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Trends and Applications in Advanced Polymeric Materials




Edited by

Sanjay K. Nayak

Smita Mohanty

Lakshmi Unnikrishnan








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Today, polymers rule the world with their diverse range of applications, fulfilling requirements ranging from the domestic to industrial and defense sectors. The changing world has seen a revolution created by polymers, the most versatile material ever discovered by human kind, owing to their lightweight, ease of processing and manufacturing, moldability into intricate shapes, and cost-effectiveness. They can easily be filled with a range of reinforcing agents like fibers, particulates, flakes and spheres in micro/nano sizes and compete with conventional materials in terms of performance, properties and durability. Polymers have become a multidisciplinary brand which is equally sought after by chemists, physicists, engineers, scientists, doctors and industrialists. More and more research is being carried out to further explore the material and modify it to meet the increasing demand.

“The more important reason is that the research itself provides an important long-run perspective on the issues that we face on a day-to-day basis.” These words of Ben Bernanke, the former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman, have inspired us to discuss and share research on many advanced but widely used applications of polymers with techno-socio-economic importance.

Presented herein are the trends in polymer research and applications of many novel technologies. The chapters in this book feature major original works of young researchers along with a few reviews on innovative techniques and utilities. Primarily, use of polymers for advanced applications like coatings, solar energy harvesting, conducting polymers, sensors, electrolytes, drug delivery, hydrogels, batteries and high-barrier polymers has provided a framework in which to design the contents of this book. The chapters are well crafted with an abstract, introduction to the specific topic, theoretical and experimental techniques wherever necessary, a discussion of detailed results and a concise conclusion about the findings.

To start with, Chapters 1 and 2 on polymer nanocomposite coatings describe the potential of coatings beyond aesthetics. Specialized coatings are discussed wherein polymer matrices are reinforced with nanofillers for imparting specified properties like scratch/barrier resistance, electrical/thermal conductivity, as well as mechanical strength/durability. In Chapter 3, the book proceeds with a discussion of low smoke materials made for polymer nanocomposites from an industrial point of view. The authors describe the effect of various additives on the flame retardancy and smoke tolerance of the nanocomposites in detail. Polymer nanocomposites for solar energy harvesting, a topic of huge interest, is discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. While Chapter 4 deliberates the usefulness, challenges and current status of organic solar cells in the form of a review, Chapter 5 highlights the photocatalytic activities of highly efficient metal nanocrystals embedded in polymer matrix. The electrical sensitivity of various conducting polymer nanocomposite formulations, which are mainly used in sensors, is described in Chapters 6 through 8; and the luminescent characteristics are described in Chapter 9. A discussion on the gas transport phenomena in polymeric membranes filled with nanoparticles is incorporated as Chapter 10, which explains the underlying aspects and factors affecting the mobility of gas molecules through the membranes. Furthermore, the mechanism of ion transport across the membranes and the effect of nanomaterials in developing a continuous conducting path are elucidated in Chapter 11. The development of biocompatible hydrogels for drug delivery application is dealt with in Chapters 12 and 13. Factors like drug entrapment, release rate, compatibility with biological systems, etc., are clearly explained. Chapter 14 presents the advanced use of siloxane modified multilayered polyethylene for oxygen barrier packaging application. The improvement in oxygen diffusion for enhanced shelf life of packaged food items is discussed in detail. Finally, Chapter 15 highlights the advantages and opportunities in the field of rechargeable batteries, with specific emphasis on lithium-based batteries with polymer electrolyte membranes.

This book thus proposes to unveil the research prospects of polymers for indigenous development. The research discussed herein is resourceful in terms of its contents because the selected chapters cover the most recent developments and societal demands. We hope our venture will expressly encourage young people to streamline their research, industrialists to invest in advanced developments, and academicians and scientists to take their research further.

We are thankful to all the authors who have contributed and shared their expertise. Credit also goes to all members who have directly or indirectly helped us in the process of compiling this book. Special thanks go to Wiley-Scrivener for providing us with the opportunity to publish our book. Last, but not the least, we bow before the Almighty, without whose blessings we would not have been able to frame this book.

Sanjay K Nayak
Smita Mohanty
Lakshmi Unnikrishnan
Bhubaneswar, India, August 2017