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All issues / Volume 5 (2011) / Issue 2 (February)

Liquefaction of plant biomass for use in polymers - is it the right strategy?
J. Karger-Kocsis
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 92-92, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.10
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Mechanical properties and structure development in poly(butylene succinate)/organo-montmorillonite nanocomposites under uniaxial cold rolling
Y. J. Phua, W. S. Chow, Z. A. Mohd Ishak
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 93-103, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.11
Polymer nanocomposites have potentially enhanced properties when the molecular orientations of the polymer chains can be controlled. In this study, the mechanical and structural properties of poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) and 2wt% organo-montmorillonite (OMMT) filled PBS nanocomposites were modified by uniaxial cold rolling. Cold rolling was carried out to different compression ratios. The mechanical properties of rolled samples were studied in both the machine direction (MD) and the transverse direction (TD). Along the MD, distinct improvements in tensile strength and elongation at break were observed. However, the tensile strength degraded along the TD. Wide angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD) and microwave molecular orientation analysis reported on the degree of molecular orientation after rolling. Further, degree of crystallinity was reduced after cold rolling.
Morphology-properties relationship on nanocomposite films based on poly(styrene-block-diene-block-styrene) copolymers and silver nanoparticles
L. Peponi, A. Tercjak, L. Martin, I. Mondragon, J. M. Kenny
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 104-118, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.12
A comparative study on the self-assembled nanostructured morphology and the rheological and mechanical properties of four different triblock copolymers, based on poly(styrene-block-diene-block-styrene) and poly(styrene-block-diene-block-styrene) matrices, and of their respective nanocomposites with 1 wt% silver nanoparticles, is reported in this work. In order to obtain well-dispersed nanoparticles in the block copolymer matrix, dodecanethiol was used as surfactant, showing good affinity with both nanoparticles and the polystyrene phase of the matrices as predicted by the solubility parameters calculated based on Hoftyzer and Van Krevelen theory. The block copolymer with the highest PS content shows the highest tensile modulus and tensile strength, but also the smallest elongation at break. When silver nanoparticles treated with surfactant were added to the block copolymer matrices, each system studied shows higher mechanical properties due to the good dispersion and the good interface of Ag nanoparticles in the matrices. Furthermore, it has been shown that semiempirical models such as Guth and Gold equation and Halpin-Tsai model can be used to predict the tensile modulus of the analyzed nanocomposites.
Characterization of hydrolytic degradation of polylactic acid/rice hulls composites in water at different temperatures
B. S. Ndazi, S. Karlsson
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 119-131, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.13
Hydrolytic degradations of polylactic acid/rice hulls (PLA/RH) composites with various rice hulls contents due to water absorptions at 23, 51 and 69°C were investigated by studying the thermal properties, chemical composition, molecular weight, and morphology of the degraded products. The results have attested that the stability of PLA/RH composites in water depends slightly on rice hulls contents but it is significantly influenced by water temperature. Water absorption in 30 days at 23°C was between 0.87 and 9.25% depending on rice hull contents. However, at thermophilic temperatures, the water absorption and degradation of these products were increased significantly. Saturations were achieved in less than 25 and 9 days at 51°C and 69°C, respectively, while hydrolytic degradation was demonstrated by an increase in fragility and development of crystallinity. At 69°C, there were significant reductions of the decomposition and glass transition temperatures of the polymer by 13°C. These changes were associated with the reduction of the molecular weight of PLA from 153.1 kDa to ~10.7 kDa due to hydrolysis of its ester group.
Influence of nano-AlN particles on thermal conductivity, thermal stability and cure behavior of cycloaliphatic epoxy/trimethacrylate system
J. H. Yu, J. K. Duan, W. Y. Peng, L. C. Wang, P. Peng, P. K. Jiang
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 132-141, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.14
We have prepared a series of nano-sized aluminium nitride (nano-AlN)/cycloaliphatic epoxy/trimethacrylate (TMPTMA) systems and investigated their morphology, thermal conductivity, thermal stability and curing behavior. Experimental results show that the thermal conductivity of composites increases with the nano-AlN filler content, the maximum value is up to 0.47 W/(m.K). Incorporation of a small amount of the nano-AlN filler into the epoxy/TMPTMA system improves the thermal stability. For instance, the thermal degradation temperature at 5% weight loss of nano-AlN/epoxy/TMPTMA system with only 1 wt% nano-AlN was improved by ~8ºC over the neat epoxy/TMPTMA system. The effect of nano-AlN particles on the cure behavior of epoxy/TMPTMA systems was studied by dynamic differential scanning calorimetry. The results showed that the addition of silane treated nano-AlN particles does not change the curing reaction mechanism and silane treated nano-AlN particles could bring positive effect on the processing of composite since it needs shorter pre-cure time and lower pre-temperature, meanwhile the increase of glass transition temperature of the nanocomposite improves the heat resistance.
