Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 206

Electrochemical Response Transductions of Graphenated-Polyaniline Nanosensor for Environmental Anthracene
A graphenated–polyaniline (GR-PANI) nanocomposite sensor was constructed and used for the determination of anthracene. The direct electro-oxidation behavior of anthracene on the GR-PANI modified glassy carbon electrode (GCE) was used as the sensing principle. The results indicate thatthe response profile of the oxidation of anthracene on GR-PANI-modified GCE provides for the construction of sensor systems based onamperometric and potentiometric signal transductions. A dynamic linear range of 0.12- 100 µM anthracene and a detection limit of 0.044 µM anthracene were established for the sensor system.
First Cracking Moments of Hybrid Fiber Reinforced Polymer-Steel Reinforced Concrete Beams

The present paper reports the cracking moment estimates of a set of steel-reinforced, Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP)-reinforced and hybrid steel-FRP reinforced concrete beams, calculated from different analytical formulations in the codes, together with the experimental cracking load values. A total of three steel-reinforced, four FRP-reinforced, 12 hybrid FRP-steel over-reinforced and five hybrid FRP-steel under-reinforced concrete beam tests were analyzed within the scope of the study. Glass FRP (GFRP) and Basalt FRP (BFRP) bars were used in the beams as FRP bars. In under-reinforced hybrid beams, rupture of the FRP bars preceded crushing of concrete, while concrete crushing preceded FRP rupture in over-reinforced beams. In both types, steel yielding took place long before the FRP rupture and concrete crushing. The cracking moment mainly depends on two quantities, namely the moment of inertia of the section at the initiation of cracking and the flexural tensile strength of concrete, i.e. the modulus of rupture. In the present study, two different definitions of uncracked moment of inertia, i.e. the gross and the uncracked transformed moments of inertia, were adopted. Two analytical equations for the modulus of rupture (ACI 318M and Eurocode 2) were utilized in the calculations as well as the experimental tensile strength of concrete from prismatic specimen tests. The ACI 318M modulus of rupture expression produced cracking moment estimates closer to the experimental cracking moments of FRP-reinforced and hybrid FRP-steel reinforced concrete beams when used in combination with the uncracked transformed moment of inertia, yet the Eurocode 2 modulus of rupture expression gave more accurate cracking moment estimates in steel-reinforced concrete beams. All of the analytical definitions produced analytical values considerably different from the experimental cracking load values of the solely FRP-reinforced concrete beam specimens.

Effect of Sodium Aluminate on Compressive Strength of Geopolymer at Elevated Temperatures

Geopolymer is an inorganic material synthesized by alkali activation of source materials rich in soluble SiO2 and Al2O3. Many researches have studied the effect of aluminum species on the synthesis of geopolymer. However, it is still unclear about the influence of Al additives on the properties of geopolymer. The current study identified the role of the Al additive on the thermal performance of fly ash based geopolymer and observing the microstructure development of the composite. NaOH pellets were dissolved in water for 14 M (14 moles/L) sodium hydroxide solution which was used as an alkali activator. The weight ratio of alkali activator to fly ash was 0.40. Sodium aluminate powder was employed as an Al additive and added in amounts of 0.5 wt.% to 2 wt.% by the weight of fly ash. The mixture of alkali activator and fly ash was cured in a 75°C dry oven for 24 hours. Then, the hardened geopolymer samples were exposed to 300°C, 600°C and 900°C for 2 hours, respectively. The initial compressive strength after oven curing increased with increasing sodium aluminate content. It was also observed in SEM results that more amounts of geopolymer composite were synthesized as sodium aluminate was added. The compressive strength increased with increasing heating temperature from 300°C to 600°C regardless of sodium aluminate addition. It was consistent with the ATR-FTIR results that the peak position related to asymmetric stretching vibrations of Si-O-T (T: Si or Al) shifted to higher wavenumber as the heating temperature increased, indicating the further geopolymer reaction. In addition, geopolymer sample with higher content of sodium aluminate showed better compressive strength. It was also reflected on the IR results by more shift of the peak position assigned to Si-O-T toward the higher wavenumber. However, the compressive strength decreased after being exposed to 900°C in all samples. The degree of reduction in compressive strength was decreased with increasing sodium aluminate content. The deterioration in compressive strength was most severe in the geopolymer sample without sodium aluminate additive, while the samples with sodium aluminate addition showed better thermal durability at 900°C. This is related to the phase transformation with the occurrence of nepheline phase at 900°C, which was most predominant in the sample without sodium aluminate. In this work, it was concluded that sodium aluminate could be a good additive in the geopolymer synthesis by showing the improved compressive strength at elevated temperatures.

