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Materials, Volume 16, Issue 14 (July-2 2023) – 312 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Nano-sized dipeptide self-assembled structures hold promise in materials science for energy harvesting. Aromatic cyclodipeptides, especially those with tryptophan, are highly regarded for their wide-bandgap semiconductor properties, photoluminescence, and nonlinear optical behaviour. This study presents a hybrid system of biopolymer electrospun fibers embedded with chiral cyclo-dipeptide L-Tryptophan-L-Tyrosine. The resulting nanofibers are wide-bandgap semiconductors (4.0 eV) with self-assembled nanotubes, exhibiting intense blue photoluminescence. Moreover, they display strong second harmonic generation (0.36 pm/V) and notable piezoelectric properties (22 pC/N, of geff = 1.2 Vm/N, peak power density 0.16 µW/cm2). These hybrid systems show great promise for nanoenergy harvesting and nanophotonic applications. View this paper
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17 pages, 6100 KiB  
Article
Study on Enhancing the Thermoelectric Stability of the β-Cu2Se Phase by Mn Doping
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5204; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145204 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1094
Abstract
Cu2Se is a promising thermoelectric (TE) material due to its low cost, Earth abundance, and high thermoelectric properties. However, the biggest problem of Cu2Se is its unstable chemical properties. In particular, under the action of an electric field or [...] Read more.
Cu2Se is a promising thermoelectric (TE) material due to its low cost, Earth abundance, and high thermoelectric properties. However, the biggest problem of Cu2Se is its unstable chemical properties. In particular, under the action of an electric field or gradient temperature field, the chemical potential of copper ions inside the material increases. When the external field is strong enough, the chemical potential of copper ions at the negative end of the material reaches the chemical potential of elemental copper. Under these conditions, copper ions must precipitate out, causing Cu2Se to be unstable, and making it unsuitable for use in applications. In this study, we prepared Cu2−xMnxSe (x = 0, 0.02, 0.04 and 0.06) series bulk materials by vacuum melting–annealing and sintered by spark plasma sintering (SPS). We investigated the effects of Mn doping on the composition, microstructure, band structure, scattering mechanism, thermoelectric properties, and stability of Cu2Se. The results show that Mn doping can adjust the carrier concentration, promote the stabilization of the β-phase structure and improve the electrical properties of Cu2Se. When x = 0.06, the highest power factor (PF) value of Cu1.94Mn0.06Se at 873 K was 1.62 mW m−1 K−2. The results of carrier scattering mechanism analysis based on the conductivity ratio method show that the sample doped with Mn and pure Cu2Se had the characteristics of ionization impurity scattering, and the scattering factor was 3/2. However, the deterioration in thermal conductivity was large, and a superior zT value needs to be obtained. The cyclic test results of high-temperature thermoelectric properties show that Mn doping can hinder Cu+ migration and improve its thermoelectric stability, which preliminarily verifies the feasibility of using the stable zirconia mechanism to improve the thermoelectric stability of Cu2Se. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Thermoelectric Materials, Devices and Systems)
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16 pages, 5645 KiB  
Article
Influence of Strain Hardening Rate of Material on Temperature and Strain Distributions during Wire Drawing
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5203; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145203 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1051
Abstract
Temperature rise of a specimen is a significant issue in drawing industries for wire, rod, and bar products, because an excessive increase in temperature during the drawing process can deteriorate the product quality and die life. The influence of the strain hardening exponent [...] Read more.
Temperature rise of a specimen is a significant issue in drawing industries for wire, rod, and bar products, because an excessive increase in temperature during the drawing process can deteriorate the product quality and die life. The influence of the strain hardening exponent (n) of a wire on the temperature and strain distributions during wire drawing is investigated to understand its effect and to improve the quality of drawn wire. Finite element analysis and experiments are conducted to analyze the temperature and strain distributions of wires with n values of 0.0, 0.1, 0.5, and 1.0. The temperature increase of the wire augments as the n of the wire increases, despite the same amount of ideal plastic deformation, which is associated closely with the redundant work. The shear strain increases with the n of the specimen, which generates redundant work, leading to a high temperature rise. Similarly, drawing force increases with the n of the specimen, owing to the increase in redundant work with the n of the wire. In addition, the drawing force presents a linear relationship with the temperature rise of the wire. The drawing speed should be reduced and/or the cooling of wire and die should be strengthened during wire drawing, with increasing n value of the wire, because product quality and die wear are highly associated with the temperature rise of the wire in the deformation zone. Full article
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15 pages, 13312 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Thermo-Optic Properties of BCZT-Based Temperature Sensors
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5202; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145202 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 582
Abstract
Photoluminescent (PL) layers and electroluminescent (EL) systems have gained significant attention for their applications in constructing flat panels, screen monitors, and lighting systems. In this study, we present a groundbreaking approach to fabricating temperature sensors using barium-calcium zirconium titanate (BCZT) with thermo-optic properties, [...] Read more.
