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Polymers, Volume 13, Issue 17 (September-1 2021) – 180 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Phospholipase A1 (PLA1, EC 3.1.1.32) has specific hydrolyzing ability against the sn-1 acyl group of phospholipids with the production of lysophosphatidylcholine and a single fatty acid. It is widely applied in the fields of oil degumming, baked foods, and dairy products. To improve the stability of the PLA1, the free PLA1 was immobilized by assembling organic–inorganic hybrid nanostructures with four kinds of metal ions. The formed flower-like nanostructures showed excellent temperature stability versus free PLA1, suggesting a promising method for a wider application of PLA1 in many fields such as food, cosmetics, and the pharmaceutical industry. View this paper.
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Article
Geometry Effects on Mode I Brittle Fracture in VO-Notched PMMA Specimens
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3017; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173017 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 449
Abstract
This paper gathers experimental and theoretical investigations about both the geometry-dependent fracture initiation angle and the fracture strength in VO-notched polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) specimens under mode I loading conditions. The numerical analyses revealed that despite the application of pure mode I loading on [...] Read more.
This paper gathers experimental and theoretical investigations about both the geometry-dependent fracture initiation angle and the fracture strength in VO-notched polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) specimens under mode I loading conditions. The numerical analyses revealed that despite the application of pure mode I loading on the geometrically symmetric VO-notched samples, the maximum tangential stress occurs at two points symmetrically placed on either side of the notch bisector line. The experimental tests performed on some specimens showed that a crack does not necessarily propagate along the notch bisector line. Stress-based theoretical studies were then carried out to justify the experimental findings. The conventional maximum tangential stress (MTS) criterion gave weak predictions of the fracture. Therefore, the predictions were checked with the generalized MTS (GMTS) criterion by taking into consideration the higher-order stress terms. It was demonstrated that the GMTS criterion predictions have satisfactory consistency with the experimental results of the crack initiation angle and the fracture strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanics of Polymer and Polymer Composite Materials and Structures)
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Article
Extracellular Matrix Optimization for Enhanced Physiological Relevance in Hepatic Tissue-Chips
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3016; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173016 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 454
Abstract
The cellular microenvironment is influenced explicitly by the extracellular matrix (ECM), the main tissue support biomaterial, as a decisive factor for tissue growth patterns. The recent emergence of hepatic microphysiological systems (MPS) provide the basic physiological emulation of the human liver for drug [...] Read more.
The cellular microenvironment is influenced explicitly by the extracellular matrix (ECM), the main tissue support biomaterial, as a decisive factor for tissue growth patterns. The recent emergence of hepatic microphysiological systems (MPS) provide the basic physiological emulation of the human liver for drug screening. However, engineering microfluidic devices with standardized surface coatings of ECM may improve MPS-based organ-specific emulation for improved drug screening. The influence of surface coatings of different ECM types on tissue development needs to be optimized. Additionally, an intensity-based image processing tool and transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) sensor may assist in the analysis of tissue formation capacity under the influence of different ECM types. The current study highlights the role of ECM coatings for improved tissue formation, implying the additional role of image processing and TEER sensors. We studied hepatic tissue formation under the influence of multiple concentrations of Matrigel, collagen, fibronectin, and poly-L-lysine. Based on experimental data, a mathematical model was developed, and ECM concentrations were validated for better tissue development. TEER sensor and image processing data were used to evaluate the development of a hepatic MPS for human liver physiology modeling. Image analysis data for tissue formation was further strengthened by metabolic quantification of albumin, urea, and cytochrome P450. Standardized ECM type for MPS may improve clinical relevance for modeling hepatic tissue microenvironment, and image processing possibly enhance the tissue analysis of the MPS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biopolymers for Tissue Engineering)
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Review
A Critical Review on Polymeric Biomaterials for Biomedical Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3015; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173015 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 641
Abstract
Natural and synthetic polymers have been explored for many years in the field of tissue engineering and regeneration. Researchers have developed many new strategies to design successful advanced polymeric biomaterials. In this review, we summarized the recent notable advancements in the preparation of [...] Read more.
Natural and synthetic polymers have been explored for many years in the field of tissue engineering and regeneration. Researchers have developed many new strategies to design successful advanced polymeric biomaterials. In this review, we summarized the recent notable advancements in the preparation of smart polymeric biomaterials with self-healing and shape memory properties. We also discussed novel approaches used to develop different forms of polymeric biomaterials such as films, hydrogels and 3D printable biomaterials. In each part, the applications of the biomaterials in soft and hard tissue engineering with their in vitro and in vivo effects are underlined. The future direction of the polymeric biomaterials that could pave a path towards successful clinical implications is also underlined in this review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Biomaterials of Natural and Synthetic Origin)
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Article
Determination of Fire Parameters of Polyamide 12 Powder for Additive Technologies
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3014; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173014 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 316
Abstract
The use of additive technologies keeps growing. Increasingly, flammable powder materials are also used in additive technologies, and there is a risk of explosion or fire when using them. The current article deals with the determination of fire parameters of a powder sample [...] Read more.
The use of additive technologies keeps growing. Increasingly, flammable powder materials are also used in additive technologies, and there is a risk of explosion or fire when using them. The current article deals with the determination of fire parameters of a powder sample of polyamide Sinterit PA12 Smoth in accordance with the EN 14034 and EN ISO/IEC 80079-20-2 standards. For that purpose, a sample at a median size of 27.5 µm and a humidity of 0% wt. was used. The measurements showed that the maximum explosion pressure of the PA12 polyamide sample was 6.78 bar and the value of the explosion constant Kst was 112.2 bar·m·s−1. It was not possible to determine the MIT value of the settled dust, since the melting point of polyamide sample is low. The MIT of the dispersed dust was 450 °C. Based on the measured results, it can be stated that the powdered polyamide PA12 poses a risk in terms of explosions and fires. Therefore, when using polyamide PA12 in additive technologies, it is necessary to ensure an effective explosion prevention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing of Bio and Synthetic Polymers)
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Article
Analysis of the Effect of Parameters on Fracture Toughness of Hemp Fiber Reinforced Hybrid Composites Using the ANOVA Method
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3013; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173013 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 361
Abstract
In today’s world, global warming has become a concern. To overcome this, we need to reduce the carbon footprints caused by the production of materials. Much of the time, this is equivalent to the same amount of CO2 emissions per tonne of [...] Read more.
