Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Specialty polymers

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.04.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology   

Code Science Field
T390  Technological sciences  Polymer technology, biopolymers 
Functional polymers, conductive polymers, biodegradable polymers, supramolecular polymers, hyperbranched polymers, liquid crystalline polymers, interpenetrated polymer networks, polymeric nanocomposites, recycling of polymers and polymeric materials, polymers from renewable resources, polymerization, degradation, characterization.
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (21)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  18145  PhD Gabriela Ambrožič  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004  62 
2.  08675  PhD Alojz Anžlovar  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  182 
3.  26505  PhD Blaž Brulc  Chemistry  Junior researcher  2006 - 2008  22 
4.  25099  PhD Maja Gričar Lokar  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2005 - 2008  98 
5.  10692  PhD Miroslav Huskić  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2008  320 
6.  27687  PhD Edita Jasiukaityte  Chemical engineering  Technical associate  2006 - 2008  136 
7.  27654  PhD Tomaž Kos  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2006 - 2008  40 
8.  17162  PhD Andrej Kržan  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  344 
9.  11733  PhD Matjaž Kunaver  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2005 - 2008  339 
10.  17268  Miran Lavrič    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
11.  12105  PhD Tatjana Marinović  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2004 - 2005  71 
12.  15792  PhD Ida Mav Golež  Chemistry  Researcher  2004 - 2008  38 
13.  28297  Skumavc Meta    Technical associate  2008 
14.  29613  PhD David Pahovnik  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2008  192 
15.  12041  PhD Ida Poljanšek  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2008  354 
16.  17270  Polona Prosen    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
17.  17272  Mirjana Širca    Technical associate  2004 - 2008 
18.  28566  PhD Tina Šmigovec Ljubič  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2007 - 2008  17 
19.  22578  PhD Nada Verdel  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004  22 
20.  12318  PhD Ema Žagar  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2004 - 2008  489 
21.  06126  PhD Majda Žigon  Materials science and technology  Head  2004 - 2008  661 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  21,264 
2.  1858  SAVATECH Industrial Rubber and Tyres  KRANJ  1661205  253 
The content of the research program is the preparation and study of novel functional polymers and polymeric materials with controlled properties. The research on functional polymers will be oriented towards synthesis and characterization connected with application of (a) biodegradable polymers as carriers for controlled drug release based on polyesters, polyamides, and polyesteramides made form natural monomers such as lactic, glycolic or aspartic acid, (b) conductive polymers based on substituted anilines, (c) supramolecular polymers based on polyurethanes and low-molar mass H-bond donors, (d) hyperbranched polymers based on hyperbranched polyesters, (e) liquid crystalline polyesters, and (f) interpenetrating polymer networks based on polyurethanes and acrylates. We will investigate their properties in relation to composition, structure, architecture, morphology and, for some of them, the degree of crosslinking. The research within the field of polymeric materials will be oriented towards (a) ionically conductive polymers and the preparation of composite membranes for use in fuel cells based on aromatic and fluorinated polymers with the addition of inorganic nanosized fillers and ionomeric components; (b) preparation of nanocomposites from polymeric matrices and nanofillers in melt or in-situ. The goal is to improve their properties (chemical resistance, thermal stability, electrical conductivity, permeability behavior and mechanical properties) with a lower concentration of (nano)fillers in comparison to conventional composites. The matrices will be some of the above mentioned polymers of our own synthesis as well as several commercially available polymers; (c) the use of recycled polymers: the depolymerization products of polyethylene terephtalate will be explored as feedstocks for the synthesis of new polymers, e.g. for the manufacturing of composites; (d) synthesis of polymers from renewable resources: novel polymers and polymeric materials will be developed using the products obtained by liquefaction of wood. Since advanced polymers are composed of molecules differing in composition, structure, architecture, and the degree of polymerization we are going to develop methods for their detailed characterization by coupling separation techniques with selective detectors. In addition, our intention is to develop two-dimensional chromatography which allows fractionation of polymers not only by molar masses but also by functional groups and chemical composition.
