• Volume 38, Issue 3

June 2015,   pages  583-816

• Gas sensing application of nanocrystalline zinc oxide thin films prepared by spray pyrolysis

Nanocrystalline oxygen-deficient ZnO thinfilm sensors were prepared by spray pyrolysis technique using zinc acetate dissolved in propanol and water as precursor. Response of the sensor to target gases NO2 and H2S is studied. At optimum temperature of 200° C, the sensors have a response of 3.32 to 7 ppm NO2 and 1.4 to 18 ppm of H2S gas. The analytical characterizations of the prepared sensors were performed using X-ray diffraction measurement, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Dynamic response of sensors to different concentrations of NO2 and H2S gas was tested at optimum temperature. Experimental data revealed the sensors to be more selective to NO2 gas with satisfactory response and recovery time.

• Thermally assisted variable range hopping in Tl4S3Se crystal

In this study, a modified model for the application of the thermionic and hopping current conduction mechanisms in the presence of continuous mixed conduction is investigated, discussed, experimented and simulated. It is observed that there exists a contribution from the hopping conductivity to the total conduction even at temperature ranges where the thermionic emission is mainly dominant. The contribution weight of a specific mechanism at particular temperature range is estimated. In addition, a modification to the Mott’s variable range hopping (VRH) transport parameters like density of localized state near the Fermi level, the average hopping range and the hopping energy in the presence of mixed conduction mechanism is also reported. This new approach corrects the evaluated electrical parameters that are necessary for the construction of electronic devices like absorption layers in solar cells. This proposed model is also used to explain the conduction mechanism and investigate the electrical conduction thermionic and Mott’s VRH parameters in Tl4S3Se crystals and in CuAlO2 thin films.

• Effect of isochronal annealing on phase transformation studies of iron oxide nanoparticles

The effect of isochronal annealing on the phase transformation in iron oxide nanoparticles is reported in this work. Iron oxide nanoparticles were successfully synthesized using an ash supported technique followed by annealing for 2 h at various temperatures between 300 and 700° C. It was observed using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) that as-grown samples have mixed phases of crystalline haematite (α-Fe2O3) and a minor phase of either maghemite (𝛾-Fe2O3) or magnetite (Fe3O4). On annealing, the minor phase transforms gradually to haematite. The phase transformation is complete at annealing temperature of 442° C as confirmed by differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) analysis. The unresolved phases in XRD were further analysed and confirmed to be maghemite from the X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES) studies. The magnetic measurements showed that at room temperature nano-𝛼-Fe2O3 is weak ferromagnetic, and its magnetization is larger than the bulk value. The mixed phase sample shows higher value of magnetization because of the presence of ferromagnetic 𝛾-Fe2O3 phase.

• Palladium nanoparticle anchored polyphosphazene nanotubes: preparation and catalytic activity on aryl coupling reactions

Highly accessible-supported palladium (Pd) nanoparticles anchored polyphosphazene (PPZ) nanotubes (NTs) having average diameter of 120 nm were synthesized rapidly at room temperature and homogeneously decorated with Pd nanoparticles. The resultant PPZ–Pd nanocomposites were morphologically and structurally characterized by means of transmission electron microscope equipped with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis. Characterization results showed that the Pd nanoparticles with good dispersibility could be well anchored onto the surfaces of the PPZ NTs. The PPZ–Pd NTs show enhanced catalytic activity for the Suzuki coupling of aryl bromides with arylboronic acid. In addition, these PPZ–Pd NTs show excellent behaviour as reusable catalysts of the Suzuki and Heck coupling reactions.

• Dissolved oxygen detection by galvanic displacement-induced graphene/silver nanocomposite

This paper proposed a simple, efficient and sensitive electrochemical sensor for dissolved oxygen (DO) detection based on a galvanic displacement synthesized reduced graphene oxide–silver nanoparticles (RGO/Ag) composite modified grassy carbon electrode (GCE). The synthesized RGO/Ag nanocomposite was characterized by UV–vis spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The results indicate the graphene oxide (GO) has been successfully reduced during the galvanic displacement process and the average size of Ag nanoparticle is 52 nm. The RGO/Ag nanocomposite-modified GCE showed a significant enhancement of DO detection compared with bare and RGO-modified GCEs. Moreover, the proposed DO sensor also exhibited an excellent repeatability, reproducibility and anti-interference ability

