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All issues / Volume 7 (2013) / Issue 11 (November)

Controlling properties by understanding polymer crystallization
M. Gahleitner
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 885-885, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.85
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Optimizing the bulk copolymerization of D,L-lactide and glycolide by response surface methodology
L. I. Cabezas, R. Mazarro, I. Gracia, A. de Lucas, J. F. Rodriguez
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 886-894, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.86
Poly(D,L-lactide-co-glycolide), PLGA, is a biodegradable polyester with high interest in medical industry, especially when zinc (II) 2-ethylhexanoate (ZnOct2) is used as catalyst substitute in polymerization processes as a substitute of the toxic tin (II) 2-ethylhexanoate (SnOct2) together an initiator such as methanol to improve the reaction rate. This article shows the optimization of the bulk copolymerization method by using a factorial design approach on three experimental parameters: temperature (T), molar ratio monomers/catalyst (MC ratio) and molar ratio initiator/catalyst (IC ratio). Their influence on mass conversion (X) and number-average molecular weight (Mn) was also discussed. Also it provides a useful tool to select in a fast way the proper experimental conditions for the obtaining of this polymer as a previous stage in the synthesis and impregnation of biodegradable scaffolds. This analysis revealed that the most relevant variable in the process is the temperature, being desirable to use the high value (160ºC) in order to obtain high values of conversion and molecular weight.
Advantages of polycarboxylic over dicarboxylic anhydrides in the melt modification of PPC
C. Barreto, E. Hansen, S. Fredriksen
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 895-899, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.87
We present an alternative polymer modification of poly (propylene carbonate) (PPC). A conventional practice for PPC melt processing is the melt – modification with maleic anhydride (MAH) – a di-carboxylic anhydride –. In our work, PPC is melt-modified with pyromellitic di-anhydride (PDAH) – a tetra-carboxylic dianhydride –. Using MAH modified PPC as reference, the polymer degradation and the thermal and viscoelastic properties of the materials are studied. Both anhydrides after their melt compounding have similar efficiency in the conservation of the molecular weight. Strikingly, the use of PDAH is advantageous over MAH considering the improvement of the thermal stability, the decrease of the complex melt viscosity and higher storage modulus (stiffness) of the modified PPC. It is speculated that the changes in the material performance arise from the occurrence of long chain branching and non-covalent interactions from the PDAH modifier.
Controlled anisotropic wetting behaviour of multi-scale slippery surface structure of non fluoro polymer composite
B. N. Sahoo, B. Kandasubramanian, B. Sabarish
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 900-909, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.88
A facile process for in-situ modification of surface properties of Waste Expanded Polystyrene (WEP)/graphite film produced by spin coating technique has been described. The additives undergo spontaneous surface agglomeration with formation of islands of forest of flake structure during the spinning process. This results in polymer films with enhanced roughness and highly hydrophobic surfaces. Wettability was analyzed using static water contact angle, surface morphology was observed using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). The polymer composite exhibited maximum water contact angle (WCA) of 129°. Surface texture reveals the variation of surface roughness which enables anisotropic surface wettability property. The present work exhibits promising approach for fabricating nano flake forest in polymer structures for various industrial applications.
Effects of different epoxidation methods of soybean oil on the characteristics of acrylated epoxidized soybean oil-co-poly(methyl methacrylate) copolymer
P. Saithai, J. Lecomte, E. Dubreucq, V. Tanrattanakul
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 910-924, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.89
The effect of the type of epoxidation processes of soybean oil on the characteristics of epoxidized soybean oils (ESOs), acrylated epoxidized soybean oils (AESOs), and acrylated epoxidized soybean oil – poly(methyl metacrylate) copolymers (AESO-co-PMMA) has been investigated. Two epoxidation processes were used: an in situ chemical epoxidation using hydrogen peroxide and formic acid, and a chemo-enzymatic epoxidation using 2 enzymes: Novozyme® 435 (CALB) and a homemade lipase/acyltransferase (CpLIP2). ESOs containing different numbers of epoxide groups/molecule were synthesized. A commercial ESO (Vikoflex® 7170) was employed and it had the highest number of epoxide groups. Acrylation of ESOs was carried out using acrylic acid, and copolymerized with a methyl methacrylate monomer. The chemo-enzymatic epoxidation produced high acid value, particularly from the CpLIP2 (~46–48%) and indicated the formation of epoxidized free fatty acids. In contrast, the ESO synthesized from the chemical epoxidation showed a very low acid value, < 0.6%. The AESOs synthesized from the CALB-based ESO and the chemical-based ESO showed a similar number of acrylate groups/molecule while that from the CpLIP2-based ESO showed a very low number of acrylate groups because the carboxylic groups from the epoxidized free fatty acids impeded the acrylation reaction. The lower the number of acrylate groups the lower was the crosslink density, the Tg, and the gel content in the AESO-co-PMMA copolymer.
