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Materials, Volume 16, Issue 22 (November-2 2023) – 188 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The exploration of bound states in the continuum (BIC) has opened new frontiers in photonics, showcasing its unique ability to confine electromagnetic waves within photonic systems. By leveraging various light confinement mechanisms, BIC integrated with nanostructures facilitates ultra-high-quality factors and intense field localization. This synergy has led to innovations such as long-lasting resonance modes, versatile light control, and improved light–matter interactions. Our review focuses on the novel functionalities and performance enhancements brought by combining optical BIC with diverse nanostructures, such as gratings, photonic crystals, waveguides, and metasurfaces, and explores the latest advancements and future potential of BIC in 2D material platforms. View this paper
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23 pages, 909 KiB  
Review
Phenolic Compounds from By-Products for Functional Textiles
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7248; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227248 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 919
Abstract
Textile dyeing is known to have major environmental concerns, especially with the high use of toxic chemicals. The use of alternatives such as natural dyes rich in phenolic compounds has become extremely appealing in order to move towards a more sustainable circular economy. [...] Read more.
Textile dyeing is known to have major environmental concerns, especially with the high use of toxic chemicals. The use of alternatives such as natural dyes rich in phenolic compounds has become extremely appealing in order to move towards a more sustainable circular economy. Phenolic dyes have the potential to functionalize textile fabrics with properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, and UV protection. Wastes/residues from the agri-food industries stand out as highly attractive sources of these compounds, with several by-products showing promising results in textile dyeing through the implementation of more sustainable and eco-friendly processes. This review presents an up-to-date exploration of the sources of phenolic compounds used in the textile industry over the past two decades, with a primary focus on the functional properties they provide to different fabrics. The research highlights a surge in interest in this theme since 2017, accentuating a noticeable upward trend. Throughout this review, emphasis is given to by-products from the agri-food industry as the sources of these compounds. The reviewed papers lay the foundation for future research, paving the way for exploring the potential of raw materials and by-products in the creation of functional and smart textiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials for Clothing and Textile Engineering—2nd Edition)
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17 pages, 4013 KiB  
Article
Effects of Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Dosages and Sonication Time on Hydration Heat Evolution in Cementitious Composites
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227246 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 599
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the heat generated during the hydration process in cementitious composites containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The cumulative heat release and heat flow of these cementitious composites were measured over a period of 168 h using isothermal calorimetry. Three [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the heat generated during the hydration process in cementitious composites containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). The cumulative heat release and heat flow of these cementitious composites were measured over a period of 168 h using isothermal calorimetry. Three different MWCNT dosages, 0.05 wt%, 0.1 wt%, and 0.2 wt%, along with two different sonication times for the solution, which were 20 min and 60 min, were applied in the experimental program. The results reveal that the incorporation of MWCNTs and the use of a naphthalene-based superplasticizer to disperse the nanotubes generally led to a reduction in heat emission during the early stages of hydration, a lower first peak value in the initial stage of hydration, and a significant delay in the acceleration period compared with the reference sample lacking this superplasticizer. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that both the dosage of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and the sonication time have an impact on the heat emission and hydration process since the same amount of superplasticizer was applied to all pastes. An increase in the MWCNT dosage led to a decrease in the rate of hydration heat at the main peak for all pastes. Additionally, longer sonication times resulted in lower values of heat generated, reduced main peak values in the heat rate evolution, and generally extended delays in the occurrence of the main peak. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Construction and Building Materials)
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24 pages, 2065 KiB  
Review
Drug-Eluting Sutures by Hot-Melt Extrusion: Current Trends and Future Potentials
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7245; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227245 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 768
Abstract
Surgical site infections (SSIs) may result from surgical procedures requiring a secondary administration of drugs at site or systemically in treating the infection. Drug-eluting sutures containing antimicrobial agents symbolise a latent strategy that precludes a secondary drug administration. It also offers the possibility [...] Read more.
Surgical site infections (SSIs) may result from surgical procedures requiring a secondary administration of drugs at site or systemically in treating the infection. Drug-eluting sutures containing antimicrobial agents symbolise a latent strategy that precludes a secondary drug administration. It also offers the possibility of delivering a myriad of therapeutic agents to a localised wound site to effect analgesia, anti-inflammation, or the deployment of proteins useful for wound healing. Further, the use of biodegradable drug-eluting sutures eliminates the need for implanting foreign material into the wound, which needs to be removed after healing. In this review, we expound on recent trends in the manufacture of drug-eluting sutures with a focus on the hot-melt extrusion (HME) technique. HME provides a solvent-free, continuous one-step manufacturing conduit for drug-eluting sutures, hence, there is no drying step, which can be detrimental to the drug or suture threads and, thus, environmentally friendly. There is the possibility of combining the technology with additive manufacturing platforms to generate personalised drug-loaded implantable devices through prototyping and scalability. The review also highlights key material requirements for fabricating drug-eluting sutures by HME, as well as quality attributes. Finally, a preview of emerging drug-eluting sutures and advocacy for harmonisation of quality assurance by regulatory authorities that permits quality evaluation of novelty sutures is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection 3D Printing in Medicine and Biomedical Engineering)
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18 pages, 5819 KiB  
Article
Study of Structural, Compression, and Soft Magnetic Properties of Fe65Ni28Mn7 Alloy Prepared by Arc Melting, Mechanical Alloying, and Spark Plasma Sintering
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227244 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Soft magnetic Fe65Ni28Mn7 (at. %) alloy was successfully synthesized by mechanical alloying and spark plasma sintering (SPS) and, in parallel, the same composition was prepared by arc melting (AM) for comparison. Several SPS conditions were tested. X-ray diffraction [...] Read more.