In today’s world, global warming has become a concern. To overcome this, we need to reduce the carbon footprints caused by the production of materials. Much of the time, this is equivalent to the same amount of CO2 emissions per tonne of production. This is a serious concern and needs to be overcome by identifying alternative materials to have as minimal a carbon footprint as possible. In this context, hemp fiber is by far the best natural fiber when compared to its peers. As per the survey conducted by the Nova institute, hemp has CO2 emissions of only 360 Kg/tonne, whereas jute has CO2 emissions of 550 Kg/tonne, kenaf 420 Kg/tonne, and flax 350 Kg/tonne. This paper presents an experimental study of the fracture toughness of hemp-reinforced hybrid composites (HRHC). The effect of the parameters on the fracture toughness behavior of HRHC is studied using the Taguchi technique. It uses different filler combinations with hemp fiber and epoxy. Hemp fiber is used as the reinforcement, epoxy resin is used as a matrix, and banana fiber, coconut shell powder, and sawdust are used as fillers. The experimental plan is prepared using an orthogonal array and analyzed using Minitab software. The obtained results were analyzed using ANOVA and main effects plots. It was observed that the fracture toughness increases with a decrease in thickness. The fracture toughness is affected by the fiber content in the range of 25%–35% and is also affected by the filler materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durability of Fiber-Reinforced-Polymer (FRP) Composites)
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Review
Macromolecular Design for Oxygen/Nitrogen Permselective Membranes—Top-Performing Polymers in 2020—
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3012; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173012 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Oxygen/nitrogen permselective membranes play particularly important roles in fundamental scientific studies and in a number of applications in industrial chemistry, but have not yet fulfilled their full potential. Organic polymers are the main materials used for such membranes because of the possibility of [...] Read more.
Oxygen/nitrogen permselective membranes play particularly important roles in fundamental scientific studies and in a number of applications in industrial chemistry, but have not yet fulfilled their full potential. Organic polymers are the main materials used for such membranes because of the possibility of using sophisticated techniques of precise molecular design and their ready processability for making thin and large self-supporting membranes. However, since the difference in the properties of oxygen and nitrogen gas molecules is quite small, for example, their kinetic diameters are 3.46 Å and 3.64 Å, respectively, the architectures of the membrane macromolecules should be designed precisely. It has been reported often that oxygen permeability (PO2) and oxygen permselectivity (α = PO2/PN2) have trade-off relationships for symmetric membranes made from pure polymers. Some empirical upper bound lines have been reported in (ln α − ln PO2) plots since Robeson reported an upper bound line in 1991 for the first time. The main purpose of this review is to discuss suitable macromolecular structures that produce excellent oxygen/nitrogen permselective membranes. For this purpose, we first searched extensively and intensively for papers which had reported α and PO2 values through symmetric dense membranes from pure polymers. Then, we examined the chemical structures of the polymers showing the top performances in (ln α − ln PO2) plots, using their aged performances. Furthermore, we also explored progress in the molecular design in this field by comparing the best polymers reported by 2013 and those subsequently found up to now (2020) because of the rapid outstanding growth in this period. Finally, we discussed how to improve α and PO2 simultaneously on the basis of reported results using not only symmetric membranes of pure organic polymers but also composite asymmetric membranes containing various additives. Full article
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Article
Surface Modification by the DBD Plasma to Improve the Flame-Retardant Treatment for Dyed Polyester Fabric
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3011; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173011 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 377
Abstract
In the first part of the study, dyed polyester fabric was treated with a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma at 1 W/cm2 for 15, 30, 60 and 90 s. The wicking height, tensile strength and color of the control and plasma treated [...] Read more.
In the first part of the study, dyed polyester fabric was treated with a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasma at 1 W/cm2 for 15, 30, 60 and 90 s. The wicking height, tensile strength and color of the control and plasma treated fabrics were measured. Results show that the fabric capillary increases with plasma treatment time up to 90 s. However, plasma treatment time longer than 60 s caused an obvious color change and decrease in tensile strength of fabric. Plasma contact time should be such that plasma can improve the hydrophilicity of the fabric and adversely affect the properties of the fabric as little as possible. Thus, the suitable plasma contact time should be less than 60 s. Based on these results, in the second part of the study, three different time levels (15, 20 and 30 s) were selected for plasma pretreatment of this fabric. The plasma-treated fabric was then padded with the flame retardant (FR) (CETAFLAM PDP 30), dried and finally cured at 190 °C for 120 s. The limited oxygen index (LOI) of FR fabrics and the vertical fire characteristics of FR fabric after being washed 5 times also were measured. Comparison of these results with those of FR fabrics without plasma pretreatment shows that plasma pretreatment improves the fabric’s flame retardancy and FR durability. Moreover, it also reduces the heat shrinkage of PET fabric due to high temperature curing. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of the fabric after plasma treatment and FR treatment and the energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) spectrum of the fabric are consistent with the above results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasma Processing of Polymers)
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Article
Increased Comfort of Polyester Fabrics
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3010; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173010 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 330
Abstract
The hydrophilicity of fibers is directly related to the comfort of a fabric and represents one of the most important aspects of a textile. Therefore, polyester (PES) modification has focused on an increase in moisture content and a subsequent improvement of the user’s [...] Read more.
