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All issues / Volume 8 (2014) / Issue 11 (November)

Polymer matrix hybrid composites: The efficient way of improved performance
L. Meszaros
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 790-790, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.81
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA): Review of synthesis, characteristics, processing and potential applications in packaging
E. Bugnicourt, P. Cinelli, A. Lazzeri, V. Alvarez
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 791-808, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.82
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are gaining increasing attention in the biodegradable polymer market due to their promising properties such as high biodegradability in different environments, not just in composting plants, and processing versatility. Indeed among biopolymers, these biogenic polyesters represent a potential sustainable replacement for fossil fuel-based thermoplastics. Most commercially available PHAs are obtained with pure microbial cultures grown on renewable feedstocks (i.e. glucose) under sterile conditions but recent research studies focus on the use of wastes as growth media. PHA can be extracted from the bacteria cell and then formulated and processed by extrusion for production of rigid and flexible plastic suitable not just for the most assessed medical applications but also considered for applications including packaging, moulded goods, paper coatings, non-woven fabrics, adhesives, films and performance additives. The present paper reviews the different classes of PHAs, their main properties, processing aspects, commercially available ones, as well as limitations and related improvements being researched, with specific focus on potential applications of PHAs in packaging.
Preparation and characterization of EPDM/silica composites prepared through non-hydrolytic sol-gel method in the absence and presence of a coupling agent
T. H. Mokhothu, A. S. Luyt, M. Messori
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 809-822, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.83
Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber composites containing in situ generated silica particles was prepared through a non-hydrolytic sol-gel (NHSG) method with silicon tetrachloride as precursor. The silica particles were homogenously dispersed in the EPDM matrix, but there were agglomerates at high silica contents. The swelling experiments showed a decrease in the crosslinking density of the vulcanized rubber due to the presence of the silica particles for both the composites prepared in the presence and absence of a coupling agent, bis-[-3-(triethoxysilyl)-propyl]-tetrasulfide (TESPT). Unlike the composites prepared through a hydrolytic sol-gel (HSG) method with TEOS as precursor, the TESPT did not seem to take part in the sol-gel reaction. The presence of TESPT influenced the interaction and dispersion of the silica particles in the EPDM matrix, which gave rise to increased thermal stability of the EPDM when compared to the composites prepared in the absence of TESPT. However, ethylene chloride and TESPT evaporated from the samples at temperatures below the EPDM decomposition range. The values of the Nielsen model parameters, that gave rise to a good agreement with the experimentally determined Young’s modulus values, indicated improved dispersion and reduced size of the silica aggregates in the EPDM matrix. There was also good agreement between the storage modulus and Young’s modulus values. The filler effectiveness (Factor C) indicated a mechanical stiffening effect and a thermal stability contribution by the filler, while the damping reduction (DR) values confirmed that the EPDM interacted strongly with the well dispersed silica particles and the polymer chain mobility was restricted. The tensile properties, however, were in some cases worse than those for the samples prepared through the HSG method in the presence of TEOS.
Monitoring the production of FRP composites: A review of in-line sensing methods
S. Konstantopoulos, E. Fauster, R. Schledjewski
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 823-840, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.84
Composites manufacturing is characterized by many degrees of freedom. Different materials, geometries and thermo-dynamical conditions contribute to a behavior that is difficult to predict. Monitoring the running process (in-line monitoring) eliminates the need for prediction; real time data provided by appropriate sensing systems can be used in the direction of process optimization, quality upgrade or material characterization. The aim of the review at hand is to record and discuss the latest progress in the field of in-line composites monitoring with a focus on Fiber Reinforced Polymericbased (FRP) composite structures. Summaries of each sensor’s principles of operation, appropriate association with polymer/composite properties detection, brief descriptions of representative studies, a critical overview of implementation aspects and discussion on the upcoming trends, contribute in constructing a complete picture.