Soft magnetic Fe65Ni28Mn7 (at. %) alloy was successfully synthesized by mechanical alloying and spark plasma sintering (SPS) and, in parallel, the same composition was prepared by arc melting (AM) for comparison. Several SPS conditions were tested. X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy were used to investigate the structure, phase composition, and morphology of the samples. It was found that mechanical alloying produced BCC and FCC supersaturated solid solution after 130 h of milling, with a fine microstructure (i.e., crystallite size of 10 nm). Spark plasma sintering performed at 750 °C and 1000 °C under two pressures of 50 MPa and 75 MPa revealed stable FCC phases. A single FCC phase was observed after the arc melting synthesis. The magnetic properties of milled powders and solids obtained by AM and SPS were investigated. The specimen consolidated by SPS at 1000 °C under the pressure of 50 MPa exhibits soft magnetic behavior (coercivity 0.07 Oe), whereas the mechanically alloyed sample revealed hard magnetic behavior. The specimen consolidated at 750 °C under a pressure of 75 MPa showed a higher compressive strength of 1700 MPa and a Vickers hardness of 425 ± 18 HV. As a result, sintering at 750 °C/75 MPa can be utilized to enhance the mechanical properties, while those sintered at 1000 °C/50 MPa increase magnetic softness. Full article
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14 pages, 3841 KiB  
Article
Microstructure and Efflorescence Resistance of Metakaolin Geopolymer Modified by 5A Zeolite
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7243; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227243 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 690
Abstract
In order to reduce the degree of efflorescence in alkali-activated metakaolin geopolymers, a modified 5A zeolite with cation-exchange properties was used to reduce the content of free alkali metal cations in the geopolymer. This work aims to investigate the effect of different dosages [...] Read more.
In order to reduce the degree of efflorescence in alkali-activated metakaolin geopolymers, a modified 5A zeolite with cation-exchange properties was used to reduce the content of free alkali metal cations in the geopolymer. This work aims to investigate the effect of different dosages of modified 5A zeolite on the microstructure and properties of geopolymer by using compressive strength testing, pore structure analysis (BET), and SEM-EDS. The cation content in the leachate was evaluated using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The efflorescence area of the geopolymer was calculated using Image Pro Plus (IPP) software to evaluate the effect of modified 5A zeolite on the degree of efflorescence of the geopolymer and to reveal the effect of modified 5A zeolite on the migration patterns of Na+ and Ca2+ in the geopolymer. The results showed that modified 5A zeolite with a 4 wt.% content could optimize the pore structure and enhance the mechanical properties of MK geopolymer through internal curing and micro-aggregate effects, which could also exchange cations with the pore solution to form (N, C)-A-S-H gels. The Na+ leaching was reduced by 19.4%, and the efflorescence area of the MK geopolymer was reduced by 57.3%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanical Behaviour and Durability Performance of Concrete Materials)
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13 pages, 3519 KiB  
Article
New Insights into the Dissolution Kinetics of Alite Powder and the Effects of Organic Toughening Materials
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227242 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 593
Abstract
Alite dissolution plays a crucial role in cement hydration. However, quantitative investigations into alite powder dissolution are limited, especially regarding the influence of chemical admixtures. This study investigates the impact of particle size, temperature, saturation level, and mixing speed on alite powder dissolution [...] Read more.
Alite dissolution plays a crucial role in cement hydration. However, quantitative investigations into alite powder dissolution are limited, especially regarding the influence of chemical admixtures. This study investigates the impact of particle size, temperature, saturation level, and mixing speed on alite powder dissolution rate, considering the real-time evolution of specific surface area during the alite powder dissolution process. Furthermore, the study delves into the influence of two organic toughening agents, chitosan oligosaccharide (COS) and anionic/non-ionic polyester-based polyurethane (PU), on the kinetics of alite powder dissolution. The results demonstrate a specific-surface-area change formula during alite powder dissolution: SS0=0.348e1m/m0/0.085+0.651. Notably, the temperature and saturation level significantly affect dissolution rates, whereas the effect of particle size is more complicated. COS shows dosage-dependent effects on alite dissolution, acting through both its acidic nature and surface coverage. On the other hand, PU inhibits alite dissolution by blocking the active sites of alite through electrostatic adsorption, which is particularly evident at high temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Construction and Building Materials)
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13 pages, 3864 KiB  
Article
Study of the Structural, Morphological, Strength and Shielding Properties of CuBi2O4 Films Obtained by Electrochemical Synthesis
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7241; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227241 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 407
Abstract
In this research, the formation processes of CuBi2O4 films were examined using atomic force microscopy, energy dispersive analysis and X-ray diffraction analysis methods. The films were synthesized through electrochemical deposition from sulfuric acid solutions at a potential difference of 3.5 [...] Read more.
In this research, the formation processes of CuBi2O4 films were examined using atomic force microscopy, energy dispersive analysis and X-ray diffraction analysis methods. The films were synthesized through electrochemical deposition from sulfuric acid solutions at a potential difference of 3.5 V. The duration of film growth was set to between 10 and 90 min to assess the possibility of controlled film growth and preserve the stability of their structural properties during growth over an extended period. An analysis of the data obtained by X-ray diffraction revealed that the resulting film samples are highly ordered structures with a tetragonal CuBi2O4 phase. The results of the connection between the thickness of CuBi2O4 films and strength properties depending on the time of film deposition were obtained. The results of the shielding efficiency of low-energy γ-quanta using CuBi2O4 films were obtained. Full article
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14 pages, 9534 KiB  
Article
Phase Stability and Slag-Induced Destabilization in MnO2 and CeO2-Doped Calcia-Stabilized Zirconia
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7240; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227240 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 472
Abstract
MnO2 and CeO2 were doped to improve the corrosion resistance of CSZ (calcia-stabilized zirconia), and we studied the phase formation, mechanical properties, and corrosion resistance by molten mold flux. The volume fraction of the monoclinic phase gradually decreased as the amount [...] Read more.
