Advanced Composite Materials from Natural and Synthetic Sources: Fabrication, Characterization and Practical Application

A special issue of Journal of Composites Science (ISSN 2504-477X). This special issue belongs to the section "Composites Manufacturing and Processing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 10962

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biomaterials Engineering, Faculty of Health Sciences, UCAM Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia, Av. de los Jerónimos, 135, Guadalupe de Maciascoque, 30107 Murcia, Spain
Interests: polymers; biomaterials; bone regeneration; skin repair; dental implants; tissue engineering
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Guest Editor
Department of Bio Health Convergence, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 200-701, Republic of Korea
Interests: microbial biotechnology; fungal biology; natural products; biomaterials
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Guest Editor
Department of Marine Biopharmacology, College of Food Science and Technology, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China
Interests: biomaterials; polymeric compsites; synthetic biology; marine derived materials; tissue engineering
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The topic of composite materials continues to evolve in terms of range, research activities and technological importance. Composites now continue one of the broadest and most important classes of engineering materials in industrial significance and wide range of biomedical application. The major advantages of composite materials in practical application are stiffness, strength, toughness, lightness, corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. Hence, the composite materials are potentially used in therapeutic applications in the field of repair and regeneration (skin, bone, dental, cartilage, etc.). Many composites used today are at the leading edge of materials technology, with excellent performance and affordable costs. In general, the composite materials are derived from either natural origin or synthetic based, for instance: reinforced rubber, filled polymers, collagen, chitosan, graphene, Carbon nanotubes, alloys, porous and cracked media, fiber composites, polycrystalline aggregates (metals), etc. The types of composites and their properties are highly depended on their use in practical applications. Therefore, it is necessary to understand the beneficial effects of natural composite materials in distinction from the synthetic composites.

The purpose of the present special issue is to collect all recent advanced works in the field of composites materials from natural and synthetic based materials, mainly focusing on fabrication, characterization and practical applications. We warmly welcome the researchers to submit their full-length article, review (short, comprehensive and comparative), and clinical study.

Dr. Jeevithan Elango
Dr. Kandasamy Saravanakumar
Prof. Dr. Wenhui Wu
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • synthetic polymers and natural polymers composites
  • polymer composites fabrication and characterization
  • surface functionalization
  • nano materials
  • biodegradable materials
  • biomolecules
  • tissue engineering
  • skin regeneration
  • in-vitro cell culture

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 4164 KiB  
Article
Development of a Novel Lightweight Utility Pole Using a New Hybrid Reinforced Composite—Part 1: Fabrication and Experimental Investigation
by Qianjiang Wu and Farid Taheri
J. Compos. Sci. 2024, 8(4), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs8040136 - 05 Apr 2024
Viewed by 291
Abstract
This paper is the first part of a two-part paper that discusses the development of a novel lightweight and cost-effective hybrid 3D composite material and its and utilization for constructing utility poles. The main objective was to generate a material/pole with a comparable [...] Read more.
This paper is the first part of a two-part paper that discusses the development of a novel lightweight and cost-effective hybrid 3D composite material and its and utilization for constructing utility poles. The main objective was to generate a material/pole with a comparable performance to the commercially available poles made of 2D fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) and examine its feasibility. The novel hybrid composite was configured using a recently developed and marketed 3D E-glass fabric–epoxy composite reinforced with wood dowels, referred to as 3D dowel-reinforced FRPs (3D-drFRPs) hereafter. Firstly, the compressive and flexural properties of the 3D-drFRPs are evaluated. Then, the development of the 3D pole is discussed followed by the fabrication details of two 3D-drFRPs using the standard test method, and their responses are compared. For the second part, robust finite element (FE) models were developed in an LS-DYNA environment and calibrated based on the experimental results. A sophisticated nonlinear FE model was used to simulate the performances of ASTM standard-size compression and three-point bending specimens and tapered 2D and prismatic 3D poles. Moreover, the responses of equivalent 2D and 3D poles were simulated numerically, as the task could not be accommodated experimentally due to our laboratory’s deficiencies. The integrity of the numerical simulation results was validated against experimental results, confirming the accuracy of the developed model. As an example, the stiffness values for the 3-pt bending specimens and the 3D poles obtained through the simulations were very close to the experimentally obtained results, with small margins of errors of 3.2% and 0.89%, respectively. Finally, a simplified analytical calculation method was developed so practicing engineers can determine the stiffnesses of 3D-DrFRP poles very accurately and quickly. Full article
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22 pages, 8079 KiB  
Article
Experimental Investigation to Optimize the Manufacturing Parameters of Ankle–Foot Orthoses Using Composite and Titanium Nanoparticles
by Najlaa J. Khalaf, Sabrine Ben Amor, Borhen Louhichi, Jumaa S. Chiad and Abdennour Seibi
J. Compos. Sci. 2024, 8(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs8020045 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1208
Abstract
The optimum structural characteristics of lamination materials used in the fabrication of prosthetic and orthotic parts were investigated in this work. Optimization was chosen based on high yields, ultimate stresses, and bending stress properties. The ideal materials were determined through the use of [...] Read more.
