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Journal: Materials (Basel, Switzerland)


Ternary blends of poly(lactic acid) (PLA), poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) with a constant weight percentage of 60%, 10% and 30% respectively were compatibilized with soybean oil derivatives epoxidized soybean oil (ESO), maleinized soybean oil (MSO) and acrylated epoxidized soybean oil (AESO). The potential compatibilization effects of the soybean oil-derivatives was characterized in terms of mechanical, thermal and thermomechanical properties. The effects on morphology were studied by field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). All three soybean oil-based compatibilizers led to a noticeable increase in toughness with a remarkable improvement in elongation at break. On the other hand, both the tensile modulus and strength decreased, but in a lower extent to a typical plasticization effect. Although phase separation occurred, all three soybean oil derivatives led somewhat to compatibilization through reaction between terminal hydroxyl groups in all three biopolyesters (PLA, PHB and PCL) and the readily reactive groups in the soybean oil derivatives, that is, epoxy, maleic anhydride and acrylic/epoxy functionalities. In particular, the addition of 5 parts per hundred parts of the blend (phr) of ESO gave the maximum elongation at break while the same amount of MSO and AESO gave the maximum toughness, measured through Charpy’s impact tests. In general, the herein-developed materials widen the potential of ternary PLA formulations by a cost effective blending method with PHB and PCL and compatibilization with vegetable oil-based additives.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Effect, Effectiveness, Tensile strength, Transmission electron microscopy, Scanning electron microscope, Charpy impact test


The new three-dimensional structure that the graphene connected with SWCNTs (G-CNTs, Graphene Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes) can solve graphene and CNTs' problems. A comprehensive study of the mechanical and electrical performance of the junctions was performed by first-principles theory. There were eight types of junctions that were constituted by armchair and zigzag graphene and (3,3), (4,0), (4,4), and (6,0) CNTs. First, the junction strength was investigated. Generally, the binding energy of armchair G-CNTs was stronger than that of zigzag G-CNTs, and it was the biggest in the armchair G-CNTs (6,0). Likewise, the electrical performance of armchair G-CNTs was better than that of zigzag G-CNTs. Charge density distribution of G-CNTs (6,0) was the most homogeneous. Next, the impact factors of the electronic properties of armchair G-CNTs were investigated. We suggest that the band gap is increased with the length of CNTs, and its value should be dependent on the combined effect of both the graphene’s width and the CNTs' length. Last, the relationship between voltage and current (U/I) were studied. The U/I curve of armchair G-CNTs (6,0) possessed a good linearity and symmetry. These discoveries will contribute to the design and production of G-CNT-based devices.

Concepts: Electric charge, Carbon, Carbon nanotube, Allotropes of carbon, Graphite, Graphene, Tensile strength, Charge density


The frequent instability of mandibular removable complete dentures affects patient Oral Health Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL). An innovative therapeutic strategy used to improve stability involves placing four symphyseal mini-implants. This study was aimed at assessing OHRQoL over time in subjects in which mini-implants were placed and exploring if certain parameters could predict the evolution of their OHRQoL. The OHRQoL of subjects with dentures was assessed using the Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI) before (T0), 2-6 months (T1), twelve months (T2) and twenty-four or more months (T3) after mini-implant setting. Age, gender and chewing ability were tested as explanatory variables for the change in OHRQoL with time. Thirteen women and six men were included (mean age: 69 ± 10 years). After treatment, mean GOHAI scores at T1, T2 and T3 increased significantly (p < 0.001). The GOHAI-Add mean score was not affected by age or gender. Baseline chewing ability impacted the "functional" and "pain and discomfort" fields of the mean GOHAI scores (p < 0.05). The OHRQoL quickly improved after mini-implant placement in complete denture wearers and then stabilized over time. Baseline chewing ability can be used as a predictive parameter of OHRQoL.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Future, Dentistry, Dentures, Removable partial denture, Currying


