Search for articles


All issues / Volume 9 (2015) / Issue 5 (May)

Polymer nanocomposites for energy applications
S. C. Tjong, L. X. He
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 401-401, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.38
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Antibacterial treatment of LDPE with halogen derivatives via cold plasma
A. Popelka, I. Novak, M. Lehocky, F. Bilek, A. Kleinova, M. Mozetic, M. Spirkova, I. Chodak
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 402-411, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.39
The factor limiting the application of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) in healthcare is its high susceptibility to bacterial growth. For this reason, we here investigated antibacterial treatments of LDPE foils using appropriate antibacterial agents. Benzalkonium chloride and bronopol were selected because of their satisfactory antibacterial effect, which has been confirmed by their application in the medical and cosmetic industries. The aforementioned substances were immobilized by a multistep approach via the grafting of polyacrylic acid (PAA) brushes onto LDPE surfaces pre-treated with low-temperature plasma. Measurements of the surface energy, peel strength of the adhesive joints, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy with attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR), and atomic force micro scopy (AFM) were used to investigate the surface and adhesive properties of the antibacterial-treated LDPE. Moreover, the antibacterial effect was determined via measurements of the inhibition zone of the Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) bacterial strain. The antibacterial activity of benzalkonium chloride was observed to be more pronounced than that of bronopol. Inhibition-zone measurements of Escherichia coli (E. coli) were also conducted, but an antibacterial effect was not observed.
Graphene nanoplatelets-reinforced polyetherimide foams prepared by water vapor-induced phase separation
H. Abbasi, M. Antunes, J. I. Velasco
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 412-423, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.40
The present work considers the preparation of medium-density polyetherimide foams reinforced with variable amounts of graphene nanoplatelets (1–10 wt%) by means of water vapor-induced phase separation (WVIPS) and their characterization . A homogeneous closed-cell structure with cell sizes around 10 µm was obtained, with foams exhibiting zero crystallinity according to X-ray diffraction (XRD). Thermogravimetric analysis under nitrogen showed a two-step thermal decomposition behaviour for both unfilled and graphene-reinforced foams, with foams containing graphene presenting thermal stability improvements, related to a physical barrier effect promoted by the nanoplatelets. Thermo-mechanical analysis indicated that the specific storage modulus of the nanocomposite foams significantly increased owing to the high stiffness of graphene and finer cellular morphology of the foams. Although foamed nanocomposites displayed no further sign of graphene nanoplatelets exfoliation, the electrical conductivity of these foams was significant even for low graphene contents, with a tunnel-like model fitting well to the evolution of the electrical conductivity with the amount of graphene.
Solution viscosity – molar mass relationships for poly(butylene succinate) and discussion on molar mass analysis
Q. Charlier, E. Girard, F. Freyermouth, M. Vandesteene, N. Jacquel, C. Ladaviere, A. Rousseau, F. Fenouillot
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 424-434, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.41
Poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) is currently developing due to its biodegradability and the similarity of its mechanical properties to those of polyolefins. Relationships between the number average molar mass, Mn, and solution viscosity such as [η] and ηred were derived for this aliphatic polyester. Mn values were determined by end-group analysis and size exclusion chromatography (SEC). Mark-Houwink-Sakurada (MHS) parameters were proposed in two solvents and for the different molar masses and viscosity measurement methods. As an example, the MHS equations were respectively, [η] =6.4•10–4•Mn0.67 in chloroform and [η] = 7.1•10–4•Mn0.69 in 50/50 wt% 1,2-dichlorobenzene/phenol at 25°C for molar masses measured by SEC in hexafluoro isopropanol (HFIP) with poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) standards. Empirical relationships were also suggested to derive Mn directly from reduced viscosity, ηred, which is much easier to determine than intrinsic viscosity. With these data, the number average molar mass of PBS can be conveniently estimated from a single viscosity measurement. In addition, it was shown that PBS contains 1–2 wt% of cyclic oligomers produced during esterification and that molar masses determined by taking this fraction into account or not were significantly different, especially for long chains.