The optimum structural characteristics of lamination materials used in the fabrication of prosthetic and orthotic parts were investigated in this work. Optimization was chosen based on high yields, ultimate stresses, and bending stress properties. The ideal materials were determined through the use of an RSM (response surface methodology) which considers three factors: Perlon reinforcement, a layer of glass fiber, and the percentage of titanium nanoparticles combined with the matrix laminating resin. The RSM approach suggests thirteen samples by manipulating two variables: the Ti nano percentage and the number of Perlon layers. Laminating materials, defined by RSM methods and treated with a vacuum system, were submitted to a series of tests. The ideal lamination material was compared with the laminations from the initial study through the use of tensile, flexural, and fatigue testing according to ASTM standards. Tests carried out using version 10.0.2 of Design Expert software showed that, compared with the 12 other laminations, the one with 10 Perlon layers and 0.75 percent Ti nano had the highest overall yield and ultimate and bending loads. Fatigue eventually showed that stamina tension constraints were applied for optimal lamination, compared to ten Perlon lamination layers. We additionally tested the fatigue life of the best material and compared it with the available materials used at prosthetics and orthotics centers. Full article
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13 pages, 2452 KiB  
Article
Curcumin-Loaded Nanofibrous Matrix Accelerates Fibroblast Cell Proliferation and Enhances Wound Healing via GSK3-β Inhibition
by Kiran Konain, Nayyer Saddique, Muhammad Samie, Zia Ur Rahman, Sajida Farid, Shazia Hameed, Munazza R. Mirza, Wenhui Wu, Kyung Mi Woo, Praveen R. Arany and Saeed Ur Rahman
J. Compos. Sci. 2023, 7(8), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs7080343 - 21 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Wound healing is a multifaceted biological process influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The ability of Wnt signaling to activate cell proliferation appears to serve a central role in wound healing. Therefore, the direct activation of Wnt or inhibition of the Wnt [...] Read more.
Wound healing is a multifaceted biological process influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The ability of Wnt signaling to activate cell proliferation appears to serve a central role in wound healing. Therefore, the direct activation of Wnt or inhibition of the Wnt antagonist could be an ideal approach for the stimulation of wound healing. This study aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism of small molecule-loaded nanofibrous matrix in inducing wound healing. Herein, a naturally derived small molecule, curcumin, was used to inhibit the GSK3-β, which is considered a negative regulator of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. The docking results demonstrated that curcumin makes a complex with GSK3-β at seven specific sites, thereby inhibiting its activity. Moreover, the stabilization of β-catenin appeared to be increased with the treatment of curcumin. Next, curcumin was incorporated in poly ε-caprolactone nanofibrous matrices for controlled–sustained drug release to induce cell function. Curcumin-loaded nanofibrous matrix not only enhanced fibroblast cell proliferation, but also induced the expression of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) in vitro. Moreover, the in vivo results showed that these nanofibrous mats significantly induced wound closure in 12 mm critical-sized defect. Collectively, these results suggest that the developed nanofibrous matrix promotes impaired wound healing by modulating cell proliferation and enhancing FGF expression that promotes wound closure. Full article
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15 pages, 1958 KiB  
Article
Kenaf Fiber and Hemp Fiber Multi-Walled Carbon Nanotube Filler-Reinforced Epoxy-Based Hybrid Composites for Biomedical Applications: Morphological and Mechanical Characterization
by Praveena Bindiganavile Anand, Santhosh Nagaraja, Nagendra Jayaram, Shashank Paidi Sreenivasa, Naif Almakayeel, T. M. Yunus Khan, Raman Kumar, Raman Kumar and Muhammad Imam Ammarullah
J. Compos. Sci. 2023, 7(8), 324; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs7080324 - 07 Aug 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1694
Abstract
This study used a hybrid combination of kenaf and hemp fibers and the multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) reinforcements in the matrix phase to synthesize the composites. A kenaf/hemp fiber blend with MWCNTs in epoxy was used for the specific concentration. The procedure used [...] Read more.