The elastoplastic deformation behaviors of hollow glass microspheres/iron syntactic foam under tension were modeled using a representative volume element (RVE) approach. The three-dimensional microstructures of the iron syntactic foam with 5 wt % glass microspheres were reconstructed using the random sequential adsorption algorithm. The constitutive behavior of the elastoplasticity in the iron matrix and the elastic-brittle failure for the glass microsphere were simulated in the models. An appropriate RVE size was statistically determined by evaluating elastic modulus, Poisson’s ratio, and yield strength in terms of model sizes and boundary conditions. The model was validated by the agreement with experimental findings. The tensile deformation mechanism of the syntactic foam considering the fracture of the microspheres was then investigated. In addition, the feasibility of introducing the interfacial deboning behavior to the proposed model was briefly investigated to improve the accuracy in depicting fracture behaviors of the syntactic foam. It is thought that the modeling techniques and the model itself have major potential for applications not only in the study of hollow glass microspheres/iron syntactic foams, but also for the design of composites with a high modulus matrix and high strength reinforcement.

Concepts: Tensile strength, Young's modulus, Elasticity, Solid mechanics, Hooke's law, Deformation, Glass microsphere, Syntactic foam


The implementation of hollow S60HS glass microspheres and Fillite 106 cenospheres in a martensitically transformable AISI 304L stainless steel matrix was realized by means of metal injection molding of feedstock with varying fractions of the filler material. The so-called TRIP-steel syntactic foams were studied with respect to their behavior under quasi-static compression and dynamic impact loading. The interplay between matrix material behavior and foam structure was discussed in relation to the findings of micro-structural investigations, electron back scatter diffraction EBSD phase analyses and magnetic measurements. During processing, the cenospheres remained relatively stable retaining their shape while the glass microspheres underwent disintegration associated with the formation of pre-cracked irregular inclusions. Consequently, the AISI 304L/Fillite 106 syntactic foams exhibited a higher compression stress level and energy absorption capability as compared to the S60HS-containing variants. The α ′ -martensite kinetic of the steel matrix was significantly influenced by material composition, strain rate and arising deformation temperature. The highest ferromagnetic α ′ -martensite phase fraction was detected for the AISI 304L/S60HS batches and the lowest for the TRIP-steel bulk material. Quasi-adiabatic sample heating, a gradual decrease in strain rate and an enhanced degree of damage controlled the mechanical deformation response of the studied syntactic foams under dynamic impact loading.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Injection molding, Materials science, Stainless steel, Compressive stress, Foams, Metal injection molding, Syntactic foam


Given the long-term problem of polyethylene wear, medical interest in the new improved cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), with or without the adding of vitamin E, has risen. The main aim of this study is to gain further insights into the mutual effects of radiation cross-linking and addition of vitamin E on the wear performance of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). We tested four different batches of polyethylene (namely, a standard one, a vitamin E-stabilized, and two cross-linked) in a hip joint simulator for five million cycles where bovine calf serum was used as lubricant. The acetabular cups were then analyzed using a confocal profilometer to characterize the surface topography. Moreover; the cups were analyzed by using Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy and Differential Scanning Calorimetry in order to assess the chemical characteristics of the pristine materials. Comparing the different cups' configuration, mass loss was found to be higher for standard polyethylene than for the other combinations. Mass loss negatively correlated to the cross-link density of the polyethylenes. None of the tested formulations showed evidence of oxidative degradation. We found no correlation between roughness parameters and wear. Furthermore, we found significantly differences in the wear behavior of all the acetabular cups. XLPEs exhibited lower weight loss, which has potential for reduced wear and decreased osteolysis. However, surface topography revealed smoother surfaces of the standard and vitamin E stabilized polyethylene than on the cross-linked samples. This observation suggests incipient crack generations on the rough and scratched surfaces of the cross-linked polyethylene liners.

