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Polymers, Volume 16, Issue 9 (May-1 2024) – 123 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): HTPLA offers a safe, reliable, and cost-effective solution for crafting sterilizable tools via FDM in in-office 3D labs. Through the annealing process, its properties enable the creation of patient-specific instruments meeting safety standards, ensuring durability and affordability. Our extensive study on surgical outcomes using ann-HTPLA 3DP-PSIs in pediatric orthopedic surgery found they effectively support interventions without significant adverse reactions or high complication rates. Embracing ann-HTPLA empowers medical facilities with adaptable solutions, enhancing precision and personalized medicine, improving patient care, and boosting operational efficiency in healthcare systems. View this paper
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14 pages, 3845 KiB  
Article
Mitigation of Soil Erosion and Enhancement of Slope Stability through the Utilization of Lignin Biopolymer
by Pouyan Bagheri, Ivan Gratchev, Masih Zolghadr, Suwon Son and Jin Man Kim
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1300; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091300 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Human activities have had a profound impact on the environment, particularly in relation to surface erosion and landslides. These processes, which are natural phenomena, have been exacerbated by human actions, leading to detrimental consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the overall health of the [...] Read more.
Human activities have had a profound impact on the environment, particularly in relation to surface erosion and landslides. These processes, which are natural phenomena, have been exacerbated by human actions, leading to detrimental consequences for ecosystems, communities, and the overall health of the planet. The use of lignin (LIG) as a biopolymer soil additive material is regarded as an eco-friendly solution against soil erosion and slope failure which holds immense promise. However, significant research gaps currently hinder a comprehensive understanding of its mechanisms and effectiveness. Experimental studies offer a robust platform to address these gaps by providing controlled conditions for assessing soil stability, exploring mechanisms, and evaluating adaptability. Bridging these research gaps will contribute to the development of innovative and sustainable strategies for mitigating soil erosion and preventing slope failure, thereby promoting environmental resilience and resource conservation. This study aimed to investigate the effect of the LIG biopolymer on mitigation of soil erosion, slope failure and the enhancement of soil strength by conducting laboratory tests (UU triaxial, unconfined compressive strength (UCS), and soaking) as well as flume experiments under uniform rainfall events. The alterations in the engineering characteristics and erosion resistance of silty soil mixed with a LIG additive at concentrations of 1% and 3.0% by weight have been examined. The results show that the LIG-treated samples demonstrated an enhanced resistance to surface erosion and an enhanced prevention of slope failure, as well as improved shear stress, cohesion, stiffness, and resistance to water infiltration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradable Polymer Composites: Fabrication and Applications II)
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17 pages, 4965 KiB  
Article
Modelling Fatigue Crack Growth in High-Density Polyethylene and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene Polymers
by Rhys Jones, Anthony J. Kinloch and Andrew S. M. Ang
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091299 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 469
Abstract
Prior studies into fatigue crack growth (FCG) in fibre-reinforced polymer composites have shown that the two methodologies of Simple-Scaling and the Hartman–Schijve crack growth equation, which is based on relating the FCG rate to the Schwalbe crack driving force, Δκ, were [...] Read more.
Prior studies into fatigue crack growth (FCG) in fibre-reinforced polymer composites have shown that the two methodologies of Simple-Scaling and the Hartman–Schijve crack growth equation, which is based on relating the FCG rate to the Schwalbe crack driving force, Δκ, were able to account for differences observed in the measured delamination growth curves. The present paper reveals that these two approaches are also able to account for differences seen in plots of the rate of crack growth, da/dt, versus the range of the imposed stress intensity factor, ΔK, associated with fatigue tests on different grades of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) polymers, before and after electron-beam irradiation, and for tests conducted at different R ratios. Also, these studies are successfully extended to consider FCG in an acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) polymer that is processed using both conventional injection moulding and additive-manufactured (AM) 3D printing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Physics and Theory)
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24 pages, 6732 KiB  
Article
Flame-Retarded and Heat-Resistant PP Compounds for Halogen-Free Low-Smoke Cable Protection Pipes (HFLS Conduits)
by Athanasios D. Porfyris, Afxentis Vafeiadis, Christina I. Gkountela, Christos Politidis, Georgios Messaritakis, Epameinondas Orfanoudakis, Silvia Pavlidou, Dimitrios M. Korres, Apostolos Kyritsis and Stamatina N. Vouyiouka
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1298; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091298 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 578
Abstract
Conduits are plastic tubes extensively used to safeguard electrical cables, traditionally made from PVC. Recent safety guidelines seek alternatives due to PVC’s emission of thick smoke and toxic gases upon fire incidents. Polypropylene (PP) is emerging as a viable alternative but requires modification [...] Read more.
Conduits are plastic tubes extensively used to safeguard electrical cables, traditionally made from PVC. Recent safety guidelines seek alternatives due to PVC’s emission of thick smoke and toxic gases upon fire incidents. Polypropylene (PP) is emerging as a viable alternative but requires modification with suitable halogen-free additives to attain flame retardancy (FR) while maintaining high mechanical strength and weathering resistance, especially for outdoor applications. The objective of this study was to develop two FR systems for PP: one comprising a cyclic phosphonate ester and a monomeric N-alkoxy hindered amine adjuvant achieving V0, and another with hypophosphite and bromine moieties, along with a NOR-HAS adjuvant achieving V2. FR performance along with mechanical properties, physicochemical characterization, and dielectric behavior were evaluated prior to and after 2000 h of UV weathering or heat ageing. The developed FR systems set the basis for the production of industrial-scale masterbatches, from which further optimization to minimize FR content was performed via melt mixing with PP towards industrialization of a low-cost FR formulation. Accordingly, two types of corrugated conduits (ø20 mm) were manufactured. Their performance in terms of flame propagation, impact resistance, smoke density, and accelerated UV weathering stability classified them as Halogen Free Low Smoke (HFLS) conduits; meanwhile, they meet EU conduit standards without significantly impacting conduit properties or industrial processing efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Polymer Science and Technology in Greece II)
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15 pages, 5325 KiB  
Article
A New Sustainable PPT Coating Based on Recycled PET to Improve the Durability of Hydraulic Concrete
by Adrián Bórquez-Mendivil, Carlos Paulino Barrios-Durstewitz, Rosa Elba Núñez-Jáquez, Abel Hurtado-Macías, Jesús Eduardo Leal-Pérez, Joaquín Flores-Valenzuela, Blanca Alicia García-Grajeda, Francisca Guadalupe Cabrera-Covarrubias, José Miguel Mendivil-Escalante and Jorge Luis Almaral-Sánchez
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1297; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091297 - 6 May 2024
Viewed by 736
Abstract
A new, sustainable polypropylene terephthalate (PPT) coating was synthesized from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and applied onto a hydraulic concrete substrate to improve its durability. For the first step, PET bottle wastes were ground and depolymerized by glycolysis using propylene glycol (PG) in [...] Read more.
