The research group Biobased Polymers follows two research concepts: -synthesis of the bioderived monomer building blocks and their incorporation into macromolecules using various polymerization techniques, and -development of new chemical routes for selective modification of bioderived macromolecules. Obtained bio-based macromolecules with tailored structure and architecture are used for the fabrication of sustainable functional polymer materials.
Main research focus is on the design of sustainable polymer materials with adaptive mechanical properties, programmable degradation and stimuli-responsiveness exploiting the functionality of biobased building blocks. This is enabled by the synthesis of new functional macromolecules with a variety of architectures (homopolymers, block copolymers, branched polymers and microgels) via different synthesis approaches, like controlled free radical, ring-opening, cationic or step-growth polymerizations. The chemical modification of biopolymers (chitosan, pectin, dextran etc.) is realised using chemical and enzymatic approaches aiming to integrate selectively reactive groups, fluorescent dyes, binding peptides, etc. We investigate the structure-property relationships of obtained functional biobased macromolecules for application in engineering plastics, drug delivery systems, protecting coatings or plant protection systems.