MnO2 and CeO2 were doped to improve the corrosion resistance of CSZ (calcia-stabilized zirconia), and we studied the phase formation, mechanical properties, and corrosion resistance by molten mold flux. The volume fraction of the monoclinic phase gradually decreased as the amount of MnO2 doping increased. The splitting phenomenon of the t(101) peak was observed in 2Mn_CSZ, and in 4Mn_CSZ, it was completely split, forming a cubic phase. The relative density increased and the monoclinic phase decreased as the doping amount increased, leading to an increase in Vickers hardness and flexural strength. However, in 3Mn_CSZ and 4Mn_CSZ, where cubic phase formation occurred, the tetragonal phase decreased, leading to a reduction in these properties. MnO2-doped CSZ exhibited a larger fraction of the monoclinic phase compared to the original CSZ after the corrosion test, indicating worsened corrosion resistance. These results are attributed to the predominant presence of Mn3+ and Mn2+ forms, rather than the Mn4+ form, which has a smaller basicity difference with SiO2, and due to the low melting point. The monoclinic phase fraction decreased as the doping amount of CeO2 increased in CeO2-doped CSZ, but the rate of decrease was lower compared to MnO2-doped CSZ. The monoclinic phase decreased as the doping amount increased, but the Vickers hardness and flexural strength showed a decreasing trend due to the low relative density. The destabilization behavior of Ca in SEM-EDS images before and after corrosion was difficult to identify due to the presence of Ca in the slag, and the destabilization behavior of Ce due to slag after corrosion was not observed. In the XRD data of the specimen surface after the corrosion test, the fraction of the monoclinic phase increased compared to before the test but showed a lower monoclinic phase fraction compared to CSZ. It is believed that CeO2 has superior corrosion resistance compared to CaO because Ce predominantly exists in the form of Ce4+, which has a smaller difference in basicity within the zirconia lattice. Full article
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16 pages, 7693 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Asphalt Surface Course Compaction: Insights from Aggregate Triaxial Acceleration Responses
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7239; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227239 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 514
Abstract
The compaction quality of asphalt surface courses has a significant impact on the overall performance of asphalt pavements, but the dynamic response and compaction degree variations of different asphalt surface courses (top, middle, and bottom surface courses) during vibrational compaction have still received [...] Read more.
The compaction quality of asphalt surface courses has a significant impact on the overall performance of asphalt pavements, but the dynamic response and compaction degree variations of different asphalt surface courses (top, middle, and bottom surface courses) during vibrational compaction have still received limited research. SmartRock sensors can be utilized to monitor aggregate acceleration in real-time. This study aims to address this gap using SmartRock sensor technology to further understand the compaction mechanisms of different asphalt surface courses from a particle perspective, as well as the relationship between aggregate acceleration and compaction degree. The results indicate that the rolling of steel drums induces a significant alteration of the aggregate acceleration along the roller’s rolling direction, primarily resulting in horizontal shearing in that direction. As distance increases, vibration waves gradually attenuate on both sides of vibrating drums, and surface course thickness and gradation significantly affect acceleration amplitude. There is a linear correlation between triaxial aggregate acceleration and compaction degree, with the vertical correlation being the strongest. Finally, an empirical relationship between triaxial acceleration and pavement compaction degree was established, providing a basis for predicting the asphalt surface course density. These findings enhance our understanding of pavement compaction mechanisms and promote innovation in asphalt pavement compaction and quality control methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Asphalt Mixtures and Pavements Design)
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4 pages, 209 KiB  
Editorial
Technological and Modelling Progress in Green Engineering and Sustainable Development: Advancements in Energy and Materials Engineering
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227238 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 478
Abstract
Due to a growing number of environmental issues, including global warming, water scarcity, and fossil fuel depletion, the topic of modern materials in energy is becoming crucial for our civilization. The technological advancements that have been observed bring many innovations that significantly impact [...] Read more.
Due to a growing number of environmental issues, including global warming, water scarcity, and fossil fuel depletion, the topic of modern materials in energy is becoming crucial for our civilization. The technological advancements that have been observed bring many innovations that significantly impact how energy can be generated, stored, and distributed. Moreover, new opportunities have emerged in energy and materials engineering due to the increasing computational capability of current data processing systems. Methods that are highly demanding, time-consuming, and difficult to apply may now be considered when developing complete and sophisticated models in many areas of science and technology. Combining computational methods and AI algorithms allows for multi-threaded analyses solving advanced and interdisciplinary problems. Therefore, knowledge and experience in this subject, as well as the investigation of new, more efficient, and environmentally friendly solutions, currently represent one of the main directions of scientific research. The Special Issue “Advances in Materials: Modelling Challenges and Technological Progress for Green Engineering and Sustainable Development” aims to bring together research on material advances, focusing on modelling challenges and technological progress (mainly for green engineering and sustainable development). Original research studies, review articles, and short communications are welcome, especially those focusing on (but not limited to) artificial intelligence, other computational methods, and state-of-the-art technological concepts related to the listed keywords within energy and materials engineering. Full article
20 pages, 13732 KiB  
Article
Electrospun PCL Wires Loaded with Vancomycin on Zirconium Substrate
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227237 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 551
Abstract
The current study presents research about electrodeposition in relation to electrospinning PCL wires on a Zr substrate and loading the coating with vancomycin. The structural composition of the coatings was investigated via FT-IR analysis. The morphology evaluated using scanning electron microscopy coupled with [...] Read more.
