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Influence of DSC thermal lag on evaluation of crystallization kinetics

Svoboda, R; Maqueda, LP; Podzemna, V; Perejon, A; Svoboda, O
Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 528 (2020) 119738


Influence of added thermal resistance on crystallization kinetics, as measured by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), of the Se70Te30 glass was studied. The increase of thermal resistance was achieved by adding polytetrafluorethylene discs of different thicknesses (up to 0.5 mm) in-between the DSC platform and the pan with sample. Increase of the thermal resistance led to an apparent decrease (by more than 30%) in the crystallization enthalpy. Significant change of model-free kinetics occurred: apparent activation energy E of the crystallization process decreased (by more than 20%) due to the DSC data being progressively shifted to higher temperatures with increasing heating rate. The model-based kinetics was changed only slightly; the DSC peaks retained their asymmetry and the choice of the appropriate model was not influenced by the added thermal resistance. The temperature shift caused by added thermal lag was modeled for the low-to-moderate heating rates.

January, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2019.119738

Low gas consumption fabrication of He-3 solid targets for nuclear reactions

Fernandez, A; Hufschmidt, D; Colaux, JL; Valiente-Dobon, JJ; Godinho, V; de Haro, MCJ; Feria, D; Gadea, A; Lucas, S
Materials & Design, 186 (2020) 108337


Nanoporous solids that stabilize trapped gas nanobubbles open new possibilities to fabricate solid targets for nuclear reactions. A methodology is described based on the magnetron sputtering (MS) technique operated under quasistatic flux conditions to produce such nanocomposites films with He-3 contents of up to 16 at.% in an amorphous-silicon matrix. In addition to the characteristic low pressure (3-6 Pa) needed for the gas discharge, the method ensures almost complete reduction of the process gas flow during film fabrication. The method could produce similar materials to those obtained under classical dynamic flux conditions for MS. The drastic reduction (>99.5%) of the gas consumption is fundamental for the fabrication of targets with scarce and expensive gases. Si:He-3 and W:He-3 targets are presented together with their microstructural (scanning and transmission electron microscopy, SEM and TEM respectively) and compositional (Ion Beam Analysis, IBA) characterization. The He-3 content achieved was over 1 x 10(18) at/cm(2) for film thicknesses between 1.5 and 3 mu m for both Si and W matrices. First experiments to probe the stability of the targets for nuclear reaction studies in inverse kinematics configurations are presented. 

January, 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.matdes.2019.108337

Enhanced Stability of Perovskite Solar Cells Incorporating Dopant-Free Crystalline Spiro-OMeTAD Layers by Vacuum Sublimation

Barranco, A; Lopez-Santos, MC; Idigoras, J; Aparicio, FJ; Obrero-Perez, J; Lopez-Flores, V; Contreras-Bernal, L; Rico, V; Ferrer, J; Espinos, JP; Borras, A; Anta, JA; Sanchez-Valencia, JR
Advanced Energy Materials, (2020) 1901524


The main handicap still hindering the eventual exploitation of organometal halide perovskite-based solar cells is their poor stability under prolonged illumination, ambient conditions, and increased temperatures. This article shows for the first time the vacuum processing of the most widely used solid-state hole conductor (SSHC), i.e., the Spiro-OMeTAD [2,2 ',7,7 '-tetrakis (N,N-di-p-methoxyphenyl-amine) 9,9 '-spirobifluorene], and how its dopant-free crystalline formation unprecedently improves perovskite solar cell (PSC) stability under continuous illumination by about two orders of magnitude with respect to the solution-processed reference and after annealing in air up to 200 degrees C. It is demonstrated that the control over the temperature of the samples during the vacuum deposition enhances the crystallinity of the SSHC, obtaining a preferential orientation along the pi-pi stacking direction. These results may represent a milestone toward the full vacuum processing of hybrid organic halide PSCs as well as light-emitting diodes, with promising impacts on the development of durable devices. The microstructure, purity, and crystallinity of the vacuum sublimated Spiro-OMeTAD layers are fully elucidated by applying an unparalleled set of complementary characterization techniques, including scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering and grazing-incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and Rutherford backscattering spectroscopy.

