Special Issue "Soft Polymeric Materials: Synthesis, Characterizations and Applications"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 February 2023 | Viewed by 4671

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kumkum Ahmed
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Shibaura Institute of Technology, Koto City, Tokyo 135-8548, Japan
Interests: hydrogels; stimuli responsive gels/polymers; ionic gels; porous polymers; 3D/4D printing; sensors
Dr. MD Nahin Islam Shiblee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamagata University, Yamagata, Japan
Interests: material science; 3D/4D printing; soft robotics; shape memory hydrogels
Dr. Chanchal Kumar Roy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh
Interests: physical chemistry; electrochemistry
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Hidemitsu Furukawa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, Yamagata University, Yonezawa, Yamagata 992-8510, Japan
Interests: 3D printing; soft robotics; gels; food; light scattering
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to this the Special Issue of “Soft Polymeric Materials: Synthesis, Characterizations and Applications”. Soft materials such as hydrogels, organogels, ionic/ionogels, stimuli-responsive polymers, elastomers, etc., are one of the most fascinating classes of scientific materials, and one that has widened the scope of flexible electronics, soft robotics, sensors and bio-medical fields. Therefore, fundamental understanding of physical and chemical phenomena in soft materials will be crucial for designing novel materials for a wide range of applications.

In this Special Issue, “Soft Polymeric Materials: Synthesis, Characterizations and Applications”, we will welcome original and innovative research outcomes focusing on the synthesis processes, characterization techniques and/or applications of soft polymerics materials in various sectors including but not limited to 3D/4D printing, flexible electronics, sensors, soft robotics, energy sectors and so on. Original research articles, reviews, and communications are welcomed.

Dr. Kumkum Ahmed
Dr. MD Nahin Islam Shiblee
Dr. Chanchal Kumar Roy
Prof. Dr. Hidemitsu Furukawa
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 2400 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

  • Polymeric gels- hydrogels, ionic gels, organogels, etc.
  • Elastomers
  • Soft nanocomposites
  • Mechanical properties
  • Rheological properties
  • Light scattering
  • Conductive/ ionic properties
  • 3D and 4D Printing
  • Flexible electronics
  • Sensors
  • Actuators
  • Soft robotics

