ISSN / EISSN : 20734360 / 20734360
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 6,760
Google Scholar h5-index: 41
Latest articles in this journal
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071528
The wetting of rough polymer surfaces is of great importance for many technical applications. In this paper, we demonstrate the relationship between the mean roughness values and the fractal dimension of rough and self-affine PTFE surfaces. We have used white light interferometry measurements to obtain information about the complex topography of the technical surfaces having different height distributions. Two different methods for the calculation of the fractal dimension were used: The height difference correlation function (HDC) and the cube counting method. It was demonstrated that the mean roughness value (Ra) correlates better with the fractal dimension Df determined by the cube counting method than with the Df values obtained from HDC calculations. However, the HDC values show a stronger dependency by changing the surface roughness. The advancing and receding contact angles as well as the contact angle hysteresis of PTFE samples of different roughness were studied by the modified Wilhelmy balance technique using deionized water as a liquid. The modified Wilhelmy balance technique enables the possibility for future analysis of very rough PTFE surfaces which are difficult to investigate with the sessile drop method.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071529
Fused deposition modelling (FDM) is one of the fastest-growing additive manufacturing methods used in printing fibre-reinforced composites (FRC). The performances of the resulting printed parts are limited compared to those by other manufacturing methods due to their inherent defects. Hence, the effort to develop treatment methods to overcome these drawbacks has accelerated during the past few years. The main focus of this study is to review the impact of those defects on the mechanical performance of FRC and therefore to discuss the available treatment methods to eliminate or minimize them in order to enhance the functional properties of the printed parts. As FRC is a combination of polymer matrix material and continuous or short reinforcing fibres, this review will thoroughly discuss both thermoplastic polymers and FRCs printed via FDM technology, including the effect of printing parameters such as layer thickness, infill pattern, raster angle and fibre orientation. The most common defects on printed parts, in particular, the void formation, surface roughness and poor bonding between fibre and matrix, are explored. An inclusive discussion on the effectiveness of chemical, laser, heat and ultrasound treatments to minimize these drawbacks is provided by this review.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071530
Two winery residues, namely vine shoots (ViSh) and wine pomace (WiPo), were up-cycled as fillers in PHBV-based biocomposites. Answering a biorefinery approach, the impact of a preliminary polyphenols extraction step using an acetone/water mixture on the reinforcing effect of fillers was assessed. Biocomposites (filler content up to 20 wt%) were prepared by melt-mixing and compared in terms of final performance (thermal, mechanical and barrier). It was shown that the reinforcing effect was slightly better in the case of vine shoots, while it was not significantly affected by the pre-treatment, demonstrating that these two winery residues could be perfectly used as fillers in composite materials even after an extraction process to maximize their potential of valorization.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071531
This study aimed at providing a route towards the production of a novel exopolysaccharide (EPS) from fermented bamboo shoot-isolated Lactobacillus fermentum. A lactic acid bacteria strain, with high EPS production ability, was isolated from fermented bamboo shoots. This strain, R-49757, was identified in the BCCM/LMG Bacteria Collection, Ghent University, Belgium by the phenylalanyl-tRNA synthetase gene sequencing method, and it was named Lb. fermentum MC3. The molecular mass of the EPS measured via gel permeation chromatography was found to be 9.85 × 104 Da. Moreover, the monosaccharide composition in the EPS was analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Consequently, the EPS was discovered to be a heteropolysaccharide with the appearance of two main sugars—D-glucose and D-mannose—in the backbone. The results of one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy analyses prove the repeating unit of this polysaccharide to be [→6)-β-D-Glcp-(1→3)-β-D-Manp-(1→6)-β-D-Glcp-(1→]n, which appears to be a new EPS. The obtained results open up an avenue for the production of novel EPSs for biomedical applications.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071533
Ester polyurethane (PU) foam waste was reacted at atmospheric pressure in an autoclave and using microwaves with diethylene glycol (DEG) at different PU/DEG ratios in the presence of diethanolamine as a catalyst to find the glycolysis conditions that allow for the improved recovery of the PU foam waste and enable the recycling of the whole glycolysis product in foam formulations suitable for industrial application. The recycled polyol was characterized by dynamic viscosity, hydroxyl number, water content, and density, while thermal stability was assessed using thermogravimetric analysis. In the PU foam formulation, 1% and 5% of the glycolyzed material was reused. The relationship between the reuse level of the recycled polyol and the physical properties of the foam was thoroughly investigated. It was observed that both hardness and air flow decreased with increasing recycled polyol content, particularly for the polyester type foam, while tensile strength and compression strength increased. Depending on the amount of recycled polyol and catalyst used, polyether-based foams could be obtained with a low air permeability, needed in special applications as sealed foams, or with higher air permeability desirable for comfort PU foams. The results open the way for further optimization studies of industrial polyurethane foam formulations using a glycolysis process without any separation stage.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071525
A systematic experimental study was performed to detect the compaction and permeability properties of multilayered biaxial and quadriaxial preforms under vacuum pressure. Compression response on ply level showed that the degree of nesting between quadriaxial NCF was more pronounced and the nesting deformation mechanism was affected by the interaction with stitch yarns. Owing to the meso-channels in the fibrous structure and the nesting between layers, the in-plane permeability of quadriaxial NCF did not follow an inverse proportion relationship with the fiber volume fraction. To predict the in-plane permeability of multilayered quadriaxial NCFs, unit cell models at a high level of geometrical details were built, including local variations in yarn cross-sections and the nesting deformation between layers. Numerical methods were implemented, and the prediction results were in very good agreement with the experimental data. Besides, the major contributing parameters to the enhancement of the in-plane permeabilities were identified by investigating the correlation between permeability and structural parameters of quadriaxial NCF. The modeling methodology and the principles established can be applied to the design of the quadriaxial NCF fabrics, where the permeability enhancement was evidenced.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071522