The hydrophilicity of fibers is directly related to the comfort of a fabric and represents one of the most important aspects of a textile. Therefore, polyester (PES) modification has focused on an increase in moisture content and a subsequent improvement of the user’s experience. Based on the glycerol hygroscopic properties, the main objective has been the enhancement of the hydrophilicity of polyester by glycerol treatments. Furthermore, microwave irradiation and alkaline treatment have been applied, in order to increase glycerol adhesion. Treated PES samples were characterized by performing moisture content, negative ion, water diffusion and water vapor resistance analyses. The effect of different treatment conditions such as bath ratio (1/10 or 1/15), temperature (40, 60 or 100 °C), time (2 or 5 min) and microwave radiation intensity (300 or 500 W) was evaluated. The moisture content of treated PES results indicated that by decreasing the bath ratio and increasing the time and temperature the moisture gain can reach almost 14%, which can be easily related to increases in the weight of the fiber. The treatment with alkali was done and led to the highest moisture increase. Treatment with 500 W microwave irradiation led to higher glycerol retention after rinsing. Different experimental conditions were applied to the glycerol-treated PES fabrics, and a clear improvement in moisture content was obtained increasing the comfort. The results were compared with the ones obtained for cotton and wool, where the moisture is higher than non treated PES. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polyester-Based Materials)
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A State-of-the-Art Review on Biowaste Derived Chitosan Biomaterials for Biosorption of Organic Dyes: Parameter Studies, Kinetics, Isotherms and Thermodynamics
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3009; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173009 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 495
Abstract
Chitosan is a second-most abundant biopolymer on earth after cellulose. Its unique properties have recently received particular attention from researchers to be used as a potential biosorbent for the removal of organic dyes. However, pure chitosan has some limitations that exhibit lower biosorption [...] Read more.
Chitosan is a second-most abundant biopolymer on earth after cellulose. Its unique properties have recently received particular attention from researchers to be used as a potential biosorbent for the removal of organic dyes. However, pure chitosan has some limitations that exhibit lower biosorption capacity, surface area and thermal stability than chitosan composites. The reinforcement materials used for the synthesis of chitosan composites were carbon-based materials, metal oxides and other biopolymers. This paper reviews the effects of several factors such as pH, biosorbent dosage, initial dye concentration, contact time and temperature when utilizing chitosan-based materials as biosorbent for removing of organic dyes from contaminated water. The behaviour of the biosorption process for various chitosan composites was compared and analysed through the kinetic models, isotherm models and thermodynamic parameters. The findings revealed that pseudo-second-order (PSO) and Langmuir isotherm models were best suited for describing most of the biosorption processes or organic dyes. This indicated that monolayer chemisorption of organic dyes occurred on the surface of chitosan composites. Most of the biosorption processes were endothermic, feasible and spontaneous at the low temperature range between 288 K and 320 K. Therefore, chitosan composites were proven to be a promising biosorbent for the removal of organic dyes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Chitin/Chitosan-Based Polymer Materials)
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Article
Effect of Short Fibres in the Mechanical Properties of Geopolymer Mortar Containing Oil-Contaminated Sand
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3008; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173008 - 05 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 586
Abstract
Sand contaminated with crude oil is becoming a major environmental issue around the world, while at the same time, fly ash generated by coal-fired power stations is having a detrimental effect on the environment. Previous studies showed that combining these two waste materials [...] Read more.
Sand contaminated with crude oil is becoming a major environmental issue around the world, while at the same time, fly ash generated by coal-fired power stations is having a detrimental effect on the environment. Previous studies showed that combining these two waste materials can result in an environmentally sustainable geopolymer concrete. Incorporating sand contaminated with crude oil up to a certain level (4% by weight) can improve the mechanical properties of the produced geopolymer concrete but beyond this level can have a detrimental effect on its compressive strength. To overcome this challenge, this study introduces short fibres to enhance the mechanical properties of geopolymer mortar containing fine sand contaminated with 6% by weight of light crude oil. Four types of short fibres, consisting of twisted polypropylene (PP) fibres, straight PP fibres, short glass fibres and steel fibres in different dosages (0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5% by volume of geopolymer mortar) are considered. The optimum strength was obtained when straight PP fibres were used wherein increases of up to 39% and 74% of the compressive and tensile strength, respectively, of the geopolymer mortar were achieved. Moreover, a fibre dosage of 0.5% provided the highest enhancement in the mechanical properties of the geopolymer mortar with 6% crude oil contamination. This result indicates that the reduction in strength of geopolymer due to the addition of sand with 6% crude oil contamination can be regained by using short fibres, making this new material from wastes suitable for building and construction applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Response of Fibre-Reinforced Polymers)
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Article
The Collagen Origin Influences the Degradation Kinetics of Guided Bone Regeneration Membranes
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3007; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173007 - 05 Sep 2021
Viewed by 556
Abstract
Collagen membranes are currently the most widely used membranes for guided bone regeneration; however, their rapid degradation kinetics means that the barrier function may not remain for enough time to permit tissue regeneration to happen. The origin of collagen may have an important [...] Read more.
Collagen membranes are currently the most widely used membranes for guided bone regeneration; however, their rapid degradation kinetics means that the barrier function may not remain for enough time to permit tissue regeneration to happen. The origin of collagen may have an important effect on the resistance to degradation. The aim of this study was to investigate the biodegradation pattern of five collagen membranes from different origins: Biocollagen, Heart, Evolution X-fine, CopiOs and Parasorb Resodont. Membranes samples were submitted to different degradation tests: (1) hydrolytic degradation in phosphate buffer saline solution, (2) bacterial collagenase from Clostridium histolyticum solution, and (3) enzyme resistance using a 0.25% porcine trypsin solution. Immersion periods from 1 up to 50 days were performed. At each time point, thickness and weight measurements were performed with a digital caliper and an analytic microbalance, respectively. ANOVA and Student–Newman–Keuls tests were used for comparisons (p < 0.05). Differences between time-points within the same membranes and solutions were assessed by pair-wise comparisons (p < 0.001). The Evolution X-fine collagen membrane from porcine pericardium attained the highest resistance to all of the degradation tests. Biocollagen and Parasorb Resodont, both from equine origin, experienced the greatest degradation when immersed in PBS, trypsin and C. histolyticum during challenge tests. The bacterial collagenase solution was shown to be the most aggressive testing method. Full article
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Article
Surface Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Polyether Ether Ketone (PEEK) Nanocomposites Reinforced by Nano-Sized Silica (SiO2) for Prosthodontics and Restorative Dentistry
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3006; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173006 - 05 Sep 2021
Viewed by 566
Abstract
In the field of orthopedics and traumatology, polyether ether ketone (PEEK) serves a significant role as a suitable alternative to traditional metal-based implants like titanium. PEEK is being used more commonly to replace traditional dental products. For bonding with various adhesive agents and [...] Read more.