January, 2020 | DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201901524


3D Organic Nanofabrics: Plasma-Assisted Synthesis and Antifreezing Behavior of Superhydrophobic and Lubricant-Infused Slippery Surfaces

Alcaire, M; Lopez-Santos, C; Aparicio, FJ; Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Obrero, JM; Saghi, Z; Rico, VJ; de la Fuente, G; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Barranco, A; Borras, A
Langmuir, 35 (2019) 16876-16885


Herein, we present the development of supported organic nanofabrics formed by a conformal polymer-like interconnection of small-molecule organic nanowires and nanotrees. These organic nanostructures are fabricated by a combination of vacuum and plasma-assisted deposition techniques to generate step by step, single-crystalline organic nanowires forming one-dimensional building blocks, organic nanotrees applied as three-dimensional templates, and the polymer-like shell that produces the final fabric. The complete procedure is carried out at low temperatures and is compatible with an ample variety of substrates (polymers, metal, ceramics; either planar or in the form of meshes) yielding flexible and low solid-fraction three-dimensional nanostructures. The systematic investigation of this progressively complex organic nanomaterial delivers key clues relating their wetting, nonwetting, and anti-icing properties with their specific morphology and outer surface composition. Water contact angles higher than 150° are attainable as a function of the nanofabric shell thickness with outstanding freezing-delay times (FDT) longer than 2 h at −5 °C. The role of the extremely low roughness of the shell surface is settled as a critical feature for such an achievement. In addition, the characteristic interconnected microstructure of the nanofabrics is demonstrated as ideal for the fabrication of slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS). We present the straightforward deposition of the nanofabric on laser patterns and the knowledge of how this approach provides SLIPS with FDTs longer than 5 h at −5 °C and 1 h at −15 °C.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.9b03116

Design swelling micas: Insights on heavy metals cation exchange reaction

Osuna, FJ; Pavon, E; Alba, MD
Applied Clay Science, 182 (2019) 105298


Heavy metal pollution has become one of the most serious environmental problems, demanding specialized remediation mechanisms. Among the studied treatments, ion-exchange processes have been widely used due to their high remediation capacity, efficiency and fast kinetic. Here, the potential use of a new family of design micas as cation exchanger has been analysed. Micas with a layer charge in the range of brittle micas have been synthesized and their heavy metals cation exchange capacity analysed as a function of the nature of the heavy metal cations (Pb2+, Cd2+ or Hg2+), the nature of the counterions (Cl− or NO3−), concentration of the solutions and the micas layer charge. A cation exchange ratio between 35% and 154% of their cation exchange capacity (CEC) was achieved, being more efficient when mica layer charge diminished. In general, the maximum adsorption capacity followed the trend: Hg2+ > Pb2+ > Cd2+. The efficiency of the cation exchange and adsorption mechanism of the synthetic micas depended on the experimental conditions and they were more efficient than raw and modified natural clay minerals.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.clay.2019.105298

Understanding segregation processes in SAMs formed by mixtures of hydroxylated and non-hydroxylated fatty acids

Bueno, OVM; Benitez, JJ; San-Miguel, MA
RSC Advances, 9 (2019) 39252-39263


In this paper, we focus on the segregation processes emerging when preparing mixtures with different compositions of aleuritic (9,10,16 trihydroxyhexadecanoic) (ALE) and palmitic (hexadecanoic) (PAL) acids. The combination of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations enabled us to prove the role of the functional groups in the formation of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) on muscovite mica surfaces. MD simulations indicate that segregation processes are favored in high ALE composition mixtures in agreement with the experimental evidence, whereas low ALE compositions promote the co-existence between segregated and dispersed systems. The secondary hydroxyl groups play a central role in the self-assembling mechanism because they control the formation of hydrogen bonding networks guarantying system stability.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1039/c9ra06799j