• Synthesis and characterization of ZnO/TiO2 composite core/shell nanorod arrays by sol–gel method for organic solar cell applications

ZnO/TiO2 core/shell nanorod arrays were deposited on indium tin oxide (ITO) substrate via a facile sol–gel dip-coating process. Effects of solution pH for ZnO, annealing temperature, growth time and temperature on the physical properties of nanorods have been investigated. X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were employed to characterize the structural and morphological properties of the prepared composite nanorods. XRD result revealed wurtzite structure of ZnO with a mixed anatase and rutile structure phase for TiO2. Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) and UV–vis spectroscopy were used to study the chemical composition and optical properties of the films, respectively. Electrical resistivity of the films was also investigated. The optical and electrical properties of the bare TiO2 thin film and core/shell composite were compared together. The results showed that owing to smaller band gap and lower resistivity, the core/shell structure as an electron transport layer for inverted photovoltaic devices is more suitable than bare TiO2 thin film.

• A green and facile approach for the synthesis of silver nanoparticles using aqueous extract of Ailanthus excelsa leaves, evaluation of its antibacterial and anticancer efficacy

Silver nanoparticles possess a wide range of applications especially in the field of medicine and this has stimulated the need for synthesizing them. Conventionally, chemical methods are used, which are hazardous and energy consuming. Therefore an eco-friendly and facile means of synthesizing nanoparticles is needed to replace the chemical method of synthesis. In the present study, silver nanoparticles were synthesized in a cost-effective and environment-friendlymanner using aqueous leaf extract of Ailanthus excelsa—a medicinal tree used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, cold, abdominal pain, etc. The leaf extract helped in the bioreduction of silver ions yielding silver nanoparticles. The silver nanoparticles thus biosynthesized were characterized using UV–vis absorption spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). These biologically synthesized silver nanoparticles were also found to exhibit excellent antibacterial effect against Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia and anticancer effect against MCF-7 cell line.

• Efficient functionalization of poly(styrene) beads immobilized metal nanoparticle catalysts for the reduction of crystal violet

Three types of new bead-shaped heterogeneous nanoparticle (NP) catalysts were synthesized by simplified procedures and studied for continuous reduction of crystal violet (CV) dye. The stabilizing agent, viz., 2-acryloxyethyltrimethyl ammonium chloride (PAC) was functionalized efficiently onto the surface of insoluble poly(styrene)-co-(vinyl benzyl chloride) beads (PS–PVBC) through surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (SI-ATRP) to obtain insoluble bead matrix having intense surface functional groups labelled as PS–PVBC-𝑔-PAC. These PS–PVBC–PAC beads in turn were used as a common matrix for individual immobilization of AgNPs, AuNPs and PdNPs by following the simple chemical reaction/reduction methods to yield the corresponding bead-shaped heterogeneous NP catalysts, viz., PS–PVBC-𝑔-PAC–AgNPs, PS–PVBC-𝑔-PAC–AuNPs and PS–PVBC-𝑔-PAC–PdNPs. These catalysts were characterized by UV–Vis, FT-IR, SEM/EDAX and HRTEM techniques. The catalytic activity of these three types of catalysts were examined through the reduction of CV using NaBH4 as a reducing agent and it was observed that all these catalysts effectively accelerated the reaction. The superior catalyst, viz., PS–PVBC-𝑔-PAC–AuNPs was again used for detail kinetic studies of the same reduction reaction.

• Biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles synthesized by Aspergillus flavus and their antioxidant, antimicrobial and cytotoxicity properties

In the present study, biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles and its antioxidant, antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities were investigated. Silver nanoparticles were extracellularly synthesized using Aspergillus flavus and the formation of nanoparticles was observed after 72 h of incubation. The results recorded from colour changes, UV–vis spectrum and X-ray diffraction (XRD) support the biosynthesis and characterization of silver nanoparticles. UV–vis spectral analysis showed silver surface plasmon resonance band at 420 nm. X-ray diffraction showed that the particles were crystalline with face-centred cubic structure at 45.05°, 65.45° and 78.65° and the size of the silver nanoparticles was 33.5 nm. The synthesized silver nanoparticles showed potent antimicrobial activity against various pathogens, including bacteria and fungi. Biosynthesized silver nanoparticles exhibited strong antioxidant activity as well as cytotoxicity against HL-60 cells in a dose–response relationship. The powerful bioactivity demonstrated by the synthesized silver nanoparticles leads towards the biomedical use as antioxidant, antibacterial and cytotoxic agents.

• Low power optical limiting studies on nanocrystalline benzimidazole thin films prepared by modified liquid phase growth technique

In the present work, benzimidazole (BMZ), a well known nonlinear optical material, thin films were deposited using the modified liquid phase growth technique at different solution temperatures. The prepared samples were subjected to spectral, structural and surface analyses. Linear optical properties and third-order optical nonlinearity of the deposited BMZ thin films were analysed using UV–visible–NIR spectrum and 𝑍-scan technique, respectively. The experimental results show that the BMZ films exhibit reverse saturable absorption and positive nonlinearity at 650 nm CW laser of power 5 mW. The measured third-order nonlinear susceptibility of the films is about 10−10 esu. Optical limiting studies were performed using the same laser source and the potentiality of the BMZ films is reported.

• Synthesis of zinc oxide nanoparticles using tea leaf extract and its application for solar cell

We report the synthesis of zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles and its composite with natural graphite (NG) powder for application in solar cell. ZnO nanoparticles were synthesized using green tea leaf extract as non-toxic and eco-friendly reducing material under microwave irradiation. The formation of ZnO nanoparticles was monitored by the colour changes during the reaction. The synthesized ZnO nanoparticles were characterized by particle size analyzer (dynamic light scattering), scanning electron microscope, UV–visible spectroscopy, atomic force microscope and fluorescence spectroscopy. The average particle size of the ZnO nanoparticles was found to be 26 nm. The synthesized ZnO nanoparticles were further used to prepare ZnO/NG composite material with commercially available NG powder. The current–voltage (𝐼–𝑉) characteristics of thin film of ZnO/NG nanocomposite were investigated. JSC (short-circuit photocurrent), VOC (open-circuit photovoltage), FF (fill factor) and 𝜂 (efficiency of the solar cell) were measured for ZnO/NG nanocomposite. Interestingly, the cell showed a good power conversion efficiency of 3.54% with high stability.

• Microwave-assisted facile green synthesis of silver nanoparticles and spectroscopic investigation of the catalytic activity

Silver nanoparticles have been successfully synthesized in aqueous medium by a green, rapid and costefficient synthetic approach based on microwave irradiation. In this study, iota-carrageenan (I-carrageenan) is used both as reducing and stabilizing agent. The formation of nanoparticles is determined using UV–vis, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) and high-resolution-transmission electron microscopic (HR-TEM) analysis. Transmission electron microscopic (TEM) images show that the nanoparticles are of spherical shape with an average diameter of 18.2 nm. I-carrageenan-stabilized silver nanoparticles show outstanding catalytic activity for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol in the presence of NaBH4 in aqueous medium. The reaction follows pseudo-first-order kinetics and the reaction rate increases with the increase in amount of the catalyst. The study of the temperature dependence of reaction rate gives activation energy of 42.81 kJ mol−1. The synthesized silver nanoparticles are anticipated to be a promising material for pollution abatement.

• A new green approach for the reduction of graphene oxide nanosheets using caffeine

A simple and green chemistry approach for the preparation of reduced graphene oxide nanosheets was successfully demonstrated through the reduction of graphene oxide (GO) using caffeine as the reductant. Without using toxic and harmful chemicals, this method is environmentally friendly and suitable for the large-scale production of graphene. The samples of GO, before and after reduction with caffeine have been characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman, Fourier transform infrared, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, thermogravimetric analysis and transmission electron microscopy.

• Silica-calcium zirconate nanocomposite, studying its thermal and electrical properties

Silica–calcium zirconate nanocomposite was prepared in a two-step procedure. First, nanocalcium zirconate was synthesized by the modified sol–gel method; then, silica was added to the prepared sol and the resulting product was calcined at 700–1000° C. Dilatometric measurements were performed to determine the coefficient of thermal expansion (𝑘𝛼). It was concluded that 𝑘𝛼 was decreased from 15.96 × 10−6 to 10.26 × 10−6 1° C−1 with the increase in calcium zirconate/silica ratio. Moreover, studies on the dielectric properties and calcination temperature showed that the dielectric constant (𝜀r) was increased from 3.9 to 5.7.