In the field of orthopedics and traumatology, polyether ether ketone (PEEK) serves a significant role as a suitable alternative to traditional metal-based implants like titanium. PEEK is being used more commonly to replace traditional dental products. For bonding with various adhesive agents and preserved teeth, the surface alteration of PEEK was investigated. The aim of this research was to understand how different types and contents of nano-sized silica (SiO2) fillers influenced the surface and mechanical properties of PEEK nanocomposites used in prosthodontics. In this work, PEEK based nanocomposites containing hydrophilic or hydrophobic nano-silica were prepared by a compression molding technique. The influence of nano-SiO2 type and content (10, 20 and 30% wt) on surface properties of the resultant nanocomposites was investigated by the use of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), surface roughness analysis, and contact angle measurement. The crystalline structures of PEEK/SiO2 nanocomposites were examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectroscopy. Mechanical properties were measured by microhardness, elastic compression modulus, and flexural strength. All nanocomposites showed increased surface roughness compared to pure PEEK. SEM images revealed that nanocomposites filled with low content hydrophobic nano-SiO2 showed uniform dispersion within the PEEK matrix. The introduction of 10 wt% of hydrophobic nano-SiO2 to the PEEK matrix improved elastic modulus, flexural strength, and microhardness, according to the findings. The addition of nano-SiO2 fillers in a higher weight percentage, over 10%, significantly damages the mechanical characteristics of the resultant nanocomposite. On the basis of the obtained results, PEEK/SiO2 nanocomposites loaded with low content hydrophobic nano-SiO2 are recommended as promising candidates for orthopedic and prosthodontics materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer Composites for Medical Applications)
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Article
Dielectric Permittivity, AC Electrical Conductivity and Conduction Mechanism of High Crosslinked-Vinyl Polymers and Their Pd(OAc)2 Composites
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3005; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173005 - 05 Sep 2021
Viewed by 591
Abstract
Semiconductor materials based on metal high crosslinked-vinyl polymer composites were prepared through loading of Pd(OAc)2 on both Poly(ethylene-1,2-diyl dimethacrylate) (poly(EDMA)) and poly(ethylene-1,2-diyl dimethacrylate-co-methyl methacrylate) (Poly(EDMA-co-MMA)). The thermochemical properties for both poly(EDMA) and poly(EDMA-co-MMA) were investigated by thermal gravimetric analysis TGA technique. The [...] Read more.
Semiconductor materials based on metal high crosslinked-vinyl polymer composites were prepared through loading of Pd(OAc)2 on both Poly(ethylene-1,2-diyl dimethacrylate) (poly(EDMA)) and poly(ethylene-1,2-diyl dimethacrylate-co-methyl methacrylate) (Poly(EDMA-co-MMA)). The thermochemical properties for both poly(EDMA) and poly(EDMA-co-MMA) were investigated by thermal gravimetric analysis TGA technique. The dielectric permittivity, AC electrical conductivity and conduction mechanism for all the prepared polymers and their Pd(OAc)2 composites were studied. The results showed that the loading of polymers with Pd(OAc)2 led to an increase in the magnitudes of both the dielectric permittivity and AC electrical conductivity (σac). The value of σac increased from 1.38 × 10−5 to 5.84 × 10−5 S m−1 and from 6.40 × 10−6 to 2.48 × 10−5 S m−1 for poly(EDMA) and poly(EDMA-co-MMA), respectively, at 1 MHz and 340 K after loading with Pd(OAc)2. Additionally, all the prepared polymers and composites were considered as semiconductors at all the test frequencies and in the temperature range of 300–340 K. Furthermore, it seems that a conduction mechanism for all the samples could be Quantum Mechanical Tunneling (QMT). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cross-linked Polymers)
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Article
New Approach toward Laser-Assisted Modification of Biocompatible Polymers Relevant to Neural Interfacing Technologies
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3004; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173004 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 480
Abstract
We report on a new approach toward a laser-assisted modification of biocompatible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomers relevant to the fabrication of stretchable multielectrode arrays (MEAs) devices for neural interfacing technologies. These applications require high-density electrode packaging to provide a high-resolution integrating system for neural [...] Read more.
We report on a new approach toward a laser-assisted modification of biocompatible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomers relevant to the fabrication of stretchable multielectrode arrays (MEAs) devices for neural interfacing technologies. These applications require high-density electrode packaging to provide a high-resolution integrating system for neural stimulation and/or recording. Medical grade PDMS elastomers are highly flexible with low Young’s modulus < 1 MPa, which are similar to soft tissue (nerve, brain, muscles) among the other known biopolymers, and can easily adjust to the soft tissue curvatures. This property ensures tight contact between the electrodes and tissue and promotes intensive development of PDMS-based MEAs interfacing devices in the basic neuroscience, neural prosthetics, and hybrid bionic systems, connecting the human nervous system with electronic or robotic prostheses for restoring and treating neurological diseases. By using the UV harmonics 266 and 355 nm of Nd:YAG laser medical grade PDMS elastomer is modified by ns-laser ablation in water. A new approach of processing is proposed to (i) activate the surface and to obtain tracks with (ii) symmetric U-shaped profiles and (iii) homogeneous microstructure This technology provides miniaturization of the device and successful functionalization by electroless metallization of the tracks with platinum (Pt) without preliminary sensitization by tin (Sn) and chemical activation by palladium (Pd). As a result, platinum black layers with a cauliflower-like structure with low values of sheet resistance between 1 and 8 Ω/sq are obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Laser–Polymer Interaction for Functional Applications)
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Article
A Facile Approach of Fabricating Electrically Conductive Knitted Fabrics Using Graphene Oxide and Textile-Based Waste Material
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3003; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173003 - 04 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 492
Abstract
This research investigated a feasible approach to fabricating electrically conductive knitted fabrics using previously wet-spun wool/polyacrylonitrile (PAN) composite fibre. In the production of the composite fibre, waste wool fibres and PAN were used, whereby both the control PAN (100% PAN) and wool/PAN composite [...] Read more.
