Material Development and Structure Characterization

Renewable resources – Basis for new materials


Bio-based alternatives to traditional polymer systems based on petroleum chemistry, become more and more important in a variety of application fields. The limited availability of fossil resources, the dependence on oil and raw material-related netto emissions of carbon dioxide from burning of plastics are reasons to look for new ways to manufacture polymers from renewable resources. However, with respect to imported petroleum-based materials, marketable technical solutions for bio-based products must also offer advantages concerning properties or price. The application-oriented research activities of the department "Material Development and Structure Characterization" follow this aim.

Discover our versatile possibilities


Material Development

application-oriented R&D on thermoplastic materials, bio- and petro-based polymers, reinforcement via usage of cellulose and lignin


Structure Characterization

comprehensive chemical and physical structure elucidation



from precursor to carbon fiber, R&D on bio-based, new and classic precursor-systems, up to 3,000 °C

Our services


contract research | research cooperation | development services | quality control | routine measurements | method development | consulting

We are here for you!

Material development

Our team develops thermoplastics for your applications. We optimize polymer materials for your specific requirements. We adjust material properties according to your requirements. For this purpose, we modify, additivate and reinforce both petroleum-based and bio-based polymers. Our goal is to improve the physical, mechanical, thermomechanical properties of the materials, including processability.

Would you like to
manufacture your
products from
sustainable materials
or to develop
new materials?



  • flexible configurable twin screw extruder up to 15 kg/h
  • conical twin screw extruder for  small amounts from 5 cm³
  • measuring kneader


  • chill-roll systems
  • tools for cast and flat films
  • laboratory blown film line
  • monoaxial laboratory stretching system for films and fibers
  • thermoforming machine


  • piston injection molding machine for small amounts
  • injection molding machines

Bio-based polymers and natural raw materials

  • cellulose- and starch derivatives
  • poly lactic acid (PLA)
  • polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • bio-based polyesters like PBS, PBAT
  • polyamides

Petro-based polymers



  • reinforcement by cellulose, lignin and natural fibers
  • adjustment of biological degradation through the use of starch


We develop
biopolymers for
your applications

Our services for your success


  • specific design of material properties
  • substitution of petroleum-based components with bio-based materials
  • increase of the bio-based content in final products
  • manufacture of nano-composites
  • adhesion, additivation
  • elucidation of the relations between processing conditions, structures and material properties

Structure characterization

You want to understand your material, characterize it or check its quality? We analyze for you the relationships between the chemical and physical structure of your material and its properties. You benefit from the many years of experience of our staff in the fields of light and electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and NMR spectroscopy. In addition, we offer state-of-the-art equipment for structural characterization. We effectively combine different methods to detect different levels of structure. In our climate-controlled testing laboratory, we use a wide range of mechanical testing methods to characterize material properties. We analyze melting and crystallization processes using thermal analysis methods.

Would you like
to understand
your material,
characterize it or
check its quality?

Electron microscopy


  • artefact-free depiction
  • special preparation techniques
  • morphological structure
  • study of high-swollen products
  • depiction of surfaces and cross-sections

X-ray diffraction


  • characterization of the super-molecular structure
  • determination of the degree of crystallinity and crystal dimensions
  • determination of the degree of orientation
  • characterization of cavity structures


  • air-conditioned, mechanical laboratory for comprehensive mechanical studies from 10 mg to 2 t
  • differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
  • dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA)
  • determination of material humidity
  • determination of the density of solids and liquids
  • vibroscope for determining the fiber fineness
  • permeation measurement devices regarding water vapor and oxygen
  • equipment for fire testing
  • light microscopy
  • polarizing microscopy



  • CP/MAS-method for analyzing solid native and synthetic polymers
  • chemical composition
  • super-molecular structure


  • measurement of various cores at different temperatures
  • characterization of the chemical structure of monomers, intermediate products and polymers


with microscope system

  • study of carbon allotropes
  • analysis of inclusions
  • 3d-mapping-images
  • excitation at 266, 532, 633 and 785 nm


We have been driving the development and production of carbon fibers for many years. Your advantage: You receive all competencies from a single source - starting from raw material pulping through polymer synthesis and fiber spinning to thermomechanical conversion of carbon fibers and further processing into carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). We advise, develop and optimize on your behalf. Fraunhofer IAP focusses on classic, new and especially on bio-based precursor systems. We develop fibers with customized geometries and properties. We also provide solutions to make manufacturing and processing processes more economical and ecological.

Do you want to test your precursor, carbon fiber or want to make them fit for the future? Discover our services.

Precursor conversion

  • on the basis of cellulose or cellulose derivatives
  • on the basis of lignin or lignin derivatives
  • hybrid material systems
  • PAN copolymer systems, textile PAN
  • melt spinnable systems

Research and development

  • evaluation of the process capability and of the carbon fiber potential for new and classical precursor systems
  • further development of classical precursor systems
  • additives and catalysts to increase efficiency and performance


  • continuously tension- or elongation-regulated fiber transport
  • batch type furnaces up to 3,000 °C
  • horizontal continuous furnaces:
    stabilization up to 400 °C
    LT-carbonization up to 1,000 °C
    HT-carbonization up to 2,000 °C


  • continuously tension- or elongation-regulated fiber transport
  • batch type furnaces up to 3,000 °C
  • horizontal continuous furnaces: stabilization up to 400 °C, LT-carbonization up to 1,000 °C, HT-carbonization up to 2,000 °C


carbon fibers

We offer you individual strategies and solutions to make your manufacturing and processing of carbon fibers more economical and ecological.

Biobased, novel and classical precursor systems or carbon fibers


We consult, develop and optimize on your behalf.



Projects and Publications

Read the latest press releases and learn more about our research projects.


Resistance of bioplastics and bio-composites



Biogenic carbon materials for the energy transition



Circular Plastics Economy: Things are rolling smoothly for plastics

Press release | Sep 20, 2019


Bio-based carbon fibers: performance and sustainability for light-weight applications

Press release | Oct 1, 2019


New splint for bone fractures

Press release | July 2, 2019


ILA 2018: Cost-effective carbon fibers for light-weight construction

Press release | Apr 18, 2018


Johannes Ganster

Contact Press / Media

Prof. Dr. Johannes Ganster

Division director | Biopolymers

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam

Phone +49 331 568-1706

Jens Erdmann

Contact Press / Media

Dr.-Ing. Jens Erdmann


Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam

Phone +49 331 568-1252

Andreas Bohn

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Andreas Bohn

X-ray scattering, electron microscopy

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam

Phone +49 331 568-1817

Rainer Rihm

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Rainer Rihm

Material testing

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam

Phone +49 331 568-1811

Melanie Bartel

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Melanie Bartel

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam

Phone +49 331 568-1434

Tobias Hückstaedt

Contact Press / Media

M. Sc. Tobias Hückstaedt

Head of technical laboratory, raman spectroscopy

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam