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Polymers, Volume 16, Issue 6 (March-2 2024) – 141 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The limited solubility of natural cellulose in water and common solvents impedes its widespread use, despite its abundance. Chemical derivatization, producing materials like cellulose carbamate (CC), improves solubility and processability. This study successfully employs a novel type IV deep eutectic solvent (DES) made from erbium trichloride and urea, acting as a reaction medium/catalyst and, at the same time, as a reactive component in the preparation of cellulose carbamate. This approach adheres to green chemistry principles, promoting sustainable cellulose derivative production, and holds promise for expanding the industrial application of cellulose. View this paper
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19 pages, 6508 KiB  
Article
Surface Treatment Effect on the Mechanical and Thermal Behavior of the Glass Fabric Reinforced Polysulfone
by Galal Sherif, Dilyus I. Chukov, Victor V. Tcherdyntsev, Andrey A. Stepashkin, Mikhail Y. Zadorozhnyy, Yury M. Shulga and Eugene N. Kabachkov
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 864; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060864 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 696
Abstract
The chemical structure of the surface of glass fibers, including silanized fibers, was studied. Highly efficient heat-resistant composites were obtained by impregnating silanized glass fiber with a polysulfone solution, and the effect of modification of the surface of glass fibers on the physical, [...] Read more.
The chemical structure of the surface of glass fibers, including silanized fibers, was studied. Highly efficient heat-resistant composites were obtained by impregnating silanized glass fiber with a polysulfone solution, and the effect of modification of the surface of glass fibers on the physical, mechanical and thermophysical properties of the composite materials was studied. As a result of the study, it was found that the fiber-to-polymer ratio of 70/30 wt.% showed the best mechanical properties for composites reinforced with pre-heat-treated and silanized glass fibers. It has been established that the chemical treatment of the glass fibers with silanes makes it possible to increase the mechanical properties by 1.5 times compared to composites reinforced with initial fibers. It was found that the use of silane coupling agents made it possible to increase the thermal stability of the composites. Mechanisms that improve the interfacial interaction between the glass fibers and the polymer matrix have been identified. It has been shown that an increase in adhesion occurs both due to the uniform distribution of the polymer on the surface of the glass fibers and due to the improved wettability of the fibers by the polymer. An interpenetrating network was formed in the interfacial region, providing a chemical bond between the functional groups on the surface of the glass fiber and the polymer matrix, which was formed as a result of treating the glass fiber surface with silanes, It has been shown that when treated with aminopropyltriethoxysilane, significant functional unprotonated amino groups NH+/NH2+ are formed on the surface of the fibers; such free amino groups, oriented in the direction from the fiber surface, form strong bonds with the matrix polymer. Based on experimental data, the chemical structure of the polymer/glass fiber interface was identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surfaces and Interfaces of Polymer Composites)
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18 pages, 4864 KiB  
Article
Highly Efficient Hemostatic Cross-Linked Polyacrylate Polymer Dressings for Immediate Hemostasis
by Tong Ye, Zhiyuan Yang, Ruolin Hao, Jinnan Guo, Guifang Dou, Zhiyun Meng, Shuchen Liu, Ruolan Gu, Zhuona Wu, Yunbo Sun, Peng Han, Yiguang Jin and Hui Gan
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 863; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060863 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 644
Abstract
A traumatic hemorrhage is fatal due to the great loss of blood in a short period of time; however, there are a few biomaterials that can stop the bleeding quickly due to the limited water absorption speed. Here, a highly absorbent polymer (HPA), [...] Read more.
A traumatic hemorrhage is fatal due to the great loss of blood in a short period of time; however, there are a few biomaterials that can stop the bleeding quickly due to the limited water absorption speed. Here, a highly absorbent polymer (HPA), polyacrylate, was prepared as it has the best structure–effectiveness relationship. Within a very short period of time (2 min), HPA continually absorbed water until it swelled up to its 600 times its weight; more importantly, the porous structure comprised the swollen dressing. This instantaneous swelling immediately led to rapid hemostasis in irregular wounds. We optimized the HPA preparation process to obtain a rapidly water-absorbent polymer (i.e., HPA-5). HPA-5 showed favorable adhesion and biocompatibility in vitro. A rat femoral arteriovenous complete shear model and a tail arteriovenous injury model were established. HPA exhibited excellent hemostatic capability with little blood loss and short hemostatic time compared with CeloxTM in both of the models. The hemostatic mechanisms of HPA consist of fast clotting by aggregating blood cells, activating platelets, and accelerating the coagulation pathway via water absorption and electrostatic interaction. HPA is a promising highly water-absorbent hemostatic dressing for rapid and extensive blood clotting after vessel injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Synthesis and Application of Biomedical Polymer Materials)
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12 pages, 2902 KiB  
Article
Glycerol Acrylate-Based Photopolymers with Antimicrobial and Shape-Memory Properties
by Evelina Saunoryte, Aukse Navaruckiene, Sigita Grauzeliene, Danguole Bridziuviene, Vita Raudoniene and Jolita Ostrauskaite
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060862 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 786
Abstract
In this paper, for the first time, photopolymers were synthesized from glycerol acrylates with different numbers of functional groups, 2-hydroxy-3-phenoxypropyl acrylate, glycerol dimethacrylate or glycerol trimethacrylate, without and with the addition of vanillin styrene. The photocuring kinetics were monitored by real-time photorheometry. The [...] Read more.
In this paper, for the first time, photopolymers were synthesized from glycerol acrylates with different numbers of functional groups, 2-hydroxy-3-phenoxypropyl acrylate, glycerol dimethacrylate or glycerol trimethacrylate, without and with the addition of vanillin styrene. The photocuring kinetics were monitored by real-time photorheometry. The mechanical, rheological, thermal, antimicrobial and shape-memory properties of the photopolymers were investigated. All polymers synthesized demonstrated antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, as well as antifungal activity against Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. 2-Hydroxy-3-phenoxypropyl acrylate-based polymers showed thermoresponsive shape-memory behavior. They were able to maintain their temporary shape below the glass transition temperature and return to their permanent shape above the glass transition temperature. Synthesized photopolymers have potential to be used as sustainable polymers in a wide range of applications such as biomedicine, photonics, electronics, robotics, etc. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Shape Memory and Functional Polymers)
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13 pages, 4162 KiB  
Article
Development of an Immunocapture-Based Polymeric Optical Fiber Sensor for Bacterial Detection in Water
by Rafaela Nascimento Lopes, Paulo Henrique Silva Pinto, Juan David Lopez Vargas, Alex Dante, Andrew Macrae, Regina Célia Barros Allil and Marcelo Martins Werneck
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 861; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060861 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 731
Abstract
Conventional methods for pathogen detection in water rely on time-consuming enrichment steps followed by biochemical identification strategies, which require assay times ranging from 24 hours to a week. However, in recent years, significant efforts have been made to develop biosensing technologies enabling rapid [...] Read more.