This research investigated a feasible approach to fabricating electrically conductive knitted fabrics using previously wet-spun wool/polyacrylonitrile (PAN) composite fibre. In the production of the composite fibre, waste wool fibres and PAN were used, whereby both the control PAN (100% PAN) and wool/PAN composite fibres (25% wool) were knitted into fabrics. The knitted fabrics were coated with graphene oxide (GO) using the brushing and drying technique and then chemically reduced using hydrazine to introduce the electrical conductivity. The morphological study showed the presence of GO sheets wrinkles on the coated fabrics and their absence on reduced fabrics, which supports successful coating and a reduction of GO. This was further confirmed by the colour change properties of the fabrics. The colour strength (K/S) of the reduced control PAN and wool/PAN fabrics increased by ~410% and ~270%, and the lightness (L*) decreased ~65% and ~71%, respectively, compared to their pristine fabrics. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed the presence and absence of the GO functional groups along with the PAN and amide groups in the GO-coated and reduced fabrics. Similarly, the X-ray diffraction analysis exhibited a typical 2θ peak at 10⁰ that represents the existence of GO, which was demolished after the reduction process. Moreover, the wool/PAN/reduced GO knitted fabrics showed higher electrical conductivity (~1.67 S/cm) compared to the control PAN/reduced GO knitted fabrics (~0.35 S/cm). This study shows the potential of fabricating electrically conductive fabrics using waste wool fibres and graphene that can be used in different application fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
External Marginal Gap Variation and Residual Fracture Resistance of Composite and Lithium-Silicate CAD/CAM Overlays after Cyclic Fatigue over Endodontically-Treated Molars
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3002; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173002 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the external marginal gap variation with a 3D quantitative method and the residual fracture resistance after cyclic fatigue in endodontically treated molars restored with overlays of different materials, with and without fiber posts-supported [...] Read more.
The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the external marginal gap variation with a 3D quantitative method and the residual fracture resistance after cyclic fatigue in endodontically treated molars restored with overlays of different materials, with and without fiber posts-supported buildups. Forty-eight human maxillary molars were selected, endodontically treated, prepared with standardized MOD cavities and randomly allocated into 6 study groups considering the “core strategy” (build-up with composite resin; build-up with composite resin supported by a fiber post); and the “restorative material” of the indirect adhesive overlay (GrandioBlocks, Voco; Cerasmart, GC; CeltraDuo, Dentsply). All procedures were executed according with manufacturers guidelines. Micro-CT analysis prior and after cyclic fatigue were executed, followed by scanning electron microscope analysis and fracture resistance test. The Two-Way ANOVA analysis showed that interfacial gap progression was significantly influenced by the “core strategy” (p < 0.01) but not of “restorative material” (p = 0.59). Concerning fracture resistance, “restorative material” was statistically significant (p < 0.01), while “core strategy” (p = 0.63) and the interaction (p = 0.84) were not. In conclusion, the fiber post presence within the build-up promoted a lower interfacial gap opening after fatigue, evaluated through micro-CT scans. In terms of fracture resistance, teeth restored with Cerasmart and Celtra Duo were statistically similar, but superior to GrandioBlocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durability and Degradation of Polymeric Materials)
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The Interfacial Structure and Adhesion Mechanism of N-(2-Aminoethyl)-3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane and Epoxy Modified Silicone Tie-Coating to Epoxy Primer
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3001; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173001 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 353
Abstract
The matching application of silicone antifouling coating and epoxy primer is a major problem in engineering. Novel epoxy-modified silicone tie-coating was prepared to tie epoxy primer and silicone antifouling coating. Firstly, N-(2-Aminoethyl)-3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane was mechanically mixed with bisphenol A epoxy resin to form [...] Read more.
The matching application of silicone antifouling coating and epoxy primer is a major problem in engineering. Novel epoxy-modified silicone tie-coating was prepared to tie epoxy primer and silicone antifouling coating. Firstly, N-(2-Aminoethyl)-3-aminopropyltrimethoxysilane was mechanically mixed with bisphenol A epoxy resin to form silylated epoxy resin, then the silylated epoxy resin was uniformly mixed with hydroxy-terminated polydimethylsiloxane and a curing agent and catalyst for coating. An infrared spectrometer, differential scanning calorimeter and tensile tests were used to investigate the chemical structure, phase transition temperature and mechanical properties of the tie-coatings. The interlaminar adhesion of the matching coating system was tested and analyzed by a peel-off test and a shear test. Fracture morphology was observed by scanning using an electron microscope. The results showed that crosslinking density of the tie-coating, the elastic modulus and the tensile strength of the coating increased with an increasing epoxy content, but fracture elongation decreased. The shear strength of the matching coating system is 0.37 MPa, and it shows a good tie performance. The maximum anti-peeling rate of the tie-coating on the epoxy primer reaches 100%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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Article
Hydrophobic Modification of Biopolymer Aerogels by Cold Plasma Coating
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 3000; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13173000 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 742
Abstract
The aim of this work was to evaluate the potential of cold plasma polymerization as a simple, fast and versatile technique for deposition of protective hydrophobic and oleophobic polymer layers on hydrophilic biopolymer aerogels. Polymerization of different fluorinated monomers (octafluorocyclobutane C4F [...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to evaluate the potential of cold plasma polymerization as a simple, fast and versatile technique for deposition of protective hydrophobic and oleophobic polymer layers on hydrophilic biopolymer aerogels. Polymerization of different fluorinated monomers (octafluorocyclobutane C4F8 and perfluoro-acrylates PFAC-6 and PFAC-8) on aerogel monoliths derived from alginate, cellulose, whey protein isolate (WPI) and potato protein isolate (PPI) resulted in fast and significant surface hydrophobization after short process times of 5 min and led to superhydrophobic surfaces with static water contact angles up to 154° after application of poly-C4F8 coatings. Simultaneous introduction of hydro- and oleophobicity was possible by deposition of perfluoro-acrylates. While the porous structure of aerogels stayed intact during the process, polymerization inside the aerogels pores led to the generation of new porous moieties and resulted therefore in significant increase in the specific surface area. The magnitude of the effect depended on the individual process settings and on the overall porosity of the substrates. A maximization of specific surface area increase (+179 m2/g) was obtained by applying a pulsed wave mode in the C4F8-coating of alginate aerogels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Natural-Based Polymers)
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Article
High-Strength and Low-Cost Biobased Polyurethane Foam Composites Enhanced by Poplar Wood Powder Liquefaction
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2999; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172999 - 04 Sep 2021
Viewed by 439
Abstract
An environmentally friendly liquefaction of wood powder was prepared by atmospheric pressure liquefaction technology to replace the non-renewable petroleum polyols in the preparation of polyurethane foam composites. The liquefaction time varied from 0 min to 140 min. The composition of liquefied products and [...] Read more.