A new, sustainable polypropylene terephthalate (PPT) coating was synthesized from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and applied onto a hydraulic concrete substrate to improve its durability. For the first step, PET bottle wastes were ground and depolymerized by glycolysis using propylene glycol (PG) in a vessel-type reactor (20–180 °C) to synthesize bis(2-hydroxypropyl)-terephthalate (BHPT), which was applied as a coating to one to three layers of hydraulic concrete substrate using the brushing technique and polymerized (150 °C for 15 h) to obtain PPT. PET, BHPT, and PPT were characterized by FT-IR, PET, and PPT using TGA, and the PPT coatings by SEM (thickness), ASTM-D3359-17 (adhesion), and water contact angle (wettability). The durability of hydraulic concrete coated with PPT was studied using resist chloride ion penetration (ASTM-C1202-17), carbonation depth at 28 days (RILEM-CPC-18), and the absorption water ratio (ASTM-C1585-20). The results demonstrated that the BHPT and PPT were synthetized (FT-IR), and PPT had a similar thermal behavior to PET (TGA); the PPT coatings had good adhesion to the substrate, with thicknesses of micrometric units. PPT coatings presented hydrophilic hydrophilic behavior like PET coatings, and the durability of hydraulic concrete coated with PPT (2–3 layers) improved (migration of chloride ions decreased, carbonation depth was negligible, and the absorption water ratio decreased). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Composites and Nanocomposites)
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17 pages, 6516 KiB  
Article
Nonlinear Conductivity and Thermal Stability of Anti-Corona Epoxy Resin Nanocomposites
by Yanli Liu, Junguo Gao, Ning Guo, Jiaming Sun, Haitao Hu and Xiaohong Chi
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1296; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091296 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 642
Abstract
The long-term operation of motors induces substantial alterations in the surface conductivity and nonlinear coefficient of anti-corona paint, diminishing its efficacy and jeopardizing the longevity of large motors. Hence, the development of high-performance anti-corona paint holds paramount importance in ensuring motor safety. In [...] Read more.
The long-term operation of motors induces substantial alterations in the surface conductivity and nonlinear coefficient of anti-corona paint, diminishing its efficacy and jeopardizing the longevity of large motors. Hence, the development of high-performance anti-corona paint holds paramount importance in ensuring motor safety. In this study, we integrate two nano-fillers, namely silicon carbide (SiC) and organic montmorillonite (O-MMT), into a composite matrix comprising micron silicon carbide and epoxy resin (SiC/EP). Subsequently, three distinct types of anti-corona paint are formulated: SiC/EP, Nano-SiC/EP, and O-MMT/SiC/EP. Remarkably, O-MMT/SiC/EP exhibits a glass transition temperature about 25 °C higher than that of SiC/EP, underscoring its superior thermal properties. Moreover, the introduction of nano-fillers markedly augments the surface conductivity of the anti-corona paint. Aging tests, conducted across varying temperatures, unveil a notable reduction in the fluctuation range of surface conductivity post-aging. Initially, the nonlinear coefficients exhibit a declining trend, succeeded by an ascending trajectory. The O-MMT/SiC/EP composite displays a maximum nonlinearity coefficient of 1.465 and a minimum of 1.382. Furthermore, the incorporation of nanofillers amplifies the dielectric thermal stability of epoxy resin composites, with O-MMT/SiC/EP showcasing the pinnacle of thermal endurance. Overall, our findings elucidate the efficacy of nano-fillers in enhancing the performance and longevity of anti-corona paint, particularly highlighting the exceptional attributes of the O-MMT/SiC/EP composite in bolstering motor safety through improved thermal stability and electrical properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insight into Polymer Dynamics)
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16 pages, 4595 KiB  
Article
Modified Composite Biodegradable Mulch for Crop Growth and Sustainable Agriculture
by Bo Guo, Liyan Zhu, Xiaochan He, Xiaojun Zhou, Boru Dong and Jialei Liu
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1295; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091295 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Using biodegradable films as a substitute for conventional polyolefin films has emerged as a crucial technology to combat agricultural white pollution. To address the shortcomings in the tensile strength, water vapor barrier properties, and degradation period of PBAT-based biodegradable films, this investigation aimed [...] Read more.
Using biodegradable films as a substitute for conventional polyolefin films has emerged as a crucial technology to combat agricultural white pollution. To address the shortcomings in the tensile strength, water vapor barrier properties, and degradation period of PBAT-based biodegradable films, this investigation aimed to create a composite film that could improve the diverse properties of PBAT films. To achieve this, a PBAT/PLA-PPC-PTLA ternary blend system was introduced in the study. The system effectively fused PBAT with PLA and PPC, as evidenced by electron microscopy tests showing no apparent defects on the surface and cross-section of the blended film. The developed ternary blend system resulted in a 58.62% improvement in tensile strength, a 70.33% enhancement in water vapor barrier properties, and a 30-day extension of the functional period compared to pure PBAT biodegradable films. Field experiments on corn crops demonstrated that the modified biodegradable film is more suitable for agricultural production, as it improved thermal insulation and moisture retention, leading to a 5.45% increase in corn yield, approaching the yield of traditional polyolefin films. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue High Performance Polymer Membranes II)
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20 pages, 2097 KiB  
Article
Biosynthesis of Polyhydroxyalkanoates in Cupriavidus necator B-10646 on Saturated Fatty Acids
by Natalia O. Zhila, Kristina Yu. Sapozhnikova, Evgeniy G. Kiselev, Ekaterina I. Shishatskaya and Tatiana G. Volova
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1294; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091294 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 393
Abstract
It has been established that the wild-type Cupriavidus necator B-10646 strain uses saturated fatty acids (SFAs) for growth and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthesis. It uses lauric (12:0), myristic (14:0), palmitic (16:0) and stearic (18:0) acids as carbon sources; moreover, the elongation of the C-chain [...] Read more.
It has been established that the wild-type Cupriavidus necator B-10646 strain uses saturated fatty acids (SFAs) for growth and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthesis. It uses lauric (12:0), myristic (14:0), palmitic (16:0) and stearic (18:0) acids as carbon sources; moreover, the elongation of the C-chain negatively affects the biomass and PHA yields. When bacteria grow on C12 and C14 fatty acids, the total biomass and PHA yields are comparable up to 7.5 g/L and 75%, respectively, which twice exceed the values that occur on longer C16 and C18 acids. Regardless of the type of SFAs, bacteria synthesize poly(3-hydroxybutyrate), which have a reduced crystallinity (Cx from 40 to 57%) and a molecular weight typical for poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (P(3HB)) (Mw from 289 to 465 kDa), and obtained polymer samples demonstrate melting and degradation temperatures with a gap of about 100 °C. The ability of bacteria to assimilate SFAs opens up the possibility of attracting the synthesis of PHAs on complex fat-containing substrates, including waste. Full article
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19 pages, 3546 KiB  
Review
A Review of Natural Fiber-Reinforced Composites for Lower-Limb Prosthetic Designs
by Angel D. Castro-Franco, Miriam Siqueiros-Hernández, Virginia García-Angel, Ismael Mendoza-Muñoz, Lidia E. Vargas-Osuna and Hernán D. Magaña-Almaguer
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1293; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091293 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 497
Abstract
This paper presents a comprehensive review of natural fiber-reinforced composites (NFRCs) for lower-limb prosthetic designs. It covers the characteristics, types, and properties of natural fiber-reinforced composites as well as their advantages and drawbacks in prosthetic designs. This review also discusses successful prosthetic designs [...] Read more.