Conventional methods for pathogen detection in water rely on time-consuming enrichment steps followed by biochemical identification strategies, which require assay times ranging from 24 hours to a week. However, in recent years, significant efforts have been made to develop biosensing technologies enabling rapid and close-to-real-time detection of waterborne pathogens. In previous studies, we developed a plastic optical fiber (POF) immunosensor using an optoelectronic configuration consisting of a U-Shape probe connected to an LED and a photodetector. Bacterial detection was evaluated with the immunosensor immersed in a bacterial suspension in water with a known concentration. Here, we report on the sensitivity of a new optoelectronic configuration consisting of two POF U-shaped probes, one as the reference and the other as the immunosensor, for the detection of Escherichia coli. In addition, another methos of detection was tested where the sensors were calibrated in the air, before being immersed in a bacterial suspension and then read in the air. This modification improved sensor sensitivity and resulted in a faster detection time. After the immunocapture, the sensors were DAPI-stained and submitted to confocal microscopy. The histograms obtained confirmed that the responses of the immunosensors were due to the bacteria. This new sensor detected the presence of E. coli at 104 CFU/mL in less than 20 min. Currently, sub-20 min is faster than previous studies using fiber-optic based biosensors. We report on an inexpensive and faster detection technology when compared with conventional methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Biosensors: Fabrication, Characterization, and Applications)
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15 pages, 2946 KiB  
Article
Influence of Interfacial Interaction and Composition on Fracture Toughness and Impact Properties of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Polyethersulfone
by Valerii G. Torokhov, Dilyus I. Chukov, Victor V. Tcherdyntsev, Andrey A. Stepashkin and Mikhail Y. Zadorozhnyy
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 860; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060860 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 672
Abstract
In this study, the interlaminar fracture toughness and impact strength of polyethersulfone reinforced with continuous carbon fibers were studied. Interlaminar fracture toughness tests were performed using the double cantilever beam method. It was shown that surface modification using the thermal oxidation method of [...] Read more.
In this study, the interlaminar fracture toughness and impact strength of polyethersulfone reinforced with continuous carbon fibers were studied. Interlaminar fracture toughness tests were performed using the double cantilever beam method. It was shown that surface modification using the thermal oxidation method of the carbon fibers can strongly increase the interlaminar fracture toughness of the obtained composites. Thus, the maximum value reached 1.72 kJ/m2, which was 40% higher than the fracture toughness of the composites reinforced with initial carbon fibers. Moreover, fractographic analysis using a scanning electron microscope allowed us to highlight the main reasons for the dependence of fracture toughness on fiber content and surface modification conditions of the carbon fibers. It was shown that the main factor that allowed for an increase in fracture toughness was the enhanced interfacial interaction between the fibers and polymer matrix. Additionally, it was found that expectedly, there was a good correlation between interlaminar fracture toughness and interlaminar shear strength results. However, a negative influence of surface modification on the impact properties of composites was found. Such behavior occurred because of higher structural stability and lower exposure to delamination in multiple layers of the composites reinforced with the modified carbon fibers. It was found that impact energy reached ~150 kJ/m2 for the polyethersulfone-based composites reinforced with initial fibers, while the composites reinforced with modified carbon fibers showed impact energy values of only ~80 kJ/m2. Nevertheless, surface modification of carbon fibers using the thermal oxidation method can be an effective method for improving the performance properties of polyethersulfone-based composite materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Composites and Nanocomposites)
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20 pages, 6642 KiB  
Article
In-Plane Elastic Properties of 3D-Printed Graded Hierarchical Hexagonal Honeycombs
by Yong Tao, Ruochao Zhao, Jun Shi, De Zhou and Yanqun Han
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 859; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060859 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 629
Abstract
In this study, the graded hierarchical hexagonal honeycomb (GHHH) integrating gradient design and hierarchical design was fabricated using the 3D-printing technique, and its in-plane elastic properties were investigated theoretically, experimentally, and numerically. Theoretical solutions were developed based on the Euler beam theory to [...] Read more.
In this study, the graded hierarchical hexagonal honeycomb (GHHH) integrating gradient design and hierarchical design was fabricated using the 3D-printing technique, and its in-plane elastic properties were investigated theoretically, experimentally, and numerically. Theoretical solutions were developed based on the Euler beam theory to predict the effective elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio of GHHH, and theoretical values were in good agreement with the experimental and numerical results. The effect of gradient design and hierarchical design on the in-plane elastic properties of GHHH was also analyzed and compared. Results showed that the hierarchical design has a more significant effect on Poisson’s ratio and adjusting the internal forces of GHHH compared with the gradient design. In addition, it was found that GHHH exhibited higher stiffness compared with regular hexagonal honeycomb (RHH), graded hexagonal honeycomb (GHH), and vertex-based hierarchical hexagonal honeycomb (VHHH) under the constraint of the same relative density, respectively. Specifically, the effective elastic modulus of GHHH can be enhanced by 119.82% compared to that of RHH. This research will help to reveal the effect of integrating hierarchical design and gradient design on the in-plane elastic properties of honeycombs. Full article
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15 pages, 3673 KiB  
Article
Development of a Polypropylene-Based Material with Flame-Retardant Properties for 3D Printing
by Eleonora Lorenzi, Rossella Arrigo and Alberto Frache
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 858; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060858 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 698
Abstract
In this study, a nanocomposite based on a heterophasic polypropylene copolymer containing 5 wt% of nanoclays and 3 wt% of compatibilizer was formulated via melt compounding to obtain a material suitable for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) processing with enhanced flame-retardant properties. From rheological [...] Read more.
In this study, a nanocomposite based on a heterophasic polypropylene copolymer containing 5 wt% of nanoclays and 3 wt% of compatibilizer was formulated via melt compounding to obtain a material suitable for Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) processing with enhanced flame-retardant properties. From rheological analyses, the nanocomposite showed an important increase in the non-Newtonian behavior, and, therefore, improved FFF printability compared to the pristine PP COPO. A filament with suitable characteristics for FFF was produced using a single-screw extruder and subsequently 3D printed. Finally, cone calorimeter and UL94 tests were carried out on both 3D-printed and compression-molded specimens. The obtained results showed that the 3D-printed samples exhibited even better flame-retardant properties than the compression-molded ones, thus demonstrating not only the possibility of successfully developing and using functionalized PP-based filaments in 3D printing but also the possibility of obtaining enhanced flame-retardant properties compared to conventional compression molding. Full article
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15 pages, 6433 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Nonterminal Liquid Crystalline Epoxy Resin Structure and Curing Agents on the Glass Transition of Polymer Networks
by Maciej Kisiel and Beata Mossety-Leszczak
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 857; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060857 - 21 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1041
Abstract
Modern science and technology demand a low glass transition temperature, yet one tailored to specific thermoset needs and specific to individual hardener applications. Two novel, nonterminal liquid crystalline epoxy resins (LCER) were synthesised, with their structures characterized via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass [...] Read more.