The current study presents research about electrodeposition in relation to electrospinning PCL wires on a Zr substrate and loading the coating with vancomycin. The structural composition of the coatings was investigated via FT-IR analysis. The morphology evaluated using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, for the composition (SEM-EDS), evidenced the presence of the polymer wires, with and without drug vancomycin loading. The wettability of the coatings was evaluated from the hydrophobic–hydrophilic point of view, and the characterization was completed with mechanical and electrochemical tests. All the electrochemical tests performed in simulated body fluid highlighted that PCL represents a barrier against corrosion processes. The quantitative method to evaluate the loading efficiency shows that almost 80% of the total loaded vancomycin is released within 144 h; after the initial burst at 24 h, a steady release of vancomycin is observed over 7 days. A kinetic model of the drug release was also constructed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Nanomaterials: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications)
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18 pages, 3102 KiB  
Article
Predictive Modeling of Tensile Strength in Aluminum Alloys via Machine Learning
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7236; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227236 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 653
Abstract
Aluminum alloys are widely used due to their exceptional properties, but the systematic relationship between their grain size and their tensile strength has not been thoroughly explored in the literature. This study aims to fill this gap by compiling a comprehensive dataset and [...] Read more.
Aluminum alloys are widely used due to their exceptional properties, but the systematic relationship between their grain size and their tensile strength has not been thoroughly explored in the literature. This study aims to fill this gap by compiling a comprehensive dataset and utilizing machine learning models that consider both the alloy composition and the grain size. A pivotal enhancement to this study was the integration of hardness as a feature variable, providing a more robust predictor of the tensile strength. The refined models demonstrated a marked improvement in predictive performance, with XGBoost exhibiting an R2 value of 0.914. Polynomial regression was also applied to derive a mathematical relationship between the tensile strength, alloy composition, and grain size, contributing to a more profound comprehension of these interdependencies. The improved methodology and analytical techniques, validated by the models’ enhanced accuracy, are not only relevant to aluminum alloys, but also hold promise for application to other material systems, potentially revolutionizing the prediction of material properties. Full article
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16 pages, 4456 KiB  
Article
Interaction Mechanism Characterized by Bond Performance and Diffusion Performance between TiO2@LDO and Asphalt Based on Molecular Dynamics Simulation
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227235 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 422
Abstract
In order to study the interaction between composite photocatalytic material TiO2@LDO and matrix asphalt, the four-component 12 molecular structure model of 70# matrix asphalt was optimized by using software Materials Studio 2020, and its heterostructure with TiO2@LDO composite was [...] Read more.
In order to study the interaction between composite photocatalytic material TiO2@LDO and matrix asphalt, the four-component 12 molecular structure model of 70# matrix asphalt was optimized by using software Materials Studio 2020, and its heterostructure with TiO2@LDO composite was modeled. The bonding performance between asphalt and composite photocatalytic material was analyzed by interface energization, and the diffusion performance between asphalt and composite photocatalytic material was analyzed from the perspectives of particle movement and Z-direction density. By changing the temperature and other parameters in the simulation process, the change in bonding strength between TiO2@LDO and asphalt was investigated. Through the calculation and analysis of interaction energy, it was found that the adsorption and bonding strength between asphalt and TiO2@LDO were the strongest at 40 °C. At the same time, the diffusion performance was studied, and it was found that the molecular diffusion distribution of TiO2@LDO was more extensive at 60 °C, which laid the foundation for further blending of asphalt and TiO2@LDO. The simulation results show that TiO2@LDO molecules have a certain attraction to asphalt molecules and can modify the matrix asphalt to some extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Construction and Building Materials)
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17 pages, 13330 KiB  
Article
Investigation of the Dislocation Density of NiCr Coatings Prepared Using PVD–LMM Technology
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227234 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 632
Abstract
Micron-sized coatings prepared using physical vapor deposition (PVD) technology can peel off in extreme environments because of their low adhesion. Laser micro-melting (LMM) technology can improve the properties of the fabricated integrated material due to its metallurgical combinations. However, the microstructural changes induced [...] Read more.
Micron-sized coatings prepared using physical vapor deposition (PVD) technology can peel off in extreme environments because of their low adhesion. Laser micro-melting (LMM) technology can improve the properties of the fabricated integrated material due to its metallurgical combinations. However, the microstructural changes induced by the high-energy laser beam during the LMM process have not been investigated. In this study, we used the PVD–LMM technique to prepare NiCr coatings with a controlled thickness. The microstructural changes in the NiCr alloy coatings during melting and cooling crystallization were analyzed using molecular dynamics simulations. The simulation results demonstrated that the transition range of the atoms in the LMM process fluctuated synchronously with the temperature, and the hexagonal close-packed (HCP) structure increased. After the cooling crystallization, the perfect dislocations of the face-centered cubic (FCC) structure decreased significantly. The dislocation lines were mainly 1/6 <112> imperfect dislocations, and the dislocation density increased by 107.7%. The dislocations in the twinning region were affected by the twin boundaries and slip surfaces. They were plugged in their vicinity, resulting in a considerably higher dislocation density than in the other regions, and the material hardness increased significantly. This new technique may be important for the technological improvement of protective coatings on Zr alloy surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Materials Processing for Engineering Applications)
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24 pages, 18251 KiB  
Article
Thermal Study of Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composites Using Multiscale Modeling
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227233 - 19 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 718
Abstract
The layered fibers of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites exhibit low thermal conductivity (TC) throughout their thickness due to the poor TC of the polymeric resin. Improved heat transmission inside the hydrogen storage tank during the filling process can reduce further compression work, and [...] Read more.
