Material Development and Structure Characterization

Renewable resources - Basis for new materials

Biobased 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 CO2 from burning (or rotting) 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 biobased products must also offer advantages concerning properties or price. The application-oriented research activities of the department "Material development and structural characterization" follow this aim.


Material development

Applied material development in the field of thermoplastics and thermosets is the department's research focus. Key aspects are the modification, additivation and reinforcement of both petrochemical-based and biobased polymers. The aim is to improve the material's physical, mechanical, thermomechanical and processing related properties.


Structure characterization

An essential component of our work is to explore structure-property relationships of advanced materials. We use the extensive experience of our staff in the areas of light and electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and NMR spectroscopy as well as good scientific equipment for structural characterization. The different methods complement each other very well and are therefore often used in an effective combination.

Our services

  • characterization of native and modified biopolymers such as cellulose, starch, heteropolysaccharides, chitosan, lignin
  • determination of the degree of substitution and substitution patterns of polysaccharides
  • preparation and characterization of composite materials based on synthetic and native polymers
  • preparation and characterization of nanocomposites with polysaccharid-based matrix
  • material testing of fibers, films and moldings
  • characterization of the supermolecular structure of polymers by X-ray diffraction methods and solid-state NMR
  • characterization of fracture and surface morphology of fibers and bulk material by electron microscopy
  • characterization of pores and inner surfaces
  • determination of the elemental composition and analysis of nanoscale inclusions
  • analysis of the size and length distributions of particles and fibers
  • determining of the oxygen permeability of films
  • observation of the relationships between processing conditions, structure and properties of polymers and composites

Our research topics

  • use of cellulosic fibers, particularly cellulosic spinning fibers (rayon), for reinforcement of thermoplastics for injection molding
  • development of completely bio-based (and biodegradable) composites with cellulose reinforcement for technical applications
  • development of partially biobased, not biodegradable composites based on polyamides
  • nano-scale phyllosilicates for improving the thermal and mechanical properties of PLA
  • improvement of the material properties of starch mixed esters by nano-additives and fiber reinforcement
  • plasticizer-free processing of cellulose acetate
  • thermoplastic processing of lignocellulosic esters, lignin and lignin derivatives
  • apllication of lignin and lignin derivatives for thermoset systems

We closely cooperate with industrial partners, mainly from the polymer producing and polymer processing industry in form of contract research or publicly funded projects.

Johannes Ganster

Contact Press / Media

Prof. Dr. Johannes Ganster

Head of department | Material Development and Structure Characterization

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Phone +49 331 568-1706

Andreas Bohn

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Andreas Bohn

X-ray scattering / Electron / Optical Microscopy

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Phone +49 331 568-1817

Rainer Rihm

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Rainer Rihm

Mechanical and Thermal Tests

Fraunhofer IAP
Geiselbergstraße 69
14476 Potsdam-Golm

Phone +49 331 568-1811