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Concept: Thermoplastic


Nitrogen-based thermoset polymers have many industrial applications (for example, in composites), but are difficult to recycle or rework. We report a simple one-pot, low-temperature polycondensation between paraformaldehyde and 4,4'-oxydianiline (ODA) that forms hemiaminal dynamic covalent networks (HDCNs), which can further cyclize at high temperatures, producing poly(hexahydrotriazine)s (PHTs). Both materials are strong thermosetting polymers, and the PHTs exhibited very high Young’s moduli (up to ~14.0 gigapascals and up to 20 gigapascals when reinforced with surface-treated carbon nanotubes), excellent solvent resistance, and resistance to environmental stress cracking. However, both HDCNs and PHTs could be digested at low pH (<2) to recover the bisaniline monomers. By simply using different diamine monomers, the HDCN- and PHT-forming reactions afford extremely versatile materials platforms. For example, when poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) diamine monomers were used to form HDCNs, elastic organogels formed that exhibited self-healing properties.

Concepts: Carbon fiber, Thermosetting plastics, Monomer, Polyethylene terephthalate, Thermoplastic, Plastic, Thermosetting polymer, Polymer chemistry


Concerns regarding marine plastic pollution and its affinity for chemical pollutants led us to quantify relationships between different types of mass-produced plastic and organic contaminants in an urban bay. At five locations in San Diego Bay, CA we measured sorption of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) throughout a 12-month period to the five most common types of mass-produced plastic: polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), and polypropylene (PP). During this long-term field experiment, sorption rates and concentrations of PCBs and PAHs varied significantly among plastic types and among locations. Our data suggest that for PAHs and PCBs, PET and PVC reach equilibrium in the marine environment much faster than HDPE, LDPE and PP. Most importantly, concentrations of PAHs and PCBs sorbed to HDPE, LDPE and PP were consistently much greater than concentrations sorbed to PET and PVC. These data imply that products made from HDPE, LDPE and PP pose a greater risk than products made from PET and PVC of concentrating these hazardous chemicals onto fragmented plastic debris ingested by marine animals.

Concepts: Linear low-density polyethylene, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Thermoplastic, Plastic recycling, Recyclable materials, Plastics, Plastic, Polypropylene


Abstract -  Aim: Experimental materials incorporating fiberglass cloth were used to develop a thin and lightweight face guard (FG). This study aims to evaluate the effect of fiberglass reinforcement on the flexural and shock absorption properties compared with conventional thermoplastic materials. Material and Method: Four commercial 3.2-mm and 1.6-mm medical splint materials (Aquaplast, Polyform, Co-polymer, and Erkodur) and two experimental materials were examined for use in FGs. The experimental materials were prepared by embedding two or four sheets of a plain woven fiberglass cloth on both surfaces of 1.5-mm Aquaplast. The flexural strength and flexural modulus were determined using a three-point bending test. The shock absorption properties were evaluated for a 5200-N impact load using the first peak intensity with a load cell system and the maximum stress with a film sensor system. Results and Conclusions: The flexural strength (74.6 MPa) and flexural modulus (6.3 GPa) of the experimental material with four sheets were significantly greater than those of the 3.2-mm commercial specimens, except for the flexural strength of one product. The first peak intensity (515 N) and maximum stress (2.2 MPa) of the experimental material with four sheets were significantly lower than those of the commercial 3.2-mm specimens, except for one product for each property. These results suggest that the thickness and weight of the FG can be reduced using the experimental fiber-reinforced material.