• Processing and characterization of pure cordierite and zirconia-doped cordierite ceramic composite by precipitation technique

Pure cordierite and cordierite–ZrO2 composite (5–20 wt%) ceramics for various stoichiometric compositions were synthesized from standard raw materials by a novel precipitation technique. The analytical techniques such as X-ray diffraction, simultaneous thermogravimetric and differential thermal analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and bulk density were employed to evaluate the properties and microstructure. Results show that the ceramic composites consist of cordierite and zircon phases. The cordierite–zirconia (20 wt%) increased the fracture toughness value from 3.38 to 3.94 MPa, which is mainly due to martensitic transformation present in zirconia. The flexural strength of composite was found to increase from 126.46 to 297.62 MPa. The thermal expansion coefficients of cordierite and cordierite–zirconia (20 wt%) were 4.08 × 10−6 and 4.42 × 10−6 ° C−1 which may be due to the addition of zirconia.

• Enhanced microactuation with magnetic field curing of magnetorheological elastomers based on iron–natural rubber nanocomposites

The incorporation of nanoparticles of iron in a natural rubber matrix leads to flexible magnetorheological (MR) materials. Rod-shaped MR elastomers based on natural rubber and nanosized iron have been moulded both with and without the application of an external magnetic field during curing. These MR elastomer rods and filler material were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Magnetic properties were investigated by using vibrating sample magnetometry. Microactuation studies were carried out by employing a laser Doppler vibrometer. It is seen that microactuation of field cured samples have been enhanced by two times when compared with that of zero field cured samples. The effect of alignment of magnetic particles during field-assisted curing was also studied by using a dynamic mechanical analyzer. A plausible model is put forwarded to explain the observed enhancement of actuation for field cured samples.

• Structure, morphology and corrosion resistance of Ni–Mo+PTh composite coatings

Ni–Mo+PTh composite coatings were prepared from nickel–molybdenum galvanic bath with the addition of thiophene (Th) and HClO4 as result of two processes: induced Ni–Mo alloy deposition and PTh polymerization. A scanning electron microscope was used for surface morphology characterization of the coatings. The Scanning ElectrochemicalWorkstationM370 was used to the surface map of the tested composite coatings. The chemical composition of the coatings was determined by the energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) method. It was stated that the surface of the coatings are characterized by the presence of Ni–Mo particles and polythiophene agglomerates. Electrochemical corrosion investigations of coatings were carried out in the 5 M KOH solution, using voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) methods. On the basis of these research works it was found that the composite Ni–Mo+PTh coatings are more corrosion resistant in alkaline solution than Ni–Mo. The reasons for this are the presence of the polymer on the surface of the coatings and a decrease of corrosion active surface area of the coatings.

• The general mechanisms of Cu cluster formation in the processes of condensation from the gas phase

Technological applications of metallic clusters impose very strict requirements for particle size, shape, structure and defect density. Such geometrical characteristics of nanoparticles are mainly determined by the process of their growth. This work represents the basic mechanisms of cluster formation from the gas phase that has been studied on the example of copper. The process of Cu nanoclusters synthesis has been studied by the moleculardynamics method based on tight-binding potentials. It has been shown that depending on the size and temperature of the initial nanoclusters the process of nanoparticle formation can pass through different basic scenarios. The general conditions of different types of particles formation have been defined and clear dependence of the cluster shape from collision temperature of initial conglomerates has been shown. The simulation results demonstrate a very good agreement with the available experimental data. Thus, it has been shown that depending on the specific application of the synthesized particles or in electronics, where particles of a small size with a spherical shape are required, or in catalytic reactions, where the main factor of effectiveness is the maximum surface area with the help of temperature of the system it is possible to get the realization of a certain frequency of this or that scenario of the shape formation of nanocrystalline particles.