Properties and medical applications of polylactic acid: A review
K. Hamad, M. Kaseem, H. W. Yang, F. Deri, Y. G. Ko
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 435-455, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.42
Polylactic acid (PLA), one of the well-known biodegradable polyesters, has been studied extensively for tissue engineering and drug delivery systems, and it was also used widely in human medicine. A new method to synthesize PLA (ring-opening polymerization), which allowed the economical production of a high molecular weight PLA polymer, broadened its applications, and this processing would be a potential substitute for petroleum-based products. This review described the principles of the polymerization reactions of PLA and, then, outlined the various materials properties affecting the performance of PLA polymer, such as rheological, mechanical, thermal, and barrier properties as well as the processing technologies which were used to fabricate products based on PLA. In addition, the biodegradation processes of products which were shaped from PLA were discussed and reviewed. The potential applications of PLA in the medical fields, such as tissue engineering, wound management, drugs delivery, and orthopedic devices, were also highlighted.
The influence of polysilane chemical structure on optical properties, rubbed film morphology and LC alignment
M. Soroceanu, A. I. Barzic, I. Stoica, L. Sacarescu, V. Harabagiu
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 456-468, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.43
Polysilane films were prepared by the drop casting method and their optical and morphological properties have been analyzed in order to investigate their suitability as alignment layers for nematic molecules. The samples do not absorb the radiations in the visible domain, particularly those containing methylhydrosilyl units, and present a transmittance of about 90% starting from 390 to 1100 nm. The optical band-gap is higher than 3.26 eV for all polysilanes indicating a low probability of optical absorption processes in the visible range. The morphology of the pristine samples shows isotropically distributed granular formations. The polymer surface was oriented by rubbing with two types of velvet: one with short fibers and the other with long fibers. The latter generates higher surface anisotropy, as shown by the reduction of the surface texture direction index values. The presence of methylhydrosilyl units allows a denser packing of the polymer structure and thus finer surface periodicities, leading to better orientation of the nematic molecules on the polysilane surface.
Synthesis of novel silica-polyimide nanocomposite films using aromatic-amino modified silica nanoparticles: Mechanical, thermal and morphological investigations
R. V. Ghorpade, C. R. Rajan, N. N. Chavan, S. Ponrathnam
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 469-479, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.44
Silica nanoparticles were modified with aromatic amino groups and modified-silica/polyimide composite films were prepared using them. 3,3',4,4'-Benzophenone tetracarboxylic dianhydride (BTDA) and 4,4'-oxydianiline (ODA) were used as precursors for polyimide matrix. The structures of the modified nanoparticles and hybrid nanocomposites were identified using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometry. The hybrid composite films were evaluated for mechanical, thermal and morphological characteristics. Morphological results describe a uniform dispersion of silica particles in the polymer matrix. The thermal stability and mechanical properties of polyimide composite were improved, and the decomposition temperature was increased when the amount of silica nanoparticles was increased.
Specimen gripping effects in composites fatigue testing -– Concerns from initial investigation
P. B. S. Bailey, A. D. Lafferty
Vol. 9., No.5., Pages 480-488, 2015
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2015.45
This paper presents the findings of an initial investigation into effects of end tabs and gripping force on specimens for fatigue testing of structural composites. Live measurement of specimen compliance comparing extensometer measurements with grip displacement showed the impact of gripping on the dynamic behavior of the specimen. Use of thermal imaging enabled assessment of how load is introduced and carried along the specimen. The effect of grip pressure and comparative merits of popular solutions are examined in the context of fatigue testing of composites. Although for static tests these potential issues have been investigated extensively throughout the history of composites research, interest has only recently fallen upon their effects on dynamic loading. Data collected show that the gripping pressure at the ends of the specimen can affect results more significantly than may be anticipated. These early results suggest that solutions which are well established for quasi-static testing may cause problems in cyclic tests.
Published by:

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