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All issues / Volume 12 (2018) / Issue 6 (June)

‘Fake news’ in polymer science?
M. Gahleitner
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 490-490, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.41
This is an editorial article. It has no abstract.
Ballistic study of Tensylon®–based panels
L-C. Alil, M. Arrigoni, S. Badea, R. Ginghina, L-C. Matache, P. Mostovykh
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 491-504, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.42
Ballistic protection is a matter of interest requested by civilian as well as military needs. The last decade has witnessed an increase in the use of light weight and efficient armour systems. These panels may be used for body protection as well as light vehicle protection against small calibres or to enhance the protection level of heavier vehicles with decreasing or maintaining their weight penalty. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene is a material of interest for light weight armour applications. The authors designed panels made of hot–pressed Tensylon® in different configurations with thin steel sheets as a backing and shield protection. Comparison of their ballistic performance to the theory predictions reveals the improved ballistic response of the panels. In addition, a non–pressed Tensylon® panel has been tested in order to facilitate the observations of the failure mechanisms inside the panels. Even if not suitable for practical use, such non–pressed panels clearly reveal the dynamic processes at micro–scale that occur during the impact. The failure mechanisms of the material under bullet penetration are discussed based on photography, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The supposed effects of the panel pressing are discussed based on the observed difference between pressed and non–pressed structures ballistic response.
Review on PCL, PBS, and PCL/PBS blends containing carbon nanotubes
T. P. Gumede, A. S. Luyt, A. J. Muller
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 505-529, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.43
Biodegradable polymers received considerable attention due to their contribution in the reduction of environmental concerns and the realization that global petroleum resources are finite. The development of double crystalline biobased blends such as poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) and poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) are particularly interesting because each component has an influence on the crystallization behaviour of the other component, and thus influences the strength and mechanical properties of a polymer blend. The lack of miscibility between PCL and PBS constitutes a bottleneck, and efforts have been made to improve the miscibility through the inclusion of copolymers. Having realized that incorporating conductive nanofillers such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs), (especially when the CNTs are functionalized or used as a masterbatch i.e., polycarbonate/MWCNTs masterbatch), into biopolymer matrices, can enhance the thermal and mechanical properties, as well as electrical and thermal conductivity, a lot of research was aimed at the production of bionanocomposites. This review paper discusses the properties of PCL, PBS, their blends, and their CNTs containing nanocomposites.
New functional nanocomposites based on poly(trimethylene 2,5-furanoate) and few layer graphene prepared by in situ polymerization
S. Paszkiewicz, I. Janowska, D. Pawlikowska, A. Szymczyk, I. Irska, S. Lisiecki, R. Stanik, M. Gude, E. Piesowicz
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 530-542, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.44
Poly(trimethylene 2,5-furanoate) (PTF) nanocomposites reinforced with few layer graphene (FLG) were prepared through in situ polymerization. The method in question allows obtaining well-dispersed nanoplatelets in the whole volume of PTF matrix. The mechanical properties of the PTF/FLG nanocomposites slightly increased with as quantity of FLG as small as 0.1 wt%, which was best seen in the improvement of elongation at break by about two times. The presence of FLG did not affect the crystallization and chain mobility of PTF matrix. However, the incorporation of a small quantity of FLG slightly improved the thermal stability of the nanocomposites. Additionally, the cold and hot water absorption and oxygen permittivity measurements confirmed that FLG affected the tortuosity of the diffusive path for the penetrant molecule. Moreover, along with a successive addition of FLG a linear increase in thermal conductivity was visible.
Effect of combining cellulose nanocrystals and graphene nanoplatelets on the properties of poly(lactic acid) based films
S. Montes, A. Etxeberria, V. Mocholi, A. Rekondo, H. Grande, J. Labidi
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 543-555, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.45
In the present work, cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and graphene nanoplatelets (GR) were combined in two different ratios and incorporated into polylactic acid (PLA) by melt blending technique, at a total loading level of 1 wt%. The obtained PLA-CNC/GR nanocomposites were further processed by hot pressing for manufacturing films. For comparison purposes, PLA-CNC, PLA-GR and PLA-T (PLA blended with the organic surfactant Triton X-100) compositions were also prepared following the same procedure. The produced materials were characterized by several techniques, including Field-Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FE-SEM). The mechanical properties assessment showed an increase of 8 and 11% in the Young’s modulus and tensile strength respectively for PLA- CNC/GR (ratio 50/50) film compared to PLA-T. The thermal properties were also positively influenced by the incorporation of both nanofillers. Similarly, the gas barrier properties were improved by 23% in Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) for films containing simultaneously CNC and GR. Finally, the antifungal properties were evaluated against Aspergillus Niger finding a superior antifungal activity in the CNC/GR hybrid films. The incorporation of CNC and GR in PLA showed a favourable impact in the overall properties of the obtained materials with only 1 wt% of nanofiller content. These results suggest that CNC/GR hybrid nanocomposites have a considerable potential in agricultural films or in food packaging trays applications.