An environmentally friendly liquefaction of wood powder was prepared by atmospheric pressure liquefaction technology to replace the non-renewable petroleum polyols in the preparation of polyurethane foam composites. The liquefaction time varied from 0 min to 140 min. The composition of liquefied products and the effects of liquefaction time on the morphology, apparent density and mechanical properties of polyurethane foam composites were investigated. The results showed that the optimal process time for the preparation of wood powder liquefaction products, which could replace traditional petroleum polyols, was 110 min. At this time, polyether polyols are the main liquefaction products, with an average molecular weight in Mn reaching 237 and average molecular weight in Mw reaching 246. The functional group of the liquefied product consisted mainly of hydroxyl, with the highest content of 1042 mg KOH/g and the lowest acid number of 1.6 mg KOH/g. In addition, the surface of the polyurethane foam based on poplar wood is dominated by closed cell foam; thus its foam has good heat insulation and heat preservation properties. At 110 min liquefaction time, the apparent density of polyurethane foam is 0.164 g/cm3 and the compression strength is 850 kPa, which is higher than that of traditional polyurethane foam (768 kPa), which is without wood powder modification. Replacing petroleum polyol with renewable wood powder liquefaction products to prepare biomass-based polyurethane foam composite materials, researching complex chemical changes in different liquefaction stages, and finding the best liquefaction conditions are of great significance to optimize the performance of polyurethane, address the shortage of resources and reduce environmental pollution. Full article
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Article
Interaction between Filler and Polymeric Matrix in Nanocomposites: Magnetic Approach and Applications
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2998; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172998 - 04 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 526
Abstract
In recent years, polymer nanocomposites produced by combining nanofillers and a polymeric matrix are emerging as interesting materials. Polymeric composites have a wide range of applications due to the outstanding and enhanced properties that are obtained thanks to the introduction of nanoparticles. Therefore, [...] Read more.
In recent years, polymer nanocomposites produced by combining nanofillers and a polymeric matrix are emerging as interesting materials. Polymeric composites have a wide range of applications due to the outstanding and enhanced properties that are obtained thanks to the introduction of nanoparticles. Therefore, understanding the filler-matrix relationship is an important factor in the continued growth of this scientific area and the development of new materials with desired properties and specific applications. Due to their performance in response to a magnetic field magnetic nanocomposites represent an important class of functional nanocomposites. Due to their properties, magnetic nanocomposites have found numerous applications in biomedical applications such as drug delivery, theranostics, etc. This article aims to provide an overview of the filler-polymeric matrix relationship, with a special focus on magnetic nanocomposites and their potential applications in the biomedical field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Physics and Theory)
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Article
Structural Behavior of High-Strength Concrete Slabs Reinforced with GFRP Bars
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2997; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172997 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 490
Abstract
In this manuscript, structural testing was conducted on high-strength concrete slab specimens to investigate the behavior of such specimens when reinforced with a locally produced GFRP reinforcement. Subsequently, a finite element model (FEM) was constructed and validated against the experimental results. In the [...] Read more.
In this manuscript, structural testing was conducted on high-strength concrete slab specimens to investigate the behavior of such specimens when reinforced with a locally produced GFRP reinforcement. Subsequently, a finite element model (FEM) was constructed and validated against the experimental results. In the experimental phase, a total of eleven specimens (nine were reinforced with GFRP, while two were reinforced with conventional steel) were constructed and tested. The slabs dimensions are 700 mm × 1750 mm with variable thickness from 100 mm to 150 mm and different reinforcement ratios using different diameters. The structural behavior of the tested slabs was investigated in terms of ultimate load, ultimate deflection, load–deflection relationship, and crack pattern. Additionally, a nonlinear finite element model using the software ANSYS 2019-R1 was constructed to simulate the structural behavior of slabs reinforced with GFRP bars. The results obtained from the finite element analysis are compared with experimental results. The outcomes showed that the contribution of GFRP rebars in concrete slabs improved slab ductility and exhibited higher deflection when compared with traditional steel rebars. Good agreement between experimental and nonlinear analysis was obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Durability and Degradation of Polymeric Materials)
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Article
Effect of Modified Silica Fume Using MPTMS for the Enhanced EPDM Foam Insulation
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2996; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172996 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 412
Abstract
Silica fume (SF) is a by-product from the production of silicon metal, which has a relatively high silica concentration. The surface modified silica fume (mSF) is treated with (3-mercaptopropyl) trimethoxysilane (MPTMS) as filler in ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) foam. The FTIR spectra [...] Read more.