The layered fibers of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites exhibit low thermal conductivity (TC) throughout their thickness due to the poor TC of the polymeric resin. Improved heat transmission inside the hydrogen storage tank during the filling process can reduce further compression work, and improved heat insulation can minimize energy loss. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the thermal properties of composites. This paper reports the thermal behavior of plain-woven CFRP composite using simulation at the micro-, meso-, and macro-scales. The TC was predicted numerically and compared to experimental findings and analytical models. Good results were found. Using the approach of multi-scale modeling, a parametric study was carried out to analyze in depth the influence of certain variables on thermal properties. The study revealed that both fiber volume fraction and temperature significantly influenced the TC of the composite, with the interphase fiber/matrix thickness following closely in terms of impact. The matrix porosity was found to have a relatively slighter impact, particularly within the porosity range of 5 to 15%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymeric Materials)
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24 pages, 20987 KiB  
Review
A Polytetrafluoroethylene-Based Solvent-Free Procedure for the Manufacturing of Lithium-Ion Batteries
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7232; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227232 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1684
Abstract
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have recently become popular for energy storage due to their high energy density, storage capacity, and long-term cycle life. Although binders make up only a small proportion of LIBs, they have become the key to promoting the transformation of the [...] Read more.
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have recently become popular for energy storage due to their high energy density, storage capacity, and long-term cycle life. Although binders make up only a small proportion of LIBs, they have become the key to promoting the transformation of the battery preparation process. Along with the development of binders, the battery manufacturing process has evolved from the conventional slurry-casting (SC) process to a more attractive solvent-free (SF) method. Compared with traditional LIBs manufacturing method, the SF method could dramatically reduce and increase the energy density due to the reduced preparation steps and enhanced electrode loading. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), as a typical binder, has played an important role in fabricating high-performance LIBs, particularly in regards to the SF technique. In this paper, the development history and application status of PTFE binder was introduced, and then its contributions and the inherent problems involved in the SF process were described and analyzed. Finally, the viewpoints concerning the future trends for PTFE-based SF manufacturing methods were also discussed. We hope this work can inspire future research concerning high-quality SF binders and assist in promoting the evolution of the SF manufacturing technology in regards to LIBs. Full article
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14 pages, 8151 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Plasma Treatment on the Mechanical and Biological Properties of Polyurethane Artificial Blood Vessel
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7231; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227231 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 551
Abstract
In recent years, the incidence of cardiovascular disease has increased annually, and the demand for artificial blood vessels has been increasing. Due to the formation of thrombosis and stenosis after implantation, the application of many materials in the human body has been inhibited. [...] Read more.
In recent years, the incidence of cardiovascular disease has increased annually, and the demand for artificial blood vessels has been increasing. Due to the formation of thrombosis and stenosis after implantation, the application of many materials in the human body has been inhibited. Therefore, the choice of surface modification process is very important. In this paper, small-diameter polyurethane artificial blood vessels were prepared through electrospinning, and their surfaces were treated with plasma to improve their biological properties. The samples before and after plasma treatment were characterized by SEM, contact angle, XPS, and tensile testing; meanwhile, the cell compatibility and blood compatibility were evaluated. The results show that there are no significant changes to the fiber morphology or diameter distribution on the surface of the sample before and after plasma treatment. Plasma treatment can increase the proportion of oxygen-containing functional groups on the surface of the sample and improve its wettability, thereby increasing the infiltration ability of cells and promoting cell proliferation. Plasma treatment can reduce the risk of hemolysis, and does not cause platelet adhesion. Due to the etching effect of plasma, the mechanical properties of the samples decreased with the extension of plasma treatment time, which should be used as a basis to balance the mechanical property and biological property of artificial blood vessels. But on the whole, plasma treatment has positive significance for improving the comprehensive performance of samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper in the Section 'Polymeric Materials' (2nd Edition))
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13 pages, 255 KiB  
Editorial
Composites in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7230; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227230 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 797
Abstract
An important step towards improving performance while reducing weight and maintenance needs is the integration of composite materials into mechanical and aerospace engineering. This subject explores the many aspects of composite application, from basic material characterization to state-of-the-art advances in manufacturing and design [...] Read more.
An important step towards improving performance while reducing weight and maintenance needs is the integration of composite materials into mechanical and aerospace engineering. This subject explores the many aspects of composite application, from basic material characterization to state-of-the-art advances in manufacturing and design processes. The major goal is to present the most recent developments in composite science and technology while highlighting their critical significance in the industrial sector—most notably in the wind energy, automotive, aerospace, and marine domains. The foundation of this investigation is material characterization, which offers insights into the mechanical, chemical, and physical characteristics that determine composite performance. The papers in this collection discuss the difficulties of gaining an in-depth understanding of composites, which is necessary to maximize their overall performance and design. The collection of articles within this topic addresses the challenges of achieving a profound understanding of composites, which is essential for optimizing design and overall functionality. This includes the application of complicated material modeling together with cutting-edge simulation tools that integrate multiscale methods and multiphysics, the creation of novel characterization techniques, and the integration of nanotechnology and additive manufacturing. This topic offers a detailed overview of the current state and future directions of composite research, covering experimental studies, theoretical evaluations, and numerical simulations. This subject provides a platform for interdisciplinary cooperation and creativity in everything from the processing and testing of innovative composite structures to the inspection and repair procedures. In order to support the development of more effective, durable, and sustainable materials for the mechanical and aerospace engineering industries, we seek to promote a greater understanding of composites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Composites in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering)
13 pages, 2594 KiB  
Article
Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of 3D-Printed Polylactide Laminate Composites’ Mechanical Properties
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7229; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227229 - 19 Nov 2023
Viewed by 695
Abstract
The purpose of this work is to theoretically and experimentally investigate the applicability of the Tsai–Hill failure criterion and classical laminate theory for predicting the strength and stiffness of 3D-printed polylactide laminate composites with various raster angles in mechanical tests for uniaxial tension [...] Read more.