Concepts: Thermoplastic, Shock absorber, Tensile strength, Pascal, Shock, Material, Young's modulus, Materials science


In this paper we explore the direct transfer via lamination of chemical vapor deposition graphene onto different flexible substrates. The transfer method investigated here is fast, simple, and does not require an intermediate transfer membrane, such as polymethylmethacrylate, which needs to be removed afterward. Various substrates of general interest in research and industry were studied in this work, including polytetrafluoroethylene filter membranes, PVC, cellulose nitrate/cellulose acetate filter membranes, polycarbonate, paraffin, polyethylene terephthalate, paper, and cloth. By comparing the properties of these substrates, two critical factors to ensure a successful transfer on bare substrates were identified: the substrate’s hydrophobicity and good contact between the substrate and graphene. For substrates that do not satisfy those requirements, polymethylmethacrylate can be used as a surface modifier or glue to ensure successful transfer. Our results can be applied to facilitate current processes and open up directions for applications of chemical vapor deposition graphene on flexible substrates. A broad range of applications can be envisioned, including fabrication of graphene devices for opto/organic electronics, graphene membranes for gas/liquid separation, and ubiquitous electronics with graphene.

Concepts: Membrane, Paper, Thermoplastics, Thermoplastic, Acetic acid, Plastics, Polyethylene terephthalate, Chemical vapor deposition


We evaluated the effects of storage and handling conditions on the antimicrobial activity of biodegradable composite films (polylactic acid and sugar beet pulp) coated with allyl isothiocyanate (AIT). Polylactic acid and chitosan were incorporated with AIT and used to coat one side of the film. The films were subjected to different storage conditions (storage time, storage temperature, and packed or unpacked) and handling conditions (washing, abrasion, and air blowing), and the antimicrobial activity of the films against Salmonella Stanley in tryptic soy broth was determined. The films (8.16 μl of AIT per cm(2) of surface area) significantly (P < 0.05) inhibited the growth of Salmonella during 24 h of incubation at 22°C, while the populations of Salmonella in controls increased from ca. 4 to over 8 log CFU/ml, indicating a minimum inactivation of 4 log CFU/ml on films in comparison to the growth on controls. Statistical analyses indicated that storage time, storage temperature, and surface abrasion affected the antimicrobial activity of the films significantly (P < 0.05). However, the differences in microbial reduction between those conditions were less than 0.5 log cycle. The results suggest that the films' antimicrobial properties are stable under practical storage and handling conditions and that these antimicrobial films have potential applications in food packaging.

Concepts: Polylactic acid, Sugar, Thermoplastic, Lactic acid, PH, Bioplastic, Antimicrobial, Sugar beet


Although biodegradable polymers have found extensive applications in medical areas, there are limited reports that show elastomeric behavior. In this work, a biodegradable, elastomeric polymer is demonstrated from a four-armed star copolymer. With a fixed middle core composition, comprising caprolactone (CL) and L-lactide (LA), an elastomer is obtained by increasing the polylactide (PLA) end block lengths to obtain sufficient end block crystallinity. This increase suppressed the middle core’s crystallinity yet ensured cocrystallization of the PLA ends of individual star copolymer chains to form a three-dimensional network via physical crosslinking. Cyclic and creep test of the star copolymers showed that at least 75% of recovery was achieved. Degradation study of the copolymer showed that degradation first occurred in the caprolactone-co-lactide (CLLA) core, followed by degradation in the PLA ends. Chain scission in the middle core resulted in immediate formation of CL crystals within the core and increased crystallinity over time, in both CLLA core and PLA ends. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 100A:3436-3445, 2012.

Concepts: Cross-link, Materials science, Copolymer, Thermoplastic, Polybutadiene, Polymer chemistry, Elastomer, Polymer


Multiple pH-sensitive composites have been prepared through non-covalently functionalizing chemically converted graphene (CCG) with chitosan. Chtiosan exhibits as polybases and CCG shows characteristics of polyacids. Owing to the synergistic effects of chitosan and CCG, chitosan decorated graphene (CS-G) presents a multiple pH-responsive behavior that it can be dispersed well whether in acidic or in basic solution but aggregated in near-neutral solution. After CS-G was modified through a controlled deposition and cross-linking process of chitosan, the resultant cross-linked chitosan decorated graphene (CLCS-G) can be converted to a different pH-sensitive material that disperses only in acidic solution. Both CS-G and CLCS-G present a reversible switching between dispersed and aggregated states with pH as a stimulus. The unique pH response mechanisms of CS-G and CLCS-G have been further investigated by zeta potential analysis. Based on the unique pH-responsive property of CS-G, a stable and repeatable pH-driven switch was developed for monitoring pH change.