• The effects of growth time on the quality of graphene synthesized by LPCVD

The graphene has several unique characteristics and many applications in all fields. Some of these characteristics are the quantum Hall effect at room temperature, the ambipolar field effect, the optical properties, the high electron mobility and the best electronic properties. The ability of fabricating large-area monolayer graphene is hindering its application. In this paper the effects of growth time on the quality of graphene synthesized by lowpressure chemical vapour deposition (LPCVD) has been investigated. Large-areamonolayer graphene is synthesized on polycrystalline Cu foil (∼1 cm2) by controlled experiment LPCVD at different growth times (30, 60, 120 and 150s). The synthesized graphene was characterized using Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The Raman spectrum showed a 𝐼G/𝐼2D ∼0.2 ratio which indicates that all samples are single-layer graphene and the SEM images demonstrate that the domain size increases when the growth time increases. The growth mechanism of LPCVD of graphene on Cu and the mechanisms governing the Raman scattering process in the films are also discussed. The control over the grain size of synthesized graphene by adjusting the growth time (achieved in this work), provides useful insights for understanding the growth mechanism of LPCVD of graphene and for optimization of the growth process to further improve the quality of graphene. Finally, with analyses of all investigations we found that the quality and the large-area of monolayer graphene improved by increasing the growth time and it is very important consequence for all those who do research on graphene.

• Interface behaviour and electrical performance of ruthenium Schottky contact on 4H-SiC after argon annealing

Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS) analysis, carried out at various annealing temperatures, of a thin film of ruthenium on n-type four-hexagonal silicon carbide (4H-SiC) showed the evidence of ruthenium oxidation, ruthenium silicide formation and diffusion of ruthenium into silicon carbide starting from an annealing temperature of 400° C. Ruthenium oxidation was more pronounced, and ruthenium and silicon interdiffusion was very deep after annealing at 800° C. Raman analysis of some samples also showed ruthenium silicide formation and oxidation. The Schottky barrier diodes showed very good linear capacitance–voltage characteristics and excellent forward current–voltage characteristics, despite the occurrence of the chemical reactions and interdiffusion of ruthenium and silicon at ruthenium–silicon–carbide interface, up to an annealing temperature of 800° C.

• Influence of growth conditions on microstructure and defects in diamond coatings grown by microwave plasma enhanced CVD

Diamond coatings were grown on SiO2/Si substrate under various process conditions by microwave plasma chemical vapour deposition (MPCVD) using CH4/H2 gas mixture. In this paper, we present a microstructural study to elucidate on the growth mechanism and evolution of defects, viz., strain, dislocations, stacking faults, twins and non-diamond impurities in diamond coatings grown under different process conditions. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy were used to characterize the diamond coatings. It has been shown that our new approach of prolonged substrate pre-treatment under hydrogen plasma yielded a new growth sequence that the SiO2 layer on the Si substrate was first reduced to yield Si layer of ∼150 nm thickness before diamond was allowed to grow under CH4–H2 plasma, created subsequently. It has also been shown that Si and O as impurity from the substrate hinders the initial diamond growth to yield non-diamond phases. It is being suggested that the crystal defects like twins, stacking faults, dislocations in the diamond grains and dislocations in the intermediate Si layer are generated due to the development of non-uniform stresses during diamond growth at high temperature.

• Leakage current transport mechanisms of La0.67Sr0.33MnO3/BaTiO3 bilayer films grown on Nb:SrTiO3

La0.67Sr0.33MnO3/BaTiO3(LSMO/BTO) bilayer films were epitaxially grown on Nb:SrTiO3 (NSTO) substrates by the pulsed laser deposition technique. Current–voltage (𝐼–𝑉) characteristics of the LSMO/BTO bilayer films were studied. 𝐼–𝑉 curves were measured at room temperature, which show rectifying behaviour and can be well fitted by the space-charge-limited current mechanism under forward bias while thermionic emission model under reverse bias. Analysis indicates that a modulating Schottky barrier exists at the LSMO/BTO interface, which dominates the leakage current transport properties of LSMO/BTO bilayer films.