Proof of concept for molecular velcro based on the attractive interaction between porphyrin and pyridine containing copolymers
M. Sievers, J. C. Namyslo, F. Lederle, E. G. Huebner
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 556-568, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.46
In this short communication, we investigated the synthesis and mixing of porphyrin and pyridine functionalized copolymers as a proof of concept for a velcro-like interaction. A functionalized porphyrin monomer with one polymerizable side chain was synthesized following a rational synthetic pathway. Subsequent copolymerization and careful removal of residual free porphyrin led to poly(n-butyl acrylate-co-5,10,15-triphenyl-20-(3-vinylphenyl)porphyrin). The immobilized porphyrin was transformed into the corresponding zinc(II) complex, which is capable of the coordinative binding of one pyridine moiety. Complete metallation was proven by absorption spectroscopy. 4-Vinylpyridine was immobilized by copolymerization with n-butyl acrylate, too. Via controlled radical polymerization conditions, the molecular weight of poly(n-butyl acrylate-co-4-vinylpyridine) was limited to one tenth of the molecular weight of the porphyrin containing copolymer. This large difference in the molecular weight easily allowed identifying the polymers in the mixture of both. With the help of diffusion ordered nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the complete and temperature-stable precipitation of the porphyrin containing copolymer was observed, proving the expected attractive interaction and supramolecular network formation.
Effect of the viscosity ratio on the PLA/PA10.10 bioblends morphology and mechanical properties
J. Cailloux, T. Abt, V. Garcia-Masabet, O. Santana, M. Sanchez-Soto, F. Carrasco, M. Ll. Maspoch
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 569-582, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.47
PLA bio-blends with a predominantly biosourced PA10.10 in the composition range 10–50 wt% were prepared by melt blending in order to overcome the advanced brittleness of PLA. Due to the inherent immiscibility of the blends, 30 wt% of PA was needed to achieve a brittle-to-ductile transition and a co-continuous morphology was predicted at 58 wt% of PA. The initial enhancement of the PLA rheological behaviour through the environmentally friendly reactive extrusion process yielded a finer and more homogeneous microstructure and hence enhanced the mechanical properties of the bioblends at much lower PA contents. The brittle-to-ductile transition could be achieved with only 10 wt% and co-continuity was observed already at 44 wt% of PA. Results indicate the significant potential of modifying PLA flow behaviour as a promising green manufacturing method toward expanding PLA-based bio-blends applications.
Diastereoisomeric diversity dictates reactivity of epoxy groups in limonene dioxide polymerization
M. Soto, K. Koschek
Vol. 12., No.6., Pages 583-589, 2018
DOI: 10.3144/expresspolymlett.2018.48
Limonene dioxide (LDO) has the potential to find a wide application as a bio-based epoxy resin. Its polymerizations by catalyzed ring-opening, and by polyaddition with diamines were compared with the polymerizations of the commercial epoxy resins bisphenol-A diglycidyl ether (BADGE), and 3,4-epoxycyclohexylmethyl-3′,4′-epoxycyclohexane carboxylate (ECC). Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) studies showed that LDO polymerizations suffer in all cases studied from incomplete conversions. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) studies revealed that in cis-isomers of LDO the internal epoxide rings were not reacting. The low reactivity of this epoxide group was explained by mechanistic considerations making use of the Fürst-Plattner rule, or trans-diaxial effect. Due to diastereomeric diversity approximately one-fourth of epoxide groups present in LDO could not react. Therefore, a diastereoselective epoxidation of limonene could provide a fully reactive bio-based epoxy resin.
Published by:

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