Forecast of Polyethylene Properties in the Gas Phase Polymerization Aided by Neural Network

A major problem that affects the quality control of polymer in the industrial polymerization is the lack of suitable on-line measurement tools to evaluate the properties of the polymer such as melt and density indices. Controlling the polymerization in ordinary method is performed manually by taking samples, measuring the quality of polymer in the lab and registry of results. This method is highly time consuming and leads to producing large number of incompatible products. An online application for estimating melt index and density proposed in this study is a neural network based on the input-output data of the polyethylene production plant. Temperature, the level of reactors' bed, the intensity of ethylene mass flow, hydrogen and butene-1, the molar concentration of ethylene, hydrogen and butene-1 are used for the process to establish the neural model. The neural network is taught based on the actual operational data and back-propagation and Levenberg-Marquart techniques. The simulated results indicate that the neural network process model established with three layers (one hidden layer) for forecasting the density and the four layers for the melt index is able to successfully predict those quality properties.

Amino Acid Based Biodegradable Amphiphilic Polymers and Micelles as Drug Delivery Systems: Synthesis and Study

Nanotherapy is an actual newest mode of treatment numerous diseases using nanoparticles (NPs) loading with different pharmaceuticals. NPs of biodegradable polymeric micelles (PMs) are gaining increased attention for their numerous and attractive abilities to be used in a variety of applications in the various fields of medicine. The present paper deals with the synthesis of a class of biodegradable micelle-forming polymers, namely ABA triblock-copolymer in which A-blocks represent amino-poly(ethylene glycol) (H2N-PEG) and B-block is biodegradable amino acid-based poly(ester amide) constituted of α-amino acid – L-phenylalanine. The obtained copolymer formed micelles of 70±4 nm size at 10 mg/mL concentration.

Negative RT-PCR in a Newborn Infected with Zika Virus: A Case Report

Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome is an entity composed by a variety of birth defects presented in newborns that have been exposed to the Zika Virus during pregnancy. The syndrome characteristic features are severe microcephaly, cerebral tissue abnormalities, ophthalmological abnormalities such as uveitis and chorioretinitis, arthrogryposis, clubfoot deformity and muscular tone abnormalities. The confirmatory test is the Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) associated to the physical findings. Here we present the case of a newborn with microcephaly whose mother presented a confirmed Zika Virus infection during the third trimester of pregnancy, despite of the evident findings and the history of Zika infection the RT-PCR in amniotic and cerebrospinal fluid of the newborn was negative. RT-PCR has demonstrated a low sensibility in samples with low viral loads, reason why, we propose a clinical diagnosis in patients with clinical history of Zika Virus infection during pregnancy accompanied by evident clinical manifestations of the child.

Recovery of Post-Consumer PET Bottles in a Composite Material Preparation

Manufacturing a composite material from post-consumer bottles is an interesting outlet since Madagascar is still facing the challenges of managing plastic waste on the one hand and appropriate waste treatment facilities are not yet developed on the other hand. New waste management options are needed to divert End-Of-Life (EOL) soft plastic wastes from landfills and incineration. Waste polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles might be considered as a valuable resource and recovered into polymer concrete. The methodology is easy to implement and appropriate to the local context in Madagascar. This approach will contribute to the production of ecological building materials that might be profitable for the environment and the construction sector. This work aims to study the feasibility of using the post-consumer PET bottles as an alternative binding agent instead of the conventional Portland cement and water. Then, the mechanical and physical properties of the materials were evaluated.