Low temperature synthesis of an equiatomic (TiZrHfVNb)C5 high entropy carbide by a mechanically-induced carbon diffusion route

Chicardi, E; Garcia-Garrido, C; Gotor, FJ
Ceramics International, 45 (2019) 21858-21863


A novel, homogeneous, nanostructured and equiatomic (TiZrHfVNb)C-5 High Entropy Carbide (HEC) was successfully synthesised in a powder form by a mechanosynthesis process from the elemental mixture. This synthesis method for HECs, not previously reported, is simple, reproducible and carried out at room temperature. During milling, the transition metals (Ti, Zr, Hf, V and Nb) alloying and the diffusion of carbon (introduced as graphite) into the alloy structure are simultaneously induced, obtaining the expected (TiZrHfVNb)C-5 HEC. The room temperature method employed contrasts with those reported in the bibliography from binary carbides that are carried out at a very high temperature (1800-2200 degrees C), with the consequent energy savings.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.ceramint.2019.07.195

Graphene Formation Mechanism by the Electrochemical Promotion of a Ni Catalyst

Espinos, JP; Rico, VJ; Gonzalez-Cobos, J; Sanchez-Valencia, JR; Perez-Dieste, V; Escudero, C; de Lucas-Consuegra, A; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR
ACS Catalysis, 9 (2019) 11447-11454


In this work, we show that multilayer graphene forms by methanol decomposition at 280 degrees C on an electrochemically promoted nickel catalyst film supported on a K-beta Al2O3 solid electrolyte. In operando near ambient pressure photoemission spectroscopy and electrochemical measurements have shown that polarizing negatively the Ni electrode induces the electrochemical reduction and migration of potassium to the nickel surface. This elemental potassium promotes the catalytic decomposition of methanol into graphene and also stabilizes the graphene formed via diffusion and direct K-C interaction. Experiments reveal that adsorbed methoxy radicals are intermediate species in this process and that, once formed, multilayer graphene remains stable after electrochemical oxidation and back migration of potassium to the solid electrolyte upon positive polarization. The reversible diffusion of ca. 100 equivalent monolayers of potassium through the carbon layers and the unprecedented low-temperature formation of graphene and other carbon forms are mechanistic pathways of high potential impact for applications where mild synthesis and operation conditions are required.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.9b03820

Hydrophobic and Icephobic Behaviour of Polyurethane-Based Nanocomposite Coatings

Przybyszewski, B; Boczkowska, A; Kozera, R; Mora, J; Garcia, P; Aguero, A; Borras, A
Coatings, 9 (2019) 811


In this paper, hydrophobic nanocomposite coatings based on polyurethane (PUR) modified by nano-silica and silane-based compounds were manufactured by spraying. The main challenge was to assess and improve the hydrophobic as well as anti-icing properties of initially hydrophilic polymer coatings. The prepared nanocomposite coatings were characterized by means of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), optical profilometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The results obtained showed that in order to achieve hydrophobicity, appropriate amounts of nano-silica must be incorporated in the coating, and complete coverage by nano-silica particles is necessary for achieving hydrophobicity. Coating adhesion and the durability of the hydrophobic behaviour were also studied by scratch test and frosting/defrosting cycles, respectively. The results show that use of both nano-silica and silane-based compounds improve the hydrophobic and anti-icing properties of the coating as compared to a non-modified PUR topcoat. A synergistic effect of both additives was observed. It was also found that the anti-icing behaviour does not necessarily correlate with surface roughness and the materials' wetting properties.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.3390/coatings9120811

Porous Graphene-like Carbon from Fast Catalytic Decomposition of Biomass for Energy Storage Applications

