ISSN / EISSN : 2073-4360 / 2073-4360
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 7,719
Latest articles in this journal
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102401
The mechanism of ethylene with vinyl ether (VE, CH2=CHOEt) copolymerization catalyzed by phosphine-sulfonate palladium complex (A) was investigated by density functional theory (DFT) calculation. On achieving an agreement between theory and experiment, it is found that the favorable 1,2-selective insertion of VE into the complex A originates from stronger hydrogen interaction between the oxygen atom of VE and the ancillary ligand of catalyst A. Additionally, VE insertion is easier into the ethylene pre-inserted intermediate than that into the catalyst to form the resultant copolymers with the major units of OEt in chain and minor units of OEt at the chain end. The effect of β-OEt and β-H elimination was explored to elucidate chain termination and the molecular weight of copolymers. Furthermore, a family of cationic catalysts has been demonstrated to copolymerize ethylene with VE along with our modified cationic complex B with higher incorporation of VE and reactivity in comparison with complex A, which was modelled computationally by increasing the strong interactions between the catalyst and monomer moiety. Other than VE, the activity of cationic complex B for copolymerization of vinyl chloride and methacrylate is also computed successfully.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102402
Poly(lactic acid) (PLA) nanocomposites were synthesized by a solution blending and coagulation method using alkylated graphene oxide (AGO) as a reinforcing agent. Turbiscan confirmed that the alkylation of GO led to enhanced compatibility between the matrix and the filler. The improved dispersity of the filler resulted in superior interfacial adhesion between the PLA chains and AGO basal plane, leading to enhanced mechanical and rheological properties compared to neat PLA. The tensile strength and elongation at break, i.e., ductility, increased by 38% and 42%, respectively, at the same filler content nanocomposite (PLA/AGO 1 wt %) compared to nonfiller PLA. Rheological analysis of the nanocomposites in the molten state of the samples was performed to understand the filler network formed inside the matrix. The storage modulus increased significantly from PLA/AGO 0.5 wt % (9.6 Pa) to PLA/AGO 1.0 wt % (908 Pa). This indicates a percolation threshold between the two filler contents. A steady shear test was performed to examine the melt flow characteristics of PLA/AGO nanocomposites at 170 °C, and the viscosity was predicted using the Carreau−Yasuda model.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102409
Micro-injection molding has attracted a wide range of research interests to fabricate polymer products with nanostructures for its advantages of cheap and fast production. The heat transfer between the polymer and the mold insert is important to the performance of products. In this study, the interface thermal resistance (ITR) between the polypropylene (PP) layer and the nickel (Ni) mold insert layer in micro-injection molding was studied by using the method of non-equilibrium molecular dynamics (NEMD) simulation. The relationships among the ITR, the temperature, the packing pressure, the interface morphology, and the interface interaction were investigated. The simulation results showed that the ITR decreased obviously with the increase of the temperature, the packing pressure and the interface interaction. Both rectangle and triangle interface morphologies could enhance the heat transfer compared with the smooth interface. Moreover, the ITR of triangle interface was higher than that of rectangle interface. Based on the analysis of phonon density of states (DOS) for PP-Ni system, it was found that the mismatch between the phonon DOS of the PP atoms and Ni atoms was the main cause of the interface resistance. The frequency distribution of phonon DOS also affected the interface resistance.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102405
In this study amphoteric cryogels were synthesized by the use of free-radical co-polymerization of acrylate-based precursors (methacrylic acid and 2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propansulfonic acid) with allylamine at different ratios. The physico-chemical characteristics of the cryogels were examined using SEM/EDX, FT-IR, XPS and zeta potential measurements. The cryogels were tested toward Cd2+ removal from aqueous solutions at various pH and initial concentrations. Equilibrium studies revealed a maximum sorption capacity in the range of 132–249 mg/g. Leaching experiments indicated the stability of Cd2+ in the cryogel structure. Based on kinetics, equilibrium and characterization results, possible removal mechanisms are proposed, indicating a combination of ion exchange and complexation of Cd2+ with the cryogels’ surface functional groups. The cryogels were compared to commercially available adsorbents (zeolite Y and cation exchange resin) for the removal of Cd2+ from various water matrices (ultrapure water, tap water and river water) and the results showed that, under the experimental conditions used, the cryogels can be more effective adsorbents.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102411