Design and Analysis of Extra High Voltage Non-Ceramic Insulator by Finite Element Method

High voltage insulator has to withstand sever electrical stresses. Higher electrical stresses lead to erosion of the insulator surface. Degradation of insulating properties leads to flashover and in some extreme cases it may cause to puncture. For analyzing these electrical stresses and implement necessary actions to diminish the electrical stresses, numerical methods are best. By minimizing the electrical stresses, reliability of the power system will improve. In this paper electric field intensity at critical regions of 400 kV silicone composite insulator is analyzed using finite element method. Insulator is designed using FEMM-2D software package. Electric Field Analysis (EFA) results are analyzed for five cases i.e., only insulator, insulator with two sides arcing horn, High Voltage (HV) end grading ring, grading ring-arcing horn arrangement and two sides grading ring. These EFA results recommended that two sides grading ring is better for minimization of electrical stresses and improving life span of insulator.

Phenolic-Based Chemical Production from Catalytic Depolymerization of Alkaline Lignin over Fumed Silica Catalyst

Lignin depolymerization into phenolic-based chemicals is an interesting process for utilizing and upgrading a benefit and value of lignin. In this study, the depolymerization reaction was performed to convert alkaline lignin into smaller molecule compounds. Fumed SiO₂ was used as a catalyst to improve catalytic activity in lignin decomposition. The important parameters in depolymerization process (i.e., reaction temperature, reaction time, etc.) were also investigated. In addition, gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS), flame-ironized detector (GC-FID), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) were used to analyze and characterize the lignin products. It was found that fumed SiO₂ catalyst led the good catalytic activity in lignin depolymerization. The main products from catalytic depolymerization were guaiacol, syringol, vanillin, and phenols. Additionally, metal supported on fumed SiO₂ such as Cu/SiO₂ and Ni/SiO₂ increased the catalyst activity in terms of phenolic products yield.

Photopolymerization of Dimethacrylamide with (Meth)acrylates
A photopolymerizable dimethacrylamide was synthesized and copolymerized with the selected (meth)acrylates. The polymerization rate, degree of conversion, gel time, and compressive strength of the formed neat resins were investigated. The results show that in situ photo-polymerization of the synthesized dimethacrylamide with comonomers having an electron-withdrawing and/or acrylate group dramatically increased the polymerization rate, degree of conversion, and compressive strength. On the other hand, an electron-donating group on either carbon-carbon double bond or the ester linkage slowed down the polymerization. In contrast, the triethylene glycol dimethacrylate-based system did not show a clear pattern. Both strong hydrogen-bonding between (meth)acrylamide and organic acid groups may be responsible for higher compressive strengths. Within the limitation of this study, the photo-polymerization of dimethacrylamide can be greatly accelerated by copolymerization with monomers having electron-withdrawing and/or acrylate groups. The monomers with methacrylate group can significantly reduce the polymerization rate and degree of conversion.
Effect of Curing Temperature on Mechanical Properties of Jute Fiber Reinforced Polylactic Acid Based Green Composite
Global warming, growing awareness of the environment, waste management issues, dwindling fossil resources, and rising oil prices resulted to increase the research in the materials that are friendly to our health and environment. Due to these reasons, green products are increasingly being promoted for sustainable development. In this work, fully biodegradable green composites have been developed using jute fibers as reinforcement and poly lactic acid as matrix material by film stacking technique. The effect of curing temperature during development of composites ranging from 160 °C, 170 °C, 180 °C and 190 °C was investigated for various mechanical properties. Results obtained from various tests indicate that impact strength decreases with an increase in curing temperature, but tensile and flexural strength increases till 180 °C, thereafter both the properties decrease. This study gives an optimum curing temperature for the development of jute/PLA composites.
First Person View Camera Based Quadcopter with Raspberry Pi

This paper studies in details about the need of quadcopter in various fields especially in the place of remote area where the road transportation facility is very less. It is used to monitor and collect data in a specific region. The movement of this quadcopter is controlled by the Raspberry Pi. FPV camera is used for capturing the image and will transmit the image to the receiver which can be monitored using an android smart phone. This is mainly used for surveillance purpose and hidden activities can be captured.