Gomez-Martin, A; Martinez-Fernandez, J; Ruttert, M; Winter, M; Placke, T; Ramirez-Rico, J
ACS Omega, 4 (2019) 21446-21458


A novel carbon material made of porous graphene-like nanosheets was synthesized from biomass resources by a simple catalytic graphitization process using nickel as a catalyst for applications in electrodes for energy storage devices. A recycled fiberboard precursor was impregnated with saturated nickel nitrate followed by high-temperature pyrolysis. The highly exothermic combustion of in situ formed nitrocellulose produces the expansion of the cellulose fibers and the reorganization of the carbon structure into a three-dimensional (3D) porous assembly of thin carbon nanosheets. After acid washing, nickel particles are fully removed, leaving nanosized holes in the wrinkled graphene-like sheets. These nanoholes confer the resulting carbon material with approximate to 75% capacitance retention, when applied as a supercapacitor electrode in aqueous media at a specific current of 100 A.g(-1) compared to the capacitance reached at 20 mA.g(-1), and approximate to 35% capacity retention, when applied as a negative electrode for lithium-ion battery cells at a specific current of 3720 mA.g(-1) compared to the specific capacity at 37.2 mA.g(-1). These findings suggest a novel way for synthesizing 3D nanocarbon networks from a cellulosic precursor requiring low temperatures and being amenable to large-scale production while using a sustainable starting precursor such as recycled fiberwood.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.9b03142

Dry Reforming of Ethanol and Glycerol: Mini-Review

Yu, J; Odriozola, JA; Reina, TR
Catalysts, 9 (2019) art. 1015


Dry reforming of ethanol and glycerol using CO2 are promising technologies for H-2 production while mitigating CO2 emission. Current studies mainly focused on steam reforming technology, while dry reforming has been typically less studied. Nevertheless, the urgent problem of CO2 emissions directly linked to global warming has sparked a renewed interest on the catalysis community to pursue dry reforming routes. Indeed, dry reforming represents a straightforward route to utilize CO2 while producing added value products such as syngas or hydrogen. In the absence of catalysts, the direct decomposition for H-2 production is less efficient. In this mini-review, ethanol and glycerol dry reforming processes have been discussed including their mechanistic aspects and strategies for catalysts successful design. The effect of support and promoters is addressed for better elucidating the catalytic mechanism of dry reforming of ethanol and glycerol. Activity and stability of state-of-the-art catalysts are comprehensively discussed in this review along with challenges and future opportunities to further develop the dry reforming routes as viable CO2 utilization alternatives.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.3390/catal9121015

Silver effect on the tribological and antibacterial properties of a-C:Ag coatings

Dominguez-Meister, S; Rojas, TC; Frias, JE; Sanchez-Lopez, JC
Tribology International, 140 (2019) UNSP 105837


a-C:Ag coatings (1.2-23.4 at.% of Ag) were deposited using magnetron sputtering. Ag nanoparticles appear embedded in the carbon matrix or segregated to the column boundaries or surface. The silver doping has not promoted significant changes of the sp(2)/sp(3) ratio although a decrease of the hardness is observed (from 17 to 7 GPa). The tribological behavior did not show a clear dependence on the silver concentration in unlubricated or lubricated conditions (fetal bovinum serum) against alumina or UHMWPE balls. Ag nanoparticle dispersion enhanced the bactericide behavior as determined by the released Ag+ ion in the fluid media. There is no clear effect of friction rubbing on the released silver indicating that diffusion and top segregation are prevalent mechanisms for its dissolution.

December, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.triboint.2019.06.030

Graphene nanoplatelets for electrically conductive 3YTZP composites densified by pressureless sintering

Lopez-Pernia, C; Gallardo-Lopez, A; Morales-Rodriguez, A; Poyato, R
Journal of the European Ceramic Society, 39 (2015) 4435-4439


3 mol% yttria tetragonal zirconia polycrystalline (3YTZP) ceramic composites with 2.5, 5 and 10 vol% graphene nanoplatelets (GNP) were pressureless sintered in argon atmosphere between 1350 and 1450 degrees C. The effects of the GNP content and the sintering temperature on the densification, microstructure and electrical properties of the composites were investigated. An isotropic distribution of GNP surrounding ceramic regions was exhibited regardless the GNP content and sintering temperature used. Electrical conductivity values comparable to the ones of fully dense composites prepared by more complex techniques were obtained, even though full densification was not achieved. While the composite with 5 vol% GNP exhibited electrical anisotropy with a semiconductor-type behaviour, the composite with 10 vol% GNP showed an electrically isotropic metallic-type behaviour.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2019.05.067

Encapsulation of Upconversion Nanoparticles in Periodic Mesoporous Organosilicas

Rahmani, S; Jimenez, CM; Aggad, D; Gonzalez-Mancebo, D; Ocana, M; Ali, LMA; Nguyen, C; Nieto, AIB; Francolon, N; Oliveiro, E; Boyer, D; Mahiou, R; Raehm, L; Gary-Bobo, M; Durand, JO; Charnay, C
Molecules, 24 (2019) 22


(1) Background: Nanomedicine has recently emerged as a promising field, particularly for cancer theranostics. In this context, nanoparticles designed for imaging and therapeutic applications are of interest. We, therefore, studied the encapsulation of upconverting nanoparticles in mesoporous organosilica nanoparticles. Indeed, mesoporous organosilica nanoparticles have been shown to be very efficient for drug delivery, and upconverting nanoparticles are interesting for near-infrared and X-ray computed tomography imaging, depending on the matrix used. (2) Methods: Two different upconverting-based nanoparticles were synthesized with Yb3+-Er3+ as the upconverting system and NaYF4 or BaLuF5 as the matrix. The encapsulation of these nanoparticles was studied through the sol-gel procedure with bis(triethoxysilyl)ethylene and bis(triethoxysilyl)ethane in the presence of CTAB. (3) Results: with bis(triethoxysilyl)ethylene, BaLuF5: Yb3+-Er3+, nanoparticles were not encapsulated, but anchored on the surface of the obtained mesoporous nanorods BaLuF5: Yb3+-Er3+@Ethylene. With bis(triethoxysilyl)ethane, BaLuF5: Yb3+-Er3+ and NaYF4: Yb3+-Er(3+)nanoparticles were encapsulated in the mesoporous cubic structure leading to BaLuF5: Yb3+-Er3+@Ethane and NaYF4: Yb3+-Er3+@Ethane, respectively. (4) Conclusions: upconversion nanoparticles were located on the surface of mesoporous nanorods obtained by hydrolysis polycondensation of bis(triethoxysilyl)ethylene, whereas encapsulation occurred with bis(triethoxysilyl)ethane. The later nanoparticles NaYF4: Yb3+-Er3+@Ethane or BaLuF5: Yb3+-Er3+@Ethane were promising for applications with cancer cell imaging or X-ray-computed tomography respectively.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.3390/molecules24224054

Monodisperse Gold Cuboctahedral Nanocrystals Directly Synthesized in Reverse Micelles: Preparation, Colloidal Dispersion in Organic Solvents and Water, Reversible Self-Assembly and Plasmonic Properties

Luna, C; Castaneda-Rodriguez, D; Barriga-Castro, ED; Nunez, NO; Mendoza-Resendez, R
Langmuir, 34 (2019) 14291-14299