Interfacial toughening and consequent improvement in fracture toughness of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy resin composites: induced by diblock copolymers
S. H. Deng, X. D. Zhou, M. Q. Zhu, C. J. Fan, Q. F. Lin
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 925-935, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.90
Carbon fibers chemically grafted with hydroxyl-terminated diblock copolymer poly (n-butylacrylate)-b-poly (glycidyl methacrylate) (OH-PnBA-b-PGMA), were used as the reinforcement for epoxy composites. The multi-filament composite specimens were prepared and measured by dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA), to study the interfacial toughness of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites with the diblock copolymers. The loss modulus and loss factor peaks of β-relaxation indicated that composites with diblock copolymers could dissipate more energy at small strain and possess better interfacial toughness, whereas composites without the ductile block PnBA having the worse interfacial toughness. The glass transition temperature and the apparent activation energy calculated from the glass transition showed that the strong interfacial adhesion existed in the composites with diblock copolymers, corresponding with the value of interfacial shear strength. Therefore, a strengthening and toughening interfacial structure in carbon fiber/epoxy composites was achieved by introducing the diblock copolymer OH-PnBA-b-PGMA. The resulting impact toughness, characterized with an Izod impact tester, was better than that of composite without the ductile block PnBA.
Organically modified hydrotalcite for compounding and spinning of polyethylene nanocomposites
I. Dabrowska, L. Fambri, A. Pegoretti, G. Ferrara
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 936-949, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.91
Organically modified hydrotalcite is a recent class of organoclay based on layered double hydroxides (LDH), which is anionically modified with environmental friendly ligands such as fatty acids. In this paper the influence of hydrotalcite compounded/dispersed by means of two different processes for production of plates and fibers of polyolefin nanocomposites will be compared. A polyethylene matrix, suitable for fiber production, was firstly compounded with various amounts of hydrotalcite in the range of 0.5–5% by weight, and then compression moulded in plates whose thermomechanical properties were evaluated. Similar compositions were processed by using a co-rotating twin screw extruder in order to directly produce melt-spun fibers. The incorporation of clay into both bulk and fiber nanocomposites enhanced the thermal stability and induced heterogeneous nucleation of polyethylene crystals. Hydrotalcite manifested a satisfactory dispersion into the polymer matrix, and hence positively affected the mechanical properties in term of an increase of both Young’s modulus and tensile strength. Tenacity of nanocomposite as spun fibers was increased up to 30% with respect to the neat polymer. Moreover, the addition of LDH filler induced an increase of the tensile modulus of drawn fibers from 5.0 GPa (neat HDPE) up to 5.6–5.8 GPa.
Controlled biopolymer roughness induced by plasma and excimer laser treatment
P. Slepicka, I. Michaljanicova, V. Svorcik
Vol. 7., No.11., Pages 950-958, 2013
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2013.92
A new method for biopolymer poly-L-lactic-acid (PLLA) surface nanostructuring with surface plasmon resonance appearance is proposed. The motivation of this work is to determine optimal conditions for rough or flat biopolymer surface which may find broad application in tissue engineering as biocompatible carrier for various types of cell lines. A combination of plasma pre-treatment with consequent excimer laser exposure is proposed as a method for increasing the roughness of PLLA surface and changing its morphology. The focus of this paper is to determine morphology changes in combination with mass loss changes. The ablation loss and morphology of PLLA was induced by excimer laser exposure of plasma pre-treated PLLA with different laser fluencies and number of pulses. The combination of a certain input parameters of plasma pre-treatment together with laser exposure induces extensive physico-chemical changes (morphology, contact angle, optical properties) on polymer surface with dramatic roughness increase. Gravimetric studies have revealed an extensive polymer ablation after excimer laser application. The effect of surface plasmon resonance was observed in laser modified PLLA. Conditions for PLLA surface flattening are also proposed.
Published by:

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