Photoluminescent (PL) layers and electroluminescent (EL) systems have gained significant attention for their applications in constructing flat panels, screen monitors, and lighting systems. In this study, we present a groundbreaking approach to fabricating temperature sensors using barium-calcium zirconium titanate (BCZT) with thermo-optic properties, leading to the development of opto-thermal sensors for electric vehicle battery packs. We prepared zinc sulfide (ZnS) fluorescent films on BCZT ceramics, specifically two optimal compositions, BCZT0.85 (Ba0.85Ca0.15Zr0.1Ti0.9O3) and BCZT0.9 (Ba0.9Ca0.1Zr0.1Ti0.9O3), via the solid-state reaction method for the dielectric layer. The BCZT powders were calcined at varying temperatures (1200 and 1250 °C) and dwell times (2 and 4 h). The resulting phase formation and microstructure characteristics were analyzed using X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy, respectively. Our investigation aimed to establish a correlation between the dielectric behavior and optical properties to determine the optimal composition and conditions for utilizing BCZT as thermal detectors in electric vehicle battery packs. All BCZT powders exhibited a tetragonal phase, as confirmed by JCPDS No. 01-079-2265. We observed an increase in the dielectric constant with higher calcining temperatures or longer dwell times. Remarkably, BCZT0.85 ceramic sintered at 1250 °C for 4 h displayed the highest dielectric constant of 15,342, establishing this condition as optimal for preparing the dielectric film with a maximum dielectric constant of 42. Furthermore, we investigated the temperature-dependent electroluminescence intensity of the samples, revealing a significant enhancement with increasing temperature, reaching its peak at 80 °C. Additionally, we observed a positive correlation between electroluminescence intensity and dielectric constant, indicating the potential for improved opto-thermal sensors. The findings from this study offer promising opportunities for the development of advanced opto-thermal sensors with potential applications in electric vehicle battery packs. Our work contributes to the expanding field of photoluminescent and electroluminescent systems by providing novel insights into the design and optimization of efficient and reliable sensors for thermal monitoring in electric vehicle technologies. Full article
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12 pages, 2952 KiB  
Article
Fly Ash-Based Na-X Zeolite Application in Separation Process of Bovine Serum Albumin from Aqueous Solution in the Presence of Organic Substances with Anionic Character
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5201; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145201 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 752
Abstract
The main purpose of the investigations was to explore the protein adsorption on porous materials, as well as to identify the mechanisms of protein attachment without and with other common environmental contaminants, such as drugs, polymers or surfactants. This study applied the Na-X [...] Read more.
The main purpose of the investigations was to explore the protein adsorption on porous materials, as well as to identify the mechanisms of protein attachment without and with other common environmental contaminants, such as drugs, polymers or surfactants. This study applied the Na-X zeolite for the adsorption of bovine serum albumin (BSA) from solutions with various pH values. Electrophoretic mobility measurements and potentiometric titrations were conducted in systems containing both protein and/or PAA (poly(acrylic acid) polymer/DCF (diclofenac) drug/SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate) surfactant to investigate the protein binding mechanisms in the complex adsorbate systems. In addition, aggregate size and stability measurements were performed in the investigated systems. Based on the research results, it was possible to conclude that the protein adsorbed most preferably on the zeolite surface at a pH value close to its isoelectric point (pI) (102.15 mg/g), and protein adsorption was the lowest in the solutions with strongly alkaline (29.61 mg/g) or acidic (77.45 mg/g) pH values. Thus, the examined zeolitic material can be considered an effective adsorbent for protein removal from an aqueous solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Friendly Adsorption Materials)
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15 pages, 7703 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Investigation of Properties of Metallic Parts Additively Manufactured through MEX and PBF-LB/M Technologies
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145200 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 682
Abstract
In this study, the research on 316L steel manufactured additively using two commercially available techniques, Material Extrusion (MEX) and Laser Powder Bed Fusion of Metals (PBF-LB/M), were compared. The additive manufacturing (AM) process based on powder bed synthesis is of great interest in [...] Read more.
In this study, the research on 316L steel manufactured additively using two commercially available techniques, Material Extrusion (MEX) and Laser Powder Bed Fusion of Metals (PBF-LB/M), were compared. The additive manufacturing (AM) process based on powder bed synthesis is of great interest in the production of metal parts. One of the most interesting alternatives to PBF-LB/M, are techniques based on material extrusion due to the significant initial cost reduction. Therefore, the paper compares these two different methods of AM technologies for metals. The investigations involved determining the density of the printed samples, assessing their surface roughness in two printing planes, examining their microstructures including determining their porosity and density, and measuring their hardness. The tests carried out make it possible to determine the durability, and quality of the obtained sample parts, as well as to assess their strength. The conducted research revealed that samples fabricated using the PBF-LB/M technology exhibited approximately 3% lower porosity compared to those produced using the MEX technology. Additionally, it was observed that the hardness of PBF-LB/M samples was more than twice as high as that of the samples manufactured using the MEX technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Printing Technology with Metal Materials)
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16 pages, 11790 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Microscopic Mechanism of Ultrasonic-Vibration-Assisted-Pressing of WC-Co Powder by Simulation
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145199 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 742
Abstract
The ultrasonic-vibration-assisted pressing process can improve the fluidity and the uneven distribution of density and particle size of WC-Co powder. However, the microscopic mechanism of ultrasonic vibration on the powder remains unclear. In this paper, WC particles with diameter 5 μm and Co [...] Read more.
The ultrasonic-vibration-assisted pressing process can improve the fluidity and the uneven distribution of density and particle size of WC-Co powder. However, the microscopic mechanism of ultrasonic vibration on the powder remains unclear. In this paper, WC particles with diameter 5 μm and Co particles with diameter 1.2 μm were simulated by three-dimensional spherical models with the aid of the Python secondary development. At the same time, the forming process of the powder at the mesoscale is simulated by virtue of the finite element analysis software ABAQUS. In the simulation process, the vibration amplitude was set to 1, 2, and 3 μm. Their influence on the fluidity, the filling density, and the stress distribution of WC-Co powder when the ultrasonic vibration was applied to the conventional pressing process was investigated. The simulation results show that the ultrasonic vibration amplitude has a great influence on the density of the compact. With an increase in the ultrasonic amplitude, the compact density also increases gradually, and the residual stress in the billet decreases after the compaction. From the experimental results, the size distribution of the billet is more uniform, the elastic after-effect is reduced, the dimensional instability is improved, and the density curves obtained by experimentation and simulation are within a reasonable error range. Full article
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13 pages, 2105 KiB  
Article
Pd-Based Nano-Catalysts Promote Biomass Lignin Conversion into Value-Added Chemicals
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5198; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145198 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Lignin, as a structurally complex biomaterial, offers a valuable resource for the production of aromatic chemicals; however, its selective conversion into desired products remains a challenging task. In this study, we prepared three types of Pd-based nano-catalysts and explored their application in the [...] Read more.