Modern science and technology demand a low glass transition temperature, yet one tailored to specific thermoset needs and specific to individual hardener applications. Two novel, nonterminal liquid crystalline epoxy resins (LCER) were synthesised, with their structures characterized via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectrometry (MS), and elemental analysis. Their liquid crystalline nature and thermal properties were determined using polarized optical microscopy (POM), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). A set of seven aromatic amines serving as curing agents was used to perform curing in fourteen different systems in order to assess the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the obtained polymer networks using DSC. The liquid crystalline elastomers were obtained with vitrification occurring in a low temperature range (−10–40 °C), with a more predictable outcome for amines with two aromatic rings in the structure than with one. Moreover, the resin with a core consisting of four aromatic rings produces networks with higher Tg than the three-aromatic resin. The use of nonterminal LCER allowed the lowering of the glass transition temperature of the polymers to more than 70 °C compared to a terminal analogue. This brings new possibilities of designing highly elastic yet cured polymers with potential for use in smart applications due to the LC nature of the resin. Full article
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17 pages, 5887 KiB  
Article
Strategies for Improving Sustainability in the Development of High-Performance Styrenic Block Copolymers by Developing Blends with Cellulose Derivatives
by Erika Pajares, Josu Fernández Maestu, Irati Fernandez-de-Mendiola, Unai Silvan, Pedro Costa, Iker Agirrezabal-Telleria, Carmen R. Tubio, Sergio Corona-Galván and Senentxu Lanceros-Mendez
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 856; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060856 - 21 Mar 2024
Viewed by 879
Abstract
Next-generation high-performance polymers require consideration as sustainable solutions. Here, to satisfy these criteria, we propose to combine high-performance styrenic block copolymers, a class of thermoplastic elastomer, with cellulose derivatives as a reinforcing agent with the aim of maintaining and/or improving structural and surface [...] Read more.
Next-generation high-performance polymers require consideration as sustainable solutions. Here, to satisfy these criteria, we propose to combine high-performance styrenic block copolymers, a class of thermoplastic elastomer, with cellulose derivatives as a reinforcing agent with the aim of maintaining and/or improving structural and surface properties. A great advantage of the proposed blends is, besides their biocompatibility, a decrease in environmental impact due to blending with a natural polymer. Particularly, we focus on identifying the effect of different blending compounds and blend ratios on the morphological, structural, thermal, mechanical, electrical and cytotoxic characteristics of materials. This research provides, together with novel material formulations, practical guidelines for the design and fabrication of next-generation sustainable high-performance polymers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Sustainable Polymeric Materials II)
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20 pages, 4334 KiB  
Article
Isobornyl and Isocamphyl Photostabilizers in Poly(lactic acid)-Based Electrospun Fibers
by Vladimir Belyi, Ivan M. Kuzivanov, Irina Fedorova, Olga A. Shumova, Nikita Paderin, Pavel A. Markov, Ilya I. Pikovskoi, Irina Yu. Chukicheva and Alexander V. Kutchin
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 855; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060855 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 624
Abstract
In this work, electrospun polylactide fibers with new photostabilizing additives, 4-methyl-2,6-diisobornylphenol (DIBP) and N-isocamphylaniline (NICA), have been tested under the influence of UV-C radiation (254 nm). The changes in the polymers’ chemical structure under UV-C radiation were revealed through the increase in absorption [...] Read more.
In this work, electrospun polylactide fibers with new photostabilizing additives, 4-methyl-2,6-diisobornylphenol (DIBP) and N-isocamphylaniline (NICA), have been tested under the influence of UV-C radiation (254 nm). The changes in the polymers’ chemical structure under UV-C radiation were revealed through the increase in absorption in the 3600–3100 cm−1 region in regard to the FTIR spectra. In the samples that were irradiated for 1 h, the stabilizing effect of the photoprotectors became most noticeable as the difference in the content of the hydroxyl groups in stabilized and the pure PLA reached a maximum. The TG–DSC method revealed that the most sensitive indicator of the irradiation effect was the glass transition temperature (Tg), which persisted after 2 h of irradiation when using photostabilizers and their combinations. The PLA/DIBP(1) and PLA/NICA(1) samples showed the best results in protecting PLA from UV-C radiation based on the Tg values; although, the mixture of DIBP and NICA was not as effective. The chemical structure of the photostabilized PLA samples was studied using NMR, GPC, and Py–GC/MS analysis. The electrospun polylactide fibers were mechanically tested and the effects of the electrospun samples on cell viability were studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preparation and Properties of Polymer Materials from Biomass)
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25 pages, 15117 KiB  
Article
Alkali Polymer Flooding of a Romanian Field Containing Viscous Reactive Oil
by Eugen Hoffmann, Rafael E. Hincapie, Ante Borovina, Torsten Clemens, Muhammad Tahir, Markus Lueftenegger and Jonas Wegner
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 854; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060854 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 643
Abstract
The study demonstrates the significant enhancement in oil production from a Romanian oil field using alkali–polymer (AP) flooding for reactive viscous oil. We conducted comprehensive interfacial tension (IFT) measurements across various alkali and AP concentrations, along with phase behavior assessments. Micromodel flooding experiments [...] Read more.