Conductive polymer composites with carbonaceous fillers are very attractive and play a significant role in the field of electric heaters owing to their lightweight, corrosion resistance, and easy processing as well as low manufacturing cost. In this study, lightweight reduced oxide graphene/carbon nanotube/natural rubber (rGO/CNT/NR) composites were fabricated by a facile and cost-effective approach, which consists of rGO assembling on rubber latex particles and hydrogels formation due to the interaction network established between carbonaceous fillers and subsequent mild-drying of the resulting hydrogels. Thanks to the amphiphilic nature of GO sheets, which can serve as a surfactant, the hydrophobic CNTs were easily dispersed into water under ultrasound. On the basis of both the high stable rGO and CNTs suspension and the assembling of rGO on rubber latex, a three-dimensional segregated network of CNT and rGO were easily constructed in macro-porous composites. Either the segregated network and macro-porous structure endowed the resulting composites with low density (0.45 g cm−3), high electrical conductivity (0.60 S m−1), and excellent electric heating behavior, when the weight content of rGO and CNTs are 0.5% and 2.5%, respectively. For electric heating behavior, the steady-state temperature of the above composites reaches 69.1 °C at an input voltage of 15 V.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102412
Particular attention is paid to biodegradable materials from the environmental point of view and antimicrobial materials that ensure the microbiological safety of packaged products. The aim of the work was to study the properties of the composition, based on biodegradable polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) and the antimicrobial additive—birch bark extract (BBE). Test samples of materials were obtained on the laboratory extruder by extrusion with ultrasonic treatment of the melt. The concentration of the antimicrobial additive in the polymer matrix was 1 wt %. A complex research was carried out to study the structural, physico–mechanical characteristics, antimicrobial properties and biodegradability of the modified PBAT. Comparative assessment of the physico–mechanical characteristics of samples based on PBAT showed that the strength and elongation at break indices slightly decrease when the ultrasonic treatment of the melt is introduced. It was found out, that the antimicrobial additive in the composition of the polymer matrix at the concentration of 1 wt % has a static effect on the development of microorganisms on the surface of the studied modified films. Studies of the biodegradability of modified PBAT by composting for 4 months have shown that the decomposition period of modified materials increased, compared to pure PBAT. The developed modified polymer material can be recommended as an alternative replacement for materials based on polyethylene for food packaging.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102410
To improve the heat resistance of acrylic-based pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA), silicone-block-containing acrylic PSAs (SPSAs) were synthesized using a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based macro-azo-initiator (MAI). To evaluate the heat resistance of the PSA films, the probe tack and 90° peel strength were measured at different temperatures. The acrylic PSA showed that its tack curves changed from balanced debonding at 25 °C to cohesive debonding at 50 °C and exhibited a sharp decrease. However, in the case of SPSA containing 20 wt% MAI (MAI20), the balanced debonding was maintained at 75 °C, and its tack value hardly changed with temperature. As the MAI content increased, the peel strength at 25 °C decreased due to the microphase separation between PDMS- and acryl-blocks in SPSA, but the shear adhesion failure temperature (SAFT) increased almost linearly from 41.3 to 122.8 °C. Unlike stainless steel substrate, SPSA showed improved peel strength on a polypropylene substrate due to its low surface energy caused by PDMS block. Owing to the addition of 20 wt% silicone-urethane dimethacrylate oligomer and 200 mJ/cm2 UV irradiation dose, MAI20 showed significantly increased 90° peel strength at 25 °C (548.3 vs. 322.4 gf/25 mm for pristine MAI20). Its heat resistance under shear stress assessed by shear adhesion failure test (SAFT) exhibited raising in failure temperature to 177.3 °C when compared to non-irradiated sample.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102400