Lignin, as a structurally complex biomaterial, offers a valuable resource for the production of aromatic chemicals; however, its selective conversion into desired products remains a challenging task. In this study, we prepared three types of Pd-based nano-catalysts and explored their application in the depolymerization of alkali lignin, under both H2-free (hydrogen transfer) conditions and H2 atmosphere conditions. The materials were well characterized with TEM, XRD, and XPS and others, and the electronic interactions among Pd, Ni, and P were analyzed. The results of lignin depolymerization experiments revealed that the ternary Pd-Ni-P catalyst exhibited remarkable performance and guaiacols could be produced under H2 atmosphere conditions in 14.2 wt.% yield with a selectivity of 89%. In contrast, Pd-Ni and Pd-P catalysts resulted in a dispersed product distribution. Considering the incorporation of P and the Pd-Ni synergistic effect in the Pd-Ni-P catalyst, a possible water-involved transformation route of lignin depolymerization was proposed. This work indicates that metal phosphides could be promising catalysts for the conversion of lignin and lignin-derived feedstocks into value-added chemicals. Full article
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16 pages, 6259 KiB  
Article
Effect of Tendon-Related Variables on the Behavior of Externally CFRP Prestressed Concrete Beams
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145197 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 645
Abstract
This work assesses the flexural performance of prestressed concrete beams with external carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) tendons, focusing on tendon-related variables. A finite element analysis (FEA) method is verified. A numerical parametric analysis of prestressed concrete beams with external CFRP tendons is carried [...] Read more.
This work assesses the flexural performance of prestressed concrete beams with external carbon fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) tendons, focusing on tendon-related variables. A finite element analysis (FEA) method is verified. A numerical parametric analysis of prestressed concrete beams with external CFRP tendons is carried out. Four tendon-related variables are considered, namely, the area, initial prestress, depth and elastic modulus of tendons. The analysis shows that flexural ductility decreases as the tendon area, initial prestress or elastic modulus increases but is insensitive to the tendon depth. The ultimate tendon stress increment (Δσp) is influenced by all of the four variables investigated. JGJ 92-2016 (Chinese technical specification for concrete structures prestressed with unbonded tendons) significantly underestimates Δσp and, hence, is over-conservative for the strength design of these beams. An equation is proposed for calculating Δσp, taking into account all four variables investigated. An analytical model is then developed to estimate the flexural strength (Mu) of prestressed concrete beams with external CFRP tendons. The proposed analytical model shows good agreement with FEA, i.e., the mean discrepancy for Δσp is 0.9% with a standard deviation of 11.1%; and the mean discrepancy for Mu is −1.6% with a standard deviation of 2.1%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Technologies for Structures)
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18 pages, 3941 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Bamboo Culm as Potential Fibre for Composite Development
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5196; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145196 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
This study aims to evaluate how age, harvesting seasons, and culm height affect the properties of various bamboo species. The properties of bamboo fibres for composite development in Ethiopia have not been investigated so far. In this study, the properties of Y. alpina [...] Read more.
This study aims to evaluate how age, harvesting seasons, and culm height affect the properties of various bamboo species. The properties of bamboo fibres for composite development in Ethiopia have not been investigated so far. In this study, the properties of Y. alpina and B. oldhamii were scientifically investigated for bamboo culm structural applications and bamboo fibre composite development based on age and the harvesting season. Y. alpina was collected at Injibara and Mekaneselam which are located in east Gojjam and south wollo, whereas B. oldhamii was collected at Kombolcha which is located in south Wollo, Ethiopia. Three representatives of bamboo plants were collected in the three regions, namely from three age groups, across two harvesting months. The highest and lowest moisture content and shrinkage were measured at the ages of one year and three years, respectively, whereas basic densities were measured at the ages of three years and one year. The harvest month of November yields higher moisture content and shrinkage but lower basic densities compared to February. Yushania alpina has a higher moisture content and shrinkage but lower basic densities compared to Bamusa oldhamii. The current research demonstrates that the three-year-old groups and the harvesting month of February produce yields more suited for construction and structural purposes due to the ensuing good dimensional stability after drying. From the highest to the lowest percentage of the degree of crystallinity of the yield, it is that derived from Inj., followed by Meka., and then Kombolcha, respectively. Bamboo fibres have high powder crystals and degradation temperatures which make them suitable for composite development at two year old. Yushania alpina has a higher degree of crystallinity and degradation temperature of cellulose compared to Bambusa oldhamii. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in High-Performance Polymers and Composites)
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12 pages, 5006 KiB  
Article
Phase Structure, Bond Features, and Microwave Dielectric Characteristics of Ruddlesden–Popper Type Sr2TiO4 Ceramics
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5195; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145195 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 622
Abstract
This work studied the phase constitution, bond characteristics, and microwave dielectric performances of Sr2TiO4 ceramics. Based on XRD and Rietveld refinement analysis, pure tetragonal Ruddlesden–Popper type Sr2TiO4 ceramic is synthesized at 1425~1525 °C. Meanwhile, the microstructure is [...] Read more.
This work studied the phase constitution, bond characteristics, and microwave dielectric performances of Sr2TiO4 ceramics. Based on XRD and Rietveld refinement analysis, pure tetragonal Ruddlesden–Popper type Sr2TiO4 ceramic is synthesized at 1425~1525 °C. Meanwhile, the microstructure is dense and without porosity, indicating its high sinterability and densification. Great microwave dielectric performances can be obtained, namely an εr value of 39.41, and a Q × f value of 93,120 GHz, when sintered at 1475 °C. Under ideal sintering conditions, the extrinsic factors are minimized and can be ignored. Thus, the intrinsic factors are considered crucial in determining microwave dielectric performances. Based on the P–V–L complex chemical bond theory calculation, the largest bond ionicity, and proportions to the bond susceptibility from Sr–O bonds suggest that Sr–O bonds mainly determine the dielectric polarizability. However, the Ti–O bonds show lattice energy about three times larger than Sr–O bonds, emphasizing that the structural stability of Sr2TiO4 ceramics is dominated by Ti–O bonds, and the Ti–O bonds are vital in determining the intrinsic dielectric loss. The thermal expansion coefficient value of the Sr2TiO4 structure is also mainly decided by Ti–O bonds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Dielectric Ceramics and Their Applications)
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17 pages, 16280 KiB  
Article
Microstructure-Based Multiscale Modeling of Deformation in MarBN Steel under Uniaxial Tension: Experiments and Finite Element Simulations
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145194 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 916
Abstract
In the current work, a multiscale model was developed coupling a macro-model with the macromechanical physically based yield strength and a crystal plasticity model with micromechanical properties and realistic grain orientation based on the representative volume element. The simulation results show that the [...] Read more.