The purpose of this work is to theoretically and experimentally investigate the applicability of the Tsai–Hill failure criterion and classical laminate theory for predicting the strength and stiffness of 3D-printed polylactide laminate composites with various raster angles in mechanical tests for uniaxial tension and compression. According to the results of tensile and compression tests, the stiffness matrix components of the orthotropic individual lamina and strength were determined. The Poisson’s ratio was determined using the digital image correlation method. It was found that the Tsai–Hill criterion is applicable for predicting the tensile strength and yield strength of laminate polymer composite materials manufactured via fused deposition modeling 3D printing. The calculated values of the elastic moduli for specimens with various raster angles correlate well with the values obtained experimentally. In tensile tests, the error for the laminate with a constant raster angle was 3.3%, for a composite laminate it was 4.4, in compression tests it was 11.9% and 9%, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synthesis and Structure of Advanced Materials)
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15 pages, 4198 KiB  
Article
Persistent Homology Analysis of the Microstructure of Laser-Powder-Bed-Fused Al–12Si Alloy
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7228; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227228 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 786
Abstract
The laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) process provides the cellular microstructure (primary α phase surrounded by a eutectic Si network) inside hypo-eutectic Al–Si alloys. The microstructure changes to the particle-dispersed microstructure with heat treatments at around 500 °C. The microstructural change leads to [...] Read more.
The laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) process provides the cellular microstructure (primary α phase surrounded by a eutectic Si network) inside hypo-eutectic Al–Si alloys. The microstructure changes to the particle-dispersed microstructure with heat treatments at around 500 °C. The microstructural change leads to a significant reduction in the tensile strength. However, the microstructural descriptors representing the cellular and particle-dispersed microstructures have not been established, resulting in difficulty in terms of discussion regarding the structure–property relationship. In this study, an attempt was made to analyze the microstructure in L-PBF-built and subsequently heat-treated Al–12Si (mass%) alloys using the persistent homology, which can analyze the spatial distributions and connections of secondary phases. The zero-dimensional persistent homology revealed that the spacing between adjacent Si particles was independent of Si particle size in the as-built alloy, whereas fewer Si particles existed near large Si particles in the heat-treated alloy. Furthermore, the first principal component of a one-dimensional persistent homology diagram would represent the microstructural characteristics from cellular to particle-dispersed morphology. These microstructural descriptors were strongly correlated with the tensile and yield strengths. This study provides a new insight into the microstructural indices describing unique microstructures in L-PBF-built alloys. Full article
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12 pages, 2954 KiB  
Article
Rational Design of a Small Molecular Near-Infrared Fluorophore for Improved In Vivo Fluorescence Imaging
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227227 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 528
Abstract
The near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging modality has great potential for application in biomedical imaging research owing to its unique characteristics, such as low tissue autofluorescence and noninvasive visualization with high spatial resolution. Although a variety of NIR fluorophores are continuously reported, the commercially [...] Read more.
The near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging modality has great potential for application in biomedical imaging research owing to its unique characteristics, such as low tissue autofluorescence and noninvasive visualization with high spatial resolution. Although a variety of NIR fluorophores are continuously reported, the commercially available NIR fluorophores are still limited, owing to complex synthetic processes and poor physicochemical properties. To address this issue, a small molecular NIR fluorophore (SMF800) was designed and developed in the present work to improve in vivo target-specific fluorescence imaging. After conjugation with pamidronate (PAM) and bovine serum albumin (BSA), the SMF800 conjugates exhibited successful in vivo targeting in bone and tumor tissues with low background uptake, respectively. The improved in vivo performance of the SMF800 conjugate demonstrated that the small molecular NIR fluorophore SMF800 can be widely used in a much broader range of imaging applications. The structure of SMF800, which was developed by considering two important physicochemical properties, water solubility and conjugatability, is first introduced. Therefore, this work suggests a simple and rational approach to design small, hydrophilic, and conjugatable NIR fluorophores for targeted bioimaging. Full article
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34 pages, 16829 KiB  
Article
Developing Creep and Stress Relaxation Models to Assess the Service Life of an Additive Manufactured Industrial-Scale Recuperator Utilizing Inconel 625 and AISI 310S Materials
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227226 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 914
Abstract
This work is focused on the development of creep and stress relaxation models on Inconel 625 and Stainless Steel 310 materials for additive manufacturing. At the end, the operational lifespan of an industrial-scale additive manufactured recuperator is evaluated. An industrial-scale recuperator for burners [...] Read more.
This work is focused on the development of creep and stress relaxation models on Inconel 625 and Stainless Steel 310 materials for additive manufacturing. At the end, the operational lifespan of an industrial-scale additive manufactured recuperator is evaluated. An industrial-scale recuperator for burners with a highly complex geometry is manufactured using Continuous Wave SLM and Pulsed Wave Selective Laser Melting techniques. The recuperator operates under steady but high thermal loads, reaching temperatures of up to 875 °C. Therefore, its service life is assessed, considering creep and stress relaxation phenomena. Two different materials are evaluated: Inconel 625 and Stainless Steel 310. Tensile testing has been conducted on samples at various temperatures to acquire material parameters, incorporating appropriately the anisotropic nature of the materials. Creep parameters were determined through creep experiments and data from the literature, and the recuperator response was simulated by FEA modelling. Analytical creep and stress relaxation models were proposed based on the simulation results for each material to predict their creep response. The service life was determined by applying a custom failure criterion based on the creep testing data. The Inconel 625 recuperator exhibits a service life that is significantly higher compared to any burner’s life, while the Stainless Steel 310 recuperator exhibits approximately 27 years of service life. Both materials are considered suitable; however, Inconel 625 offers higher resistance to creep according to creep tests, and due to its lower thermal expansion coefficient, the resulting thermal stresses are lower. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Materials Simulation and Design)
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13 pages, 4464 KiB  
Article
Simultaneous Catechol and Hydroquinone Detection with Laser Fabricated MOF-Derived Cu-CuO@C Composite Electrochemical Sensor
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7225; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227225 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 810
Abstract
The conversion of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) into advanced functional materials offers a promising route for producing unique nanomaterials. MOF-derived systems have the potential to overcome the drawbacks of MOFs, such as low electrical conductivity and poor structural stability, which have hindered their real-world [...] Read more.
