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All issues / Volume 5 (2011) / Issue 5 (May)

Block copolymer – a versatile template tool for nanomaterials
Z. Sun
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 384-384, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.37
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
A pH-, salt- and solvent-responsive carboxymethylcellulose-g-poly(sodium acrylate)/medical stone superabsorbent composite with enhanced swelling and responsive properties
W. B. Wang, J. X. Xu, A. Q. Wang
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 385-400, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.38
Free-radical graft copolymerization among sodium carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), partially neutralized acrylic acid (NaA), medical stone (MS) and crosslinker N,N'-methylene-bis-acrylamide (MBA) was performed to prepare new carboxymethylcellulose-g-poly(sodium acrylate)/medical stone (CMC-g-PNaA/MS) superabsorbent composites. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra, thermogravimetry- differential scanning calorimetry (TG-DSC) and field emission scanning electromicrsocopic (FESEM) analysis confirmed that NaA had been grafted onto CMC backbone and MS participated in polymerization, and the thermal stability and surface morphologies were improved by the addition of MS. Energy dispersive spectrometer (EDS) and elemental map (EM) analyses revealed the better distribution of MS in the CMC-g-PNaA matrix. The incorporation of 20 wt% MS clearly enhanced the water absorption by 100% (from 317 to 634 g/g). The developed composites showed enhanced swelling rate and On-Off switching swelling characteristics in various pH solutions, saline solutions and hydrophilic organic solvents, which represented interesting and reversible pH-, saline- and hydrophilic organic solvent-responsive characteristics. In addition, the composite exhibited intriguing time-dependent kinetic swelling properties in various heavy metal solutions.
Synthesis and application of solar cells of poly (3-decylthiophene)/N/titanium dioxide hybrid
J. C. Zhang, X. Zheng, M. Chen, X. Y. Yang, W. L. Cao
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 401-408, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.39
An organic-inorganic nanocomposite material of poly (3-decylthiophene) and titanium dioxide doped with N (P3DT/N/TiO2) were synthesized. Structures were characterized using X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared spectroscopy (IR), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Optical and electrochemical properties were determined using UV-visible spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry. These tests indicated that P3DT/N/TiO2 was a new p-n semiconductor photoelectric material, and the solar cell prepared with P3DT/N/TiO2 performed well.
Water-responsive shape memory hybrid: Design concept and demonstration
K. Fan, W. M. Huang, C. C. Wang, Z. Ding, Y. Zhao, H. Purnawali, K. C. Liew, L. X. Zheng
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 409-416, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.40
Shape memory materials are featured by their ability to recover their original shapes when a particular stimulus, such as heat, light, magnetic field, even moisture/water, etc. is applied. However, it is not an easy task for non-professionals to synthesize a shape memory material which can meet all the requirements of a particular application. Even for professionals, like materials researchers, it could involve tedious trial and error procedures. In this paper, the concept of water-responsive shape memory hybrid is proposed and the advantages are demonstrated by two examples. The hybrid concept is versatile and can be easily accessed by those even without much polymer/chemistry background. Moreover, the performance of such hybrids can be well-predicted. This concept can be further extended into solvent-responsive shape memory hybrids, which can be routinely designed and realized in a Do-It-Yourself manner by almost anyone.
Specific interactions, structure and properties in segmented polyurethane elastomers
K. Bagdi, K. Molnar, I. Sajo, B. Pukanszky
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 417-427, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.41
Two sets of segmented polyurethane (PU) elastomers were prepared from 4,4'-methylenebis(phenyl isocyanate) (MDI), 1,4-butanediol (BD) and a polyester or a polyether polyol, respectively. The molecular mass of both polyols was 1000 g/mol. The stoichiometric ratio of isocyanate and hydroxyl groups was 1 and the polyol/total diol ratio changed from 0 to 1 in 0.1 steps. One step bulk polymerization was carried out in an internal mixer and the samples were compression molded for testing. The results proved that specific interactions determine the phase structure and properties of these materials. Crystallinity was approximately the same in the two types of polyurethanes and the amount of relaxing soft segments was also similar. The determination of interaction parameters from solvent absorption and differences in glass transition temperatures indicated stronger interaction between hard and soft segments in the polyester than in the polyether polyurethane. Larger transparency of the polyester PU indicated the formation of smaller dispersed particles of the hard phase. The larger number of smaller hard phase units led to the formation of more physical cross-links distributed more evenly in the polymer. These differences in the phase structure of the polymers resulted in stronger strain hardening tendency, larger strength and smaller deformations for the polyester than for the polyether polyurethane.