Advances in synthetic optically active condensation polymers - A review
S. Mallakpour, A. Zadehnazari
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 142-181, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.15
The study of optically active polymers is a very active research field, and these materials have exhibited a number of interesting properties. Much of the attention in chiral polymers results from the potential of these materials for several specialized utilizations that are chiral matrices for asymmetric synthesis, chiral stationary phases for the separation of racemic mixtures, synthetic molecular receptors and chiral liquid crystals for ferroelectric and nonlinear optical applications. Recently, highly efficient methodologies and catalysts have been developed to synthesize various kinds of optically active compounds. Some of them can be applied to chiral polymer synthesis. In a few synthetic approaches for optically active polymers, chiral monomer polymerization has essential advantages in applicability of monomer, apart from both asymmetric polymerization of achiral or prochiral monomers and enantioselective polymerization of a racemic monomer mixture. The following are the up to date successful approaches to the chiral synthetic polymers by condensation polymerization reaction of chiral monomers.
Coaxial electrospun polyurethane core-shell nanofibers for shape memory and antibacterial nanomaterials
H. T. Zhuo, J. L. Hu, S. J. Chen
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 182-187, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.16
A novel kind of shape memory polyurethane (SMPU) nanofibers with core-shell nanostructure is fabricated using coaxial electrospinning. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) results show that nanofibers with core-shell structure or bead-on-string structure can be electrospun successfully from the core solution of polycaprolactone based SMPU (CLSMPU) and shell solution of pyridine containing polyurethane (PySMPU). In addition to the excellent shape memory effect with good shape fixity, excellent antibacterial activity against both gramnegative bacteria and gram-positive bacteria are achieved in the CLSMPU-PySMPU core-shell nanofiber. Finally, it is proposed that the antibacterial mechanism should be resulted from the PySMPU shell materials containing amido group in γ position and the high surface area per unit mass of nanofibers. Thus, the CLSMPU-PySMPU core shell nanofibers can be used as both shape memory nanomaterials and antibacterial nanomaterials.
On the morphology and potential application of polydimethylsiloxane-silica-titania composites
M. Alexandru, M. Cazacu, F. Doroftei, M. Ignat, D. Timpu, C. V. Grigoras, B. C. Simionescu
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 188-196, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.17
Polydimethylsiloxane-α,ω-diol was used as matrix for the preparation of polysiloxane-SiO2-TiO2 composites through in situ incorporation of silica and titania using a solvent-free sol-gel procedure. For this purpose, oxide precursors tetraethyl-orthosilicate and tetrabutyl-orthotitanate, and a proper condensation catalyst, viz. dibuthyltin dilaurate, were added in pre-established amounts to the polymer. The hydrolysis and condensation reactions take place under mild conditions, with the formation of silicon and titanium oxide networks and polymer crosslinking. The effect of SiO2 and TiO2 mass ratio on the morphology of the composites was investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-rays diffraction (XRD), and interpreted in correlation with differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) data. The film samples were tested as active elements in actuation devices.
Study of the PVA hydrogel behaviour in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ionic liquid
S. Patachia, Chr. Friedrich, C. Florea, C. Croitoru
Vol. 5., No.2., Pages 197-207, 2011
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2011.18
The present paper aims at studying the behaviour of the poly(vinyl alcohol) [PVA] cryogel in the presence of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium tetrafluoroborate ([BMIM]+[BF4]) aqueous solutions with various concentrations. The gravimetric method showed that the swollen PVA cryogels exhibit mechanically active behaviour. PVA cryogels showed shrinking in the presence of ionic liquid, (IL), and re-swelling in the presence of distilled water. The re-swelling is not completely reversible, due to the influence of the IL ions on the gel morphology. The Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra have indicated no chemical interaction between the PVA and the studied IL, but highlighted the gel crystallinity change as a function of IL concentration, as well as changes in the bound water amount. Rheological analyses showed dominating plastifying effect of the cation at a lower IL concentration and dominating kosmotropic effect of the anion at a higher IL concentration. A phenomenological kinetic equation that takes into account both fluxes of matters, in and out of the gel, is proposed, explaining the alteration of the gel properties when it comes in contact with BMIMBF4 solutions.
Published by:

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