The study demonstrates the significant enhancement in oil production from a Romanian oil field using alkali–polymer (AP) flooding for reactive viscous oil. We conducted comprehensive interfacial tension (IFT) measurements across various alkali and AP concentrations, along with phase behavior assessments. Micromodel flooding experiments were used to examine pore-scale effects and select appropriate chemical concentrations. We tested displacement efficiency at the core level and experimented with different sequences and concentrations of alkali and polymers to minimize costs while maximizing the additional recovery of reactive viscous oil. The IFT analysis revealed that saponification at the oil–alkali interface significantly lowers IFT, but IFT gradually increases as soap diffuses away from the interface. Micromodels indicated that polymer or alkali injection alone achieve only minimal incremental recovery beyond waterflooding. However, AP flooding significantly enhanced incremental oil recovery by efficiently moving the mobilized oil with the viscous fluid and increasing exposure of more oil to the alkali solution. Coreflood experiments corroborated these findings. We also explored how divalent cations influence polymer concentration selection, finding that softening the injection brine significantly increased the viscosity of the AP slug. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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17 pages, 10616 KiB  
Article
Ethylene Scavenging Films Based on Ecofriendly Plastic Materials and Nano-TiO2: Preparation, Characterization, and In Vivo Evaluation
by Alba Maldonado, Tomas Aguilar, Carolin Hauser, Gerd Wehnert, Dominik Söthje, Herbert Schlachter, Alejandra Torres, Julio Bruna, Ximena Valenzuela and Francisco Rodríguez-Mercado
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 853; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060853 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 867
Abstract
It is known that ethylene plays an important role in the quality characteristics of fruits, especially in storage. To avoid the deterioration of fruits caused by ethylene, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been used due to its photocatalytic capacity. The aim of [...] Read more.
It is known that ethylene plays an important role in the quality characteristics of fruits, especially in storage. To avoid the deterioration of fruits caused by ethylene, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been used due to its photocatalytic capacity. The aim of this study was to develop films based on two types of biopolymers, Mater-Bi (MB) and poly-lactic acid (PLA), with nanoparticles of TiO2 and to determine their ethylene removal capacity and its application in bananas. First, the films were fabricated through an extrusion process with two different concentrations of TiO2 (5 and 10% w/w). Then, the films were characterized by their structural (FTIR), morphological (SEM), thermal (DSC and TGA), dynamic (DMA), barrier, and mechanical properties. The ethylene removal capacities of the samples were determined via gas chromatography and an in vivo study was also conducted with bananas for 10 days of storage. Regarding the characterization of the films, it was possible to determine that there was a higher interaction between PLA with nano-TiO2 than MB; moreover, TiO2 does not agglomerate and has a larger contact surface in PLA films. Because of this, a higher ethylene removal was also shown by PLA, especially with 5% TiO2. The in vivo study also showed that the 5% TiO2 films maintained their quality characteristics during the days in storage. For these reasons, it is possible to conclude that the films have the capacity to remove ethylene. Therefore, the development of TiO2 films is an excellent alternative for the preservation of fresh fruits. Full article
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19 pages, 6269 KiB  
Article
A Finite Element Method for Determining the Mechanical Properties of Electrospun Nanofibrous Mats
by Jaymin Vrajlal Sanchaniya, Inga Lasenko, Valters Gobins, Alaa Kobeissi and Dmitri Goljandin
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 852; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060852 - 20 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 679
Abstract
This study focuses on the mechanical properties of electrospun nanofibrous mats, highlighting the importance of the characteristics of single nanofibers in determining the overall mechanical behavior of the mats. Recognizing the significant impacts of the diameter and structural properties of the nanofibers, this [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the mechanical properties of electrospun nanofibrous mats, highlighting the importance of the characteristics of single nanofibers in determining the overall mechanical behavior of the mats. Recognizing the significant impacts of the diameter and structural properties of the nanofibers, this research introduces a novel methodology for deriving the effects of the mechanical properties of single nanofibers on the aggregate mechanical performance of electrospun oriented nanofiber mats. For this purpose, a finite element method (FEM) model is developed to simulate the elastoplastic response of the mats, incorporating the influence of structural parameters on mechanical properties. The validation of the FEM model against experimental data from electrospun polyacrylonitrile (PAN) nanofibers with different orientations demonstrates its effectiveness in capturing the elastic–plastic tensile behaviors of the material and confirms its accuracy in terms of reflecting the complex mechanical interactions within the nanofibrous mats. Through a detailed analysis of how nanofiber diameter, orientation of fibers, length-to-width ratio, and porosity affect the mechanical properties of the mats, this research provides valuable insights for the engineering of nanofibrous materials to meet specific mechanical requirements. These findings improve our understanding of nanofibrous mat structures, allowing for better performance in diverse applications as well as highlighting the critical importance of identifying the properties of single nanofibers and their associated impacts on material design. Full article
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22 pages, 5079 KiB  
Review
Recent Advances in the Preparation and Application of Biochar Derived from Lignocellulosic Biomass: A Mini Review
by Kanglei Wang, Javier Remón, Zhicheng Jiang and Wei Ding
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060851 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1296
Abstract
With the rapid growth in the global population and the accelerating pace of urbanization, researching and developing novel strategies for biomass utilization is significant due to its potential for use in renewable energy, climate change mitigation, waste management, and sustainable agriculture. In this [...] Read more.
With the rapid growth in the global population and the accelerating pace of urbanization, researching and developing novel strategies for biomass utilization is significant due to its potential for use in renewable energy, climate change mitigation, waste management, and sustainable agriculture. In this environmental context, this review discusses the recent advances in biomass conversion technologies for biochar production, including the first carbonization process and the subsequent activation methods of the biochar derived from lignocellulosic biomass (LBC). Parallel to this, this review deals with other essential parameters in biochar production, such as feedstock types, reaction environments, and operating conditions in the pyrolysis process, to determine the production and composition of LBC. Moreover, the wide-ranging applications of LBC in areas such as adsorption, catalysts, and energy storage are discussed, offering sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives while reducing reliance on traditional energy sources and mineral resources, thereby providing practical solutions to environmental and energy challenges. Overall, this review not only provides a comprehensive comparative analysis of different LBC preparation methods, but also facilitates a deeper understanding of the advantages and limitations of these methodologies when it comes to developing high-value materials for sustainable applications. Full article
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24 pages, 10468 KiB  
Article
Optical Anisotropy of Polyethylene Terephthalate Films Characterized by Spectral Means
by Mihaela Iuliana Avadanei, Dan Gheorghe Dimitriu and Dana Ortansa Dorohoi
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 850; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060850 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 656
Abstract
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films are the subject of intensive research because of great interest in using them in applications, especially in medicine. From an optical point of view, PET films with a low degree of stretching can be considered uniaxial materials, for which [...] Read more.
Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films are the subject of intensive research because of great interest in using them in applications, especially in medicine. From an optical point of view, PET films with a low degree of stretching can be considered uniaxial materials, for which the determination of the linear birefringence and its dispersion is very important. Two methods were applied here for the estimation of these parameters: the ellipsometric method and the channeled spectra method. The ellipsometric method uses monochromatic radiation; therefore, the linear birefringence of the PET films is determined for a given value of the radiation wavelength. The channeled spectra method allows for the estimation of the linear birefringence and its dispersion for a large range of wavelengths in the visible spectrum. A decrease in both parameters with the increase in the wavelength was recorded. To evidence the microstructure of PET films and the conformational changes induced by elongation and to evaluate the degree of orientation, a polarized infrared spectral study in attenuated total reflection (ATR-FTIR) mode was performed. The dichroic ratio (between the absorbance measured with linearly polarized radiation parallel and orthogonal relative to the stretching direction, respectively) and the ATR absorbance ratio for the machine direction (MD) and transversal direction (TD) configurations both for the stretched and unstretched PET samples were measured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Polymeric Films II)
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13 pages, 3280 KiB  
Article
Chitosan-Enhanced pH-Sensitive Anthocyanin Indicator Film for the Accurate Monitoring of Mutton Freshness
by Yanli Ma, Lei Wen, Yaobo Liu, Pengfei Du, Peng Hu, Jianfang Cao and Weiting Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060849 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Natural anthocyanin indicator films with an excellent pH response enable the visual assessment of meat freshness. In this investigation, chitosan was initially employed as a colorimetric enhancer, leading to the development of a pH-sensitive indicator film that was enhanced in colorimetry. The characteristics [...] Read more.
Natural anthocyanin indicator films with an excellent pH response enable the visual assessment of meat freshness. In this investigation, chitosan was initially employed as a colorimetric enhancer, leading to the development of a pH-sensitive indicator film that was enhanced in colorimetry. The characteristics of this indicator film were thoroughly analyzed, and the mechanism responsible for the increased sensitivity of anthocyanin within the chitosan matrix, as indicated by the color response, was elucidated. The recrystallization of chitosan impeded the hydration of AH+ as the pH increased from 6.0 to 8.0, leading to distinct color changes. Moreover, the application of this indicator film was extended to the monitoring of mutton meat freshness. It facilitated the differentiation of mutton meat into three distinct stages, namely, fresh, sub-fresh, and spoiled, based on alterations in color. Additionally, a robust positive correlation was established between the color difference value of the indicator film and the total volatile basic nitrogen and bacterial count of the mutton meat, enabling quantitative analysis. The present study, therefore, demonstrated a novel function of chitosan, i.e., the enhancement of the color of anthocyanin, which could be useful in designing and fabricating indicator films with a high color response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers in Food Technology and Food Packaging)
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18 pages, 2172 KiB  
Article
Effect of Pulping Waste Liquid on the Physicochemical Properties and the Prediction Model of Wheat Straw Residue Granular Fuels
by Lanxin Xue, Guihua Yang, Zhaoyun Lin, Jinze Li, Bo He and Jiachuan Chen
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 848; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060848 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 646
Abstract
Herein, wheat straw residue and pulping waste liquid were collected from pulping mill and mixed to prepare bio-based granular fuels by using compression molding technology, and to explore the comprehensive utilization of the industrial waste of pulping and papermaking. The effects of pulping [...] Read more.
Herein, wheat straw residue and pulping waste liquid were collected from pulping mill and mixed to prepare bio-based granular fuels by using compression molding technology, and to explore the comprehensive utilization of the industrial waste of pulping and papermaking. The effects of pulping waste liquid on granular fuel properties were analyzed systemically. Further study of the function of pulping waste liquid, cellulose and hemicellulose was used to replace wheat straw residue and avoid the interference factors. Therefore, the prediction models of granular fuels were established with influencing factors that included cellulose, hemicellulose and pulping waste liquid. The granular fuels had the best performance with 18.30% solid content of pulping waste liquid. The highest transverse compressive strength of granular fuel was 102.61 MPa, and the activation energy was 81.71 KJ·mol−1. A series of curve fitting prediction models were established to clarify the forming process of granular fuel, and it turned out that the pulping waste liquid could improve the adhesion between solid particles and increase their compression resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Friendly Bio-Based Polymeric Materials)
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14 pages, 3776 KiB  
Article
Study on Bearing Strength and Failure Modes of Single Bolted Joint Carbon/Epoxy Composite Materials
by Sang Min Park, Jin Hwan Jeon and Won Jong Choi
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060847 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 678
Abstract
The growth of the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry emphasizes the need for considerable study into assembly procedures and dependability to guarantee its effective integration into air transport networks. In this context, this study seeks to evaluate the mechanical characteristics of bolted joint [...] Read more.
The growth of the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) industry emphasizes the need for considerable study into assembly procedures and dependability to guarantee its effective integration into air transport networks. In this context, this study seeks to evaluate the mechanical characteristics of bolted joint Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), with a particular emphasis on bearing strength. By altering the w/D (specimen width to hole diameter) and e/D (distance between hole center and specimen end to hole diameter) ratios, the study investigates how edge and end distances affect material performance. The study discovered a shift from tension to bearing failure at w/D ratios of 4.0, with maximum bearing strength decreases of 90.50% and 69.96% compared to full bearing failure. Similarly, for e/D ratios of 1.5, 2.0, and 3.0, transitioning from shear to bearing failure at 2.0 resulted in maximum bearing strength losses of 94.90% and 75.96%, respectively. Maintaining a w/D ratio of at least 6.0 and an e/D ratio of at least 3.0 is critical for maintaining maximum performance and stability in CFRP structure design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Processing and Engineering)
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24 pages, 12995 KiB  
Review
Progress in Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane (POSS) Photoresists: A Comprehensive Review across Lithographic Systems
by Zaoxia Wen, Xingyu Liu, Wenxiu Chen, Ruolin Zhou, Hao Wu, Yongmei Xia and Lianbin Wu
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060846 - 19 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 902
Abstract
This paper offers a comprehensive overview of the polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) and POSS-based composites within the realm of photoresist resin. The study involves a systematic exploration and discussion of the contributions made by POSS across various lithographic systems, with specific emphasis on [...] Read more.
This paper offers a comprehensive overview of the polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) and POSS-based composites within the realm of photoresist resin. The study involves a systematic exploration and discussion of the contributions made by POSS across various lithographic systems, with specific emphasis on critical parameters such as film formation, sensitivity, resolution, solubility, and edge roughness. These lithographic systems encompass X-ray lithography (XRL), deep ultraviolet nanoimprint lithography (DUV-NIL), extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), and guided self-assembled lithography (DSA). The principal objective of this paper is to furnish valuable insights into the development and utilization of POSS-based photoresist materials in diverse lithographic contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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20 pages, 19013 KiB  
Article
Control of Meniscus Formation Using an Electrohydrodynamics Module in Roll-to-Roll Systems for the Stable Coating of Functional Layers
by Minjae Kim, Minho Jo, Jaehyun Noh, Sangbin Lee, Junyoung Yun, Gyoujin Cho and Changwoo Lee
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060845 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1134
Abstract
In fabricating functional layers, including thin-film transistors and conductive electrodes, using roll-to-roll (R2R) processing on polymer-based PET film, the instability of the slot-die coating meniscus under a high-speed web impedes functional layer formation with the desired thickness and width. The thickness profiles of [...] Read more.