This paper presents a comprehensive review of natural fiber-reinforced composites (NFRCs) for lower-limb prosthetic designs. It covers the characteristics, types, and properties of natural fiber-reinforced composites as well as their advantages and drawbacks in prosthetic designs. This review also discusses successful prosthetic designs that incorporate NFRCs and the factors that make them effective. Additionally, this study explores the use of computational biomechanical models to evaluate the effectiveness of prosthetic devices and the key factors that are considered. Overall, this document provides a valuable resource for anyone interested in using NFRCs for lower-limb prosthetic designs. Full article
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29 pages, 5319 KiB  
Review
Cellulose-Based Hydrogels for Wastewater Treatment: A Focus on Metal Ions Removal
by Francesca Persano, Cosimino Malitesta and Elisabetta Mazzotta
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1292; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091292 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 818
Abstract
The rapid worldwide industrial growth in recent years has made water contamination by heavy metals a problem that requires an immediate solution. Several strategies have been proposed for the decontamination of wastewater in terms of heavy metal ions. Among these, methods utilizing adsorbent [...] Read more.
The rapid worldwide industrial growth in recent years has made water contamination by heavy metals a problem that requires an immediate solution. Several strategies have been proposed for the decontamination of wastewater in terms of heavy metal ions. Among these, methods utilizing adsorbent materials are preferred due to their cost-effectiveness, simplicity, effectiveness, and scalability for treating large volumes of contaminated water. In this context, heavy metal removal by hydrogels based on naturally occurring polymers is an attractive approach for industrial wastewater remediation as they offer significant advantages, such as an optimal safety profile, good biodegradability, and simple and low-cost procedures for their preparation. Hydrogels have the ability to absorb significant volumes of water, allowing for the effective removal of the dissolved pollutants. Furthermore, they can undergo surface chemical modifications which can further improve their ability to retain different environmental pollutants. This review aims to summarize recent advances in the application of hydrogels in the treatment of heavy metal-contaminated wastewater, particularly focusing on hydrogels based on cellulose and cellulose derivatives. The reported studies highlight how the adsorption properties of these materials can be widely modified, with a wide range of adsorption capacity for different heavy metal ions varying between 2.3 and 2240 mg/g. The possibility of developing new hydrogels with improved sorption performances is also discussed in the review, with the aim of improving their effective application in real scenarios, indicating future directions in the field. Full article
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16 pages, 5516 KiB  
Article
Polyethylene Film Surface Modification via Benzoic Acid Grafting
by Ana Luisa Grafia and Silvia Elena Barbosa
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1291; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091291 - 5 May 2024
Viewed by 377
Abstract
A polyethylene (PE) film surface modification method is proposed via benzoic acid (BA) alkylation grafting to improve the surface affinity to polar substances. The procedure involves sequentially spraying AlCl3 and BA onto the heat-softened PE surface. The occurrence of the alkylation reaction [...] Read more.
A polyethylene (PE) film surface modification method is proposed via benzoic acid (BA) alkylation grafting to improve the surface affinity to polar substances. The procedure involves sequentially spraying AlCl3 and BA onto the heat-softened PE surface. The occurrence of the alkylation reaction was evaluated through comparative chemical, morphological, and thermal analyses. It was demonstrated that the grafting reaction of BA onto the PE film surface took place, limited to the surface layer, while preserving the bulk properties of PE. The reaction resulted in the formation of aluminum benzoate complexes, which improved the surface affinity to polar compounds. The impact of grafting on the surface properties of PE was further assessed by comparing the behavior of PE films treated with BA and untreated PE films when painted with watercolors. The PE film grafted with BA exhibited increased affinity towards watercolors, providing strong evidence of a change in surface polarity from hydrophobic to hydrophilic. These findings indicate that the proposed methodology effectively renders the PE surface paintable, even with non-toxic water-based inks, making it suitable for applications such as packaging. Full article
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17 pages, 20516 KiB  
Article
Biodegradable Biocomposite of Starch Films Cross-Linked with Polyethylene Glycol Diglycidyl Ether and Reinforced by Microfibrillated Cellulose
by María M. González-Pérez, María G. Lomelí-Ramírez, Jorge R. Robledo-Ortiz, José A. Silva-Guzmán and Ricardo Manríquez-González
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1290; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091290 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Biopolymers are biodegradable and renewable and can significantly reduce environmental impacts. For this reason, biocomposites based on a plasticized starch and cross-linker matrix and with a microfibrillated OCC cardboard cellulose reinforcement were developed. Biocomposites were prepared by suspension casting with varied amounts of [...] Read more.
Biopolymers are biodegradable and renewable and can significantly reduce environmental impacts. For this reason, biocomposites based on a plasticized starch and cross-linker matrix and with a microfibrillated OCC cardboard cellulose reinforcement were developed. Biocomposites were prepared by suspension casting with varied amounts of microfibrillated cellulose: 0, 4, 8, and 12 wt%. Polyethylene glycol diglycidyl ether (PEGDE) was used as a cross-linking, water-soluble, and non-toxic agent. Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) from OCC cardboard showed appropriate properties and potential for good performance as a reinforcement. In general, microfiber incorporation and matrix cross-linking increased crystallization, reduced water adsorption, and improved the physical and tensile properties of the plasticized starch. Biocomposites cross-linked with PEGDE and reinforced with 12 wt% MFC showed the best properties. The chemical and structural changes induced by the cross-linking of starch chains and MFC reinforcement were confirmed by FTIR, NMR, and XRD. Biodegradation higher than 80% was achieved for most biocomposites in 15 days of laboratory compost. Full article
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14 pages, 17500 KiB  
Article
Effect of Long Glass Fiber Orientations or a Short-Fiber-Reinforced Composite on the Fracture Resistance of Endodontically Treated Premolars
by Ecehan Hazar and Ahmet Hazar
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1289; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091289 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 477
Abstract
This study aimed to evaluate the effect of direct restorations using unidirectional glass fiber orientations and a short-fiber-reinforced composite (SFRC) on the fracture resistance of endodontically treated premolars with mesio-occluso-distal cavities. Ninety double-rooted premolars were selected. Fifteen teeth were left intact/as a control [...] Read more.