• Impedance spectroscopy studies on (Na0.5Bi0.5)0.94Ba0.06TiO3 + 0.3 wt% Sm2O3 + 0.25 wt% LiF lead-free piezoelectric ceramics

The a.c. complex impedance spectroscopy technique was used to obtain the electrical parameters of (Na0.5Bi0.5)0.94Ba0.06TiO3 +0.3 wt% Sm2O3 +0.25 wt% LiF lead-free ceramics in a wide frequency range at different temperatures. These samples were prepared by a high-temperature solid-state reaction technique and their single phase formation was confirmed by the X-ray diffraction technique. Dielectric studies exhibit a diffuse phase transition characterized by a temperature and frequency dispersion of permittivity, and this relaxation has been modelled using the modified Curie–Weiss law. The variation of imaginary part (𝑍″) of impedance with frequency at various temperatures shows that the 𝑍″ values reach a maxima peak (𝑍″max) above 400° C. The appearance of single semicircle in the Nyquist plots (𝑍″ vs. 𝑍′) pattern at high temperatures suggests that the electrical process occurring in the material has a relaxation process possibly due to the contribution for bulk material only. The bulk resistance of the material decreases with rise in temperatures similar to that of a semiconductor, and the Nyquist plot showed the negative temperature coefficient of resistance (NTCR) character of these materials. The frequencies, thermal effect on a.c. conductivity and activation energy have been assessed.

• Synthesis of graphene using gamma radiations

Considering the advantages of radiolytic synthesis such as the absence of toxic chemical as a reducing agent, uniform distribution of reducing agent and high purity of product, the synthesis of graphene (rGO) from graphene oxide (GO) by the gamma irradiation technique using a relatively low dose rate of 0.24 kGy h−1 has been described. Structural and physicochemical properties of GO and rGO were investigated with the help of various characterization techniques. The presence of peak at 271 nm in ultraviolet–visible spectrum, C= C aromatic stretching vibrations between 1450 and 1600 cm−1 in the Fourier transform infrared spectrum and significant decrease in photoluminescence peak intensity at 470 and 567 nm wavelengths represent the reduction of GO to graphene by gamma irradiation. The decrease in stacking height from 7.71 nm in GO to 3.52 nm in rGO as observed from the X-ray powder diffraction analysis further confirms the same. Raman spectra show significantly lower D to G band ratio for rGO compared with GO. Also, the cyclic voltammograms obtained using GO- and rGO-modified electrodes (working electrode) in standard redox system show enhanced peak intensities together with decrease in potential difference between oxidation and reduction peaks in case of graphene.

• First-principle study on the effect of high Ag–2N co-doping on the conductivity of ZnO

The geometric structure, band structure (BS) and density of state (DOS) of pure and p-type co-doping wurtzite ZnO have been investigated by the first-principle ultrasoft pseudopotential method with the generalized gradient approximation. These structures induce fully occupied defect states above the valence-band maximum of doped ZnO. The calculation results show that in the range of high doping concentration, when the co-doping concentration is more than a certain value, the conductivity decreased with the increase of co-doping concentration of Ag–2N in ZnO. Our findings suggest that co-doping of Ag–2N could efficiently enhance the N dopant solubility and is likely to yield better p-type conductivity.

• Processing and study of the wear and friction behaviour of discrete graded Cu hybrid composites

Discrete functionally graded composites are the novel composites which have high potential in the brake friction material applications. In this paper, we have prepared discrete functional graded Cu/10%SiC/20%graphite(Gr)/10%boron nitride (h-BN) hybrid composites by the layer stacking compaction and pressure sintering techniques.We have considered two types of composites based on h-BN particle sizes. The size ranges of h-BN used were 140–180 and 3–25 𝜇m. The friction and wear properties of the composites were evaluated in a laboratory scale brake inertial dynamometer at low (5, 10 m s−1) and high sliding speeds (30, 35 m s−1) and, high braking load (2000 N) conditions. In addition, we have performed microstructure characterization, density, hardness and flexural strength measurements.Wear surface morphology studies were also carried out using stereoscope and scanning electron microscope. Our experiments lead to the following important results: (1) the large size h-BN particle improves the densification of the hybridized composite layer and provides higher wear resistance and better braking performance at all sliding speeds, (2) the wear loss (by mass) and the stopping distance/time increase with sliding speeds due to the increase in the braking energy, (3) at low sliding speeds (5, 10 m s−1), abrasive wear is the main wear mechanism, whereas many different wear mechanisms (delamination, oxidation, abrasive) are cooccuring at higher sliding speeds (30, 35 m s−1), (4) the mechanical properties (flexural strength and surface hardness) of composites are not affected by the h-BN particle size, (5) the incorporation of copper layer in the discrete layer structure deflects and arrests the crack at the copper/composite layer interface, thus improving the fracture resistance in addition to improving the bulk thermal conductivity.