Significance for science
Development of specialty polymers as high performance materials is driven by a number of selected specific applications using advanced technologies. Such new, technologically demanding, small volume, but highly profitable »high-tech« materials are gaining more and more importance. Polymers, polymer and elastomer materials that we have been investigated and developed during the program followed the same goals. Some of the research topics that were a continuation of our previous research work program were finished (liquid crystalline polymers, interpenetrating polymer networks), some were continued (hyperbranched, environmentally degradable and electrically conductive polymers), while we also started work in several new fields (biodegradable polymers, preparation of nanoparticles and polymer nanocomposites. Regarding scientific results, e.g. papers in the best journals of the scientific field, some topics can be exposed: hyperbranched polymers (Macromolecules, Polymer, J. Chromatogr. A, Macromol. Chem. Phys.), environmentally degradable polymers (Biomacromolecules, Chemosphere, Polym. Degr. Stab.), IPN (Polymer, Eur. Polym. J.) and nanoparticles & nanocomposites (Crystal Growth&Design, Eur. Polym. J.). These contributions rank among the best in international science community and have resulted in invited lectures at international conferences, collaboration in EU projects, collaboration with internationally recognized research groups, and research project applications. Some important emphases follow below: Hyperbranched polymers: commercially available hyperbranched polyesters, HB-PES (Boltorn HX, Perstorp), of three pseudo-generations with different theoretical core/monomer ratio were characterized with respect to molar mass, composition, and structure. HB structures without a core molecule are formed due to monomer self-condensation as the main side reaction in the synthesis of Boltorn polyesters. They considerably decrease the number average molar masses as compared to theoretically values and influence polyester properties, as demonstrated by investigating the effects of annealing on their structural, thermal and rheological properties. Though HB polymers are generally considered to be amorphous materials, we confirmed that thermal and rheological behavior of HB-PES is a consequence of structural ordering through formation of H-bonds between linear sequences, which are present in the HB structure as defects. Sources: COBISS.SI-ID 2983962, 3262490, 3409434, 3741722. Publications related to this topic have the highest number of citations. Environmentally degradable polymers: a detailed structural characterization of hydroxyalkanoate copolymers was performed using high resolution NMR and ESI-MS. The distribution of monomer units in the copolymers was correlated to their properties. Sources: COBISS.SI-ID 2983194, 3544346. Nanoparticles and nanocomposites: ZnO and Cu2O nanoparticles and nanowires were synthesized by polyol method using various glycols. ZnO particles were further used in the preparation of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) nanocomposites by polymerization of MMA in bulk. Since residual glycols on the ZnO nanoparticle surface act as organophilic modifiers they are homogeneously dispersed in polymer matrix. Sources: COBISS.SI-ID 3645978, 3589146, 3669018, 3829530. PMMA/montmorillonite (PMMA/MMT) nanocomposites were prepared by one-step in situ intercalative solution polymerization involving simultaneous modification of MMT with quaternary ammonium salts, polymerization of MMA and polymer intercalation into MMT layers. Source: COBISS.SI-ID 3827482. Ion-conducting polymer composites: we developed and patented a polymer composite membrane for fuel cells. Source: COBISS.SI-ID 2986522. Polymers from renewable resources: we developed and patented a procedure for simultaneous wood liquefaction and synthesis of polyesters as well as for the synthesis of different polymers. Sources: COBISS.SI-ID 1405065, 1405321, 1405577.
Significance for the country
This program has been realized in close collaboration with Savatech's Research & Development Institute. The research program is closely connected to the Slovenian chemical industry, which creates a substantial part of the national income in the area of polymer materials (around 40% of income of the whole chemical industry). Unfortunately, the number of polymer researchers and experts is much smaller than the share of polymer industry in the Slovenian chemical industry. The program was designed to be involved in the most important research activities in polymer science with the goal to develop novel polymeric materials with enhanced properties. Through this work we created new knowledge needed for the progress of the Slovenian polymer industry and especially for the education of high quality specialists in the area. Young researchers (Ph.D. students) and under-graduate students were involved in the research activities of the group to become qualified for a successful entry into the R&D activities in Slovenian industry after their education is finished. Scientific excellence of the executed research work is manifested in the papers published in the best journals of research fields, two years presidency of the European Polymer Federation in 2006-07 and organization of the largest European Polymer Congress in 2007 with 800 participants from all over the world. Nine patents and patent applications indicate innovative ideas and results confirming our orientation towards applied research. The field of polymers from renewable resources-liquefied wood was presented at fair Heureka 2006. Intensive collaboration with industrial partners has also been established. Several research&development, industrial, Eureka and COST projects were successfully realized, two of them within EU structural funds (Julon, Ljubljana; Savatech, Kranj). This was achieved also due to significant investments into new infrastructure (twin-screw extruder, laser light scattering detector, field-emission electron microscopy, crio-ultramicrotom). In addition, we participated in the activities of the Plasttechnic cluster and technology platform Advanced Materials and Technologies, both joining the vision and development capacities of industrial partners and research institutions. Research activities within the program are of long-term importance for development and economic growth of the Republic of Slovenia: increased competitiveness and economic growth with the production rationalization and development of novel products, processes and technologies; protection of environment, efficient energy consumption, improvement of quality of life and health.
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