Silica fume (SF) is a by-product from the production of silicon metal, which has a relatively high silica concentration. The surface modified silica fume (mSF) is treated with (3-mercaptopropyl) trimethoxysilane (MPTMS) as filler in ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) foam. The FTIR spectra of mSF clearly indicated that MPTMS can be successfully bonded to the SF surface. The reinforcing efficiency of mSF-filled EPDM foam insulation indicated that the mechanical properties such as hardness, tensile strength, modulus, and compression set enhanced higher than in case of SF and calcium carbonate. While the cure characteristics such as the maximum torque (MH), the minimum torque (ML) and the differential torque (MH-ML) are increasing in proportion to increasing filler contents, mainly with mSF. For the cure behavior, the mSF-filled EPDM foam insulation showed the fastest cure time (tc90) and scorch time (ts2) due to reduced accelerator adsorption. Whereas, the calcium carbonate-filled EPDM foam insulation increased the cure time (tc90) and scorch time (ts2), therefore, it also prevents compound scorching. The results indicated that the mSF with MPTMS can be used as an alternative filler for EPDM foam insulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Polymer Technologies)
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Article
In Vitro Assessment of the Cell Metabolic Activity, Cytotoxicity, Cell Attachment, and Inflammatory Reaction of Human Oral Fibroblasts on Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) Implant–Abutment
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2995; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172995 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 538
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to compare the cytotoxicity of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) with conventional dental implant–abutment materials, namely titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) and yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystal (Y-TZP), to evaluate the cell metabolic activity, cytotoxicity, and inflammation potential of human [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research is to compare the cytotoxicity of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) with conventional dental implant–abutment materials, namely titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) and yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystal (Y-TZP), to evaluate the cell metabolic activity, cytotoxicity, and inflammation potential of human oral fibroblasts (HOF) on these materials. Disk-shaped specimens were designed and prepared via a dental computer-aided manufacturing technology system. Surface topography, roughness, and free energy were investigated by atomic force microscope and contact angle analyzer; cell metabolic activity and cytotoxicity by MTT assay; and morphological changes by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The effect of pro-inflammatory gene expression was evaluated by RT-qPCR. The obtained data were analyzed with one-way analysis of variance and post-hoc Tukey’s honest significant difference tests. PEEK and PEKK exhibited higher submicron surface roughness (0.04 μm) and hydrophobicity (>80°) than the control. Although the cell activity of PEEK was lower than that of Ti-6Al-4V and Y-TZP for the first 24 h (p < 0.05), after 48 h there was no difference (p > 0.05). According to the cell cytotoxicity and the pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression assays, there was no difference between the materials (p > 0.05). SEM observations indicated that HOF adhered poorly to PEKK but properly to Ti-6Al-4V, Y-TZP, and PEEK. PEEK and PEKK show comparable epithelial biological responses to Ti-6Al-4V and Y-TZP as implant–abutment materials. Between the two polymeric materials, the PEEK surface, where the HOF showed better cell metabolic activity and cytotoxicity, was a more promising implant–abutment material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Materials for Dental Applications II)
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Article
Effect of pH on the In Vitro Biocompatibility of Surfactant-Assisted Synthesis and Hydrothermal Precipitation of Rod-Shaped Nano-Hydroxyapatite
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2994; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172994 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Given their wide range of biomedical applications, hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles are an attractive material widely used in many fields. Therefore, a simple, inexpensive, and stable process for the synthesis of HA nanoparticles is necessary to meet current needs. Herein, we studied HA synthesis [...] Read more.
Given their wide range of biomedical applications, hydroxyapatite (HA) nanoparticles are an attractive material widely used in many fields. Therefore, a simple, inexpensive, and stable process for the synthesis of HA nanoparticles is necessary to meet current needs. Herein, we studied HA synthesis assisted by four surfactants, namely cation, anion, non-ionic, and zwitterion templates, to verify the synthesis phase, aspect ratio, morphology, and biocompatibility under different environments (i.e., pH 4 and 9) before and after calcination. Results showed that before calcination, the surfactant-free groups could not produce HA but showed an abundant dicalcium phosphate anhydrous (DCPA) phase at pH 4. Except for the anionic group containing a small amount of DCPA, all surfactant-assistant groups presented single-phase HA in acidic and alkaline environments. The diameter of HA synthesized at pH 4 was significantly larger than that of HA synthesized at pH 9, and the effect of aspect ratio changes after calcination was more significant than that before calcination. The uncalcined rod-shaped HA synthesized with a non-ionic template at pH 4 demonstrated excellent cell viability, whereas anionic, cationic, and non-ionic surfactants exhibited biocompatibility only after calcination. At pH 9, non-ionic and uncalcined zwitterion-assisted rod-shaped HA showed excellent biocompatibility. In conclusion, the uncalcined HA rod-shaped nanoparticles synthesized from the non-ionic template at pH 4 and 9 and the zwitterion template at pH 9, as well as all surfactant-assisted HA after calcination, had no cytotoxicity. These tailor-made non-toxic HA types can meet the different requirements of apatite composite materials in biomedical applications. Full article
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Article
Nematic Structures under Conical Anchoring at Various Director Tilt Angles Specified by Polymethacrylate Compositions
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2993; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172993 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 383
Abstract
Dependence of the director tilt angle of nematic liquid crystal (LC) under conical anchoring from the two-component polymer mixture composition has been studied. We varied the ratio of poly(isobutyl methacrylate) (PiBMA), which specifies a conical anchoring for the nematic liquid crystal LN-396, and [...] Read more.
Dependence of the director tilt angle of nematic liquid crystal (LC) under conical anchoring from the two-component polymer mixture composition has been studied. We varied the ratio of poly(isobutyl methacrylate) (PiBMA), which specifies a conical anchoring for the nematic liquid crystal LN-396, and poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) assigning a tangential alignment for the same nematic. An oblique incidence light technique to determine a tilt angle has been used. It has been shown that the tilt angle increases from 0 to 47.7 when PiBMA:PMMA ratio changes in the range 30:70 to 100:0. The specific optical textures viewed under the polarizing microscope and proper orientational structures have been considered for various compositions of the polymer films. An electric field action on the formed orientational structures has been investigated. The obtained results are promising for the application in various electro-optical LC devices with a conical anchoring in which the director tilt angle is a crucial parameter: a controlled diffraction gratings, an electrically operated achromatic rotators of linear light polarization, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymer - Liquid Crystal Complex Systems)
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Article
Enhanced Chemical and Electrochemical Stability of Polyaniline-Based Layer-by-Layer Films
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2992; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172992 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 716
Abstract
Polyaniline (PANI) has been widely used as an electroactive material in various applications including sensors, electrochromic devices, solar cells, electroluminescence, and electrochemical energy storage, owing to PANI’s unique redox properties. However, the chemical and electrochemical stability of PANI-based materials is not sufficiently high [...] Read more.