Concepts: Polyethylene, Cross-link, Roughness, Cross-linked polyethylene, Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene


We present a mask-free strategy for fabricating two-dimensional subwavelength periodic triangular arrays on tungsten, by focusing two orthogonally polarized and temporally delayed femtosecond laser beams using a cylindrical lens. In stark contrast to the commonly observed structures of either a single ablation spot or a one-dimensional grating, we obtained highly uniform periodic triangular arrays on the laser-exposed surface, with three equilateral sides each of 480 nm in length and about 100 nm in modulation depth. The triangular features varied with both the laser energy and the scanning speed. We found that the optical reflectivity of such a surface reduces significantly within the spectral range of 700⁻2500 nm. The triangular structure morphology can also be controlled by varying the time delay between the two laser beams.


Aluminium layers were coated onto the surface of pure titanium using hot-dip aluminising technology, and then the aluminium layers were in situ oxidised to form oxide ceramic coatings, using the micro-arc oxidation (MAO) technique. The microstructure and composition distribution of the hot-dip aluminium coatings and ceramic layers were studied by using scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The phase structure of the MAO layers was studied using X-ray diffraction. The surface composition of the MAO layer was studied by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The wear resistance of the pure titanium substrate and the ceramic layers coated on its surface were evaluated by using the ball-on-disc wear method. Therefore, aluminising coatings, which consist of a diffusion layer and a pure aluminium layer, could be formed on pure titanium substrates using the hot-dip aluminising method. The MAO method enabled the in-situ oxidation of hot-dip pure aluminium layers, which subsequently led to the formation of ceramic layers. Moreover, the wear resistance values of the ceramic layers were significantly higher than that of the pure titanium substrate.


The purpose of this study is to understand the basic mechanisms responsible for the synthesis of nanostructured diamond films in a microwave plasma chemical vapor deposition (MPCVD) process and to identify plasma chemistry suitable for controlling the morphology and electrical properties of deposited films. The nanostructured diamond films were synthesized by MPCVD on Ti-6Al-4V alloy substrates using H₂/CH₄/N₂ precursor gases and the plasma chemistry was monitored by the optical emission spectroscopy (OES). The synthesized thin-films were characterized by x-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The addition of B₂H₆ to the feedgas during MPCVD of diamond thin-films changes the crystal grain size from nanometer to micron scale. Nanostructured diamond films grown with H₂/CH₄/N₂ gases demonstrate a broad (111) Bragg x-ray diffraction peak (Full-Width at Half-Maximum (FWHM) = 0.93° 2θ), indicating a small grain size, whereas scans show a definite sharpening of the diamond (111) peak (FWHM = 0.30° 2θ) with the addition of boron. OES showed a decrease in CN (carbon-nitrogen) radical in the plasma with B₂H₆ addition to the gas mixture. Our study indicates that CN radical plays a critical role in the synthesis of nanostructured diamond films and suppression of CN radical by boron-addition in the plasma causes a morphological transition to microcrystalline diamond.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Diffraction, X-ray, X-ray crystallography, Gas, Chemical vapor deposition, Silicon carbide


We fabricated lithium trivanadate LiV₃O₈ (LVO) film electrodes for the first time on a garnet-type Ta-doped Li₇La₃Zr₂O12 (LLZT) solid electrolyte using the aerosol deposition (AD) method. Ball-milled LVO powder with sizes in the range of 0.5⁻2 µm was used as a raw material for LVO film fabrication via impact consolidation at room temperature. LVO film (thickness = 5 µm) formed by AD has a dense structure composed of deformed and fractured LVO particles and pores were not observed at the LVO/LLZT interface. For electrochemical characterization of LVO film electrodes, lithium (Li) metal foil was attached on the other end face of a LLZT pellet to comprise a LVO/LLZT/Li all-solid-state cell. From impedance measurements, the charge transfer resistance at the LVO/LLZT interface is estimated to be around 10³ Ω cm² at room temperature, which is much higher than at the Li/LLZT interface. Reversible charge and discharge reactions in the LVO/LLZT/Li cell were demonstrated and the specific capacities were 100 and 290 mAh g-1 at 50 and 100 °C. Good cycling stability of electrode reaction indicates strong adhesion between the LVO film electrode formed via impact consolidation and LLZT.