The conversion of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) into advanced functional materials offers a promising route for producing unique nanomaterials. MOF-derived systems have the potential to overcome the drawbacks of MOFs, such as low electrical conductivity and poor structural stability, which have hindered their real-world applications in certain cases. In this study, laser scribing was used for pyrolysis of a Cu-based MOF ([Cu4{1,4-C6H4(COO)2}3(4,4′-bipy)2]n) to synthesize a Cu-CuO@C composite on the surface of a screen-printed electrode (SPE). Scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, and Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy were used for the investigation of the morphology and composition of the fabricated electrodes. The electrochemical properties of Cu-CuO@C/SPE were studied by cyclic voltammetry and differential pulse voltammetry. The proposed flexible electrochemical Cu-CuO@C/SPE sensor for the simultaneous detection of hydroquinone and catechol exhibited good sensitivity, broad linear range (1–500 μM), and low limits of detection (0.39 μM for HQ and 0.056 μM for CT). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Carbon Nanomaterials for Sensor Applications)
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14 pages, 4485 KiB  
Article
Surface Roughness Prediction of Titanium Alloy during Abrasive Belt Grinding Based on an Improved Radial Basis Function (RBF) Neural Network
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7224; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227224 - 18 Nov 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 496
Abstract
Titanium alloys have become an indispensable material for all walks of life because of their excellent strength and corrosion resistance. However, grinding titanium alloy is exceedingly challenging due to its pronounced material characteristics. Therefore, it is crucial to create a theoretical roughness prediction [...] Read more.
Titanium alloys have become an indispensable material for all walks of life because of their excellent strength and corrosion resistance. However, grinding titanium alloy is exceedingly challenging due to its pronounced material characteristics. Therefore, it is crucial to create a theoretical roughness prediction model, serving to modify the machining parameters in real time. To forecast the surface roughness of titanium alloy grinding, an improved radial basis function neural network model based on particle swarm optimization combined with the grey wolf optimization method (GWO-PSO-RBF) was developed in this study. The results demonstrate that the improved neural network developed in this research outperforms the classical models in terms of all prediction parameters, with a model-fitting R2 value of 0.919. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cutting Processes for Materials in Manufacturing)
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12 pages, 3626 KiB  
Article
Design and Synthesis of Low Surface Energy Coating with Functionalized Al2O3 Nanoparticles
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7223; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227223 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 569
Abstract
In a high-moisture environment where dust and coastal saltwater are prevalent, the stability of power equipment can be adversely affected. This issue can result in equipment downtime, particularly for transformers, severely disrupting the continuous operation of DC transmission systems. To address this challenge, [...] Read more.
In a high-moisture environment where dust and coastal saltwater are prevalent, the stability of power equipment can be adversely affected. This issue can result in equipment downtime, particularly for transformers, severely disrupting the continuous operation of DC transmission systems. To address this challenge, a superhydrophobic modified fluorosilicone coating was developed, incorporating anti-stain properties. To tackle this issue comprehensively, an orthogonal experiment was conducted, involving six factors and three levels. The study focused particularly on assessing the impact of water-repellent recovery agents, nanofillers, antistatic agents, anti-mold agents, leveling agents, as well as wetting and dispersing agents on the coating’s surface tension. The results demonstrate that selecting an appropriate base resin and incorporating well-matched functional additives played a central role in effectively reducing the surface tension of the coating. Consequently, optimized coatings exhibited exceptional resistance to stains and displayed strong corrosion resistance. Full article
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11 pages, 5439 KiB  
Article
Tailoring Mechanical and Magnetic Properties in Dual-Phase FeCoNi(CuAl)0.8 High-Entropy Alloy
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7222; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227222 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 563
Abstract
For tailoring the mechanical and magnetic properties of dual-phase high-entropy alloys (HEAs), it is crucial to understand the effect of each phase on the overall properties. In this paper, the effects of individual FCC and BCC phases on the mechanical and magnetic properties [...] Read more.
For tailoring the mechanical and magnetic properties of dual-phase high-entropy alloys (HEAs), it is crucial to understand the effect of each phase on the overall properties. In this paper, the effects of individual FCC and BCC phases on the mechanical and magnetic properties of the FeCoNi(CuAl)0.8 HEA are investigated by nanoindentation and first-principles calculations. The nano-hardness of the BCC phase is 8.73 GPa, which is nearly double the 4.60 GPa of the FCC phase, which ascribes to spherical nanoprecipitates that are only observed in the BCC phase leading to precipitation hardening. First-principles calculations on the electronic structure show that calculated saturation magnetization (Ms) of the BCC phase is 0.81 T, higher than 0.77 T of the FCC phase. An approximate yield strength and Ms can be estimated by summing the volume-fraction-weighted contributions from each phase, and are in good agreement with experimental values. It indicates that the overall mechanical and magnetic properties of the dual-phase HEAs can be tailored by tuning the volume fraction of the individual phase. Our findings are helpful to design prospective dual-phase HEAs with both good mechanical properties and soft magnetic performance by adjusting the content of each phase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Amorphous Alloy)
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17 pages, 10336 KiB  
Article
Investigation of Rutting Performance in Geogrid-Reinforced Asphalt by Penetration Test
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7221; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227221 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 459
Abstract
Permanent deformation, or rutting, is one of several critical distresses in flexible pavements. This paper introduced a novel experimental method, a penetration test, for asphalt mixtures to quantify the effects of glass fibre geogrids embedded in asphalt under repeated loading. It was found [...] Read more.