Recent advances in nanocellulose technology have revealed the potential of crystalline cellulose nanofibers to reinforce materials which are useful for tissue engineering, among other functions. However, the low biodegradability of nanocellulose can possess some problems in biomedical applications. In this work, alginate particles with encapsulated enzyme cellulase extracted from Trichoderma reesei were prepared for the biodegradation of crystalline cellulose nanofibers, which carrier system could be incorporated in tissue engineering biomaterials to degrade the crystalline cellulose nanoreinforcement in situ and on-demand during tissue regeneration. Both alginate beads and microparticles were processed by extrusion-dropping and inkjet-based methods, respectively. Processing parameters like the alginate concentration, concentration of ionic crosslinker Ca2+, hardening time, and ionic strength of the medium were varied. The hydrolytic activity of the free and encapsulated enzyme was evaluated for unmodified (CNFs) and TEMPO-oxidized cellulose nanofibers (TOCNFs) in suspension (heterogeneous conditions); in comparison to solubilized cellulose derivatives (homogeneous conditions). The enzymatic activity was evaluated for temperatures between 25–75 °C, pH range from 3.5 to 8.0 and incubation times until 21 d. Encapsulated cellulase in general displayed higher activity compared to the free enzyme over wider temperature and pH ranges and for longer incubation times. A statistical design allowed optimizing the processing parameters for the preparation of enzyme-encapsulated alginate particles presenting the highest enzymatic activity and sphericity. The statistical analysis yielded the optimum particles characteristics and properties by using a formulation of 2% (w/v) alginate, a coagulation bath of 0.2 M CaCl2 and a hardening time of 1 h. In homogeneous conditions the highest catalytic activity was obtained at 55 °C and pH 4.8. These temperature and pH values were considered to study the biodegradation of the crystalline cellulose nanofibers in suspension. The encapsulated cellulase preserved its activity for several weeks over that of the free enzyme, which latter considerably decreased and practically showed deactivation after just 10 d. The alginate microparticles with their high surface area-to-volume ratio effectively allowed the controlled release of the encapsulated enzyme and thereby the sustained hydrolysis of the cellulose nanofibers. The relative activity of cellulase encapsulated in the microparticles leveled-off at around 60% after one day and practically remained at that value for three weeks.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071523
Ceramifiable ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) composites with fiber network structures were prepared by using aramid fiber (AF), ammonium polyphosphate (APP), and silicate glass frits (SGF). The effect of AF on the curing characteristic of the ceramifiable EPDM composites was studied. The morphology of AF in the composites system was observed by optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The effects of the observed AF network structures on the solvent resistance, mechanical properties, ablative resistance, self-supporting property, and ceramifiable properties of the composites were investigated. Results suggested that the existence of the AF network structure improved the vulcanization properties, solvent resistance, thermal stability, and ablative resistance of the EPDM composites. An excellent self-supporting property of the EPDM composites was obtained by combining the formation of the AF network and the formation of crystalline phases at higher temperature (above 600 °C). The thermal shrinkage performance of AF and the increased thermal stability of the EPDM composites improved the ceramifiable properties of the EPDM composites.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071524
Polyvinylpyrrolidone electrospun membranes characterized by randomly, partially, or almost completely oriented nanofibers are prepared using a drum collector in static (i.e., 0 rpm) or rotating (i.e., 250 rpm or 500 rpm) configuration. Besides a progressive alignment alongside the tangential speed direction, the nanofibers show a dimension increasing with the collector rotating speed in the range 410–570 nm. A novel design of experiment approach based on a face-centred central composite design is employed to describe membrane mechanical properties using the computation of mathematical models and their visualization via response surface methodology. The results demonstrate the anisotropic nature of the fibre-oriented membranes with Young’s modulus values of 165 MPa and 71 MPa parallelly and perpendicularly to the alignment direction, respectively. Above all, the proposed approach is proved to be a promising tool from an industrial point of view to prepare electrospun membranes with a tailored mechanical response by simply controlling the collector speed.
Polymers, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/polym12071526
In this study, solid polymer blend electrolytes (SPBEs) based on chitosan (CS) and methylcellulose (MC) incorporated with different concentrations of ammonium fluoride (NH4F) salt were synthesized using a solution cast technique. Both Fourier transformation infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) results confirmed a strong interaction and dispersion of the amorphous region within the CS:MC system in the presence of NH4F. To gain better insights into the electrical properties of the samples, the results of electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were analyzed by electrical equivalent circuit (EEC) modeling. The highest conductivity of 2.96 x 10−3 S cm−1 was recorded for the sample incorporated with 40 wt.% of NH4F. Through transference number measurement (TNM) analysis, the fraction of ions was specified. The electrochemical stability of the electrolyte sample was found to be up to 2.3 V via the linear sweep voltammetry (LSV) study. The value of specific capacitance was determined to be around 58.3 F/g. The stability test showed that the electrical double layer capacitor (EDLC) system can be recharged and discharged for up to 100 cycles with an average specific capacitance of 64.1 F/g. The synthesized EDLC cell was found to exhibit high efficiency (90%). In the 1st cycle, the values of internal resistance, energy density and power density of the EDLC cell were determined to be 65 Ω, 9.3 Wh/kg and 1282 W/kg, respectively.