All issues / Volume 7 (2013) / Issue 8 (August)
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Aim of the present study is to investigate how synthetic boehmite alumina (BA) nanoparticles modify the viscoleastic and fracture behaviour of linear low-density polyethylene. Nanocomposites containing up to 8 wt% of untreated and octyl silane-functionalized BA nanoparticles, were prepared by melt compounding and hot pressing. The BA nanoparticles were finely and unformly dispersed within the matrix according to scanning electron microscopy inspection. The results of quasi-static tensile tests indicated that nanoparticles can provide a remarkable stiffening effect at a rather low filler content. Short term creep tests showed that creep stability was significatively improved by nanofiller incorporation. Concurrently, both storage and loss moduli were enhanced in all nanocomposites, showing better result for surface treated nanoparticles. The plane-stress fracture toughness, evaluated by the essential work of fracture approach, manifested a dramatic increase (up to 64%) with the BA content, with no significant differences among the various types of BA nanoparticles.
In this paper, a new method to the preparation of low-dielectric nanoporous polyimide (PI) films was addressed, based on the self-assembly structures of PS-b-P4VP/poly(amic acid) (PAA, precursor of PI) blends. It is found the microphase-separation structure of PS-b-P4VP/PAA is a precondition of the formation of nanoporous structures, which could be achieved by solvent annealing. Nanoporous PI films with spherical pore size of ~11 nm were obtained by thermal imidization followed by the removal of the PS-b-P4VP block copolymer. The porosity of the nanoporous PI films could be controlled by the weight fraction of the PS-b-P4VP block copolymer. The dielectric properties of the nanoporous PI films were studied, and it was found that the introduction of nanopores could effectively reduce the dielectric constant from 3.60 of dense PI films to 2.41 of nanoporous PI films with a porosity of 26%, making it promising in microelectronic devices. The fabrication method described here could be extended to other polymer systems.
An epoxy resin was nanomodified with in-situ generated silver nanoparticles (Ag) and with various amounts of carbon black (CB) and carbon nanofibers (NF), in order to increase the electrical conductivity of the matrix. Differential scanning calorimetry tests revealed how the addition of both CB and NF led to a slight decrease of the glass transition temperature of the material, while electron microscopy evidenced how the dimension of CB aggregates increased with the filler content. Both flexural modulus and stress at yield were decreased by CB addition, and the introduction of Ag nanoparticles promoted an interesting improvement of the flexural resistance. CB resulted to be more effective than NF in decreasing the electrical resistance of the materials down to 103 Ω•cm. Therefore, a rapid heating of the CB-filled samples upon voltage application was observed, while Ag nanoparticles allowed a stabilization of the temperature for elevated voltage application times.
A composite aerosol filter media was prepared by depositing nanofibers on the non-woven fabrics substrate using needleless electrospinning technique. The polyvinyl alcohol nanofibers with mean diameters of ca. 100 nm were used as top layers. The filtration performance was evaluated by measuring the filtration of sodium chloride nanoparticles (75±20 nm) through the filters. It was found that the filtration efficiency of the composite filter media for nanoparticles was increased along with the thickness of nanofibers mats which was controlled by the collection time during the electrospinning. The multi-layer arrangement for fabrication of the composite filter can achieve high filtration efficiency (up to 99.95%) which was comparable to commercial high efficiency particulate air filters but with higher quality factor and less mass.
This feature article focuses on a novel strategy towards macrocyclic (co)polyesters that combines controlled ring-opening polymerization of lactones initiated by a cyclic tin(IV) dialkoxide and intramolecular cyclization by photocross-linking of pendant unsaturations next to the propagating sites. No linear species is ever involved in the polymerization and permanent cyclization steps, which allows higher molecular weight macrocycles to be prepared with high efficiency and no need for further purification. Moreover, this synthetic route is very flexible to the point where macrocyclic polyesters with more complex although well-defined architectures, such as tadpole-shaped and sun-shaped copolyesters, can be tailored. Synthesis of well-defined eight-shaped polyesters and twin tadpole-shaped copolymers has also been explored by using a spirocyclic tin(IV) alkoxides as an initiator. When functional lactones were introduced, the ‘click’ copper-mediated cycloaddition [3+2] reaction was utilized to make the eight-shaped and twin tadpole-shaped copolyesters amphiphilic.
Polymer nanocomposites are currently a topic of great interest. The increasing importance they are gaining also in the standpoint of industrial applications, is giving concerns regarding their environmental stability and, in general, their behaviour in outdoor applications, under direct solar irradiation. Papers available in the literature have highlighted the different influences of different nanosized fillers, in particular clay-based nanofillers; however, few data are available regarding other nanosized fillers. Furthermore, the research on polymer nanocomposites has clearly pointed out that the use of compatibilizers is required to improve the mechanical performance and the dispersion of polar fillers inside apolar polymer matrices, especially when complex mechanisms such as intercalation and exfoliation, typical of clay-filled nanocomposites, are involved. In this work, the photo-oxidation behaviour of polypropylene/clay and polypropylene/calcium carbonate nanocomposites containing different amounts of maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene (PPgMA) and subjected to accelerated weathering, was investigated. The results showed significant differences between the two nanofillers and different degradation behaviours in presence of the compatibilizer. In particular, PPgMA modified the dispersion of the nanofillers but, on the other hand, higher amounts proved to lead to the formation of some heterogeneities. Furthermore, PPgMA proved to positively affect the photo-oxidation behaviour by decreasing the rate of formation of the degradation products.
In this work we studied the optical properties of poly(p-phenylene vinylene) (PPV) produced by the thermal conversion of a precursor polymer blended with a synthetic dye (Reactive Black 5). The production of PPV by this method decreases the overall time and cost of the process. We observed that the introduction of the dye resulted in an additional absorbance band near 550–700 nm, which can be beneficial to the photon harvesting capacity of the polymer if it is used as the donor material in a photovoltaic device. We studied how the optical and structures properties of this blend change when different quantities of TiO2 nanoparticles are introduced. For that, thin films were produced by the cast deposition of pre-PPV:dye:TiO2. The scanning electronic microscopic images showed that the inorganic semiconductor form large agglomerates of approximately 200 nm, indicating a very rough surface where the dye can be adsorbed. The analysis of photoluminescence and Raman peaks indicated a reduction of the mean conjugation length of the polymer chains in the presence of TiO2 nanoparticles.