In the current work, a multiscale model was developed coupling a macro-model with the macromechanical physically based yield strength and a crystal plasticity model with micromechanical properties and realistic grain orientation based on the representative volume element. The simulation results show that the effect of microstructure on the macromechanical properties can be considered in the macro constitutive model due to a good consistency between experimental and computed results; whereas solid strengthening, grain boundaries, and dislocation density played a more crucial role than others. Besides coupling simulation and microstructure by EBSD, the microstructure evolution can be well explained by the micromechanical model. Strain is related to the grain orientation, leading to inhomogeneous deformation, forming the various Schmid factor and slip systems. A plastic strain occurs close to the grain boundaries and declines into the grain, resulting in higher kernel average misorientation (KAM) and geometry necessary dislocations (GNDs) in the grain boundaries. The higher the loading, the higher the local strain. Shear bands with around 45 degrees can be formed, resulting in crack initiation and tensile shear failure. This work has developed the guidance of structural integrity assessment and prediction of mechanical properties for the engineering material and components. Full article
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18 pages, 8818 KiB  
Article
Influence of Composite Structure on Temperature Distribution—An Analysis Using the Finite Difference Method
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145193 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 606
Abstract
Among composites, we can distinguish periodic structures, biperiodic structures, and structures with a functional gradation of material properties made of two or more materials. The selection of the composite’s constituent materials and the way they are distributed affects the weight of the composite, [...] Read more.
Among composites, we can distinguish periodic structures, biperiodic structures, and structures with a functional gradation of material properties made of two or more materials. The selection of the composite’s constituent materials and the way they are distributed affects the weight of the composite, its strength, and other properties, as well as the way it conducts heat. This work is about studying the temperature distribution in composites, depending on the type of component material and its location. For this purpose, the Tolerance Averaging Technique and the Finite Difference Method were used. Differential equations describing heat conduction phenomena were obtained using the Tolerance Averaging Technique, while the Finite Difference Method was used to solve them. In terms of results, temperature distribution plots were produced showing the effect of the structure of the composite on the heat transfer properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modelling of Microstructured Media)
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30 pages, 10106 KiB  
Article
Perspectives on Corrosion Inhibition Features of Novel Synthesized Gemini-Fluorinated Cationic Surfactants Bearing Varied Spacers for Acid Pickling of X60-Steel: Practical, and In Silico Calculations
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145192 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 691
Abstract
Through our present study, three novel Gemini-fluorinated cationic surfactants bearing different spacers (FSG6-2, FSG6-4, and FSG6-6) were synthesized, and their structures were explained via different spectroscopic instruments such as 1H, 13C, and 19F NMR spectra. The surface activity of the [...] Read more.
Through our present study, three novel Gemini-fluorinated cationic surfactants bearing different spacers (FSG6-2, FSG6-4, and FSG6-6) were synthesized, and their structures were explained via different spectroscopic instruments such as 1H, 13C, and 19F NMR spectra. The surface activity of the as-prepared surfactants was examined. The inhibiting influence of FSG6 molecules on the X60 steel corrosion in the pickling solution (HCl) was examined by diverse methods comprising electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), potentiodynamic polarization (PDP), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) experimentations, and computational calculations. The inhibition effectiveness of FSG6 surfactants followed the order of 93.37% (FSG6-2) < 96.74% (FSG6-4) < 98.37% (FSG6-6) at 2.0 × 10−4 M. The FSG6 surfactants function as mixed-type inhibitors, according to PDP investigations. The H2O molecules that adsorbed on the steel interface were substituted with surfactant molecules, and the surfactant’s inhibitory activity is likely caused by the improvement in an adsorptive layer on the steel substrate, as specified by the EIS results. The Langmuir isotherm describes the absorption of FSG6 molecules on the metal surface. The XPS investigations validate the steel interface’s extremely protective nature. The mechanism of interaction between FSG6 molecules with an X60-steel employing the DFT calculations and MC simulations methods was also examined and discussed. Full article
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19 pages, 10878 KiB  
Article
Effect of Self-Healing by Dicyclopentadiene Microcapsules on Tensile and Fatigue Properties of Epoxy Composites
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5191; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145191 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Microcapsules of urea-formaldehyde (UF) containing dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) were synthesized by the in situ polymerization technique for self-healing of epoxy. The dispersion of microcapsules in the epoxy matrix was achieved using ultrasonication. Composites of epoxy, having 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 wt.% of microcapsules [...] Read more.
Microcapsules of urea-formaldehyde (UF) containing dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) were synthesized by the in situ polymerization technique for self-healing of epoxy. The dispersion of microcapsules in the epoxy matrix was achieved using ultrasonication. Composites of epoxy, having 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 wt.% of microcapsules capable of self-healing, were prepared. The shape and size of the microcapsules were determined by field emission electron microscopy. Spherical capsules of DCPD, with an average diameter of 172 nm, were obtained. Investigation of tensile properties indicated a decrease in the tensile modulus with an increase in wt.% of microcapsules. There was a reduction of 22%, 27%, 39%, and 30% in the elastic modulus of composites for 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 wt.% of microcapsules, respectively. Tensile strength was found to increase with an increase in wt.% of microcapsules. The tensile strength of the composites increased by 33%, 20%, 8%, and 21% for 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 wt.% of microcapsules, respectively, in comparison with that of neat epoxy. The fatigue life of composites was investigated by conducting uniaxial tension–tension fatigue tests at constant stress amplitudes of 20, 25, 30, and 35 MPa, at a constant stress ratio (R = 0.1) and a frequency of 3 Hz. The fatigue life of composites increased with an increase in wt.% of microcapsules in comparison with that of neat epoxy. It was found that the fatigue life of the composites decreased with 1.5 and 2.0 wt.% of microcapsules in comparison with composites with 0.5 and 1.0 wt.% of microcapsules. The fracture surfaces of the tested samples were examined with the help of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to understand the various mechanisms responsible for the change in modulus, strength, failure strain, and fatigue life of composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Composites)
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17 pages, 6942 KiB  
Article
Possibilities of Checking Water Content in Porous Geopolymer Materials Using Impedance Spectroscopy Methods
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5190; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145190 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 555
Abstract
The porous geopolymer has been tested for its content of water using impedance methods. The pores of the material were filled with distilled water using a desiccator and a vacuum pump. An analysis of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was carried out in the [...] Read more.