This study used a hybrid combination of kenaf and hemp fibers and the multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) reinforcements in the matrix phase to synthesize the composites. A kenaf/hemp fiber blend with MWCNTs in epoxy was used for the specific concentration. The procedure used three composite materials chosen from pilot trials. The ratio of MWCNT filler particles was altered up to the agglomeration limit based on initial trials. Two specimens (2 and 3) were supplemented with MWCNTs in a concentration range of 0.5 wt. % to 1 wt. %, with the fiber concentration being maintained in equilibrium with the epoxy resin, all of the materials were tested under the same conditions. The hybrid nanocomposite was characterized for its morphological and mechanical properties; the tensile properties were higher for 1% MWCNTs concentration (specimen 2), while the flexural properties were higher for 0.5% MWCNTs, with values of 43.24 MPa and 55.63 MPa, correspondingly. Once the MWCNT concentration was increased to 1 wt. %, the maximum impact strength was achieved (specimen 3). In the limits of the Shore-D scale, the kenaf fiber and hemp fiber matrix composite (specimen 1) gained a hardness index of 84. Scanning electron microscopy was carried out to analyze the morphological features of the fractured samples and to assess the adhesion between the fiber, matrix, and surface. Among the various fillers tested, the kenaf fiber/hemp/MWCNT composite (specimen 3) demonstrated superior binding and reduced the incidence of fiber pull-out, breakage, and voids. In addition to the comparative analysis, the addition of 0.5 wt. % MWCNTs resulted in better mechanical properties compared to the other two combinations. Full article
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15 pages, 2924 KiB  
Article
The Antioxidant Protective Effect of Iris-Squid-Derived Protein Hydrolysates (>10 kDa) in HSF Fibroblast Cells Induced by H2O2
by Na Li, Xiaozhen Diao, Xinyi Pu, Pengjie Tang, Jeevithan Elango and Wenhui Wu
J. Compos. Sci. 2023, 7(6), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs7060228 - 03 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1199
Abstract
One of the supporting factors behind the biomolecules recently used in anti-aging and skin nourishment is their antioxidant properties. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a well-known small molecule oxidant that induces apoptosis in human skin fibroblast (HSF) cells through the [...] Read more.