The synthesis of organic-solvent-dispersible gold nanoparticles in reverse micelles of didodecyldimethylammonium bromide (DDAB) is revisited in the present investigation. Some parameters of synthesis, specifically the reaction volume and the concentration of the reducing agent, were slightly modified obtaining directly monodisperse gold nanocrystals (AuNCs) without the need to use additional active surfactants or additional treatments such as digestive ripening. Interestingly, most of the obtained AuNCs display the same exposed crystalline faces composed of six bounding facets (four {111} faces and two {002} faces), corresponding to single-crystalline face-centered cubic nanoparticles with a cuboctahedron shape. When these AuNCs are subsequently functionalized with 1-decanethiol (C10H21SH) or 1-dodecanethiol (C12H25SH), they don’t experience significant changes in their size or crystalline texture, however, they self-aggregate directly in the suspension at room temperature into faceted supramolecular structures and exhibit collective plasmonic excitations. Such self-organization is reversible under heating treatments allowing the observation of the influence of the AuNCs aggregation state on their plasmonic properties. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy reveals that thiols only replace partially the DDAB molecules, and thus, DDAB molecules remain present in the thiol-capped AuNCs. To turn the thiol-capped nanocrystals into water-dispersible nanocrystals and extend their technological potential, they are stabilized with poloxamer 407 obtaining highly stable purple colloids in water.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.9b02374

Morphological effects on the photocatalytic properties of SnO2 nanostructures

Kar, A; Olszowka, J; Sain, S; Sloman, SRI; Montes, O; Fernandez, A; Pradhan, SK; Wheatley, AEH
Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 810 (2019) UNSP 151718


The photocatalytic properties of SnO2 nanocrystals are tuned by varying their morphology and microstructure. SnO2 nanoparticles and nanowedges have been synthesized using hydrothermal methods, while microwave irradiation techniques have given nanospheres. Detailed structural and chemical characterization of these different morphologies has been accomplished. The influence of SnO2 morphology on photocatalytic activity has been examined by monitoring the degradation of aqueous methylene blue dye. Results demonstrate that changing the morphology of the SnO2 modulates both surface area and levels of surface defects and that these alterations are reflected in the photocatalytic properties of the materials. The degradation of methylene blue dye (98%) in the presence of SnO2 nanoparticles under simulated solar irradiation is superior to previously reported photocatalyst performance and is comparable to that of standard TiO2 (Degussa P-25). The SnO2 nanoparticles perform better than both the nanowedges and nanospheres and this is attributed to the number of surface defects available to the high surface area material. They also reveal outstanding recyclability and stability. 

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.jallcom.2019.151718

Colombian metallurgical coke as catalysts support of the direct coal liquefaction

Rico, D; Agamez, Y; Romero, E; Centeno, MA; Odriozola, JA; Diaz, JD
Fuel, 255 (2019) 115748


A Colombian metallurgical coke was modified in its surface chemistry and was used as support of iron sulfide catalysts for direct coal liquefaction. The modification was made by treatments with diluted oxygen and HNO3 at different conditions. Changes in surface chemistry were studied by determining the point of zero charge (PZC), the isoelectric point (IEP), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), temperature programmed decomposition-mass spectrometry (TPD-MS), Diffuse-reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS) and nitrogen adsorption at 77 K. The results show that the materials obtained have a wide range of functional groups incorporated in a different proportion and quantity. The textural parameters indicate that treatment with diluted oxygen increases the surface area and incorporates micropores while the samples treated with HNO3 maintain the textural properties of the original material. The catalysts were also characterized by Raman spectroscopy. It was found that impregnation with the iron sulfide precursor does not significantly affect the Raman characteristics of the support. Additionally, XRD analysis shows smaller pyrite crystallites in the coke enriched with oxygenated groups of phenol and lactone indicating better dispersion of the active phase. The amount of oxygen chemisorbed per gram of catalyst shows that both, oxygen and nitric acid treatments, improve the relative dispersion of the active phase. It was found that the presence of the catalysts increases the conversion and yields towards oils and gases with respect to those of the tests without catalysts. Cokes modified by dilute oxygen gaseous treatment contain surface phenol and lactone groups and present the highest yield to oils.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.fuel.2019.115748