In fabricating functional layers, including thin-film transistors and conductive electrodes, using roll-to-roll (R2R) processing on polymer-based PET film, the instability of the slot-die coating meniscus under a high-speed web impedes functional layer formation with the desired thickness and width. The thickness profiles of the functional layers significantly impact the performance of the final products. In this study, we introduce an electrohydrodynamic (EHD)-based voltage application module to a slot-die coater to ensure the uniformity of the cross-machine direction (CMD) thickness profile within the functional layer and enable a stable, high-speed R2R process. The module can effectively control the spreadability of the meniscus by utilizing variations in the surface tension of the ink. The effectiveness of the EHD module was experimentally verified by applying a high voltage to a slot-die coater while keeping other process variables constant. As the applied voltage increases, the CMD thickness deviation reduces by 64.5%, and the production rate significantly increases (up to 300%), owing to the formation of a stable coated layer. The introduction of the EHD-based application module to the slot-die coater effectively controlled the spreadability of the meniscus, producing large-area functional layers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Polymer Processing and Engineering)
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15 pages, 4290 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Ceria Nanoparticles as Abrasives Applied with Defoaming Polymers for CMP (Chemical Mechanical Polishing) Applications
by Sohee Hwang and Woonjung Kim
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060844 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 903
Abstract
Chemical mechanical polishing/planarization (CMP) is an essential manufacturing process in semiconductor technologies. This method combines chemical and mechanical forces to smooth the surfaces of wafers. The effectiveness of CMP relies on a carefully chosen slurry, demanding a sophisticated manufacturing technology. This technology must [...] Read more.
Chemical mechanical polishing/planarization (CMP) is an essential manufacturing process in semiconductor technologies. This method combines chemical and mechanical forces to smooth the surfaces of wafers. The effectiveness of CMP relies on a carefully chosen slurry, demanding a sophisticated manufacturing technology. This technology must seamlessly integrate both chemical composition and mechanical elements, highlighting the intricate synergy required for successful semiconductor fabrication. Particularly in milling processes, if agglomerated particles due to slurry particle corrosion are present during polishing, uneven polishing, numerous fine scratches occur, leading to an increase in roughness and a deterioration in the quality of the finished surface. In this study, to overcome the issue of particle agglomeration and uneven polishing in commonly used ceria nanoparticle slurries during CMP processes, we investigated the ceria nanoparticle behavior based on styrene–maleic acid (SMA) dispersant polymer applied with three types of defoaming polymers. The investigations are expected to open up the possibility of utilizing ceria nanoparticles with applied defoaming polymer as an abrasive for advanced CMP applications. All samples were characterized by DLS (dynamic light scattering), SEM-EDX (scanning electron microscopy–energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy), pH, conductivity, viscosity, a 10-day stability test at 60 °C, the AF4 test, and the polishing rate efficiency test. Our research demonstrates a significant improvement achieved through the use of SMA dispersant polymer, resulting in a polishing selection ratio exceeding 80 for oxide and nitride films. The G-336 defoaming polymer utilized here is expected to serve as a viable alternative in CMP processes by providing stable uniformity. Full article
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35 pages, 2214 KiB  
Review
Polymer-Based Drug Delivery Systems for Cancer Therapeutics
by Ling Ding, Prachi Agrawal, Sandeep K. Singh, Yashpal S. Chhonker, Jingjing Sun and Daryl J. Murry
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060843 - 19 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1951
Abstract
Chemotherapy together with surgery and/or radiotherapy are the most common therapeutic methods for treating cancer. However, the off-target effects of chemotherapy are known to produce side effects and dose-limiting toxicities. Novel delivery platforms based on natural and synthetic polymers with enhanced pharmacokinetic and [...] Read more.
Chemotherapy together with surgery and/or radiotherapy are the most common therapeutic methods for treating cancer. However, the off-target effects of chemotherapy are known to produce side effects and dose-limiting toxicities. Novel delivery platforms based on natural and synthetic polymers with enhanced pharmacokinetic and therapeutic potential for the treatment of cancer have grown tremendously over the past 10 years. Polymers can facilitate selective targeting, enhance and prolong circulation, improve delivery, and provide the controlled release of cargos through various mechanisms, including physical adsorption, chemical conjugation, and/or internal loading. Notably, polymers that are biodegradable, biocompatible, and physicochemically stable are considered to be ideal delivery carriers. This biomimetic and bio-inspired system offers a bright future for effective drug delivery with the potential to overcome the obstacles encountered. This review focuses on the barriers that impact the success of chemotherapy drug delivery as well as the recent developments based on natural and synthetic polymers as platforms for improving drug delivery for treating cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Polymer-Based Drug Delivery Systems)
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19 pages, 8137 KiB  
Article
Influence of Thiol-Functionalized Polysilsesquioxane/Phosphorus Flame-Retardant Blends on the Flammability and Thermal, Mechanical, and Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Emission Properties of Epoxy Resins
by Young-Hun Kim, Jeong Ju Baek, Ki Cheol Chang, Ho Sun Lim, Myung-Seok Choi, Won-Gun Koh and Gyojic Shin
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 842; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060842 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 965
Abstract
In this study, thiol-functionalized ladder-like polysesquioxanes end-capped with methyl and phenyl groups were synthesized via a simple sol-gel method and characterized through gel permeation chromatography (GPC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Additionally, epoxy blends of [...] Read more.
In this study, thiol-functionalized ladder-like polysesquioxanes end-capped with methyl and phenyl groups were synthesized via a simple sol-gel method and characterized through gel permeation chromatography (GPC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). Additionally, epoxy blends of different formulations were prepared. Their structural, flame-retardant, thermal, and mechanical properties, as well as volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, were determined using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), TGA, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), limiting oxygen index (LOI), cone calorimetry, and a VOC analyzer. Compared to epoxy blends with flame retardants containing elemental phosphorus alone, those with flame retardants containing elemental phosphorus combined with silicon and sulfur exhibited superior thermal, flame-retardant, and mechanical properties with low VOC emissions. SEM of the residual char revealed a dense and continuous morphology without holes or cracks. In particular, LOI values for the combustion of methyl and phenyl end-capped polysilsesquioxane mixtures were 32.3 and 33.7, respectively, compared to 28.4% of the LOI value for the blends containing only phosphorus compounds. The silicon–sulfur–phosphorus-containing blends displayed reduced flammability concerning the blends using a flame retardant containing only phosphorus. This reflects the cooperative effects of various flame-retardant moieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resins for Additive Manufacturing)
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25 pages, 11671 KiB  
Article
Free-Flowing Polymer-Bonded Powder Composition of Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine Using Solvent–Slurry Coating
by Muhammad Soulaman Khan, Muhammad Ahsan, Sarah Farrukh, Erum Pervaiz and Abdul Qadeer Malik
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 841; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060841 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 536
Abstract
A number of coating techniques have been used to improve the processability of high explosives. These techniques are typically used for developing compositions, such as boosters and fillers. The most typically used technique is the “solvent–slurry coating”. Several compositions of polymer-bonded explosives have [...] Read more.