This study aimed to evaluate the effect of direct restorations using unidirectional glass fiber orientations and a short-fiber-reinforced composite (SFRC) on the fracture resistance of endodontically treated premolars with mesio-occluso-distal cavities. Ninety double-rooted premolars were selected. Fifteen teeth were left intact/as a control group. The endodontic treatment and cavity preparations of seventy-five teeth were performed and divided into five experimental groups: Resin composite (RC), modified transfixed technique + RC, circumferential technique + RC, cavity floor technique + RC, and SFRC + RC. All teeth were fractured under oblique static loading at a 30° angle using a universal testing machine. The fracture patterns were observed and classified. Data were analyzed with one-way analysis of variance, Pearson chi-square, and Tukey HSD post hoc tests (p = 0.05). The highest fracture strength values were obtained in intact teeth (599.336 N), followed by modified transfixed + RC treated teeth (496.58 N), SFRC + RC treated teeth (469.62 N), RC (443.51 N), circumferential + RC treated teeth (442.835 N), and cavity floor + RC treated teeth (404.623 N) (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference between the RC and the circumferential technique + RC (p > 0.05). Unrepairable fractures were observed at low rates (20%) in the modified transfixed + RC and SFRC + RC teeth, and at higher rates in RC (73.3%), cavity floor + RC (60%), and circumferential + RC (80%) teeth. The application of an SFRC or the modified transfixed technique yielded an improved fracture strength and the fracture pattern of ETPs being restored with a universal injectable composite. Full article
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16 pages, 5975 KiB  
Article
Mechanical and Physical Changes in Bio-Polybutylene-Succinate Induced by UVC Ray Photodegradation
by Cristina Scolaro, Salim Brahimi, Aurora Falcone, Valentina Beghetto and Annamaria Visco
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1288; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091288 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 663
Abstract
Bio-polybutylene succinate (PBS) is a biodegradable polymer obtained from renewable feedstock having physical–mechanical properties like traditional low-density polyethylene (LDPE). PBS is employed by many manufacturing sectors, from biomedical to agri-food and cosmetics. Although some studies have already evaluated the resistance of PBS to [...] Read more.
Bio-polybutylene succinate (PBS) is a biodegradable polymer obtained from renewable feedstock having physical–mechanical properties like traditional low-density polyethylene (LDPE). PBS is employed by many manufacturing sectors, from biomedical to agri-food and cosmetics. Although some studies have already evaluated the resistance of PBS to photodegradation caused by natural outdoor solar exposure (UVA-UVB), a systematic study on the resistance to degradation caused by exposure to UVC rays, which is the subject of this study, has not yet been carried out. PBS was exposed to UVC either neat or filled with 2% carbon black (CB). Mechanical and physical characterization (tensile, hardness, calorimetry, contact angle, morphology, and surface roughness analyses) indicates that the bulk and surface properties of the polymer matrix changes after exposure to UVC radiations, due to a severe degradation. However, the presence of carbon black compensates for the degradation phenomenon. Because UVC rays are used for the sterilization process, necessary in applications such as biomedical, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, food, and other products, a comparison of the protocol used in this paper with the literature’s data has been reported and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymers and Biopolymers for Sustainable Life and Applications)
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17 pages, 7758 KiB  
Article
Fracture Toughness, Radiation Hardness, and Processibility of Polymers for Superconducting Magnets
by Anders Gaarud, Christian Scheuerlein, David Mate Parragh, Sébastien Clement, Jacob Bertsch, Cedric Urscheler, Roland Piccin, Federico Ravotti, Giuseppe Pezzullo and Ralf Lach
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1287; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091287 - 4 May 2024
Viewed by 549
Abstract
High fracture toughness at cryogenic temperature and radiation hardness can be conflicting requirements for the resins for the impregnation of superconducting magnet coils. The fracture toughness of different epoxy-resin systems at room temperature (RT) and at 77 K was measured, and their toughness [...] Read more.
High fracture toughness at cryogenic temperature and radiation hardness can be conflicting requirements for the resins for the impregnation of superconducting magnet coils. The fracture toughness of different epoxy-resin systems at room temperature (RT) and at 77 K was measured, and their toughness was compared with that determined for a polyurethane, polycarbonate (PC) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA). Among the epoxy resins tested in this study, the MY750 system has the highest 77 K fracture toughness of KIC = 4.6 MPa√m, which is comparable to the KIC of PMMA, which also exhibits linear elastic behaviour and unstable crack propagation. The polyurethane system tested has a much higher 77 K toughness than the epoxy resins, approaching the toughness of PC, which is known as one of the toughest polymer materials. CTD101K is the least performing in terms of fracture toughness. Despite this, it is used for the impregnation of large Nb3Sn coils for its good processing capabilities and relatively high radiation resistance. In this study, the fracture toughness of CTD101K was improved by adding the polyglycol flexibiliser Araldite DY040 as a fourth component. The different epoxy-resin systems were exposed to proton and gamma doses up to 38 MGy, and it was found that adding the DY040 flexibiliser to the CTD101K system did not significantly change the irradiation-induced ageing behaviour. The viscosity evolution of the uncured resin mix is not significantly changed when adding the DY040 flexibiliser, and at the processing temperature of 60 °C, the viscosity remains below 200 cP for more than 24 h. Therefore, the new resin referred to as POLAB Mix is now used for the impregnation of superconducting magnet coils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Processing and Engineering)
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82 pages, 9093 KiB  
Review
Forefront Research of Foaming Strategies on Biodegradable Polymers and Their Composites by Thermal or Melt-Based Processing Technologies: Advances and Perspectives
by Luis F. F. F. Gonçalves, Rui L. Reis and Emanuel M. Fernandes
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091286 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 774
Abstract
The last few decades have witnessed significant advances in the development of polymeric-based foam materials. These materials find several practical applications in our daily lives due to their characteristic properties such as low density, thermal insulation, and porosity, which are important in packaging, [...] Read more.
The last few decades have witnessed significant advances in the development of polymeric-based foam materials. These materials find several practical applications in our daily lives due to their characteristic properties such as low density, thermal insulation, and porosity, which are important in packaging, in building construction, and in biomedical applications, respectively. The first foams with practical applications used polymeric materials of petrochemical origin. However, due to growing environmental concerns, considerable efforts have been made to replace some of these materials with biodegradable polymers. Foam processing has evolved greatly in recent years due to improvements in existing techniques, such as the use of supercritical fluids in extrusion foaming and foam injection moulding, as well as the advent or adaptation of existing techniques to produce foams, as in the case of the combination between additive manufacturing and foam technology. The use of supercritical CO2 is especially advantageous in the production of porous structures for biomedical applications, as CO2 is chemically inert and non-toxic; in addition, it allows for an easy tailoring of the pore structure through processing conditions. Biodegradable polymeric materials, despite their enormous advantages over petroleum-based materials, present some difficulties regarding their potential use in foaming, such as poor melt strength, slow crystallization rate, poor processability, low service temperature, low toughness, and high brittleness, which limits their field of application. Several strategies were developed to improve the melt strength, including the change in monomer composition and the use of chemical modifiers and chain extenders to extend the chain length or create a branched molecular structure, to increase the molecular weight and the viscosity of the polymer. The use of additives or fillers is also commonly used, as fillers can improve crystallization kinetics by acting as crystal-nucleating agents. Alternatively, biodegradable polymers can be blended with other biodegradable polymers to combine certain properties and to counteract certain limitations. This work therefore aims to provide the latest advances regarding the foaming of biodegradable polymers. It covers the main foaming techniques and their advances and reviews the uses of biodegradable polymers in foaming, focusing on the chemical changes of polymers that improve their foaming ability. Finally, the challenges as well as the main opportunities presented reinforce the market potential of the biodegradable polymer foam materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trendings in Biobased Polymers and Biocomposites)
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11 pages, 5970 KiB  
Article
Preparation of Two-Dimensional Polyaniline Sheets with High Crystallinity via Surfactant Interface Self-Assembly and Their Encryption Application
by Zhiwei Li
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1285; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091285 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 535
Abstract
In recent years in the field of traditional materials, traditional polyaniline has faced a number of scientific problems such as an irregular morphology, high difficulty in crystallization, and difficulty in forming an ordered structure compared to the corresponding inorganic materials. In response to [...] Read more.
