Competencies in the Division Materials

Division Materials

© Fraunhofer CCPE

We want to use plastics from a sustainable mix of resources to develop functional and long-lasting materials and close material cycles. Formulations for polymers and compounds will themselves be based on circular principles. New additive systems will provide for stable recyclates, multiple recycling loops, and – where necessary – controlled degradation in the environment.

 

Research Department Circular Polymers

At the beginning of the plastics value added chain, there is the polymer, a chemical substance consisting of macromolecules. Synthetic or semi-synthetic polymers are the main components in the production of plastics. We are researching new polymer syntheses and processing methods to obtain recyclable and degradable materials based on renewable raw materials.

Our offer to you:

  • We further develop existing synthesis techniques
  • We transform the chain architecture of known polymers
    accoringly.
  • We work on innovative processing technologies to develop self-reinforced one-component materials.

A particular focus of our research activities lies on the aging and degradation behavior of plastics. The various life-cycle phases and environmental influences are simulated under realistic conditions using test stands. For example, certain parameters such as temperature, UV light, oxygen, and moisture provide important information in order to control the desired degradation behavior in a targeted manner.

 

Research Department Circular Additives and Compounds

We want to optimize the functionality and service life of conventional and bio-based polymers. Additives play a crucial role in this. They are added to the products as additives in order to ensure gentle and safe processing and to enable long-term properties. What“s more, the properties of plastics are specifically adjusted to suit the application.

Our offer to you:

  • We develop precisely tailored additives and compositions that enable the polymers to be used for long periods, to be recycled optimally, or to be biodegradable in a targeted manner.
  • We examine whether and to what extent additive systems made from renewable raw materials can be used.
  • We develop new bio-based additive systems that allow – where necessary – controlled degradation in the environment.

To this end, we are investigating what previous damage and impurities can be found in plastic waste that has been generated through private or commercial use, and how new products can nevertheless result from this. These types of plastics are known as “post-consumer recycled plastic”. We are working both on polymers based on fossil raw materials and on bio-based polymers that we modify or develop.

Current Projects

 

Circular Additives and Compounds

Reusing odor-contaminated plastics

Plastic recyclates, like materials from the recycling bin, often have unpleasant odors due to their composition or due to impurities. This means that they are currently unsuitable for many applications, especially indoors.

 

PBS as a biodegradable polyolefin substitute

The polyolefins PE1 and PP1 are multifunctional plastics that shape our lives in many areas – at the same time, however, they cause a lot of waste in the environment. Nevertheless, it is neither possible nor reasonable to avoid using polyolefins. Rethinking plastics is therefore the premise of CCPE research. The consistent further development of bioplastics such as PBS2 is an important focus here.

 

Mulch films in use – What happens during degradation?

In addition to conventional ones, mulch films made of biodegradable plastics are increasingly being used in gardening and agriculture. CCPE researchers studied their degradation behavior under real environmental conditions and evaluated the influence of moisture, soil and UV light on the rate of degradation.

 

Plastic resistance to UV disinfection

The corona pandemic is a driver for the use of UV-C-based disinfection devices, e.g. in airplanes or supermarkets. In this process, various polymers are exposed to high-energy UV-C radiation. Therefore, the durability of plastic products to UV-C radiation is the focus of the current CCPE research.

 

Sustainable foams with good flame retardancy

Particle foams are widely used in the insulation sector and the packaging industry today. Polystyrene is predominantly used in this process. However, alternative more sustainable solutions do not meet today’s flame retardant requirements. CCPE researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes ICT and LBF are investigating whether sustainable particle foams exist at all.

 

Circular Polymers

Strong fibers form poylactic acid

CCPE researchers are working to develop technical fibers on polylactic acid for the melt spinning process.  

 

Circular Additives and Compounds

Degradation of plastics in the environment

New additives stabilize PLA plastics and extend their service life without changing the processing properties.

 

Circular Additives and Compounds

Improving recyclate quality

Together with an industry partner CCPE researches are devloping new additive systems.

 

Circular Additives and Compounds

Biodegradation od plastic films

CCPE employees analyse the fragmentation and polymer-physical plastic properties on the way to metabolisation of the plastics by microorganisms.

Circular Additives and Compounds

Additives accelerate degradation of bioplastics

 Fraunhofer LBF devlops additive systems that accelerate degradation of bioplastics.