SAN blends was therefore investigated for the first time using a novel technique, nanoscale AFM-IR. It couples nanoscale atomic force microscopy (AFM) with infrared (IR) spectroscopy. Therefore, the phase morphology can be chemically identified and precisely classified within the nm-regime. The PMMA/SAN blends, on the other hand, were analyzed of their changes in morphology under different thermal treatments. It was possible to visualize and define the phase separation, as well as dependence of the miscibility on the mixing ratio. In the miscible domain, no two individual phases could be detected down to the nanometer range. It was shown that with increasing temperature, the morphology changes and two different phases are formed, where the phase boundaries can be sharply defined. The onset of these changes could be identified at temperatures of about 100 °C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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14 pages, 4355 KiB  
Article
Rigid Amorphous Fraction as an Indicator for Polymer-Polymer Interactions in Highly Filled Plastics
by Johannes Benz and Christian Bonten
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3349; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193349 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
Above a percolation threshold a flow restriction has to be overcome by higher pressure in plastic processing. Besides amount and geometry of fillers, the interactions of polymer and filler are important. By differing the amorphous phase of polymers into a rigid amorphous and [...] Read more.
Above a percolation threshold a flow restriction has to be overcome by higher pressure in plastic processing. Besides amount and geometry of fillers, the interactions of polymer and filler are important. By differing the amorphous phase of polymers into a rigid amorphous and a mobile amorphous fraction, predictions about interactions are possible. The objective is the generation of a flow restriction and the combined investigation of polymer–particle interaction. SiO2 was used up to 50 vol.% in different spherical sizes in PLA and PP. A capillary-rheometer was used as a tool to create a yield point and by that investigations into the state of the flow restriction were possible. All produced compounds showed, in plate-plate rheometry, an increase in viscosity for lower shear rates and a significant change in the storage modulus. In DSC, hardly any specific rigid amorphous fraction was detectable, which suggests that there is a minor interaction between macromolecules and filler. This leads to the conclusion that the change in flow behavior is mainly caused by a direct interaction between the particles, even though they are theoretically too far away from each other. First images in the state of the yield point show a displacement of the particles against each other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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Review

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35 pages, 6143 KiB  
Review
Effect of the Elongational Flow on the Morphology and Properties of Polymer Systems: A Brief Review
by Rossella Arrigo, Giulio Malucelli and Francesco Paolo La Mantia
Polymers 2021, 13(20), 3529; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13203529 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5089
Abstract
Polymer-processing operations with dominating elongational flow have a great relevance, especially in several relevant industrial applications. Film blowing, fiber spinning and foaming are some examples in which the polymer melt is subjected to elongational flow during processing. To gain a thorough knowledge of [...] Read more.
Polymer-processing operations with dominating elongational flow have a great relevance, especially in several relevant industrial applications. Film blowing, fiber spinning and foaming are some examples in which the polymer melt is subjected to elongational flow during processing. To gain a thorough knowledge of the material-processing behavior, the evaluation of the rheological properties of the polymers experiencing this kind of flow is fundamental. This paper reviews the main achievements regarding the processing-structure-properties relationships of polymer-based materials processed through different operations with dominating elongational flow. In particular, after a brief discussion on the theoretical features associated with the elongational flow and the differences with other flow regimes, the attention is focused on the rheological properties in elongation of the most industrially relevant polymers. Finally, the evolution of the morphology of homogeneous polymers, as well as of multiphase polymer-based systems, such as blends and micro- and nano-composites, subjected to the elongational flow is discussed, highlighting the potential and the unique characteristics of the processing operations based on elongation flow, as compared to their shear-dominated counterparts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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21 pages, 2716 KiB  
Review
Analytical and Numerical Models of Thermoplastics: A Review Aimed to Pellet Extrusion-Based Additive Manufacturing
by Alessio Pricci, Marco D. de Tullio and Gianluca Percoco
Polymers 2021, 13(18), 3160; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13183160 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4712
Abstract
Recent developments in additive manufacturing have moved towards a new trend in material extrusion processes (ISO/ASTM 52910:2018), dealing with the direct extrusion of thermoplastic and composite material from pellets. This growing interest is driven by the reduction of costs, environmental impact, energy consumption, [...] Read more.