In recent years in the field of traditional materials, traditional polyaniline has faced a number of scientific problems such as an irregular morphology, high difficulty in crystallization, and difficulty in forming an ordered structure compared to the corresponding inorganic materials. In response to these urgent issues, this study determines how to prepare a highly ordered structure in polyaniline formed at the gas-liquid interface. By dynamically arranging aniline monomers into a highly ordered structure with sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS) surfactant, aniline polymerization is initiated at the gas-liquid interface, resulting in two-dimensional polyaniline crystal sheets with a highly ordered structure. By elucidating the microstructure, crystallization process, and molecular structure of the two-dimensional polyaniline crystal sheets, the practical application of polyaniline as an encryption label in the field of electrochromism has been further expanded, thus making polyaniline widely used in the field of information encryption. Therefore, the synthesis of flaky polyaniline crystal sheets has a role in scientific research and practical application, which will arouse the interest and exploration of researchers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Chemistry)
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25 pages, 6868 KiB  
Article
Block and Statistical Copolymers of Methacrylate Monomers with Dimethylamino and Diisopropylamino Groups on the Side Chains: Synthesis, Chemical Modification and Self-Assembly in Aqueous Media
by Kalliopi Makri and Stergios Pispas
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1284; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091284 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 553
Abstract
The synthesis of amphiphilic diblock and statistical (random) copolymers of poly(dimethylamino ethyl methacrylate) and poly((2-(diisopropylamino) ethyl methacrylate) using the reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer polymerization technique (RAFT polymerization) is reported. The precursor copolymers were chemically modified to create derivative copolymers of polyelectrolyte and polyampholyte [...] Read more.
The synthesis of amphiphilic diblock and statistical (random) copolymers of poly(dimethylamino ethyl methacrylate) and poly((2-(diisopropylamino) ethyl methacrylate) using the reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer polymerization technique (RAFT polymerization) is reported. The precursor copolymers were chemically modified to create derivative copolymers of polyelectrolyte and polyampholyte nature with novel solution properties. Moreover, their molecular and physicochemical characteristics, as well as their self-assembly in aqueous media as a function of molecular architecture and composition, are investigated by using size exclusion chromatography, spectroscopic characterization techniques and light scattering techniques. Furthermore, the behavior and properties of the obtained micelles and aggregates were studied, depending on the pH, temperature and ionic strength of the aqueous solutions. The response of the systems to changes in these parameters shows interesting behavior and new properties that are useful for their utilization as nanocarriers of pharmaceutical compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecularly Imprinted Polymers-Based Functional Materials)
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15 pages, 4131 KiB  
Article
Eco-Friendly Poly (Butylene Adipate-co-Terephthalate) Coated Bi-Layered Films: An Approach to Enhance Mechanical and Barrier Properties
by Raja Venkatesan, Krishnapandi Alagumalai, Alexandre A. Vetcher, Bandar Ali Al-Asbahi and Seong-Cheol Kim
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1283; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091283 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 588
Abstract
In this research work, a coated paper was prepared with poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) film to explore its use in eco-friendly food packaging. The paper was coated with PBAT film for packaging using hot pressing, a production method currently employed in the packaging [...] Read more.
In this research work, a coated paper was prepared with poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) film to explore its use in eco-friendly food packaging. The paper was coated with PBAT film for packaging using hot pressing, a production method currently employed in the packaging industry. The coated papers were evaluated for their structural, mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties. The structural morphology and chemical analysis of the coated paper confirmed the consistent formation of PBAT bi-layered on paper surfaces. Surface coating with PBAT film increased the water resistance of the paper samples, as demonstrated by tests of barrier characteristics, including the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR), oxygen transmission rate (OTR), and water contact angle (WCA) of water drops. The transmission rate of the clean paper was 2010.40 cc m−2 per 24 h for OTR and 110.24 g m−2 per 24 h for WVTR. If the PBAT-film was coated, the value decreased to 91.79 g m−2 per 24 h and 992.86 cc m−2 per 24 h. The hydrophobic nature of PBAT, confirmed by WCA measurements, contributed to the enhanced water resistance of PBAT-coated paper. This result presents an improved PBAT-coated paper material, eliminating the need for adhesives and allowing for the fabrication of bi-layered packaging. Full article
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12 pages, 4992 KiB  
Article
Antimicrobial Properties of Carboxymethyl Cellulose/Starch/N’N Methylenebisacrylamide Membranes Endowed by Ultrasound and Their Potential Application in Antimicrobial Packaging
by Youliang Cheng, Xinyi Cheng, Changqing Fang, Jing Chen, Xin Zhang, Changxue Cao and Jinpeng Wang
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1282; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091282 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 639
Abstract
Cellulose is used widely in antimicrobial packaging due to its abundance in nature, biodegradability, renewability, non-toxicity, and low cost. However, how efficiently and rapidly it imparts high antimicrobial activity to cellulose-based packaging materials remains a challenge. In this work, Ag NPs were deposited [...] Read more.
Cellulose is used widely in antimicrobial packaging due to its abundance in nature, biodegradability, renewability, non-toxicity, and low cost. However, how efficiently and rapidly it imparts high antimicrobial activity to cellulose-based packaging materials remains a challenge. In this work, Ag NPs were deposited on the surface of carboxymethyl cellulose/starch/N’N Methylenebisacrylamide film using ultrasonic radiation. Morphology and structure analysis of as-prepared films were conducted, and the antibacterial effects under different ultrasonic times and reductant contents were investigated. These results showed that Ag NPs were distributed uniformly on the film surface under an ultrasonic time of 45 min. The size of Ag NPs changes as the reducing agent content decreases. The composite film demonstrated a slightly better antibacterial effect against E. coli than against S. aureus. Therefore, this work can provide valuable insights for the research on antimicrobial packaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Cellulose Polymers and Derivatives)
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14 pages, 3185 KiB  
Article
Microstructural and Hydrophilic Properties of Polylactide Polymer Samples with Various 3D Printing Patterns
by Alexandr S. Lenshin, Vera E. Frolova, Sergey V. Kannykin and Evelina P. Domashevskaya
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1281; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091281 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
The aim of the work is to study the effect of the 3D printing process on the microstructural and hydrophilic properties of polylactic acid (PLA) samples with various model printing patterns obtained from the black filament PLA by sequentially applying polymer layers using [...] Read more.