Preparation of carboxymethyl cellulose based microgels for cell encapsulation
Y. Ke, G. S. Liu, J. H. Wang, W. Xue, C. Du, G. Wu
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 841-849, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.85
Biocompatible and biodegradable carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) has been modified with 4-hydroxybenzylamine (CMC-Ph) in order to prepare CMC-based microgels through the horseradish peroxidise/hydrogen peroxide enzymatic reaction. CMC-Ph was identified as a blend, and the amount of the grafted 4-hydroxybenzylamine per 100 units of CMC was between 17 and 23 according to the molecular weight of CMC. Through a special designed co-flowing microfluidic device, CMC-Ph microgels were prepared with the radius from 100 to 500 μm via adjusting the flow rates of the disperse phase and the continuous phase, respectively. The chondrocytic cell line ATDC5 was encapsulated in the CMC-Ph microgels. The cell-laden microgels were cultured for up to 40 days, illustrating the biocompatibility of CMC-Ph and the microfluidic approach through the enzymatic crosslinking reaction primarily. CMC-Ph showed a great promise to encapsulate the cells for further fabrication of the injectable scaffolds.
Synthesis of molecularly imprinted polypyrrole/titanium dioxide nanocomposites and its selective photocatalytic degradation of rhodamine B under visible light irradiation
M. Q. He, L. L. Bao, K. Y. Sun, D. X. Zhao, W. B. Li, J. X. Xia, H. M. Li
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 850-861, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.86
Highly selective molecularly imprinted nanocomposites MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 were successfully prepared by surface molecular imprinting technique with rhodamine B (RhB) as template molecule. The prepared MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 coated with a thin imprinted layer could respond to visible light. The static and dynamic binding experiments revealed that MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 possessed strong affinity, high adsorption capacity and fast adsorption rate for RhB. The selectivity experiments indicated that MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 had excellent recognition selectivity for RhB. Selective photocatalytic degradation experiments indicated that the apparent rate constant (k) for the photodegradation of RhB over MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 is 0.0158 min–1, being 3.6 times of that over non-imprinted nanocomposites NIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 (0.0044 min–1). Compared with the NIPRhB-PPy/TiO2, MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 showed higher photocatalytic selectivity toward RhB under visible light, which was attributed the introduction of the imprinted cavities on the surface of MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2. Moreover, MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 exhibited high reusability and stability. The results indicate that molecularly imprinted nanocomposites MIPRhB-PPy/TiO2 have a promising perspective in industrial wastewater treatment.
Nitroxide polymer brushes prepared by surface-initiated ARGET ATRP and their selective oxidation performances
S. J. Liu, Q. Q. Hu, F. Q. Zhao, X. M. Chu, P. X. Li, E. J. Tang
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 862-868, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.87
Polymer brushes with 2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-piperidyl methacrylate (TMPM) units, grafted on the cross-linked polystyrene (PS) microspheres, were synthesized via surface-initiated ARGET (activators regenerated by electron transfer) ATRP (atom transfer radical polymerization). They were further oxidized to yield nitroxide polymer brushes containing nitroxide radical units (TEMPO). The obtained polymer brushes were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron spin resonance (ESR) and gel permeation chromatography (GPC). The catalytic properties of nitroxide polymer brushes for selective oxidation of benzyl alcohol were investigated. The results showed that the performances were good and the yield was up to 96%. Furthermore, the block brush had similar catalyst properties to non-supported TEMPO in terms of activity and selectivity. It could be recovered by centrifugation. The unity of high catalyst property and easy recovery was achieved.
Towards the understanding of the molecular weight dependence of essential work of fracture in semi-crystalline polymers: A study on poly(ε-caprolactone)
F. Tuba, L. Olah, P. Nagy
Vol. 8., No.11., Pages 869-879, 2014
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2014.88
The plane-stress ductile fracture of poly(#-caprolactone) (PCL) has been investigated as a function of molecular weight and related crystalline structure. Because of the interacting effects in semi-crystalline polymers a separate study of a given structural parameter is rather challenging. Nevertheless, this polymer seems to be a good model material to study the effect of molecular weight on the essential work of fracture, as the interactions between the separate parameters, at room temperature, are negligible. The molecular characteristics of PCL were determined by size exclusion chromatography. To confirm the entangled molecular structure of studied polymers rheological measurements were performed. The crystalline morphology has been characterized by differential scanning calorimetry and wide angle X-ray diffraction. Quasi-static tensile tests and essential work of fracture tests were performed to study the mechanical behavior. Based on the experimental observations an empirical model has been proposed to outline the molecular weight and crystallinity dependence of the essential work of fracture in this semi-crystalline polymer.
Published by:

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