Recent developments in additive manufacturing have moved towards a new trend in material extrusion processes (ISO/ASTM 52910:2018), dealing with the direct extrusion of thermoplastic and composite material from pellets. This growing interest is driven by the reduction of costs, environmental impact, energy consumption, and the possibility to increase the range of printable materials. Pellet additive manufacturing (PAM) can cover the same applications as fused filament fabrication (FFF), and in addition, can lead to scale towards larger workspaces that cannot be covered by FFF, due to the limited diameters of standard filaments. In the first case, the process is known as micro- or mini-extrusion (MiE) in the literature, in the second case the expression big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) is very common. Several models are available in literature regarding filament extrusion, while there is a lack of modeling of the extrusion dynamics in PAM. Physical and chemical phenomena involved in PAM have high overlap with those characterizing injection molding (IM). Therefore, a systematic study of IM literature can lead to a selection of the most promising models for PAM, both for lower (MiE) and larger (BAAM) extruder dimensions. The models concerning the IM process have been reviewed with this aim: the extraction of information useful for the development of codes able to predict thermo-fluid dynamics performances of PAM extruders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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41 pages, 15830 KiB  
Review
Tuning Power Ultrasound for Enhanced Performance of Thermoplastic Micro-Injection Molding: Principles, Methods, and Performances
by Baishun Zhao, Yuanbao Qiang, Wangqing Wu and Bingyan Jiang
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2877; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13172877 - 27 Aug 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2951
Abstract
With the wide application of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMSs), especially the rapid development of wearable flexible electronics technology, the efficient production of micro-parts with thermoplastic polymers will be the core technology of the harvesting market. However, it is significantly restrained by the limitations of [...] Read more.
With the wide application of Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMSs), especially the rapid development of wearable flexible electronics technology, the efficient production of micro-parts with thermoplastic polymers will be the core technology of the harvesting market. However, it is significantly restrained by the limitations of the traditional micro-injection-molding (MIM) process, such as replication fidelity, material utilization, and energy consumption. Currently, the increasing investigation has been focused on the ultrasonic-assisted micro-injection molding (UAMIM) and ultrasonic plasticization micro-injection molding (UPMIM), which has the advantages of new plasticization principle, high replication fidelity, and cost-effectiveness. The aim of this review is to present the latest research activities on the action mechanism of power ultrasound in various polymer micro-molding processes. At the beginning of this review, the physical changes, chemical changes, and morphological evolution mechanism of various thermoplastic polymers under different application modes of ultrasonic energy field are introduced. Subsequently, the process principles, characteristics, and latest developments of UAMIM and UPMIM are scientifically summarized. Particularly, some representative performance advantages of different polymers based on ultrasonic plasticization are further exemplified with a deeper understanding of polymer–MIM relationships. Finally, the challenges and opportunities of power ultrasound in MIM are prospected, such as the mechanism understanding and commercial application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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28 pages, 4963 KiB  
Review
Electroactive Polymers Obtained by Conventional and Non-Conventional Technologies
by Akel F. Kanaan, Ana C. Pinho and Ana P. Piedade
Polymers 2021, 13(16), 2713; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162713 - 13 Aug 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 5089
Abstract
Electroactive polymers (EAPs), materials that present size/shape alteration in response to an electrical stimulus, are currently being explored regarding advanced smart devices, namely robotics, valves, soft actuators, artificial muscles, and electromechanical sensors. They are generally prepared through conventional techniques (e.g., solvent casting and [...] Read more.