Permanent deformation, or rutting, is one of several critical distresses in flexible pavements. This paper introduced a novel experimental method, a penetration test, for asphalt mixtures to quantify the effects of glass fibre geogrids embedded in asphalt under repeated loading. It was found that the evolution of permanent deformation (εp) and its strain rate have three clearly identifiable stages. It was also observed that the presence of the geogrid increased the flow number and the number of cycles to failure significantly compared to control samples. Some of the current εp fitting models were found to be valid for deformation prediction under penetration. In addition, a new simple FN calculation method was also proposed based on strain rate and it showed consistent results. In particular, geogrid type “Grid10”, which has smaller aperture size (12.7 mm) had slightly better reinforcement performance regarding the rutting resistance due to its larger contact area. Overall, the test and data analysis method presented in this study could be an important reference for future investigations on geosynthetic-reinforced pavement materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Design, Application and Performance Improvement of Pavement Materials)
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10 pages, 3386 KiB  
Article
Local Structural Modifications in Metallic Micropillars Induced by Plasma Focused Ion Beam Processing
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7220; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227220 - 18 Nov 2023
Viewed by 527
Abstract
A focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) is a powerful tool that is routinely used for scale imaging from the micro- to nanometer scales, micromachining, prototyping, and metrology. In spite of the significant capabilities of a FIB-SEM, there are inherent artefacts (e.g., [...] Read more.
A focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) is a powerful tool that is routinely used for scale imaging from the micro- to nanometer scales, micromachining, prototyping, and metrology. In spite of the significant capabilities of a FIB-SEM, there are inherent artefacts (e.g., structural defects, chemical interactions and phase changes, ion implantation, and material redeposition) that are produced due to the interaction of Ga+ or other types of ions (e.g., Xe+, Ar+, O+, etc.) with the sample. In this study, we analyzed lattice distortion and ion implantation and subsequent material redeposition in metallic micropillars which were prepared using plasma focus ion beam (PFIB) milling. We utilized non-destructive synchrotron techniques such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray nanodiffraction to examine the micropillars prepared using Xe+ ion energies of 10 keV and 30 keV. Our results demonstrate that higher Xe ion energy leads to higher density of implanted ions within the redeposited and milled material. The mixing of ions in the redeposited material significantly influences the lattice structure, causing deformation in regions with higher ion concentrations. Through an X-ray nanodiffraction analysis, we obtained numerical measurements of the strain fields induced in the regions, which revealed up to 0.2% lattice distortion in the ion bombardment direction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Metallurgy of Metals and Alloys II)
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20 pages, 11683 KiB  
Article
Study on Grinding-Affected Layer of Outer-Ring Inner Raceway of Tapered Roller Bearing
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7219; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227219 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 527
Abstract
In the grinding of bearing raceways, the coupling effect between grinding force and heat in the contact area between the grinding wheel and the workpiece causes changes in the material structure and mechanical properties of the raceway surface layer, which can lead to [...] Read more.
In the grinding of bearing raceways, the coupling effect between grinding force and heat in the contact area between the grinding wheel and the workpiece causes changes in the material structure and mechanical properties of the raceway surface layer, which can lead to the formation of a grinding-affected layer. The grinding-affected layer has a significant impact on the service performance and fatigue life of bearings. In order to improve the ground surface quality of the outer-ring inner raceway of tapered roller bearings and optimize the processing parameters, this paper presents a study on the grinding-affected layer. A finite element simulation model for grinding the outer-ring inner raceway of the tapered roller bearing was established. The grinding temperature field was simulated to predict the affected-layer thickness during raceway grinding. The correctness of the model was verified through grinding experiments using the current industrial process parameters of bearing raceway grinding. The research results indicate that the highest grinding temperature of the outer-ring inner raceway of the tapered roller bearing is located near the center of the grinding arc area on the thin end edge. As the workpiece speed and grinding depth decrease, the highest grinding temperature decreases, and the dark layer thickness of the grinding-affected layer decreases or even does not occur. The research results can provide theoretical guidance and experimental reference for grinding the raceway of tapered roller bearings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Abrasive Processing Technology and Applications)
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11 pages, 3104 KiB  
Article
UV-Vis Sintering Process for Fabrication of Conductive Coatings Based on Ni-Ag Core–Shell Nanoparticles
Materials 2023, 16(22), 7218; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16227218 - 17 Nov 2023
Viewed by 620
Abstract
The UV-Vis sintering process was applied for the fabrication of conductive coatings composed of low-cost nickel–silver (Ni@Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) with core–shell structures. The metallic films were formed on a plastic substrate (polyethylene napthalate, PEN), which required their sintering at low temperatures to prevent [...] Read more.
The UV-Vis sintering process was applied for the fabrication of conductive coatings composed of low-cost nickel–silver (Ni@Ag) nanoparticles (NPs) with core–shell structures. The metallic films were formed on a plastic substrate (polyethylene napthalate, PEN), which required their sintering at low temperatures to prevent the heat-sensitive polymer from destroying them. The UV-Vis sintering method, as a non-invasive method, allowed us to obtain metallic coatings with good conductivity at room temperature. In optimal sintering conditions, i.e., irradiation with a wavelength of 350–400 nm and time of 90 min, conductivity corresponding to about 30% of that of bulk nickel was obtained for the coatings based on Ni@Ag NPs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology)
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