One of the supporting factors behind the biomolecules recently used in anti-aging and skin nourishment is their antioxidant properties. Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is a well-known small molecule oxidant that induces apoptosis in human skin fibroblast (HSF) cells through the synthesis of inflammatory cytokines. Hence, this study aimed to investigate the antioxidant activities of protein hydrolysates prepared from Iris squid (Symplectoteuthis oualaniensis) (PHCSO) in vitro. Firstly, two peptides with MWs more than 10 kDa (PHCSO-1) and less than 10 kDa (PHCSO-2) were obtained through ultrafiltration and were characterized (molecular pattern amino acid composition, FTIR) before testing the antioxidant activity (DPPH radical scavenging activity and hydroxyl radical scavenging activity). Then, the effects of PHCSOs on HSF cell viability, H2O2-induced oxidative stress model of HSF cells, ROS fluorescence staining, level of cytokines (IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-α) and cellular antioxidant properties (SOD activity, CAT activity, GSH and MDA content) were investigated. The cell morphology was examined through fluorescence staining and inflammatory factors and antioxidant activity analysis showed that superior properties were observed in PHCSO-2 peptide compared to PHCSO-1 and PHCSO. Among the peptides, PHCSO-2 (5 mg/mL) had higher DPPH and hydroxyl radical scavenging activities of 58% and 57%, respectively. On the other hand, the PHCSO-2 treatment reduced the TNF-α activity by 25%, which indicated the effective protection of PHCSO-2 from oxidative stress damage in the skin. These findings proved that peptides with less than 10 kDa were more suitable for therapeutic purposes, with good antioxidant properties. Accordingly, the protein hydrolysate from S. oualaniensis proved to be an excellent marine-based antioxidant peptide, which could be applied in cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries. Full article
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Review

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31 pages, 2312 KiB  
Review
Natural vs Synthetic Polymers: How Do They Communicate with Cells for Skin Regeneration—A Review
by Jeevithan Elango, Camilo Zamora-Ledezma and José Eduardo Maté-Sánchez de Val
J. Compos. Sci. 2023, 7(9), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs7090385 - 13 Sep 2023
Viewed by 2176
Abstract
Modern research has evolved several approaches toward skin regeneration and one of the novel concerns is the use of polymer-based systems due to their excellent beneficial properties to the skin. Several polymers, such as cellulose, hyaluronan, alginate, chitosan, collagen, fibrin and fibroin, have [...] Read more.
Modern research has evolved several approaches toward skin regeneration and one of the novel concerns is the use of polymer-based systems due to their excellent beneficial properties to the skin. Several polymers, such as cellulose, hyaluronan, alginate, chitosan, collagen, fibrin and fibroin, have been tested and have proven the benefits for skin regeneration, and most of them are derived from either polysaccharide- or protein-based materials. In order to understand the mode of action, several researchers investigated the cell–matrix interaction and possible signaling mechanism in skin regeneration. Not only the signaling mechanism but also the mode of cell communication determines the application of polysaccharide- and protein-based polymers in practice. Based on the above significance, this review disclosed the recent findings to compile a possible method of communication between cells and polymers derived from polysaccharide-based (such as cellulose, hyaluronan, chitosan, alginate, agar, and xanthan gum) and protein-based (such as collagen, gelatin, fibrin, and silk fibroin) materials along with other polymers, such as poly(vinyl alcohol), polyglycolide or poly(glycolic acid), or poly(lactic acid) in skin regeneration. Accordingly, this review addresses the fundamental concept of cell–matrix communication, which helps us to understand the basis of the polymer’s functions in the biomedical field. Full article
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15 pages, 3111 KiB  
Review
Influence of Natural Fiber Content on the Frictional Material of Brake Pads—A Review
by Zeina Ammar, Hamdy Ibrahim, Mahmoud Adly, Ioannis Sarris and Sherif Mehanny
J. Compos. Sci. 2023, 7(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs7020072 - 09 Feb 2023
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2684
Abstract
Research into the use of eco-friendly materials, such as natural fibers, in brake pads has gained momentum in the last few decades. This can be attributed to the potential of natural fibers to replace traditional materials in tribological applications such as braking pads. [...] Read more.
Research into the use of eco-friendly materials, such as natural fibers, in brake pads has gained momentum in the last few decades. This can be attributed to the potential of natural fibers to replace traditional materials in tribological applications such as braking pads. The harmful impact of the commonly-used brake pad materials, such as metal and mineral fibers, on human health and the environment necessitates the development of eco-friendly alternatives. Natural fibers, such as banana peels, palm kernels, and palm slag, have been shown to be a viable replacement for traditional brake pad materials. This article reviews the literature on the use of different natural fibers in brake pads and their impact on the physical, mechanical, and tribological properties. Trends for density, porosity, hardness, coefficient of friction (COF), and wear rate are observed. The recommended formulations to yield the optimum properties, according to the perspective of several studies, are showcased. In addition, the effect of asbestos material and natural fibers on life-cycle assessment and CO2 emission is highlighted. This article is an attempt to provide a foundation for future researchers in the field of natural fiber-reinforced composites for brake pad applications. Full article
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