The aim of the work is to study the effect of the 3D printing process on the microstructural and hydrophilic properties of polylactic acid (PLA) samples with various model printing patterns obtained from the black filament PLA by sequentially applying polymer layers using the FDM (fused deposition modeling) method. X-ray phase analysis revealed the partial crystallization of PLA polymer chains in the printed samples, which occurs under thermal and mechanical action on the original amorphous PLA filament during 3D printing to varying degrees, depending on the geometry of the pattern and the morphology of its surface. At the same time, IR spectroscopy data indicate the preservation of all intrastructural chemical bonds of polylactide. Measured at the original installation, the values of the wetting edge angles on the surface of the printed samples are in the range φ = 50–60°, which is significantly less than the right angle. This indicates the hydrophilic properties of the whole sample’s surface. At the same time, the influence of different geometries of model drawings in printed samples was found not only on the morphology of the sample’s surface according to SEM data but also on its wettability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Analysis and Characterization)
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30 pages, 1630 KiB  
Review
Progress in Wound-Healing Products Based on Natural Compounds, Stem Cells, and MicroRNA-Based Biopolymers in the European, USA, and Asian Markets: Opportunities, Barriers, and Regulatory Issues
by Girish K. Srivastava, Sofia Martinez-Rodriguez, Nur Izzah Md Fadilah, Daniel Looi Qi Hao, Gavin Markey, Priyank Shukla, Mh Busra Fauzi and Fivos Panetsos
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1280; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091280 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 797
Abstract
Wounds are breaks in the continuity of the skin and underlying tissues, resulting from external causes such as cuts, blows, impacts, or surgical interventions. Countless individuals suffer minor to severe injuries, with unfortunate cases even leading to death. In today’s scenario, several commercial [...] Read more.
Wounds are breaks in the continuity of the skin and underlying tissues, resulting from external causes such as cuts, blows, impacts, or surgical interventions. Countless individuals suffer minor to severe injuries, with unfortunate cases even leading to death. In today’s scenario, several commercial products are available to facilitate the healing process of wounds, although chronic wounds still present more challenges than acute wounds. Nevertheless, the huge demand for wound-care products within the healthcare sector has given rise to a rapidly growing market, fostering continuous research and development endeavors for innovative wound-healing solutions. Today, there are many commercially available products including those based on natural biopolymers, stem cells, and microRNAs that promote healing from wounds. This article explores the recent breakthroughs in wound-healing products that harness the potential of natural biopolymers, stem cells, and microRNAs. A comprehensive exploration is undertaken, covering not only commercially available products but also those still in the research phase. Additionally, we provide a thorough examination of the opportunities, obstacles, and regulatory considerations influencing the potential commercialization of wound-healing products across the diverse markets of Europe, America, and Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers)
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12 pages, 2643 KiB  
Article
Anti-Metastatic Effects of Standardized Polysaccharide Fraction from Diospyros kaki Leaves via GSK3β/β-Catenin and JNK Inactivation in Human Colon Cancer Cells
by Woo-Seok Lee, Ji-Sun Shin, Seo-Yun Jang, Kyung-Sook Chung, Soo-Dong Kim, Chang-Won Cho, Hee-Do Hong, Young Kyoung Rhee and Kyung-Tae Lee
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1275; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091275 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 537
Abstract
A polysaccharide fraction from Diospyros kaki (PLE0) leaves was previously reported to possess immunostimulatory, anti-osteoporotic, and TGF-β1-induced epithelial–mesenchymal transition inhibitory activities. Although a few beneficial effects against colon cancer metastasis have been reported, we aimed to investigate the anti-metastatic activity of PLE0 and [...] Read more.
A polysaccharide fraction from Diospyros kaki (PLE0) leaves was previously reported to possess immunostimulatory, anti-osteoporotic, and TGF-β1-induced epithelial–mesenchymal transition inhibitory activities. Although a few beneficial effects against colon cancer metastasis have been reported, we aimed to investigate the anti-metastatic activity of PLE0 and its underlying molecular mechanisms in HT-29 and HCT-116 human colon cancer cells. We conducted a wound-healing assay, invasion assay, qRT-PCR analysis, western blot analysis, gelatin zymography, luciferase assay, and small interfering RNA gene silencing in colon cancer cells. PLE0 concentration-dependently inhibited metastasis by suppressing cell migration and invasion. The suppression of N-cadherin and vimentin expression as well as upregulation of E-cadherin through the reduction of p-GSK3β and β-catenin levels resulted in the outcome of this effect. PLE0 also suppressed the expression and enzymatic activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and MMP-9, while simultaneously increasing the protein and mRNA levels of the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP-1). Furthermore, signaling data disclosed that PLE0 suppressed the transcriptional activity and phosphorylation of p65 (a subunit of NF-κB), as well as the phosphorylation of c-Jun and c-Fos (subunits of AP-1) pathway. PLE0 markedly suppressed JNK phosphorylation, and JNK knockdown significantly restored PLE0-regulated MMP-2/-9 and TIMP-1 expression. Collectively, our data indicate that PLE0 exerts an anti-metastatic effect in human colon cancer cells by inhibiting epithelial–mesenchymal transition and MMP-2/9 via downregulation of GSK3β/β-catenin and JNK signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Polymeric Biomaterials: Characterization and Application)
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22 pages, 4349 KiB  
Article
Study on the Influence of Runner and Overflow Area Design on Flow–Fiber Coupling in a Multi-Cavity System
by Fang-Lin Hsieh, Chuan-Tsen Chen, Shyh-Shin Hwang, Sheng-Jye Hwang, Po-Wei Huang, Hsin-Shu Peng, Ming-Yuan Jien and Chao-Tsai Huang
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1279; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091279 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 644
Abstract
Fiber-reinforced composites (FRPs) are characterized by their lightweight nature and superior mechanical characteristics, rendering them extensively utilized across various sectors such as aerospace and automotive industries. Nevertheless, the precise mechanisms governing the interaction between the fibers present in FRPs and the polymer melt [...] Read more.
Fiber-reinforced composites (FRPs) are characterized by their lightweight nature and superior mechanical characteristics, rendering them extensively utilized across various sectors such as aerospace and automotive industries. Nevertheless, the precise mechanisms governing the interaction between the fibers present in FRPs and the polymer melt during industrial processing, particularly the manipulation of the flow–fiber coupling effect, remain incompletely elucidated. Hence, this study introduces a geometrically symmetrical 1 × 4 multi-cavity mold system, where each cavity conforms to the ASTM D638 Type V standard specimen. The research utilizes theoretical simulation analysis and experimental validation to investigate the influence of runner and overflow design on the flow–fiber coupling effect. The findings indicate that the polymer melt, directed by a geometrically symmetrical runner, results in consistent fiber orientation within each mold cavity. Furthermore, in the context of simulation analysis, the inclusion of the flow–fiber coupling effect within the system results in elevated sprue pressure levels and an expanded core layer region in comparison to systems lacking this coupling effect. This observation aligns well with the existing literature on the subject. Moreover, analysis of fiber orientation in different flow field areas reveals that the addition of an overflow area alters the flow field, leading to a significant delay in the flow–fiber coupling effect. To demonstrate the impact of overflow area design on the flow–fiber effect, the integration of fiber orientation distribution analysis highlights a transformation in fiber arrangement from the flow direction to cross-flow and thickness directions near the end-of-fill region in the injected part. Additionally, examination of the geometric dimensions of the injected part reveals asymmetrical geometric shrinkage between upstream and downstream areas in the end-of-fill region, consistent with microscopic fiber orientation changes influenced by the delayed flow–fiber coupling effect guided by the overflow area. In brief, the introduction of the overflow area extends the duration in which the polymer melt exerts control in the flow direction, consequently prolonging the period in which the fiber orientation governs in the flow direction (A11). This leads to the impact of fiber orientation on the flow of the polymer melt, with the flow reciprocally affecting the fibers. Subsequently, the interaction between these two elements persists until a state of equilibrium is achieved, known as the flow–fiber coupling effect, which is delayed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rheology of Polymers and Polymer Composites)
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15 pages, 2744 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Properties of Photocurable Polymers Derived from the Polyesters of Glycerol and Aliphatic Dicarboxylic Acids
by Rui Hu, Weipeng Yao, Yingjuan Fu, Fuyuan Lu and Xiaoqian Chen
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091278 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 411
Abstract
The rapid development of 3D printing technology and the emerging applications of shape memory elastomer have greatly stimulated the research of photocurable polymers. In this work, glycerol (Gly) was polycondensed with sebacic, dodecanedioic, or tetradecanedioic acids to provide precursor polyesters with hydroxyl or [...] Read more.