Preparation and Characterization of Maltodextrin Microcapsules Containing Walnut Green Husk Extract

In recent years, the field of natural antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds is one of the main research topics in the food industry. Application of agricultural residues is mainly cheap, and available resources are receiving increased attention. Walnut green husk is one of the agricultural residues that is considered as natural compounds with biological properties because of phenolic compounds. In this study, maltodextrin 10% was used for microencapsulation of walnut green husk extract. At first, the extract was examined to consider extraction yield, total phenolic compounds, and antioxidant activation. The results showed the extraction yield of 81.43%, total phenolic compounds of 3997 [mg GAE/100 g], antioxidant activity [DPPH] of 84.85% for walnut green husk extract. Antioxidant activity is about 75%-81% and by DPPH. At the next stage, microencapsulation was done by spry-drying method. The microencapsulation efficiency was 72%-79%. The results of SEM tests confirmed this microencapsulation process. In addition, microencapsulated and free extract was more effective on gram-positive bacteria’s rather than the gram-negative ones. According to the study, walnut green husk can be used as a cheap antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds due to sufficient value of phenolic compounds.

Graft Copolymerization of Cellulose Acetate with Nitro-N-Amino Phenyl Maleimides

The construction of Nitro -N-amino phenyl maleimide branches onto Cellulose acetate (CA) substrate by free radical graft copolymerization using benzoyl peroxide as initiator led to formation of highly thermal stable copolymers as shown from the results of gravimetric analysis (TGA). CA-g-2,4-dinitro amino phenyl maleimide exhibited higher thermal stability than the CA-g-4-nitro amino phenyl maleimide as shown from the initial decomposition temperature (To). This is due to the ability of nitro group to form hydrogen bonding with hydroxyl group of the glucopyranose ring which increases the crystallinity of polymeric matrix. The crystalline shapes representing the graft part are clearly distinct in the Emission scanning electron microscope (ESEM) morphology of the copolymer. A suggested reaction mechanism for the grafting process was also discussed.

Investigation of Physical Properties of Asphalt Binder Modified by Recycled Polyethylene and Ground Tire Rubber

Modification of asphalt is a fundamental method around the world mainly on the purpose of providing more durable pavements which lead to diminish repairing cost during the lifetime of highways. Various polymers such as styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) make up the greater parts of the all-over asphalt modifiers generally providing better physical properties of asphalt by decreasing temperature dependency which eventually diminishes permanent deformation on highways such as rutting. However, some waste and low-cost materials such as recycled plastics and ground rubber tire have been attempted to utilize in asphalt as modifier instead of manufactured polymer modifiers due to decreasing the eventual highway cost. On the other hand, the usage of recycled plastics has become a worldwide requirement and awareness in order to decrease the pollution made by waste plastics. Hence, finding an area in which recycling plastics could be utilized has been targeted by many research teams so as to reduce polymer manufacturing and plastic pollution. To this end, in this paper, thermoplastic dynamic vulcanizate (TDV) obtained from recycled post-consumer polyethylene and ground tire rubber (GTR) were used to provide an efficient modifier for asphalt which decreases the production cost as well and finally might provide an ecological solution by decreasing polymer disposal problems. TDV was synthesized by the chemists in the research group by means of the abovementioned components that are considered as compatible physical characteristic of asphalt materials. TDV modified asphalt samples having different rate of proportions of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 wt.% TDV modifier were prepared. Conventional tests, such as penetration, softening point and roll thin film oven (RTFO) tests were performed to obtain fundamental physical and aging properties of the base and modified binders. The high temperature performance grade (PG) of binders was determined by Superpave tests conducted on original and aged binders. The multiple stress creep and recovery (MSCR) test which is relatively up-to-date method for classifying asphalts taking account of their elasticity abilities was carried out to evaluate PG plus grades of binders. The results obtained from performance grading, and MSCR tests were also evaluated together so as to make a comparison between the methods both aiming to determine rheological parameters of asphalt. The test results revealed that TDV modification leads to a decrease in penetration, an increase in softening point, which proves an increasing stiffness of asphalt. DSR results indicate an improvement in PG for modified binders compared to base asphalt. On the other hand, MSCR results that are compatible with DSR results also indicate an enhancement on rheological properties of asphalt. However, according to the results, the improvement is not as distinct as observed in DSR results since elastic properties are fundamental in MSCR. At the end of the testing program, it can be concluded that TDV can be used as modifier which provides better rheological properties for asphalt and might diminish plastic waste pollution since the material is 100% recycled.

