Institute of

Agricultural Technology

Bio-based polymers and materials

Synthetic, usually petroleum-based polymeric compounds and materials significantly contribute to quality of life. We develop and evaluate alternative, bio-based products.

Synthetic and characterization bio based Polymers
Synthetic and characterization bio based Polymers (© Thünen-Institut)

Given the scarcity of our fossil resources and the environmental impact of their intensive consumption, bio-based alternatives to conventional polymeric products and materials have been developed worldwide in the past twenty years. In everyday life, you meet increasingly on the first commercial applications. Examples are packaging and disposable tableware, but also more complex products such as adhesives, coatings and composite materials.

Only in rare cases, these products are made from only a basic chemical (monomer). Usually complex mixtures of various monomers are used. They are specially selected for the application to be replaced application and chemically linked in a specific way. So far, not all bio-based monomers are commercially available since their production processes often are still in development, or their properties have not been systematically investigated. Correspondingly, it could not yet be assessed, which bio-based raw materials represent real alternatives for conventional ones and which new fields of application can open up to them.

We work on these issues in our projects. In addition to the investigation and optimization of commercial products, our work focuses on the application-specific development and optimization of new bio-based polymers and materials. We synthesize new functional structures and carry out comprehensive structural and application-oriented material characterizations. We pay particular attention to the aspects of functionality, economy and safety.