Polyaniline (PANI) has been widely used as an electroactive material in various applications including sensors, electrochromic devices, solar cells, electroluminescence, and electrochemical energy storage, owing to PANI’s unique redox properties. However, the chemical and electrochemical stability of PANI-based materials is not sufficiently high to maintain the performance of devices under many practical applications. Herein, we report a route to enhancing the chemical and electrochemical stability of PANI through layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly. PANI was assembled with different types of polyelectrolytes, and a comparative study between three different PANI-based layer-by-layer (LbL) films is presented here. Polyacids of different acidity and molecular structure, i.e., poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), polystyrene sulfonate (PSS), and tannic acid (TA), were used. The effect of polyacids’ acidity on film growth, conductivity, and chemical and electrochemical stability of PANI was investigated. The results showed that the film growth of the LbL system depended on the acidic strength of the polyacids. All LbL films exhibited improved chemical and electrochemical stability compared to PANI films. The doping level of PANI was strongly affected by the type of dopants, resulting in different chemical and electrochemical properties; the strongest polyacid (PSS) can provide the highest conductivity and chemical stability of conductive PANI. However, the electrochemical stability of PANI/PAA was found to be better than all the other films. Full article
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Article
Model Composites Based on Poly(lactic acid) and Bioactive Glass Fillers for Bone Regeneration
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2991; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172991 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 433
Abstract
Poly(l-lactide-co-d,l-lactide) PDLA/45S5 Bioglass® (BG) composites for medical devices were developed using an original approach based on a thermal treatment of BG prior to processing. The aim of the present work is to gain a fundamental understanding [...] Read more.
Poly(l-lactide-co-d,l-lactide) PDLA/45S5 Bioglass® (BG) composites for medical devices were developed using an original approach based on a thermal treatment of BG prior to processing. The aim of the present work is to gain a fundamental understanding of the relationships between the morphology, processing conditions and final properties of these biomaterials. A rheological study was performed to evaluate and model the PDLA/BG degradation during processing. The filler contents, as well as their thermal treatments, were investigated. The degradation of PDLA was also investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) and mechanical characterization. The results highlight the value of thermally treating the BG in order to control the degradation of the polymer during the process. The present work provides a guideline for obtaining composites with a well-controlled particle dispersion, optimized mechanical properties and limited degradation of the PDLA matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymer Composites for Medical Applications)
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Article
Preparation and Characterization of Cellulose Acetate Film Reinforced with Cellulose Nanofibril
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2990; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172990 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 460
Abstract
In this study, cellulose acetate (CA)/cellulose nanofibril (CNF) film was prepared via solvent casting. CNF was used as reinforcement to increase tensile properties of CA film. CNF ratio was varied into 3, 5, and 10 phr (parts per hundred rubbers). Triacetin (TA) and [...] Read more.
In this study, cellulose acetate (CA)/cellulose nanofibril (CNF) film was prepared via solvent casting. CNF was used as reinforcement to increase tensile properties of CA film. CNF ratio was varied into 3, 5, and 10 phr (parts per hundred rubbers). Triacetin (TA) and triethyl citrate (TC) were used as two different eco-friendly plasticizers. Two different types of solvent, which are acetone and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP), were also used. CA/CNF film was prepared by mixing CA and CNF in acetone or NMP with 10% concentration and stirred for 24 h. Then, the solution was cast in a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) dish followed by solvent evaporation for 12 h at room temperature for acetone and 24 h at 80 °C in an oven dryer for NMP. The effect of solvent type, plasticizers type, and CNF amount on film properties was studied. Good dispersion in NMP was evident from the morphological study of fractured surface and visible light transmittance. The results showed that CNF has a better dispersion in NMP which leads to a significant increase in tensile strength and elastic modulus up to 38% and 65%, respectively, compared with those of neat CA. CNF addition up to 5 phr loading increased the mechanical properties of the film composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Sustainable Polymer Technologies)
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Review
Recent Advances in Multimodal Molecular Imaging of Cancer Mediated by Hybrid Magnetic Nanoparticles
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2989; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172989 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 375
Abstract
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, which is why it is so important to make an early and very precise diagnosis to obtain a good prognosis. Thanks to the combination of several imaging modalities in the form of [...] Read more.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world, which is why it is so important to make an early and very precise diagnosis to obtain a good prognosis. Thanks to the combination of several imaging modalities in the form of the multimodal molecular imaging (MI) strategy, a great advance has been made in early diagnosis, in more targeted and personalized therapy, and in the prediction of the results that will be obtained once the anticancer treatment is applied. In this context, magnetic nanoparticles have been positioned as strong candidates for diagnostic agents as they provide very good imaging performance. Furthermore, thanks to their high versatility, when combined with other molecular agents (for example, fluorescent molecules or radioisotopes), they highlight the advantages of several imaging techniques at the same time. These hybrid nanosystems can be also used as multifunctional and/or theranostic systems as they can provide images of the tumor area while they administer drugs and act as therapeutic agents. Therefore, in this review, we selected and identified more than 160 recent articles and reviews and offer a broad overview of the most important concepts that support the synthesis and application of multifunctional magnetic nanoparticles as molecular agents in advanced cancer detection based on the multimodal molecular imaging approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications)
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Article
Analysis of Microplastics Released from Plain Woven Classified by Yarn Types during Washing and Drying
Polymers 2021, 13(17), 2988; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13172988 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 457
Abstract
Microplastics reach the aquatic environment through wastewater. Larger debris is removed in sewage treatment plants, but filters are not explicitly designed to retain sewage sludge’s microplastic or terrestrial soils. Therefore, the effective quantification of filtration system to mitigate microplastics is needed. To mitigate [...] Read more.
Microplastics reach the aquatic environment through wastewater. Larger debris is removed in sewage treatment plants, but filters are not explicitly designed to retain sewage sludge’s microplastic or terrestrial soils. Therefore, the effective quantification of filtration system to mitigate microplastics is needed. To mitigate microplastics, various devices have been designed, and the removal efficiency of devices was compared. However, this study focused on identifying different fabrics that shed fewer microplastics. Therefore, in this study, fabric-specific analyses of microplastics of three different fabrics during washing and drying processes were studied. Also, the change in the generation of microplastics for each washing process of standard washing was investigated. The amount of microplastics released according to the washing process was analyzed, and the collected microplastics’ weight, length, and diameter were measured and recorded. According to the different types of yarn, the amount of microplastic fibers produced during washing and drying varied. As the washing processes proceed, the amount of microplastics gradually decreased. The minimum length (>40 µm) of micro-plastics generated were in plain-woven fabric. These results will be helpful to mitigate microplastics in the production of textiles and in selecting built-in filters, and focusing on the strict control of other parameters will be useful for the development of textile-based filters, such as washing bags. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics Degradation and Characterization)
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