The Role of Initiator in the Synthesis of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate)-Layered Silicate Nanocomposites through Bulk Polymerization

The structure-property relationship and initiator effect on bulk polymerized poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA)–oragnomodified layered silicate nanocomposites was investigated. In this study, we used 2, 2'-azobis (4-methoxy-2,4-dimethyl valeronitrile and benzoyl peroxide initiators for bulk polymerization. The bulk polymerized nanocomposites’ morphology was investigated by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscopy. The type of initiator strongly influences the physiochemical properties of the polymer nanocomposite. The thermal degradation of PMMA in the presence of nanofiller was studied. 5 wt% weight loss temperature (T5d) increased as compared to pure PMMA. The peak degradation temperature increased for the nanocomposites. Differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic mechanical analysis were performed to investigate the glass transition temperature and the nature of the constrained region as the reinforcement mechanism respectively. Furthermore, the optical properties such as UV-Vis and Total Luminous Transmission of nanocomposites are examined.

Biodegradable Cellulose-Based Materials for the Use in Food Packaging

Cellulose acetate (CA) is a natural biodegradable polymer. It forms transparent films by the casting technique. CA suffers from high degree of water permeability as well as the low thermal stability at high temperatures. To adjust the CA polymeric films to the manufacture of food packaging, its thermal and mechanical properties should be improved. The modification of CA by grafting it with N-Amino phenyl maleimide (N-APhM) led to the construction of hydrophobic branches throughout the polymeric matrix which reduced its wettability as compared to the parent CA. The branches built onto the polymeric chains had been characterized by UV/Vis, 13C-NMR and ESEM. The improvement of the thermal properties was investigated and compared to the parent CA using thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), differential thermal analysis (DTA), contact angle and mechanical testing measurements. The results revealed that the water-uptake was reduced by increasing the graft percentage. The thermal and mechanical properties were also improved.

Antimicrobial and Aroma Finishing of Organic Cotton Knits Using Vetiver Oil Microcapsules for Health Care Textiles

Eco-friendly textiles are gaining importance among the consumers and textile manufacturers in the healthcare sector due to increased environmental pollution which leads to several health and environmental hazards. Hence, the research was designed to cultivate and develop the organic cotton knit, to prepare and characterize the Vetiver oil microcapsules for textile finishing and to access the wash durability of finished knits. The cotton SAHANA variety grown under organic production systems was processed and spun into 30 single yarn dyed with four natural colorants (Arecanut slurry, Eucalyptus leaves, Pomegranate rind and Indigo) and eco dyed yarn was further used for development of single jersy knitted fabric. Vetiveria zizanioides is an aromatic grass which is being traditionally used in medicine and perfumery. Vetiver essential oil was used for preparation of microcapsules by interfacial polymerization technique subjected to Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Thermo Gravimetric Analyzer (TGA) and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) for characterization of microcapsules. The knitted fabric was finished with vetiver oil microcapsules by exhaust and pad dry cure methods. The finished organic knit was assessed for laundering on antimicrobial efficiency and aroma intensity. GCMS spectral analysis showed that, diethyl phthalate (28%) was the major compound found in vetiver oil followed by isoaromadendrene epoxide (7.72%), beta-vetivenene (6.92%), solavetivone (5.58%), aromadenderene, azulene and khusimol. Bioassay explained that, the vetiver oil and diluted vetiver oil possessed greater zone of inhibition against S. aureus and E. coli than the coconut oil. FTRI spectra of vetiver oil and microcapsules possessed similar peaks viz., C-H, C=C & C꞊O stretching and additionally oil microcapsules possessed the peak of 3331.24 cm-1 at 91.14 transmittance was attributed to N-H stretches. TGA of oil microcapsules revealed that, there was a minimum weight loss (5.835%) recorded at 467.09°C compared to vetiver oil i.e., -3.026% at the temperature of 396.24°C. The shape of the microcapsules was regular and round, some were spherical in shape and few were rounded by small aggregates. Irrespective of methods of application, organic cotton knits finished with microcapsules by pad dry cure method showed maximum zone of inhibition compared to knits finished by exhaust method against S. aureus and E. coli. The antimicrobial activity of the finished samples was subjected to multiple washing which indicated that knits finished with pad dry cure method showed a zone of inhibition even after 20th wash and better aroma retention compared to knits finished with the exhaust method of application. Further, the group of respondents rated that the 5th washed samples had the greater aroma intensity in both the methods than the other samples. Thus, the vetiver microencapsulated organic cotton knits are free from hazardous chemicals and have multi-functional properties that can be suitable for medical and healthcare textiles.