The porous geopolymer has been tested for its content of water using impedance methods. The pores of the material were filled with distilled water using a desiccator and a vacuum pump. An analysis of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) was carried out in the next step to check the content of water, porosity and approximate value of specific heat of the geopolymer. Additionally, mercury porosimeter has been used for checking the porosity. The geopolymer material characterized in this way was subjected to impedance tests aimed at developing a quick method for assessing the water content in the material. Impedance measurements have been realized on an electrochemical workstation applying a 50 mV non-destructive amplitude of the potential and a frequency range of 1 Hz to 100 kHz. Change in the module of impedance and the phase shift angle were measured while the material was dried out. Significant differences were observed. The obtained graphs were simulated using a schematic model consisting of constant phase elements (CPEs) and a resistor (R). These values showed mechanisms of charge conduction. A simple method for assessing the water content of a porous geopolymer has been proposed in this paper. The real and imaginary impedance values were shown in Nyquist graphs. These graphs have characteristic maxima that move according to a linear equation with decreasing water content. Changes in Nyqiust charts are clearly visible even with small changes in the water content of the material and can be very useful for assessing it. Full article
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14 pages, 4043 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Cytotoxicity of Hyaluronic Acid/Chitosan/Bacterial Cellulose-Based Membrane
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5189; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145189 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Novel wound dressing materials are required to non-cytotoxic with a viable cell ratio of above 92%. Herein, the cytotoxicity of hyaluronic acid/chitosan/bacterial cellulose-based (BC(CS/HA)) membranes are evaluated and compared to that of alginate/chitosan/bacterial cellulose-based (BC(CS/Alg)) membranes was investigated. Multilayer membranes with up to [...] Read more.
Novel wound dressing materials are required to non-cytotoxic with a viable cell ratio of above 92%. Herein, the cytotoxicity of hyaluronic acid/chitosan/bacterial cellulose-based (BC(CS/HA)) membranes are evaluated and compared to that of alginate/chitosan/bacterial cellulose-based (BC(CS/Alg)) membranes was investigated. Multilayer membranes with up to ten CS/HA or CS/Alg layers were prepared using the layer-by-layer (LBL) method. Scanning electron microscopy showed that the diameters of the fibers in the BC(CS/Alg) and BC(CS/HA) membranes were larger than those in a BC membrane. The cytotoxicity was analyzed using BALB-3T3 clone A31 cells (mouse fibroblasts, 1 × 104 cells/well). The BC(CS/HA)5 and BC(CS/HA)10 membranes exhibited high biocompatibility, with the cell viabilities of 94% and 87% at 5 d, respectively, compared to just 82% for the BC(CS/Alg)5 and BC(CS/Alg)10 membranes with same numbers of layers. These results suggested that BC(CS/HA)5 is a promising material for wound dressings. Full article
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2 pages, 164 KiB  
Editorial
Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Structural Steels and Alloys
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5188; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145188 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Structural steels and alloys represent a wide domain of materials whose development directly affects human civilization [...] Full article
13 pages, 34122 KiB  
Article
Formation, Microstructure, and Properties of Dissimilar Welded Joint between CrMnFeCoNi and Fe
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5187; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145187 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 815
Abstract
This research explores the welding process of a high-entropy CrMnFeCoNi alloy with iron, unraveling the intricate chemical compositions that materialize in distinct regions of the weld joint. A mid-wave infrared thermal camera was deployed to monitor the cooling sequences during welding. A thorough [...] Read more.
This research explores the welding process of a high-entropy CrMnFeCoNi alloy with iron, unraveling the intricate chemical compositions that materialize in distinct regions of the weld joint. A mid-wave infrared thermal camera was deployed to monitor the cooling sequences during welding. A thorough analysis of the metallographic sample from the weld joint, along with measurements taken using a nano-hardness indenter, provided insights into the hardness and Young’s modulus. The element distribution across the weld joint was assessed using a scanning electron microscope equipped with an EDS spectrometer. Advanced techniques such as X-ray diffraction and Mössbauer spectroscopy underscored the prevalence of the martensitic phase within the weld joint, accompanied by the presence of bcc (iron) and fcc phases. In contrast, Young’s modulus in the base metal areas displayed typical values for a high-entropy alloy (202 GPa) and iron (204 GPa). The weld joint material displayed substantial chemical heterogeneity, leading to noticeable concentration gradients of individual elements. The higher hardness noted in the weld (up to 420 HV), when compared to the base metal regions (up to 290 HV for CrMnFeCoNi alloy and approximately 150 HV for iron), can be ascribed to the dominance of the martensitic phase. These findings provide valuable insights for scenarios involving diverse welded joints containing high-entropy alloys, contributing to our understanding of materials engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Structure and Properties of Crystalline and Amorphous Alloys-Part II)
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16 pages, 4258 KiB  
Article
Thermo-Mechanical Characterization of 4D-Printed Biodegradable Shape-Memory Scaffolds Using Four-Axis 3D-Printing System
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145186 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 846
Abstract
This study was conducted on different models of biodegradable SMP (shape-memory polymer) scaffolds. A comparison was conducted utilizing a basic FDM (fused deposition modeling)/MEX (material extrusion) printer with a standard printing technique and a novel, modified, four-axis printing method with a PLA (poly [...] Read more.