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
Gelatin Methacryloyl Hydrogels for the Localized Delivery of Cefazolin
Polymers 2021, 13(22), 3960; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13223960 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 889
Abstract
The tuneability of hydrogels renders them promising candidates for local drug delivery to prevent and treat local surgical site infection (SSI) while avoiding the systemic side-effects of intravenous antibiotic injections. Here, we present a newly developed gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)-based hydrogel drug delivery system [...] Read more.
The tuneability of hydrogels renders them promising candidates for local drug delivery to prevent and treat local surgical site infection (SSI) while avoiding the systemic side-effects of intravenous antibiotic injections. Here, we present a newly developed gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA)-based hydrogel drug delivery system (GelMA-DDS) to locally deliver the broad-spectrum antibiotic cefazolin for SSI prophylaxis and treatment. Antibiotic doses from 3 µg to 90 µg were loaded in photocrosslinked GelMA hydrogel discs with 5 to 15% w/v polymer concentration and drug encapsulation efficiencies, mechanical properties, crosslinking and release kinetics, as well as bacterial growth inhibition were assessed. Our results demonstrate that all GelMA groups supported excellent drug encapsulation efficiencies of up to 99%. Mechanical properties of the GelMA-DDS were highly tuneable and unaffected by the loading of small to medium doses of cefazolin. The diffusive and the proteolytic in vitro drug delivery of all investigated cefazolin doses was characterized by a burst release, and the delivered cefazolin amount was directly proportional to the encapsulated dose. Accelerated enzymatic degradation of the GelMA-DDS followed zero-order kinetics and was dependent on both the cefazolin dose and GelMA concentration (3–13 h). Finally, we demonstrate that cefazolin delivered from GelMA induced a dose-dependent antibacterial efficacy against S. aureus, in both a broth and a diffusive assay. The cefazolin-loaded GelMA-DDS presented here provides a highly tuneable and easy-to-use local delivery system for the prophylaxis and treatment of SSI. Full article
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Article
Superior Technique for the Production of Agarose Dressing Containing Sericin and Its Wound Healing Property
Polymers 2021, 13(19), 3370; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13193370 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
Finding a simple and eco-friendly production technique that matches to the natural agent and results in a truly valuable natural scaffold production is still limited amongst the intensively competitive natural scaffold development. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop natural scaffolds [...] Read more.
Finding a simple and eco-friendly production technique that matches to the natural agent and results in a truly valuable natural scaffold production is still limited amongst the intensively competitive natural scaffold development. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop natural scaffolds that were environmentally friendly, low cost, and easily produced, using natural agents and a physical crosslinking technique. These scaffolds were prepared from agarose and sericin using the freeze-drying method (D) or freeze-thawing together with the freeze-drying method (TD). Moreover, plasticizers were added into the scaffold to improve their properties. Their physical, mechanical, and biological properties were investigated. The results showed that scaffolds that were prepared using the TD method had stronger bonding between sericin and other compounds, leading to a low swelling ratio and low protein release of the scaffolds. This property may be applied in the development of further material as a controlled drug release scaffold. Adding plasticizers, especially glycerin, into the scaffolds significantly increased elongation properties, leading to an increase in elasticity of the scaffold. Moreover, all scaffolds could activate cell migration, which had an advantage on wound healing acceleration. Accordingly, this study was successful in developing natural scaffolds using natural agents and simple and green crosslinking methods. Full article
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Article
Long-Term Thermal Aging of Modified Sylgard 184 Formulations
Polymers 2021, 13(18), 3125; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13183125 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 960
Abstract
Primarily used as an encapsulant and soft adhesive, Sylgard 184 is an engineered, high-performance silicone polymer that has applications spanning microfluidics, microelectromechanical systems, mechanobiology, and protecting electronic and non-electronic devices and equipment. Despite its ubiquity, there are improvements to be considered, namely, decreasing [...] Read more.
Primarily used as an encapsulant and soft adhesive, Sylgard 184 is an engineered, high-performance silicone polymer that has applications spanning microfluidics, microelectromechanical systems, mechanobiology, and protecting electronic and non-electronic devices and equipment. Despite its ubiquity, there are improvements to be considered, namely, decreasing its gel point at room temperature, understanding volatile gas products upon aging, and determining how material properties change over its lifespan. In this work, these aspects were investigated by incorporating well-defined compounds (the Ashby–Karstedt catalyst and tetrakis (dimethylsiloxy) silane) into Sylgard 184 to make modified formulations. As a result of these additions, the curing time at room temperature was accelerated, which allowed for Sylgard 184 to be useful within a much shorter time frame. Additionally, long-term thermal accelerated aging was performed on Sylgard 184 and its modifications in order to create predictive lifetime models for its volatile gas generation and material properties. Full article
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Article
Supramolecular Self-Healing Sensor Fiber Composites for Damage Detection in Piezoresistive Electronic Skin for Soft Robots
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2983; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym13172983 - 02 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1347
Abstract
Self-healing materials can prolong the lifetime of structures and products by enabling the repairing of damage. However, detecting the damage and the progress of the healing process remains an important issue. In this study, self-healing, piezoresistive strain sensor fibers (ShSFs) are used for [...] Read more.
Self-healing materials can prolong the lifetime of structures and products by enabling the repairing of damage. However, detecting the damage and the progress of the healing process remains an important issue. In this study, self-healing, piezoresistive strain sensor fibers (ShSFs) are used for detecting strain deformation and damage in a self-healing elastomeric matrix. The ShSFs were embedded in the self-healing matrix for the development of self-healing sensor fiber composites (ShSFC) with elongation at break values of up to 100%. A quadruple hydrogen-bonded supramolecular elastomer was used as a matrix material. The ShSFCs exhibited a reproducible and monotonic response. The ShSFCs were investigated for use as sensorized electronic skin on 3D-printed soft robotic modules, such as bending actuators. Depending on the bending actuator module, the electronic skin was loaded under either compression (pneumatic-based module) or tension (tendon-based module). In both configurations, the ShSFs could be successfully used as deformation sensors, and in addition, detect the presence of damage based on the sensor signal drift. The sensor under tension showed better recovery of the signal after healing, and smaller signal relaxation. Even with the complete severing of the fiber, the piezoresistive properties returned after the healing, but in that case, thermal heat treatment was required. With their resilient response and self-healing properties, the supramolecular fiber composites can be used for the next generation of soft robotic modules. Full article
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