• Preparation and characterization of electroless Ni–B/nano-SiO2, Al2O3, TiO2 and CuO composite coatings

Ni–B/SiO2, Al2O3, TiO2 and CuO composite coatings were successfully obtained by the electroless plating technique. Dispersible SiO2, Al2O3, TiO2 and CuO nanoparticles were co-deposited with electroless Ni–B coating onto AISI-304 steel substrates. Deposits were characterized for its structural properties by X-ray diffraction (XRD). XRD results showed a broad peak of Ni–B and low intensity composite nanoparticle peaks. The surface and cross-section morphology of samples were analysed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Surface analysis showed that the incorporation in Ni–B matrix of nano-SiO2, Al2O3, TiO2 and CuO particles increases the nodularity of composite coatings. The deposits are composed of a columnar structure grown along the vertical direction of the substrate surface. The results also show that electroless nanocomposite coatings tend to have greater microhardness compared with the coating without nanoparticles. The increase in the microhardness of the nanocomposite coatings reported in this study is attributed to an effect of dispersion strengthening of ceramic particles in the Ni–B matrix.

• Thromboresistance of functionalized poly(methylmethacrylate): the effect of surface polarity

An implant material when comes in contact with blood fluids (e.g., blood and lymph), adsorb proteins spontaneously on its surface. Notably, blood coagulation is influenced by many factors, including mainly chemical structure and polarity (charge) of the material. The present study describes the methodology to improve the blood compatibility of poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) by incorporating ionic groups with varying polarities. PMMA has been functionalized with different groups containing positive, negative and neutral polarity by the free radical polymerization technique and suchmodification were further confirmed through Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The level of thrombogenicity was found three times lower with negatively charged PMMA in comparison to those of positively charged and neutral PMMA. Platelet adhesion was noted almost negligible in all samples after 10 s of blood exposure. High adsorption of fibrinogen from the blood was noticed in the test sample containing a group with positive polarity (thiouronium chloride) while there was no platelet adhesion observed even after 120 s of blood exposure in the test samples containing negatively charged (sulphate) and neutral (hydroxyl group) functional groups.

• Mechanical, microstructure and electrical properties of ternary ZnO–V2O5–Mn3O4 varistor with sintering temperature

The mechanical,microstructure and electrical properties of the ZnO–V2O5–Mn3O4 (ZVM)-based varistors were investigated at different sintering temperatures of 825–950° C. The microstructure of the samples consists mainly of ZnO grains with Zn3(VO4)2, ZnV2O4 and VO2 as minor secondary phases. These minor phases disappeared for samples sintered at 950° C. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopic (EDS) analysis confirmed the above microstructure results. The sintered density is decreased linearly from 5.45 to 5.30 g cm−3 with an increase in the sintering temperature. The 𝐸B- and 𝛼-values of ZnO-based varistor can be controlled in a straightforward manner through the control of grain size. The breakdown field exhibited the highest value (2110 V cm−1) at 825° C in the sintering temperature and the lowest value (1427 V cm−1) at 950° C in the sintering temperature. The non-linear coefficient exhibited the highest value, reaching 19.81 at 875° C and the lowest value, reaching 6.71 at 850° C. As the average grain size increases both the longitudinal wave velocity and the longitudinal elastic modulus decrease while the ultrasonic attenuation increases and vice versa.

• Influence of porous silicon formation on the performance of multi-crystalline silicon solar cells

The effect of formation of porous silicon on the performance of multi-crystalline silicon (mc-Si) solar cells is presented. Surface treatment of mc-Si solar cells was performed by electrochemical etching in HF-based solution. The effect of etching is viewed through scanning electron microscope (SEM) photographs that indicated the formation of a porous layer on the surface. Total reflection spectroscopy measurements on solar cells revealed reduced reflection after etching. In order to demonstrate the effect of this porous layer on the solar cell performance, illumination-dependent 𝑗–𝑉 characteristics and spectral response measurements were performed and analysed before and after etching. At all illumination intensities, short-circuit current density and open-circuit voltage values for the etched solar cell were higher than those before etching, whereas fill factor values were lower for the etched cell at high illumination intensities. An interpretation of these findings is presented.