Study on the Application of Lime to Improve the Rheological Properties of Polymer Modified Bitumen

Bitumen is one of the most applicable materials in pavement engineering. It is a binding material with unique viscoelastic properties, especially when it mixes with polymer. In this study, to figure out the viscoelastic behaviour of the polymer modified with bitumen (PMB), a series of dynamic shearing rheological (DSR) tests were conducted. Four percentages of lime (i.e. 1%, 2%, 4% and 5%) were mixed with PMB and tested under four different temperatures including 64ºC, 70ºC, 76ºC and 82ºC. The results indicated that complex shearing modulus (G*) increased by increasing the frequency due to raised resistance against deformation. The phase angle (δ) showed a decreasing trend by incrementing the frequency. The addition of lime percentages increased the complex modulus value and declined phase angle parameter. Increasing the temperature decreased the complex modulus and increased the phase angle until 70ºC. The decreasing trend of rutting factor with increasing temperature revealed that rutting factor improved by the addition of the lime to the PMB.

Numerical Study for Compressive Strength of Basalt Composite Sandwich Infill Panel

In this study, we investigated the buckling performance of basalt fiber reinforced polymer (BFRP) sandwich infill panels. Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) is a major evolution for energy dissipation when used as infill material of frame structure, a basic Polymer Matrix Composite (PMC) infill wall system consists of two FRP laminates surrounding an infill of foam core. Furthermore, this type of component is for retrofitting and strengthening frame structure to withstand the seismic disaster. In-plane compression was considered in the numerical analysis with ABAQUS platform to determine the buckling failure load of BFRP infill panel system. The present result shows that the sandwich BFRP infill panel system has higher resistance to buckling failure than those of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) infill panel system, i.e. 16% increase in buckling resistance capacity.

Buckling Resistance of Basalt Fiber Reinforced Polymer Infill Panel Subjected to Elevated Temperatures

Performance of Basalt Fiber Reinforced Polymer (BFRP) sandwich infill panel system under diagonal compression was studied by means of numerical analysis. Furthermore, the variation of temperature was considered to affect the mechanical properties of BFRP, since their composition was based on polymeric material. Moreover, commercial finite element analysis platform ABAQUS was used to model and analyze this infill panel system. Consequently, results of the analyses show that the overall performance of BFRP panel had a 15% increase compared to that of GFRP infill panel system. However, the variation of buckling load in terms of temperature for the BFRP system showed a more sensitive nature compared to those of GFRP system.