The rapid development of 3D printing technology and the emerging applications of shape memory elastomer have greatly stimulated the research of photocurable polymers. In this work, glycerol (Gly) was polycondensed with sebacic, dodecanedioic, or tetradecanedioic acids to provide precursor polyesters with hydroxyl or carboxyl terminal groups, which were further chemically functionalized by acryloyl chloride to introduce sufficient, photocurable, and unsaturated double bonds. The chemical structures of the acrylated polyesters were characterized by FT IR and NMR spectroscopies. The photoinitiated crosslinking behavior of the acrylated polyesters under ultraviolet irradiation without the addition of any photoinitiator was investigated. The results showed that the precursor polyesters that had a greater number of terminated hydroxyls and a less branched structure obtained a relatively high acetylation degree. A longer chain of aliphatic dicarboxylic acids (ADCAs) and higher ADCA proportion lead to a relatively lower photopolymerization rate of acrylated polyesters. However, the photocured elastomers with a higher ADCA proportion or longer-chain ADCAs resulted in better mechanical properties and a lower degradation rate. The glass transition temperature (Tg) of the elastomer increased with the alkyl chain length of the ADCAs, and a higher Gly proportion resulted in a lower Tg of the elastomer due to its higher crosslinking density. Thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA) showed that the chain length of the ADCAs and the molar ratio of Gly to ADCAs had less of an effect on the thermal stability of the elastomer. As the physicochemical properties can be adjusted by choosing the alkyl chain length of the ADCAs, as well as changing the ratio of Gly:ADCA, the photocurable polyesters are expected to be applied in multiple fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers)
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14 pages, 7380 KiB  
Article
Dielectric Elastomer Actuators with Enhanced Durability by Introducing a Reservoir Layer
by Sumin Jung, Minchae Kang and Min-Woo Han
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1277; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091277 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 426
Abstract
A Dielectric Elastomer Actuator (DEA) consists of electrodes with a dielectric layer between them. By controlling the design of the electrodes, voltage, and frequency, the operating range and speed of the DEA can be adjusted. These DEAs find applications in biomimetic robots, artificial [...] Read more.
A Dielectric Elastomer Actuator (DEA) consists of electrodes with a dielectric layer between them. By controlling the design of the electrodes, voltage, and frequency, the operating range and speed of the DEA can be adjusted. These DEAs find applications in biomimetic robots, artificial muscles, and similar fields. When voltage is applied to the DEA, the dielectric layer undergoes compression and expansion due to electrostatic forces, which can lead to electrical breakdown. This phenomenon is closely related to the performance and lifespan of the DEA. To enhance stability and improve dielectric properties, a DEA Reservoir layer is introduced. Here, stability refers to the ability of the DEA to perform its functions even as the applied voltage increases. The Reservoir layer delays electrical breakdown and enhances stability due to its enhanced thickness. The proposed DEA in this paper is composed of a Reservoir layer and electrode layer. The Reservoir layer is placed between the electrode layers and is independently configured, not subjected to applied voltage like the electrode layers. The performance of the DEA was evaluated by varying the number of polymer layers in the Reservoir and electrode designs. Introducing the Reservoir layer improved the dielectric properties of the DEA and delayed electrical breakdown. Increasing the dielectric constant through the DEA Reservoir can enhance output characteristics in response to electrical signals. This approach can be utilized in various applications in wearable devices, artificial muscles, and other fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Applications)
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12 pages, 3862 KiB  
Article
In Situ Changes in Mechanical Properties Based on Gas Saturation Inside Pressure Vessels
by Kwan Hoon Kim, Jae Hoo Kim, Dong Hwan Lim, Byung Chul Kwon, Jin Hong, Ho Sub Yoon and Sung Woon Cha
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1276; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091276 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 395
Abstract
In previous studies, difficulties were encountered in measuring changes within high-pressure vessels owing to limitations such as sensor connectors and sensor failures under high-pressure conditions. In addition, polymer–gas mixtures experience instantaneous gas desorption upon exiting high-pressure vessels owing to pressure differentials, leading to [...] Read more.
In previous studies, difficulties were encountered in measuring changes within high-pressure vessels owing to limitations such as sensor connectors and sensor failures under high-pressure conditions. In addition, polymer–gas mixtures experience instantaneous gas desorption upon exiting high-pressure vessels owing to pressure differentials, leading to measurement errors. In this study, a device using magnetic sensors was developed to measure the real-time changes in gas-saturated polymers inside pressure vessels. Experiments on polymethyl methacrylate gas adsorption were conducted with parameters including pressure at 5 MPa and temperatures ranging from −20 to 40 °C for 60 and 180 min. It was observed that at −20 °C, the maximum magnetic field force density and deflection were 391.53 μT and 5.83 mm, respectively, whereas at 40 °C, deflection did not occur, with a value of 321.79 μT. Based on gas saturation experiments, a new model for deflection in high-pressure atmospheres is proposed. Additionally, an ANSYS analysis was conducted to predict the changes in Young’s modulus based on gas saturation. In previous studies, mechanical properties were measured outside the pressure vessel, resulting in an error due to a pressure difference, while the proposed method is characterized by the ability to directly measure polymer behavior according to gas saturation in high-pressure vessels using a magnetic sensor in real time. Therefore, it is possible to predict polymer behavior, making it easy to control variables in high-pressure polymer processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Polymer Processing and Engineering)
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12 pages, 3242 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Chitosan Hydrogels Obtained through Phenol and Tripolyphosphate Anionic Crosslinking
by Mitsuyuki Hidaka, Masaru Kojima, Shinji Sakai and Cédric Delattre
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1274; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091274 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 499
Abstract
Chitosan is a deacetylated polymer of chitin that is extracted mainly from the exoskeleton of crustaceans and is the second-most abundant polymer in nature. Chitosan hydrogels are preferred for a variety of applications in bio-related fields due to their functional properties, such as [...] Read more.