The study intended to utilizing waste organic fiber for low-cost semi-flexible substrate fabrication to develop microstrip patch antennas for low band communication applications. All the semi-flexible substrates (12.2 wt. % OPEFF/87.8 wt. % PCL, 12.2 wt. % NiO/87.8 wt. % PCL, and 25 wt. % OPEFF/25 wt. % NiO/50 wt. % PCL) were fabricated by oil palm empty fruit fiber (OPEFF) mixed with nickel oxide (NiO) nanoparticles reinforced with polycaprolactone (PCL) as a matrix using a Thermo Haake blending machine. The morphology and crystalized structure of the substrates were tested using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometry, X-ray diffraction (X-RD) technique, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), respectively. The thermal stability behavior of the substrates was analyzed using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential thermogravimetric (DTG) thermogram. The dielectric properties were characterized by an open-ended coaxial probe (OEC) connected with Agilent N5230A PNA-L Network Analyzer included the 85070E2 dielectric software at frequency range of 8 to 12 GHz. The experimental results showed that NiO/OPEFF/PCL composites exhibit controllable permittivity dielectric constant εr′(f) between 1.89 and 4.2 (Farad/meter, (F/m)), with loss factor εr′′(f) between 0.08 and 0.62 F/m, and loss tangent (tan δ) between 0.05 and 0.18. Return losses measurement of the three patch antennas OPEFF/PCL, NiO/PCL, and OPEFF/NiO/PCL are −11.93, −14.2 and −16.3 dB respectively. Finally, the commercial software package, Computer Simulation Technology Microwave Studio (CSTMWS), was used to investigate the antenna performance by simulate S-parameters based on the measured dielectric parameters. A negligible difference is found between the measured and simulated results. Finally, the results obtained encourage the possibility of using natural fibers and nickel oxide in preparation of the substrates utilize at microwave applications.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102406
The surface electromyography (SEMG) is one of the most popular bio-signals that can be applied in health monitoring systems, fitness training, and rehabilitation devices. Commercial clothing embedded with textile electrodes has already been released onto the market, but there is insufficient information on the performance of textile SEMG electrodes because the required configuration may differ according to the electrode material. The current study analyzed the influence of electrode size and pattern reduction rate (PRR), and hence the clothing pressure (Pc) based on in vivo SEMG signal acquisition. Bipolar SEMG electrodes were made in different electrode diameters Ø 5–30 mm, and the clothing pressure ranged from 6.1 to 12.6 mmHg. The results supported the larger electrodes, and Pc showed better SEMG signal quality by showing lower baseline noise and a gradual increase in the signal to noise ratio (SNR). In particular, electrodes, Ø ≥ 20 mm, and Pc ≥ 10 mmHg showed comparable performance to Ag-Ag/Cl electrodes in current textile-based electrodes. The current study emphasizes and discusses design factors that are particularly required in the designing and manufacturing process of smart clothing with SEMG electrodes, especially as an aspect of clothing design.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12102403
Recently, many scientists and polymer engineers have been working on eco-friendly materials for starch-based food packaging purposes, which are based on biopolymers, due to the health and environmental issues caused by the non-biodegradable food packaging. However, to maintain food freshness and quality, it is necessary to choose the correct materials and packaging technologies. On the other hand, the starch-based film’s biggest flaws are high permeability to water vapor transfer and the ease of spoilage by bacteria and fungi. One of the several possibilities that are being extensively studied is the incorporation of essential oils (EOs) into the packaging material. The EOs used in food packaging films actively prevent inhibition of bacteria and fungi and have a positive effect on food storage. This work intended to present their mechanical and barrier properties, as well as the antimicrobial activity of anti-microbacterial agent reinforced starch composites for extending product shelf life. A better inhibition of zone of antimicrobial activity was observed with higher content of essential oil. Besides that, the mechanical properties of starch-based polymer was slightly decreased for tensile strength as the increasing of essential oil while elongation at break was increased. The increasing of essential oil would cause the reduction of the cohesion forces of polymer chain, creating heterogeneous matrix and subsequently lowering the tensile strength and increasing the elongation (E%) of the films. The present review demonstrated that the use of essential oil represents an interesting alternative for the production of active packaging and for the development of eco-friendly technologies.