Effect of surfactant alkyl chain length on the dispersion, and thermal and dynamic mechanical properties of LDPE/organo-LDH composites
N. Muksing, R. Magaraphan, S. Coiai, E. Passaglia
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 428-448, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.42
Low density polyethylene/layered double hydroxide (LDH) composites were prepared via melt compounding using different kinds of organo-LDHs and polyethylene-grafted maleic anhydride as the compatibilizer. The organo-LDHs were successfully prepared by converting a commercial MgAl-carbonate LDH into a MgAl-nitrate LDH, which was later modified by anion exchange with linear and branched sodium alkyl sulfates having different alkyl chain lengths (nc = 6, 12 and 20). It was observed that, depending on the size of the surfactant alkyl chain, different degrees of polymer chain intercalation were achieved, which is a function of the interlayer distance of the organo-LDHs, of the packing level of the alkyl chains, and of the different interaction levels between the surfactant and the polymer chains. In particular, when the number of carbon atoms of the surfactant alkyl chain is larger than 12, the intercalation of polymer chains in the interlayer space and depression of the formation of large aggregates of organo-LDH platelets are favored. A remarkable improvement of the thermal-oxidative degradation was evidenced for all of the composites; whereas only a slight increase of the crystallization temperature and no significant changes of both melting temperature and degree of crystallinity were achieved. By thermodynamic mechanical analysis, it was evidenced that a softening of the matrix is may be due to the plasticizing effect of the surfactant.
Post-impact mechanical characterisation of E-glass/basalt woven fabric interply hybrid laminates
I. M. De Rosa, F. Marra, G. Pulci, C. Santulli, F. Sarasini, J. Tirillo, M. Valente
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 449-459, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.43
Post-impact properties of different configurations (symmetrical and non-symmetrical) of hybrid laminates including E-glass and basalt fibre composites, all with volume fraction of fibres equal to 0.38±0.02 and manufactured by RTM, have been studied. With this aim, interlaminar shear strength tests and four-point flexural tests of laminates impacted with different energies (0, 7.5, 15 and 22.5 J) have been performed. Acoustic emission (AE) localisation and AE evolution with applied flexural stress was studied to support impact damage characterisation, provided by SEM and transient thermography. The results indicate that a symmetrical configuration including E-glass fibre laminate as a core for basalt fibre laminate skins presents the most favourable degradation pattern, whilst intercalation of layers may bring to further improvement of the laminate properties, but also to more extended and complex damage patterns.
Preparation of microgel composite hydrogels by polymer post-crosslinking method
X. P. Qin, F. Zhao, S. Y. Feng
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 460-469, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.44
A novel post-crosslinking method by heating the composite polymer with dispersed reactive microgels was used to prepare microgel composite (MC) hydrogels. This MC hydrogels were crosslinked by reactive microgels instead of traditional crosslinkers. The reactive microgels contained hydroxymethyl groups, which acted as post-crosslinkers. They were prepared by inverse emulsion polymerization. The formed MC hydrogels at appropriate conditions had high equilibrium swelling ratio and excellent mechanical properties. The heating conditions and the polymer water content influenced the hydrogel properties. For MC hydrogels prepared by direct heating the as-prepared composite polymers with 75% water content, their properties were influenced by heating conditions. When the heating conditions were 90°C for 4 h, the MC hydrogel had a tensile strength of 32 kPa and a high elongation of 960%. In addition, for MC hydrogels prepared by heating the partly evaporated composite polymers, their properties can be adjusted by the polymer water content. Appropriate reduction of the polymer water content was beneficial to improve the mechanical strength of the MC hydrogels. The appropriate polymer water content was important to prepare MC hydrogels with excellent mechanical properties. When the composite polymer with 50% water content was heated at 90°C for 3 h, the MC hydrogel had high tensile strength of 130 kPa and high tensile elongation of 503%.
Synthesis and characterization of poly(vinyl alcohol) proton exchange membranes modified with 4,4-diaminodiphenylether-2,2-disulfonic acid
M. S. Boroglu, S. Cavus, I. Boz, A. Ata
Vol. 5., No.5., Pages 470-478, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.45
A proton-exchange membrane for a direct methanol fuel cell was prepared by modifying the chemical structure of poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) by means of sulfonation. We report the synthesis of a new proton-conducting polymer membrane with poly (vinyl alcohol) and diamine-containing organic molecules immobilized to PVA. The sulfonation was carried out by using 4,4-diaminodiphenyl ether-2,2-disulfonic acid (ODADS). A sulfonated diamine monomer, ODADS, was successfully synthesized by direct sulfonation of a commercially available diamine, 4,4-diaminodiphenyl ether (ODA), using fuming sulfuric acid as the sulfonating reagent. The chemical structure and thermal stability of the sulfonated PVA were studied by using FTIR and thermogravimetric analysis techniques, respectively. The proton conductivities of membranes were investigated as a function of ODADS content. The thermal decomposition of PVA-ODADS membranes started at 220°C. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) results indicated the homogeneity of the blends. Proton conductivity values of the sulfonated PVA membranes ranged between 8.25 and 16.53 mS/cm and the conductivities of PVA-ODADS membranes increased with the increasing ODADS content.
Published by:

Budapest University of Technology and Economics,
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Department of Polymer Engineering