Chitosan is a deacetylated polymer of chitin that is extracted mainly from the exoskeleton of crustaceans and is the second-most abundant polymer in nature. Chitosan hydrogels are preferred for a variety of applications in bio-related fields due to their functional properties, such as antimicrobial activity and wound healing effects; however, the existing hydrogelation methods require toxic reagents and exhibit slow gelation times, which limit their application in biological fields. Therefore, a mild and rapid gelation method is necessary. We previously demonstrated that the visible light-induced gelation of chitosan obtained through phenol crosslinking (ChPh) is a rapid gelation method. To further advance this method (<10 s), we propose a dual-crosslinked chitosan hydrogel obtained by crosslinking phenol groups and crosslinking sodium tripolyphosphate (TPP) and the amino groups of chitosan. The chitosan hydrogel was prepared by immersing the ChPh hydrogel in a TPP solution after phenol crosslinking via exposure to visible light. The physicochemical properties of the dual-crosslinked hydrogels, including Young’s moduli and water retentions, were subsequently investigated. Young’s moduli of the dual-crosslinked hydrogels were 20 times higher than those of the hydrogels without TPP ion crosslinking. The stiffness could be manipulated by varying the immersion time, and the water retention properties of the ChPh hydrogel were improved by TPP crosslinking. Ion crosslinking could be reversed using an iron chloride solution. This method facilitates chitosan hydrogel use for various applications, particularly tissue engineering and drug delivery. Full article
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15 pages, 4636 KiB  
Article
Impact of Rheology-Based Optimum Parameters on Enhancing the Mechanical Properties and Fatigue of Additively Manufactured Acrylonitrile–Butadiene–Styrene/Graphene Nanoplatelet Composites
by Soran Hassanifard and Kamran Behdinan
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1273; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091273 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 488
Abstract
This study investigates the interaction between static and fatigue strength and the rheological properties of acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene (ABS) polymer reinforced with graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) in both filament and 3D-printed forms. Specifically focusing on the effects of 1.0 wt.% GNPs, the study examines their influence [...] Read more.
This study investigates the interaction between static and fatigue strength and the rheological properties of acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene (ABS) polymer reinforced with graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) in both filament and 3D-printed forms. Specifically focusing on the effects of 1.0 wt.% GNPs, the study examines their influence on static/fatigue responses. The rheological behaviour of pure ABS polymer and ABS/GNPs nanocomposite samples, fabricated through material extrusion, is evaluated. The results indicated that the addition of 1.0 wt.% GNPs to the ABS matrix improved the elastic modulus of the nanocomposite filaments by up to about 34%, while reducing their ductility by approximately 60%. Observations revealed that the static and fatigue responses of the composite filament materials and 3D-printed parts were not solely attributed to differences in mechanical properties, but were also influenced by extrusion-related process parameters. The shark-skin effect, directly related to the material’s rheological properties, had a major impact on static strength and fatigue life. The proposed method involved adjusting the temperature of the heating zones of the extruder during filament production to enhance the static response of the filament and using a higher nozzle temperature (270 °C) to improve the fatigue life of the 3D-printed samples. The findings reveal that the proposed parameter optimisation led to filaments with minimised shark-skin effects, resulting in an improvement in ultimate tensile strength compared to pure ABS. Moreover, the 3D-printed samples produced with a higher nozzle temperature exhibited increased fatigue lives compared to those manufactured under identical conditions as pure ABS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Three-Dimensional Printing of Polymer Materials)
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16 pages, 4686 KiB  
Article
Fully Bio-Based Polymer Composites: Preparation, Characterization, and LCD 3D Printing
by Giovanna Colucci, Francesca Sacchi, Federica Bondioli and Massimo Messori
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1272; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091272 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 503
Abstract
The present work aimed to prepare novel bio-based composites by adding fillers coming from agro-wastes to an acrylate epoxidized soybean oil (AESO) resin, using liquid crystal display (LCD) 3D printing. Different photocurable formulations were prepared by varying the reactive diluents, iso-bornyl methacrylate (IBOMA) [...] Read more.
The present work aimed to prepare novel bio-based composites by adding fillers coming from agro-wastes to an acrylate epoxidized soybean oil (AESO) resin, using liquid crystal display (LCD) 3D printing. Different photocurable formulations were prepared by varying the reactive diluents, iso-bornyl methacrylate (IBOMA) and tetrahydrofurfuryl acrylate (THFA). Then, two fillers derived from different industrial wastes, corn (GTF) and wine (WPL-CF) by-products, were added to the AESO-based formulations to develop polymer composites with improved properties. The printability by LCD of the photocurable formulations was widely studied. Bio-based objects with different geometries were realized, showing printing accuracy, layer adhesion, and accurate details. The thermo-mechanical and mechanical properties of the 3D-printed composites were tested by TGA, DMA, and tensile tests. The results revealed that the agro-wastes’ addition led to a remarkable increase in the elastic modulus, tensile strength, and glass transition temperature in the glassy state for the systems containing IBOMA and for flexible structures in the rubbery region for systems containing THFA. AESO-based polymers demonstrated tunable properties, varying from rigid to flexible, in the presence of different diluents and biofillers. This finding paves the way for the use of this kind of composite in applications, such as biomedical for the realization of prostheses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Latest Advances in Photopolymerization)
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13 pages, 726 KiB  
Review
A Comparative Analysis of Mechanical Properties of Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) vs. Standard Materials Used in Orthodontic Fixed Appliances: A Systematic Review
by Pyi Phyo Win, Oak Gar Moe, Daniel De-Shing Chen, Tzu-Yu Peng and Johnson Hsin-Chung Cheng
Polymers 2024, 16(9), 1271; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16091271 - 2 May 2024
Viewed by 530
Abstract
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), an organic thermoplastic polymer, has gained interest in dentistry due to its excellent mechanical strength, flexibility, and biocompatibility. Furthermore, the ability to utilize CAD/CAM in the fabrication of PEEK enhances accuracy, reliability, and efficiency while also saving time. Hence, several orthodontic [...] Read more.
Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), an organic thermoplastic polymer, has gained interest in dentistry due to its excellent mechanical strength, flexibility, and biocompatibility. Furthermore, the ability to utilize CAD/CAM in the fabrication of PEEK enhances accuracy, reliability, and efficiency while also saving time. Hence, several orthodontic studies have explored the utilization of PEEK in various applications, such as archwires, brackets, fixed lingual retainers, palatal expansion devices, transpalatal arches, Tübingen palatal plates, different types of space maintainers, mini-implant insertion guides, and more. However, a complete systematic review of the available data comparing the performance of PEEK with traditional orthodontic materials has not yet been conducted. Therefore, this systematic review seeks to assess if PEEK material meets the required mechanical criteria to serve as an alternative to conventional orthodontic appliances. To ensure clarity and precision, this review will specifically concentrate on fixed appliances. This systemic review followed the PRISMA guidelines and utilized databases including PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Springer, Web of Science, and Wiley. Searches were restricted to English language articles from January 2013 to February 2024. Keywords such as “Polyetheretherketone” or “PEEK” and “Orthodontic” or “Orthodontic device” or “Orthodontic materials” were employed across all databases. Nine studies were incorporated, covering orthodontic archwires, brackets, and fixed lingual retainers. Based on the reviewed literature, PEEK demonstrates promising potential in orthodontic fixed appliances, offering advantages in force delivery, friction reduction, and aesthetic appeal. Further research is needed to fully explore its capabilities and optimize its application in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocompatible and Biodegradable Polymers for Medical Applications II)
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