Ultrastable CoxSiyOz Nanowires by Glancing Angle Deposition with Magnetron Sputtering as Novel Electrocatalyst for Water Oxidation

Cano, M; Garcia-Garcia, FJ; Rodriguez-Padron, D; Gonzalez-Elipe, AR; Giner-Casares, JJ; Luque, R


Cobalt is one of the most promising non-noble metal as electrocatalyst for water oxidation. Herein, a highly stable silicon-cobalt mixed oxide thin film with a porous columnar nanostructure is proposed as electrocatalyst for oxygen evolution reaction (OER). CoOx and CoxSiyOz layers with similar thickness were fabricated at room temperature by magnetron sputtering in a glancing angle configuration (MS-GLAD) on tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) substrates. After characterization, a comparative study of the electrocatalytic performance for OER of both layers was carried out. The excellent long-term stability as electrocatalyst for OER of the porous CoxSiyOz thin film demonstrates that the presence of silicon on the mixed oxide network increases the mechanical stability of the Si/Co layer, whilst maintaining a considerable electrocatalytic response.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1002/cctc.201901730

Design of highly stabilized nanocomposite inks based on biodegradable polymer-matrix and gold nanoparticles for Inkjet Printing

Begines, Belen; Alcudia, Ana; Aguilera-Velazquez, Raul; Martinez, Guillermo; He, Yinfeng; Wildman, Ricky; Sayagues, Maria-Jesus; Jimenez-Ruiz, Aila; Prado-Gotor, Rafael
Scientific Reports, 9 (2019) 16097


Nowadays there is a worldwide growing interest in the Inkjet Printing technology owing to its potentially high levels of geometrical complexity, personalization and resolution. There is also social concern about usage, disposal and accumulation of plastic materials. In this work, it is shown that sugar-based biodegradable polyurethane polymers exhibit outstanding properties as polymer-matrix for gold nanoparticles composites. These materials could reach exceptional stabilization levels, and demonstrated potential as novel robust inks for Inkjet based Printing. Furthermore, a physical comparison among different polymers is discussed based on stability and printability experiments to search for the best ink candidate. The University of Seville logo was printed by employing those inks, and the presence of gold was confirmed by ToF-SIMS. This approach has the potential to open new routes and applications for fabrication of enhanced biomedical nanometallic-sensors using stabilized AuNP.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-52314-2

Phyllite clays as raw materials replacing cement in mortars: Properties of new impermeabilizing mortars

Arce, Carolina; Garzon, Eduardo; Sanchez-Soto, Pedro J.
Construction and Building Materials, 224 (2019) 348-358


The aim of this investigation was to determine the suitability of phyllite clays as a raw construction material. For that purpose, the cement in mortars was replaced by a phyllite clay (0–90 wt%) making this study the first of its kind to be performed. These materials were prepared with different water proportions according to the water content and water/cement and water/binder (cement plus phyllite clay) relationships. A comparative study of the most important properties of the resulting experimental mortars was carried out, such as apparent density, water retentivity, consistency and mechanical strength (flexural and compressive strength), along with an evaluation of the pozzolanic activity and permeability. The results showed that the increase of phyllite decreases the apparent density, the consistency and mechanical properties of the mortar, while water retentivity fluctuates. Good correlations (R2 > 0.84) were obtained between flexural and compressive strength for the mortars after 28 days of curing. Pozzolanic activity was observed at cement replacement of 80 wt% of phyllite. Moreover, new impermeabilizing mortars constituted by phyllite clay and cement have been obtained according to the low coefficients of permeability. Taking into account the findings of this research, phyllite clays can be applied as raw construction materials with savings derived from replacing cement in mortars and the low energy consumption involved in their production. However, the present study concluded that the use of phyllite clays did not improve the mechanical strength of these new mortars but, in contrast, they can be applied for impermeabilization purposes in Construction and Civil Engineering.

November, 2019 | DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2019.07.081