Flow Performance of Hybrid Cement Based Mortars
The workability of hybrid alkaline cements is a field of knowledge that still needs further research efforts. This paper reports experimental results of 32 hybrid cement mixes regarding the joint effect of sodium hydroxide concentration, the use of a commercial superplasticizer and a biopolymer on the flow and compressive strength performance. The results show that the use of commercial admixtures led to a slightly increase in the flow of mortars with lower sodium hydroxide concentration.
Mechanical Properties of Hybrid Cement Based Mortars Containing Two Biopolymers
The use of bio-based admixtures on construction materials is a recent trend that is gaining momentum. However, to our knowledge, no studies have been reported concerning the use of biopolymers on hybrid cement based mortars. This paper reports experimental results regarding the study of the influence of mix design of 43 hybrid cement mortars containing two different biopolymers on its mechanical performance. The results show that the use of the biopolymer carrageenan is much more effective than the biopolymer xanthan concerning the increase in compressive strength. An optimum biopolymer content was found.
Preparation and Characterization of Pectin Based Proton Exchange Membranes Derived by Solution Casting Method for Direct Methanol Fuel Cells
Direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs) are considered to be one of the most promising candidates for portable and stationary applications in the view of their advantages such as high energy density, easy manipulation, high efficiency and they operate with liquid fuel which could be used without requiring any fuel-processing units. Electrolyte membrane of DMFC plays a key role as a proton conductor as well as a separator between electrodes. Increasing concern over environmental protection, biopolymers gain tremendous interest owing to their eco-friendly bio-degradable nature. Pectin is a natural anionic polysaccharide which plays an essential part in regulating mechanical behavior of plant cell wall and it is extracted from outer cells of most of the plants. The aim of this study is to develop and demonstrate pectin based polymer composite membranes as methanol impermeable polymer electrolyte membranes for DMFCs. Pectin based nanocomposites membranes are prepared by solution-casting technique wherein pectin is blended with chitosan followed by the addition of optimal amount of sulphonic acid modified Titanium dioxide nanoparticle (S-TiO2). Nanocomposite membranes are characterized by Fourier Transform-Infra Red spectroscopy, Scanning electron microscopy, and Energy dispersive spectroscopy analyses. Proton conductivity and methanol permeability are determined into order to evaluate their suitability for DMFC application. Pectin-chitosan blends endow with a flexible polymeric network which is appropriate to disperse rigid S-TiO2 nanoparticles. Resulting nanocomposite membranes possess adequate thermo-mechanical stabilities as well as high charge-density per unit volume. Pectin-chitosan natural polymeric nanocomposite comprising optimal S-TiO2 exhibits good electrochemical selectivity and therefore desirable for DMFC application.
Improving Gas Separation Performance of Poly(Vinylidene Fluoride) Based Membranes Containing Ionic Liquid

Polymer based membranes are one of the low-cost technologies available for the gas separation. Three major elements required for a commercial gas separating membrane are high permeability, high selectivity, and good mechanical strength. Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) is a commercially available fluoropolymer and a widely used membrane material in gas separation devices since it possesses remarkable thermal, chemical stability, and excellent mechanical strength. The PVDF membrane was chemically modified by soaking in different ionic liquids and dried. The thermal behavior of modified membranes was investigated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and thermogravimetry (TGA), and the results clearly show the best affinity between the ionic liquid and the polymer support. The porous structure of the PVDF membranes was clearly seen in the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images. The CO₂ permeability of blended membranes was explored in comparison with the unmodified matrix. The ionic liquid immobilized in the hydrophobic PVDF support exhibited good performance for separations of CO₂/N₂. The improved permeability of modified membrane (PVDF-IL) is attributed to the high concentration of nitrogen rich imidazolium moieties.

Synthesis of Highly Sensitive Molecular Imprinted Sensor for Selective Determination of Doxycycline in Honey Samples
Doxycycline (DXy) is a cycline antibiotic, most frequently prescribed to treat bacterial infections in veterinary medicine. However, its broad antimicrobial activity and low cost, lead to an intensive use, which can seriously affect human health. Therefore, its spread in the food products has to be monitored. The scope of this work was to synthetize a sensitive and very selective molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) for DXy detection in honey samples. Firstly, the synthesis of this biosensor was performed by casting a layer of carboxylate polyvinyl chloride (PVC-COOH) on the working surface of a gold screen-printed electrode (Au-SPE) in order to bind covalently the analyte under mild conditions. Secondly, DXy as a template molecule was bounded to the activated carboxylic groups, and the formation of MIP was performed by a biocompatible polymer by the mean of polyacrylamide matrix. Then, DXy was detected by measurements of differential pulse voltammetry (DPV). A non-imprinted polymer (NIP) prepared in the same conditions and without the use of template molecule was also performed. We have noticed that the elaborated biosensor exhibits a high sensitivity and a linear behavior between the regenerated current and the logarithmic concentrations of DXy from 0.1 pg.mL−1 to 1000 pg.mL−1. This technic was successfully applied to determine DXy residues in honey samples with a limit of detection (LOD) of 0.1 pg.mL−1 and an excellent selectivity when compared to the results of oxytetracycline (OXy) as analogous interfering compound. The proposed method is cheap, sensitive, selective, simple, and is applied successfully to detect DXy in honey with the recoveries of 87% and 95%. Considering these advantages, this system provides a further perspective for food quality control in industrial fields.
A Sensitive Approach on Trace Analysis of Methylparaben in Wastewater and Cosmetic Products Using Molecularly Imprinted Polymer