Concepts: Cross-link, Thermoplastic, Acid, Colloid, Base, Polymer chemistry, Chemistry, PH


The technology used in the manufacturing of televisions and monitors has been changing in recent years. Monitors with liquid crystal displays (LCD) emerged in the market with the aim of replacing cathode ray tube monitors. As a result, the disposal of this type of product, which is already very high, will increase. Thus, without accurate knowledge of the components and materials present in an LCD monitor, the recycling of materials, such as mercury, thermoplastic polymers, glasses, metals and precious metals amongst others, is not only performed, but allows contamination of soil, water and air with the liberation of toxic compounds present in this type of waste when disposed of improperly. Therefore, the objective of this study was to disassemble and characterize the materials in this type of waste, identify the composition, amount and form to enable, in further work, the development of recycling routes. After various tests and analyses, it was observed that an LCD display can be recycled, provided that precautions are taken. Levels of lead, fluoride and copper are above those permitted by the Brazilian law, characterizing this residue as having a high pollution potential. The materials present in printed circuit boards (base and precious metals)-thermoplastics, such as polyethylene terephthalate, acrylic, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and polycarbonate and metals, such as steel and aluminum, and a layer of indium (in the internal face of the glass)-are components that make a point in terms of their potential for recycling.

Concepts: Printed circuit board, Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, Recycling, Polyethylene terephthalate, Thermoplastic, Liquid crystal, Liquid crystal display, Cathode ray tube


The production of hot embossed plastic microfluidic devices is demonstrated in 1-2 h by exploiting vinyl adhesive stickers as masks for electroplating nickel molds. The sticker masks are cut directly from a CAD design using a cutting plotter and transferred to steel wafers for nickel electroplating. The resulting nickel molds are used to hot emboss a variety of plastic substrates, including cyclo-olefin copolymer and THV fluorinated thermoplastic elastomer. Completed devices are formed by bonding a blank sheet to the embossed layer using a solvent-assisted lamination method. For example, a microfluidic valve array or automaton and a droplet generator were fabricated with less than 100 μm x-y plane feature resolution, to within 9% of the target height, and with 90 ± 11% height uniformity over 5 cm. This approach for mold fabrication, embossing, and bonding reduces fabrication time and cost for research applications by avoiding photoresists, lithography masks, and the cleanroom.

Concepts: Polyvinyl chloride, Metal, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Elastomer, Thermoplastic elastomer, Thermoplastic, Polymer


Injectable, in situ-gelling magnetic composite materials have been fabricated by using aldehyde-functionalized dextran to cross-link superparamagnetic nanoparticles surface-functionalized with hydrazide-functionalized poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAM). The resulting composites exhibit high water contents (82-88 wt.%) while also displaying significantly higher elasticities (G' >60 kPa) than other injectable hydrogels previously reported. The composites hydrolytically degrade via slow hydrolysis of the hydrazone cross-link at physiological temperature and pH into degradation products that show no significant cytotoxicity. Subcutaneous injections indicate only minor chronic inflammation associated with material degradation, with no fibrous capsule formation evident. Drug release experiments indicate the potential of these materials to facilitate pulsatile, “on-demand” changes in drug release upon the application of an external oscillating magnetic field. The injectable but high-strength and externally-triggerable nature of these materials, coupled with their biological degradability and inertness, suggest potential biological applications in tissue engineering and drug delivery.

Concepts: Pykrete, Aramid, Boeing 787, Superparamagnetism, Thermoplastic, Magnetism, Fiberglass, Composite material