This study was conducted on different models of biodegradable SMP (shape-memory polymer) scaffolds. A comparison was conducted utilizing a basic FDM (fused deposition modeling)/MEX (material extrusion) printer with a standard printing technique and a novel, modified, four-axis printing method with a PLA (poly lactic acid) polymer as the printing material. This way of making the 4D-printed BVS (biodegradable vascular stent) made it possible to achieve high-quality surfaces due to the difference in printing directions and improved mechanical properties—tensile testing showed a doubling in the elongation at break when using the four-axis-printed specimen compared to the regular printing, of 8.15 mm and 3.92 mm, respectfully. Furthermore, the supports created using this method exhibited a significant level of shape recovery following thermomechanical programming. In order to test the shape-memory effect, after the thermomechanical programming, two approaches were applied: one approach was to heat up the specimen after unloading it inside temperature chamber, and the other was to heat it in a warm bath. Both approaches led to an average recovery of the original height of 99.7%, while the in-chamber recovery time was longer (120 s) than the warm-bath recovery (~3 s) due to the more direct specimen heating in the latter case. This shows that 4D printing using the newly proposed four-axis printing is an effective, promising technique that can be used in the future to make biodegradable structures from SMP. Full article
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14 pages, 2937 KiB  
Article
Characteristic Length for Pinning Force Density in Nb3Sn
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5185; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145185 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 796
Abstract
The pinning force density, Fp, is one of the main parameters that characterize the resilience of a superconductor to carrying a dissipative-free transport current in an applied magnetic field. Kramer (1973) and Dew-Hughes (1974) proposed a widely used scaling law for [...] Read more.
The pinning force density, Fp, is one of the main parameters that characterize the resilience of a superconductor to carrying a dissipative-free transport current in an applied magnetic field. Kramer (1973) and Dew-Hughes (1974) proposed a widely used scaling law for this quantity, where one of the parameters is the pinning force density maximum, Fp,max, which represents the maximal performance of a given superconductor in an applied magnetic field at a given temperature. Since the late 1970s to the present, several research groups have reported experimental data on the dependence of Fp,max on the average grain size, d, in Nb3Sn-based conductors. Fp,maxd datasets were analyzed and a scaling law for the dependence Fp,maxd=A×ln1/d+B was proposed. Despite the fact that this scaling law is widely accepted, it has several problems; for instance, according to this law, at T=4.2 K and d650 nm, Nb3Sn should lose its superconductivity, which is in striking contrast to experiments. Here, we reanalyzed the full inventory of publicly available Fp,maxd data for Nb3Sn conductors and found that the dependence can be described by the exponential law, in which the characteristic length, δ, varies within a remarkably narrow range of δ=175±13 nm for samples fabricated using different technologies. The interpretation of this result is based on the idea that the in-field supercurrent flows within a thin surface layer (thickness of δ) near grain boundary surfaces (similar to London’s law, where the self-field supercurrent flows within a thin surface layer with a thickness of the London penetration depth, λ, and the surface is a superconductor–vacuum surface). An alternative interpretation is that δ represents the characteristic length of the exponential decay flux pinning potential from the dominant defects in Nb3Sn superconductors, which are grain boundaries. Full article
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14 pages, 6620 KiB  
Article
Prediction of Compressive Strength of Biomass–Humic Acid Limonite Pellets Using Artificial Neural Network Model
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5184; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145184 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 697
Abstract
Due to the detrimental impact of steel industry emissions on the environment, countries worldwide prioritize green development. Replacing sintered iron ore with pellets holds promise for emission reduction and environmental protection. As high-grade iron ore resources decline, research on limonite pellet technology becomes [...] Read more.
Due to the detrimental impact of steel industry emissions on the environment, countries worldwide prioritize green development. Replacing sintered iron ore with pellets holds promise for emission reduction and environmental protection. As high-grade iron ore resources decline, research on limonite pellet technology becomes crucial. However, pellets undergo rigorous mechanical actions during production and use. This study prepared a series of limonite pellet samples with varying ratios and measured their compressive strength. The influence of humic acid on the compressive strength of green and indurated pellets was explored. The results indicate that humic acid enhances the strength of green pellets but reduces that of indurated limonite pellets, which exhibit lower compressive strength compared to bentonite-based pellets. Furthermore, artificial neural networks (ANN) predicted the compressive strength of humic acid and bentonite-based pellets, establishing the relationship between input variables (binder content, pellet diameter, and weight) and output response (compressive strength). Integrating pellet technology and machine learning drives limonite pellet advancement, contributing to emission reduction and environmental preservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recovery of Non-ferrous Metal from Metallurgical Residues)
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12 pages, 10525 KiB  
Article
Considerations on the Wear Behavior of Vacuum-Remelted ZrO2-Reinforced Self-Fluxing Ni-Based Thermally Sprayed Alloys
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5183; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145183 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 695
Abstract
Without proper post-processing (often using flame, furnace, laser remelting, and induction) or reinforcements’ addition, Ni-based flame-sprayed coatings generally manifest moderate adhesion to the substrate, high porosity, unmelted particles, undesirable oxides, or weak wear resistance and mechanical properties. The current research aimed to investigate [...] Read more.
Without proper post-processing (often using flame, furnace, laser remelting, and induction) or reinforcements’ addition, Ni-based flame-sprayed coatings generally manifest moderate adhesion to the substrate, high porosity, unmelted particles, undesirable oxides, or weak wear resistance and mechanical properties. The current research aimed to investigate the addition of ZrO2 as reinforcement to the self-fluxing alloy coatings. Mechanically mixed NiCrBSi-ZrO2 powders were thermally sprayed onto an industrially relevant high-grade steel. After thermal spraying, the samples were differently post-processed with a flame gun and with a vacuum furnace, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy showed a porosity reduction for the vacuum-heat-treated samples compared to that of the flame-post-processed ones. X-ray diffraction measurements showed differences in the main peaks of the patterns for the thermal processed samples compared to the as-sprayed ones, these having a direct influence on the mechanical behavior of the coatings. Although a slight microhardness decrease was observed in the case of vacuum-remelted samples, the overall low porosity and the phase differences helped the coating to perform better during wear-resistance testing, realized using a ball-on-disk arrangement, compared to the as-sprayed reference samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials and Technologies for Thermal Sprayed Coatings)
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11 pages, 8192 KiB  
Article
Mechanical Performance of 3D-Printed Polyethylene Fibers and Their Durability against Degradation
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145182 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
Polyethylene (PE), one of the most popular thermoplastic polymers, is widely used in various areas, such as materials engineering and biomedical engineering, due to its superior performance, while 3D printing via fused deposition modeling (FDM) provides a facile method of preparing PE products. [...] Read more.