Electroactive polymers (EAPs), materials that present size/shape alteration in response to an electrical stimulus, are currently being explored regarding advanced smart devices, namely robotics, valves, soft actuators, artificial muscles, and electromechanical sensors. They are generally prepared through conventional techniques (e.g., solvent casting and free-radical polymerization). However, non-conventional processes such as those included in additive manufacturing (AM) are emerging as a novel approach to tune and enhance the electromechanical properties of EAPs to expand the scope of areas for this class of electro-responsive material. This review aims to summarize the published work (from the last five years) in developing EAPs either by conventional or non-conventional polymer processing approaches. The technology behind each processing technique is discussed as well as the main mechanism behind the electromechanical response. The most common polymer-based materials used in the design of current EAPs are reviewed. Therefore, the main conclusions and future trends regarding EAPs obtained by conventional and non-conventional technologies are also given. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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22 pages, 1179 KiB  
Review
Application of Polymers as a Tool in Crystallization—A Review
by Marcin Lemanowicz, Anna Mielańczyk, Tomasz Walica, Milena Kotek and Andrzej Gierczycki
Polymers 2021, 13(16), 2695; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162695 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4888
Abstract
The application of polymers as a tool in the crystallization process is gaining more and more interest among the scientific community. According to Web of Science statistics the number of papers dealing with “Polymer induced crystallization” increased from 2 in 1990 to 436 [...] Read more.
The application of polymers as a tool in the crystallization process is gaining more and more interest among the scientific community. According to Web of Science statistics the number of papers dealing with “Polymer induced crystallization” increased from 2 in 1990 to 436 in 2020, and for “Polymer controlled crystallization”—from 4 in 1990 to 344 in 2020. This is clear evidence that both topics are vivid, attractive and intensively investigated nowadays. Efficient control of crystallization and crystal properties still represents a bottleneck in the manufacturing of crystalline materials ranging from pigments, antiscalants, nanoporous materials and pharmaceuticals to semiconductor particles. However, a rapid development in precise and reliable measuring methods and techniques would enable one to better describe phenomena involved, to formulate theoretical models, and probably most importantly, to develop practical indications for how to appropriately lead many important processes in the industry. It is clearly visible at the first glance through a number of representative papers in the area, that many of them are preoccupied with the testing and production of pharmaceuticals, while the rest are addressed to new crystalline materials, renewable energy, water and wastewater technology and other branches of industry where the crystallization process takes place. In this work, authors gathered and briefly discuss over 100 papers, published in leading scientific periodicals, devoted to the influence of polymers on crystallizing solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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20 pages, 4117 KiB  
Review
Tunable Quantum Photoinitiators for Radical Photopolymerization
by Shubhangi Shukla, Prem C. Pandey and Roger J. Narayan
Polymers 2021, 13(16), 2694; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13162694 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3203
Abstract
This review describes the use of nanocrystal-based photocatalysts as quantum photoinitiators, including semiconductor nanocrystals (e.g., metal oxides, metal sulfides, quantum dots), carbon dots, graphene-based nanohybrids, plasmonic nanocomposites with organic photoinitiators, and tunable upconverting nanocomposites. The optoelectronic properties, cross-linking behavior, and mechanism of action [...] Read more.
This review describes the use of nanocrystal-based photocatalysts as quantum photoinitiators, including semiconductor nanocrystals (e.g., metal oxides, metal sulfides, quantum dots), carbon dots, graphene-based nanohybrids, plasmonic nanocomposites with organic photoinitiators, and tunable upconverting nanocomposites. The optoelectronic properties, cross-linking behavior, and mechanism of action of quantum photoinitiators are considered. The challenges and prospects associated with the use of quantum photoinitiators for processes such as radical polymerization, reversible deactivation radical polymerization, and photoinduced atom transfer radical polymerization are reviewed. Due to their unique capabilities, we forsee a growing role for quantum photoinitiators over the coming years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reviews on Progress in Polymer Processing and Performance)
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