Polymer Synthesis

Polymer synthesis at the Fraunhofer PAZ

The department Synthesis and Product Development at the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Centre PAZ is active in the areas of free radical polymerization, anionic polymerization and coordinative polymerization, as well as polycondensation.

Depending on the project focus, activities can start with recipe- and product development in lab-scale, however main focus is on technology and process development, in particular on the scale-up from laboratory to pilot scale.

For project realization, well-equipped laboratory facilities (analytics and polymer synthesis), as well as a sophisticated multi-product multi-functional pilot plant, are available. In the pilot plant, a large number of technically relevant processes can be realized in pilot-scale and sample quantities up to the tons-scale can be generated.

With respect to materials, so far projects focused on rubber and elastomers, on polycondensates such like polyesters and polyamides, but also many other material systems were successfully studied.


Our services

  • development / adaptation of polymer systems
  • determination of thermodynamic and kinetic parameters of polymer syntheses
  • scale-up of laboratory syntheses into pilot scale (up to 1000 L reactor volume)
  • preparation of product samples in laboratory and pilot-scale
  • optimization of the reaction up to complete process development
  • modeling / simulation and optimization of processes and process steps
  • physico-chemical characterization of polymers
  • determination of rheological properties of polymers, polymer blends and filler-reinforced polymer systems
  • derivation of required base polymer properties and discussion of possible alternatives starting form required component properties.

Our research topics

One core competence of our team is transfer of polymerization processes from laboratory to pilot plant scale. This includes the chemical and technological analysis of polymerization processes on a laboratory scale, the scale-up to pilot scale, technological design and realization in the pilot plant, as well as safe and reliable operation of the process setups in multi-shift operation. These tasks are reflected by an appropriate, balanced personnel structure consisting of both chemists and engineers, as well as experienced technicians.

Furthermore, skills and experiences do exist in the areas of transfer of batch processes towards continuous operation, and in the field of design and construction of lab-scale experimental reactors.

Our equipment

With the available facilities, a variety of polymerization procedures can be depicted in our synthesis center, including:

Line Example polymers
Solution polymerization (anionic, insertion) Synthetic rubber
Emulsion polymerization (continuous, batch) PVAE, PVC
Hetero phase polymerization (precipitation, emulsion, suspension) Polystyrene,coating components, gels
Polyamide Polyamide
High viscosity technology
(Single- and double shaft kneader, disc reactor)
Rubber regeneration
Special polycondensates
Gassing- /hydrogenationreactor
Mass polymerization,
polystyrene successive products, hydrated polydiene
Continuous polyester line PET/ PBT


With exiting staff, a short to medium term can be realized to ensure 24 hour operation. Thus, sample batches in tons range are possible.

Design parameters of selected reactors:

Main equipment No. Pressure
Temperature Volume

Solution polymerization



Reactor C2110 −1−20 bar 5−300 °C 610 L
Coupler C3110 −1−20 bar 5−300 °C 610 L
Single shaft kneading reactor C2610 −1−6 bar 5−350 °C 100 L
Double shaft kneading reactor C3610 −1−6 bar 5−350 °C 200 L

Mass polymerization

Pre polymerization reactor C2210 −1−30 bar 5−350 °C 810 L
Esterification reactor (PET) C3210 −1−10 bar 5−350 °C 548 L
Post polymerization reactor C4610 −1−10 bar 5−350 °C 559 L
Finisher C5610 −1−1 bar 5−350 °C 110 L


Hydrogenation reactor C2710 −1−110 bar −5−300 °C 880 L


In addition to the pilot plant, modern laboratory facilities are available. All key process steps of the pilot plant can be realized in lab scale as well.

Furthermore, the analytical methods listed below are available at the Pilot Plant Center for fast process- and product analysis.

In case of further analytical requirements, the extensive analytical capabilities of both parent Institutes IAP in Potsdam-Golm and IWM in Halle can be used.


Analytical methods existing at Schkopau site:

  • automatic dilution viscosity measurement
  • particle size measurement (laser diffraction)
  • rheological measurement (rotational [−120−400 °C])
  • double bond and end group determination by titration
  • GPC in various solvents (e. g. HFIP)
  • GC for residual monomer / solvent determination