Polyethylene (PE), one of the most popular thermoplastic polymers, is widely used in various areas, such as materials engineering and biomedical engineering, due to its superior performance, while 3D printing via fused deposition modeling (FDM) provides a facile method of preparing PE products. To optimize the performance and assess the degradation of FDM-printed PE materials, we systematically investigate the influences of printing parameters, such as fiber diameter (stretching) and printer head temperature, and degradation, such as UV exposure and thermal degradation, on the mechanical performance of FDM-printed PE fibers. When FDM-printed PE fibers with a smaller diameter are prepared under a higher collecting speed, they undergo stronger stretching, and thus, show higher tensile strength and Young’s modulus values. Meanwhile, the tensile strength and Young’s modulus decrease as the printer head temperature increases, due to the lower viscosity, and thus, weaker shearing at high temperatures. However, degradation, such as UV exposure and thermal degradation, cause a decrease in all four mechanical properties, including tensile strength, Young’s modulus, tensile strain and toughness. These results will guide the optimization of FDM-printed PE materials and help to assess the durability of PE products against degradation for their practical application. Full article
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13 pages, 2808 KiB  
Article
Environmentally Friendly Approach for Nd2Fe14B Magnetic Phase Extraction by Selective Chemical Leaching: A Proof-of-Concept Study
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5181; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145181 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 867
Abstract
The green transition initiative has exposed the importance of effective recycling of Nd-Fe-B magnets for achieving sustainability and foreign independence. In this study, we considered strip-cast, hydrogenated, jet-milled Nd-Fe-B powder as a case study to explore the potential for selective chemical leaching of [...] Read more.
The green transition initiative has exposed the importance of effective recycling of Nd-Fe-B magnets for achieving sustainability and foreign independence. In this study, we considered strip-cast, hydrogenated, jet-milled Nd-Fe-B powder as a case study to explore the potential for selective chemical leaching of the Nd-rich phase, aiming to extract the Nd2Fe14B matrix phase. Diluted citric and nitric acids at concentrations of 0.01, 0.1, and 1 M were considered potential leaching mediums, and the leaching time was 15 min. Microstructural investigation, magnetic characterization, and elemental compositional analysis were performed to investigate leaching efficiency and selectivity. Based on SEM analysis, Nd/Fe ratio monitoring via ICP-MS, and the high moment/mass value at 160 emu/g for the sample leached with 1 M citric acid, 1 M citric acid proved highly selective toward the Nd-rich phase. Exposure to nitric acid resulted in a structurally damaged Nd2Fe14B matrix phase and severely diminished moment/mass value at 96.2 emu/g, thus making the nitric acid unsuitable for selective leaching. The presence of hydrogen introduced into the material via the hydrogen decrepitation process did not notably influence the leaching dynamics. The proposed leaching process based on mild organic acids is environmentally friendly and can be scaled up and adopted for reprocessing industrial scrap or end-of-life Nd-Fe-B magnets to obtain single-phase Nd-Fe-B powders that can be used for novel magnet-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Functional Magnetic Nanomaterials)
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13 pages, 6202 KiB  
Article
Influences of Fe Content and Cold Drawing Strain on the Microstructure and Properties of Powder Metallurgy Cu-Fe Alloy Wire
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5180; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145180 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1052
Abstract
To study the effects of Fe content and cold drawing strain on the microstructure and properties, Cu-Fe alloys were prepared via powder metallurgy and hot extrusion. Scanning electron microscopy was applied to observe the Fe phase, and the ultimate tensile strength was investigated [...] Read more.
To study the effects of Fe content and cold drawing strain on the microstructure and properties, Cu-Fe alloys were prepared via powder metallurgy and hot extrusion. Scanning electron microscopy was applied to observe the Fe phase, and the ultimate tensile strength was investigated using a universal material testing machine. Alloying with an Fe content below 10 wt.% formed a spherically dispersed Fe phase via the conventional nucleation and growth mechanism, whereas a higher Fe content formed a water-droplet-like Fe phase via the spinodal decomposition mechanism in the as-extruded Cu-Fe alloy. Further cold drawing induced the fiber structure of the Fe phase (fiber strengthening), which could not be destroyed by subsequent annealing. As the Fe content increased, the strength increased but the electrical conductivity decreased; as the cold drawing strain increased, both the strength and the electrical conductivity roughly increased, but the elongation roughly decreased. After thermal–mechanical processing, the electrical conductivity and strength of the Cu-40Fe alloy could reach 51% IACS and 1.14 GPa, respectively. This study can provide insight into the design of high-performance Cu-Fe alloys by tailoring the size and morphology of the Fe phase. Full article
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12 pages, 3122 KiB  
Article
Antibacterial and Biocompatible Polyethylene Composites with Hybrid Clay Nanofillers
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5179; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145179 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 817
Abstract
Low-density polyethylene is one of the basic polymers used in medicine for a variety of purposes; so, the relevant improvements in functional properties are discussed here, making it safer to use as devices or implants during surgery or injury. The objective of the [...] Read more.
Low-density polyethylene is one of the basic polymers used in medicine for a variety of purposes; so, the relevant improvements in functional properties are discussed here, making it safer to use as devices or implants during surgery or injury. The objective of the laboratory-prepared material was to study the antimicrobial and biocompatible properties of low-density polyethylene composites with 3 wt. % hybrid nanoclay filler. We found that the antimicrobial activity was mainly related to the filler, i.e., the hybrid type, where inorganic clay minerals, vermiculite or montmorillonite, were intercalated with organic chlorhexidine diacetate and subsequently decorated with Ca-deficient hydroxyapatite. After fusion of the hybrid nanofiller with polyethylene, intense exfoliation of the clay layers occurred. This phenomenon was confirmed by the analysis of the X-ray diffraction patterns of the composite, where the original basal peak of the clays decreased or completely disappeared, and the optimal distribution of the filler was observed using the transmission mode of light microscopy. Functional property testing showed that the composites have good antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, and the biocompatibility prediction demonstrated the formation of Ca- and P-containing particles through an in vitro experiment, thus applicable for medical use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Nanocomposites for Biomedical Applications)
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15 pages, 5702 KiB  
Article
Zinc Evaporation from Brass Scraps in the Atmosphere of Inert Gas
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145178 - 23 Jul 2023
Viewed by 837
Abstract
A description of the process of metal evaporation from liquid alloys at an atmospheric pressure has a practical value for both the smelting and remelting of their scraps. The quantities of volatile components that are eliminated in these processes depend on many factors [...] Read more.
A description of the process of metal evaporation from liquid alloys at an atmospheric pressure has a practical value for both the smelting and remelting of their scraps. The quantities of volatile components that are eliminated in these processes depend on many factors of which the type of melting device, the method and conditions of the process performance, the alloy composition and the kind of applied atmosphere are of the greatest importance. In this paper, the results of the research on zinc evaporation from brass scraps containing 10.53 wt% Zn are presented. The experiments were conducted using the thermogravimetric method at 1080 ÷ 1240 °C in a helium atmosphere. In the research, the levels of zinc removal from copper ranged between 82% and 99%. The values of the overall mass transfer coefficient for zinc kZn, determined based on the experimental data, ranged from 4.74 to 8.46 × 10−5 ms−1. The kinetic analysis showed that the rate of the analysed process was determined by mass transfer in the gas phase. Full article
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16 pages, 8590 KiB  
Article
Numerical Modeling of Mechanical Behavior of Functionally Graded Polylactic Acid–Acrylonitrile Benzidine Styrene Produced via Fused Deposition Modeling: Experimental Observations
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145177 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 785
Abstract
Functionally graded materials (FGM) have attracted considerable attention in the field of composite materials and rekindled interest in research on composite materials due to their unique mechanical response achieved through material design and optimization. Compared to conventional composites, FGMs offer several advantages and [...] Read more.
Functionally graded materials (FGM) have attracted considerable attention in the field of composite materials and rekindled interest in research on composite materials due to their unique mechanical response achieved through material design and optimization. Compared to conventional composites, FGMs offer several advantages and exceptional properties, including improved deformation resistance, improved toughness, lightness properties, and excellent recoverability. This study focused on the production of functionally graded (FG) polymer materials by the additive manufacturing (AM) method. FG structures were produced by the fused deposition modeling (FDM) method using acrylonitrile benzidine styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA) materials, and tensile tests were performed according to ASTM D638. The effects of different layer thicknesses, volume ratios, and total thicknesses on mechanical behavior were investigated. The tensile standard of materials produced by additive manufacturing introduces geometric differences. Another motivation in this study is to reveal the differences between the results according to the ASTM standard. In addition, tensile tests were carried out by producing single-layer samples at certain volume ratios to create a numerical model with the finite element method to verify the experimental data. As a result of this study, it is presented that the FG structure produced with FDM improves mechanical behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing of Smart Polymers and Composites)
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14 pages, 3533 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Structural and Strength Properties of xLi2ZrO3-(1-x)MgO Ceramics—Materials for Blankets
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5176; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145176 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 472
Abstract
The article considers the effect of doping with magnesium oxide (MgO) on changes in the properties of lithium-containing ceramics based on lithium metazirconate (Li2ZrO3). There is interest in this type of ceramics on account of their prospects for application [...] Read more.
The article considers the effect of doping with magnesium oxide (MgO) on changes in the properties of lithium-containing ceramics based on lithium metazirconate (Li2ZrO3). There is interest in this type of ceramics on account of their prospects for application in tritium production in thermonuclear power engineering, as well as several other applications related to alternative energy sources. During the investigations undertaken, it was found that variation in the MgO dopant concentration above 0.10–0.15 mol resulted in the formation of impurity inclusions in the ceramic structure in the form of a MgLi2ZrO4 phase, the presence of which resulted in a rise in the density of the ceramics, along with elevation in resistance to external influences. Moreover, during experimental work on the study of the thermal stability of the ceramics to external influences, it was found that the formation of two-phase ceramics resulted in growth in the preservation of stable strength properties during high-temperature cyclic tests. The decrease in strength characteristics was observed to be less than 1%. Full article
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26 pages, 6592 KiB  
Article
3D Printing of Habitats on Mars: Effects of Low Temperature and Pressure
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5175; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145175 - 23 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 834
Abstract
Due to payload weight limitations and human vulnerability to harsh space conditions, it is preferable that the potential landing location for humans has an already constructed habitat preferably made from in situ materials. Therefore, the prospect of utilizing a readily available Martian material, [...] Read more.
Due to payload weight limitations and human vulnerability to harsh space conditions, it is preferable that the potential landing location for humans has an already constructed habitat preferably made from in situ materials. Therefore, the prospect of utilizing a readily available Martian material, such as regolith, in an easily programmable manufacturing method, such as 3D printing, is very lucrative. The goal of this research is to explore a mixture containing Martian regolith for the purposes of 3D printing in unfavorable conditions. A binder consisting of water and sodium silicate is used. Martian conditions are less favorable for the curing of such a mixture because of low temperature and pressure on the surface of the planet. In order to evaluate mechanical properties of the mixture, molding and 3D printing were conducted at various curing conditions and the mechanical and physical characteristics were compared. Due to the combination of low reaction speed at low temperature (2 °C) and rapid water evaporation at low pressure (0.1–0.01 bar), curing of the specimens in Martian conditions yielded unsatisfactory results. The reaction medium (water) evaporated before the curing reaction could progress enough to form a proper geopolymer. The specimens cured at high temperatures (60 °C) showed satisfactory results, with flexural strength up to 9 MPa when cured at a temperature of 60 °C and pressure of 1 bar. The specimens manufactured by 3D printing showed ultimate flexural strength that was 20% lower than that of equivalent molded specimens. Exploring potential mixture modifications and performing improved tests using the basis laid in this research can lead to an effective and realistic way of utilizing Martian regolith for unmanned 3D-printing purposes with minimal investment. Full article
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