A number of coating techniques have been used to improve the processability of high explosives. These techniques are typically used for developing compositions, such as boosters and fillers. The most typically used technique is the “solvent–slurry coating”. Several compositions of polymer-bonded explosives have been industrialized using this technique. The NUPC-6 polymer-bonded powder composition of hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine is optimized using the solvent–slurry coating. It involved multiple processes, i.e., preparing a slurry of high explosives in an aqueous phase, dissolving the modified polymer binder in an organic solvent, maintaining both the solvent and slurry at controlled temperatures, introducing polymer binder solution and ingredients in the slurry, distilling the solvent, mixing contents homogeneously, filtering the polymer-coated hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine composition, and drying in a vacuum oven. The phlegmatizing and hydrophobic agents enhance flowability and hydrophobicity. The mass flow rate, bulk density, tapped density, compressibility index, and Hausner ratio are determined to evaluate its flowability during filling operations. The results show that the composition is flowable using a filling funnel, with a 150 mm upper diameter, 25 mm flow diameter, and 136 mm total funnel height. The raw polymer binder was modified using diisooctylsebacate and SAE-10 oil. The additives in the composition enhance its flowability, and it might be used in underwater applications. Full article
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14 pages, 4243 KiB  
Article
Bilayer Hydrogel Actuators with High Mechanical Properties and Programmable Actuation via the Synergy of Double-Network and Synchronized Ultraviolet Polymerization Strategies
by Li Tang, Xuemei Wu, Yue Xu, Youwei Li, Shaoji Wu, Liang Gong and Jianxin Tang
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060840 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 783
Abstract
Bilayer hydrogel actuators, consisting of an actuating layer and a functional layer, show broad applications in areas such as soft robotics, artificial muscles, drug delivery and tissue engineering due to their inherent flexibility and responses to stimuli. However, to achieve the compatibility of [...] Read more.
Bilayer hydrogel actuators, consisting of an actuating layer and a functional layer, show broad applications in areas such as soft robotics, artificial muscles, drug delivery and tissue engineering due to their inherent flexibility and responses to stimuli. However, to achieve the compatibility of good stimulus responses and high mechanical properties of bilayer hydrogel actuators is still a challenge. Herein, based on the double-network strategy and using the synchronous ultraviolet (UV) polymerization method, an upper critical solution temperature (UCST)-type bilayer hydrogel actuator was prepared, which consisted of a poly(acrylamide-co-acrylic acid)[MC] actuating layer and an agar/poly(N-hydroxyethyl acrylamide-co-methacrylic acid)[AHA] functional layer. The results showed that the tensile stress/strain of the bilayer hydrogel actuator was 1161.21 KPa/222.07%. In addition, the UCST of bilayer hydrogels was ~35 °C, allowing the bilayer hydrogel actuator to be curled into an “◎” shape, which could be unfolded when the temperature was 65 °C, but not at a temperature of 5 °C. Furthermore, hydrogel actuators of three different shapes were designed, namely “butterfly”, “cross” and “circle”, all of which demonstrated good actuating performances, showing the programmable potential of bilayer hydrogels. Overall, the bilayer hydrogels prepared using double-network and synchronous UV polymerization strategies realized the combination of high mechanical properties with an efficient temperature actuation, which provides a new method for the development of bilayer hydrogel actuators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Functional Polymer Materials for Biomedical Applications)
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26 pages, 5414 KiB  
Review
Advanced Electrospinning Technology Applied to Polymer-Based Sensors in Energy and Environmental Applications
by Gang Lu, Tao Tian and Yuting Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 839; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060839 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 971
Abstract
Due to its designable nanostructure and simple and inexpensive preparation process, electrospun nanofibers have important applications in energy collection, wearable sports health detection, environmental pollutant detection, pollutant filtration and degradation, and other fields. In recent years, a series of polymer-based fiber materials have [...] Read more.
Due to its designable nanostructure and simple and inexpensive preparation process, electrospun nanofibers have important applications in energy collection, wearable sports health detection, environmental pollutant detection, pollutant filtration and degradation, and other fields. In recent years, a series of polymer-based fiber materials have been prepared using this method, and detailed research and discussion have been conducted on the material structure and performance factors. This article summarizes the effects of preparation parameters, environmental factors, a combination of other methods, and surface modification of electrospinning on the properties of composite nanofibers. Meanwhile, the effects of different collection devices and electrospinning preparation parameters on material properties were compared. Subsequently, it summarized the material structure design and specific applications in wearable device power supply, energy collection, environmental pollutant sensing, air quality detection, air pollution particle filtration, and environmental pollutant degradation. We aim to review the latest developments in electrospinning applications to inspire new energy collection, detection, and pollutant treatment equipment, and achieve the commercial promotion of polymer fibers in the fields of energy and environment. Finally, we have identified some unresolved issues in the detection and treatment of environmental issues with electrospun polymer fibers and proposed some suggestions and new ideas for these issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospinning Technology of Polymer Materials)
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19 pages, 6024 KiB  
Article
Preliminary Assessment of Tara Gum as a Wall Material: Physicochemical, Structural, Thermal, and Rheological Analyses of Different Drying Methods
by Elibet Moscoso-Moscoso, Carlos A. Ligarda-Samanez, David Choque-Quispe, Mary L. Huamán-Carrión, José C. Arévalo-Quijano, Germán De la Cruz, Rober Luciano-Alipio, Wilber Cesar Calsina Ponce, Reynaldo Sucari-León, Uriel R. Quispe-Quezada and Dante Fermín Calderón Huamaní
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 838; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060838 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 841
Abstract
Tara gum, a natural biopolymer extracted from Caesalpinia spinosa seeds, was investigated in this study. Wall materials were produced using spray drying, forced convection, and vacuum oven drying. In addition, a commercial sample obtained through mechanical methods and direct milling was used as [...] Read more.