Parabens are the antimicrobial molecules largely used in cosmetic products as a preservative agent. Among them, the methylparaben (MP) is the most frequently used ingredient in cosmetic preparations. Nevertheless, their potential dangers led to the development of sensible and reliable methods for their determination in environmental samples. Firstly, a sensitive and selective molecular imprinted polymer (MIP) based on screen-printed gold electrode (Au-SPE), assembled on a polymeric layer of carboxylated poly(vinyl-chloride) (PVC-COOH), was developed. After the template removal, the obtained material was able to rebind MP and discriminate it among other interfering species such as glucose, sucrose, and citric acid. The behavior of molecular imprinted sensor was characterized by Cyclic Voltammetry (CV), Differential Pulse Voltammetry (DPV) and Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) techniques. Then, the biosensor was found to have a linear detection range from 0.1 pg.mL-1 to 1 ng.mL-1 and a low limit of detection of 0.12 fg.mL-1 and 5.18 pg.mL-1 by DPV and EIS, respectively. For applications, this biosensor was employed to determine MP content in four wastewaters in Meknes city and two cosmetic products (shower gel and shampoo). The operational reproducibility and stability of this biosensor were also studied. Secondly, another MIP biosensor based on tungsten trioxide (WO3) functionalized by gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) assembled on a polymeric layer of PVC-COOH was developed. The main goal was to increase the sensitivity of the biosensor. The developed MIP biosensor was successfully applied for the MP determination in wastewater samples and cosmetic products.

Investigations of Flame Retardant Properties of Beneficiated Huntite and Hydromagnesite Mineral Reinforced Polymer Composites

Huntite and hydromagnesite minerals have been used as additive materials to achieve incombustible material due to their inflammability property. Those fire retardants materials can help to extinguish in the early stages of fire. Thus dispersion of the flame can be prevented even if the fire started. Huntite and hydromagnesite minerals are known to impart fire-proofing of the polymer composites. However, the additives used in the applications led to deterioration in the mechanical properties due to the usage of high amount of the powders in the composites. In this study, by enriching huntite and hydromagnesite, it was aimed to use purer minerals to reinforce the polymer composites. Thus, predictably, using purer mineral will lead to use lower amount of mineral powders. By this manner, the minerals free from impurities by various processes were added to the polymer matrix with different loading level and grades. Different types of samples were manufactured, and subsequently characterized by XRD, SEM-EDS, XRF and flame-retardant tests. Tensile strength and elongation at break values were determined according to loading levels and grades. Besides, a comparison on the properties of the polymer composites produced by using of minerals with and without impurities was performed. As a result of the work, it was concluded that it is required to use beneficiated minerals to provide better fire-proofing behaviors in the polymer composites.

Flexural Properties of Halloysite Nanotubes-Polyester Nanocomposites Exposed to Aggressive Environment

This study aimed to investigate the effect of aggressive environment on the flexural properties of halloysite nanotubes-polyester nanocomposites. Results showed that the addition of halloysite nanotubes into polyester matrix was found to improve flexural properties of the nanocomposites in dry condition and after water-methanol exposure. Significant increase in surface roughness was also observed and measured by Alicona Infinite Focus optical microscope.

Wet Polymeric Precipitation Synthesis for Monophasic Tricalcium Phosphate

Tricalcium phosphate (β-Ca3(PO4)2, β-TCP) powders were synthesized using wet polymeric precipitation method for the first time to our best knowledge. The results of X-ray diffraction analysis showed the formation of almost single a Ca-deficient hydroxyapatite (CDHA) phase of a poor crystallinity already at room temperature. With continuously increasing the calcination temperature up to 800 °C, the crystalline β-TCP was obtained as the main phase. It was demonstrated that infrared spectroscopy is very effective method to characterize the formation of β-TCP. The SEM results showed that β-TCP solids were homogeneous having a small particle size distribution. The β-TCP powders consisted of spherical particles varying in size from 100 to 300 nm. Fabricated β-TCP specimens were placed to the bones of the rats and maintained for 1-2 months.

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