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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. Combining experimental and computational studies of nanocomposite interfaces is highly needed to gain insight into their performance. However, there are very few literature reports, combining well-controlled atomic force microscopy experiments with molecular dynamic simulations, which explore the role of polymer chemistry and assembly on interface adhesion and shear strength. In this work, we investigate graphene oxide (GO)-polymer interfaces prevalent in nanocomposites based on a nacre-like architectures. We examine the interfacial strength resulting from van der Waals and hydrogen bonding interactions by comparing the out-of-plane separation and in-plane shear deformations of GO-polyethylene glycol (PEG) and GO-polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). The investigation revealsmore »an overall better mechanical performance for the anhydrous GO-PVA system in both out-of-plane and in-plane deformation modes, highlighting the benefits of the donor-acceptor hydrogen bond formation present in GO-PVA. Such bond formation results in interchain hydrogen bond networks leading to stronger interfaces. By contrast, PEG, a hydrogen bond acceptor only, relies primarily on van der Waals inter-chain interactions, typically resulting in weaker interactions. The study also predicts that water addition increases the adhesion of GOPEG but decreases the adhesion of GO-PVA, and slightly increases the shear strength in both systems. Furthermore, by comparing simulations and experiments, we show that the CHARMM force field has enough accuracy to capture the effect of polymer content, water distribution, and to provide quantitative guidance for achieving optimum interfacial properties. Therefore, the study demonstrates an effective methodology, in the Materials Genome spirit, toward the design of 2D materials-polymer nanocomposites system for applications demanding mechanical robustness.« less
  3. Recent reports have linked severe lung injuries and deaths to the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products. Nevertheless, the causal relationship between exposure to vaping emissions and the observed health outcomes remains to be elucidated. Through chemical and toxicological characterization of vaping emission products, this study demonstrates that during vaping processes, changes in chemical composition of several commonly used vape juice diluents (also known as cutting agents) lead to the formation of toxic byproducts, including quinones, carbonyls, esters, and alkyl alcohols. The resulting vaping emission condensates cause inhibited cell proliferation and enhanced cytotoxicity in human airway epithelial cells. Notably, substantialmore »formation of the duroquinone and durohydroquinone redox couple was observed in the vaping emissions from vitamin E acetate, which may be linked to acute oxidative stress and lung injuries reported by previous studies. These findings provide an improved molecular understanding and highlight the significant role of toxic byproducts in vaping-associated health effects.« less