Tara gum, a natural biopolymer extracted from Caesalpinia spinosa seeds, was investigated in this study. Wall materials were produced using spray drying, forced convection, and vacuum oven drying. In addition, a commercial sample obtained through mechanical methods and direct milling was used as a reference. The gums exhibited low moisture content (8.63% to 12.55%), water activity (0.37 to 0.41), bulk density (0.43 to 0.76 g/mL), and hygroscopicity (10.51% to 11.42%). This allows adequate physical and microbiological stability during storage. Polydisperse particles were obtained, ranging in size from 3.46 µm to 139.60 µm. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy characterisation confirmed the polysaccharide nature of tara gum, primarily composed of galactomannans. Among the drying methods, spray drying produced the gum with the best physicochemical characteristics, including higher lightness, moderate stability, smaller particle size, and high glass transition temperature (141.69 °C). Regarding rheological properties, it demonstrated a non-Newtonian pseudoplastic behaviour that the power law could accurately describe. The apparent viscosity of the aqueous dispersions of the gum decreased with increasing temperature. In summary, the results establish the potential of tara gum as a wall material applicable in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Polymers in Food Sciences)
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15 pages, 3547 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Functionalized Amberlite Type XAD7 Polymeric Resin with L-Valine Amino Acid Performance for Gallium Recovery
by Cosmin Vancea, Loredana Ciocarlie, Adina Negrea, Giannin Mosoarca, Mihaela Ciopec, Narcis Duteanu, Petru Negrea, Bogdan Pascu and Nicoleta-Sorina Nemes
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 837; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060837 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Given the ever-increasing demand for gallium(III) as a crucial precursor in the fabrication of advanced materials, there arises an imperative to devise efficient recovery processes from primary and secondary sources. In the present investigation, the retrieval of gallium(III) from aqueous solutions through the [...] Read more.
Given the ever-increasing demand for gallium(III) as a crucial precursor in the fabrication of advanced materials, there arises an imperative to devise efficient recovery processes from primary and secondary sources. In the present investigation, the retrieval of gallium(III) from aqueous solutions through the mechanism of adsorption was investigated. Materials with superior adsorbent properties play an important role in the dynamics of the adsorption process. To enhance these properties, select materials, such as Amberlite-type polymeric resins, are amenable to functionalization through impregnation with extractants featuring specialized active groups, designed for the selective recovery of metal ions—specifically, Ga(III). The impregnation method employed in this study is the Solvent-Impregnated Resin (SIR) method, utilizing the amino acid DL-valine as the extractant. The new material was characterized through Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Elemental Analysis via X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDX), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to elucidate the presence of the extractant on the resin’s surface. Concurrently, the material’s pHPZC was determined. The adsorptive prowess of the synthesized material was investigated through kinetic, thermodynamic, and equilibrium studies. The influence of specific parameters in the adsorption process—namely, pH, contact time, temperature, and Ga(III) initial concentration—on the maximal adsorption capacity was determined. The optimal adsorption conditions were established using the Taguchi method. Full article
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20 pages, 9637 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Microcrystalline Cellulose Addition on the Properties of Wood–PLA Filaments for 3D Printing
by Daša Krapež Tomec, Manfred Schöflinger, Jürgen Leßlhumer, Urška Gradišar Centa, Jure Žigon and Mirko Kariž
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 836; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060836 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1208
Abstract
This paper describes the use of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) as an additive in wood-polylactic acid (PLA) filaments suitable for 3D printing. Filaments prepared with PLA, thermally modified (TM) wood, and three different MCC loadings (1, 3, and 5 wt%) by two-step melt blending [...] Read more.
This paper describes the use of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) as an additive in wood-polylactic acid (PLA) filaments suitable for 3D printing. Filaments prepared with PLA, thermally modified (TM) wood, and three different MCC loadings (1, 3, and 5 wt%) by two-step melt blending in the extruder were characterized with respect to their rheological, thermal, and mechanical response. The analyses demonstrate that a low MCC content (1%) improves the mobility of the polymer chains and contributes to a higher elasticity of the matrix chain, a higher crystallinity, a lower glass transition temperature (by 1.66 °C), and a lower melting temperature (by 1.31 °C) and leads to a higher tensile strength (1.2%) and a higher modulus of elasticity (12.1%). Higher MCC loading hinders the mobility of the polymer matrix and leads to a rearrangement of the crystal lattice structure, resulting in a decrease in crystallinity. Scanning electron micrographs show that the cellulose is well distributed and dispersed in the PLA matrix, with some agglomeration occurring at higher MCC levels. The main objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a filament containing an optimal amount of MCC to improve compatibility between wood and PLA, optimize melt processability, and improve mechanical properties. It can be concluded that a 1% addition of MCC favorably changes the properties of the wood–PLA filaments, while a higher MCC content does not have this effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additive Manufacturing of Polymer-Based Composite Materials)
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13 pages, 4426 KiB  
Article
Augmenting the Efficacy of a Polyvinyl Alcohol Selective Layer Coated on Polyvinylidene Fluoride Support Membranes with Kaolinite Introduction for Improved Pervaporation Dehydration of Epichlorohydrin/Isopropanol/Water Ternary Systems
by Shivshankar Chaudhari, YeWon Jeong, HyeonTae Shin, SeWook Jo, MinYoung Shon, SeungEun Nam and YouIn Park
Polymers 2024, 16(6), 835; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16060835 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 847
Abstract
Composite membranes with a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) selective layer composed of well-dispersed hydrophilic kaolinite particles coated on a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) support were developed. They were applied to the pervaporation dehydration of the industrially important epichlorohydrin (ECH)/isopropanol (IPA)/water ternary mixture. In comparison with [...] Read more.
Composite membranes with a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) selective layer composed of well-dispersed hydrophilic kaolinite particles coated on a polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) support were developed. They were applied to the pervaporation dehydration of the industrially important epichlorohydrin (ECH)/isopropanol (IPA)/water ternary mixture. In comparison with raw kaolinite (RK), hydrophilic kaolinite (HK) enhanced the mechanical properties, hydrophilicity, and thermal stability of the PVA selective layer, as confirmed by universal testing, the contact angle, and TGA analyses, respectively. The pervaporation results revealed that the addition of HK particles significantly enhanced the separation factor (3-fold). Only a marginal reduction in flux was observed with ECH/IPA/water, 50/30/20 (w/w %) at 40 °C. An HK particle concentration of 4 wt.% with respect to PVA delivered the highest flux performance of 0.86 kg/m2h and achieved a separation factor of 116. The PVA–kaolinite composite membrane exhibited pronounced resistance to the ECH-containing feed, demonstrating a sustained flux and separation factor throughout an extended pervaporation stability test lasting 250 h. Full article
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