• Five different colours solid-state fluorescence of azastilbenes: a new push–pull 𝜋-conjugated system

Five push–pull azastilbene derivatives [R = −OH (1), −OCH3 (2), −OCH2CH3 (3), −N(CH3)2 (4) and −N(CH2CH3)2 (5)] have been synthesized and successfully characterized by 1H NMR, ultraviolet–visible (UV–Vis) and Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Compounds 1–5 possess solid-state fluorescence in five different colours ranging from blue to orange (𝜆ex at 400 nm) in which blue (𝜆em at 474 nm) for 1, bright-blue (𝜆ex at 469 nm) for 2, green (𝜆ex at 537 nm) for 3, yellow (𝜆ex at 568 nm) for 4 and orange (𝜆em at 540, 630 nm) for 5. Compounds 4 and 5 exhibited strong fluorescence with quantum yield values 0.61 and 0.84, respectively, higher than those of 1–3. Moreover, liquid-state fluorescence performed in non-polar solvent in order to investigate the effect of dipolar intermolecular interactions on their fluorescence properties, the results revealed that the emission spectra of 1−5 in liquid state are similar to those of solid state, indicating that no significant dipolar interactions were observed. Therefore, the substituent with electron-donating group as N- or O-donor and electron-withdrawing group as –SO3H, on the azastilbene skeleton play a major role on their solid-state fluorescence.

• Improvement in ionic conductivities of poly-(2-vinylpyridine) by treatment with crotonic acid and vinyl acetic acid

The synthesis, characterization and improved ionic conductivities of the salts of poly-(2-vinylpyridine) with crotonic acid and vinyl acetic acid are reported here. In this study, the alternating current conductivity measurements were carried out within the temperature range of 30–90° C and the frequency range of 1 Hz–100 kHz in solid state. A two- to three-fold increase in conductivity was observed for vinyl acetic acid salt whereas one- to twofold increase was observed for crotonic acid salt. The ionic transport numbers of the salts were measured with the help of the Wagner polarization technique which reveals that the percentage of ionic character of the salts are significantly higher compared with the polymer. The percentage of water uptake by the polymer and its salts were also observed.

• The effects of Tb3+ doping concentration on luminescence properties and crystal structure of BaF2 phosphor

This paper is aimed at explaining the effects of Tb3+ concentration on structure and luminescence properties and clarifying the concentration quenching mechanism of Tb3+. The lattice of BaF2 decreases with the increase of Tb3+ ions concentration. The emission spectrum of BaF2:Tb3+ consists of blue emission band and green emission band and corresponds to the transition of 5D3 $\to$ 7F𝐽 (𝐽 =0, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6) and 5D4 $\to$ 7F𝐽 (𝐽 =2, 3, 4, 5, 6) of Tb3+. The optimum concentration of Tb3+ is 4 mol%, and the concentration quenching mechanism of Tb3+ can be interpreted by the dipole–quadrupole (d–q) interaction.

• Fabrication and characterization of PDLLA/pyrite composite bone scaffold for osteoblast culture

A series of highly interconnected porous poly(D,L-lactide acid) (PDLLA)/pyrite (Zi-Ran-Tong, FeS2) scaffold containing 5–20% of pyrite was fabricated by particle leaching combined with the thermal-induced phase separation method. Pyrite (FeS2, named as Zi-Ran-Tong in Chinese medicine), as a traditional Chinesemedicine, has been used in the Chinese population to treat bone diseases and to promote bone healing. The mechanical properties of the PDLLA scaffold were significantly enhanced after the addition of pyrite. The osteoblastic ROS17/2.8 cell line was used and seeded on the PDLLA/pyrite scaffold to study its potential to support the growth of osteoblastic cells and to estimate the optimal dose of pyrite for bone tissue engineering. The effects of pyrite on cell proliferation and differentiation were evaluated by 3-[4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and alkaline phosphatase activity assay. The cells on the porous composite scaffold formed a continuous layer on the outer and inner surface observed by scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscope. The results strongly suggested that the PDLLA/pyrite composite scaffold could stimulate the growth of ROS17/2.8 cells in vitro and it could be potentially used as a scaffold for bone tissue engineering.

• # Bulletin of Materials Science

Volume 43, 2020
All articles
Continuous Article Publishing mode

• # Editorial Note on Continuous Article Publication

Posted on July 25, 2019