Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry

Polymer Processing

The  department pursues basic research on  polymer materials, their preparation and properties. Main attention is paid to:  (i) the study of polymer miscibility and interfacial tension in polymer systems,  (ii) the study of the effect of reactive and copolymer-based compatibilization on the structure and properties of polymer blends, (iii) the study of the course of polymer crystallization, and (iv) the investigation of the degradation and stabilization of polymer materials.

The results are utilized in studies of recycling commingled plastic waste and in the development of new materials based on polymer blends.
The research was focused mainly on the following problems:
  • The  elucidation of differences between compatibilization efficiency of styrene-butadiene block copolymers in polystyrene/polybutadiene, polystyrene/polyethylene and polystyrene/polypropylene blends.
  • The effect of composition of the combined compatibilizer, developed in the department, on its compatibilization efficiency in real municipal plastics waste.
 Current research topics also encompass:
  • Long-term degradation and aging experiments with polyolefins, styrene polymers, and their blends, estimation of residual oxidation stability of aged samples and life-time predictions, as well as efficiency evaluation of various stabilizer systems.
  • Correlation of the extent of oxidative deterioration with changes in processability in connection with successful recycling of polymers; the contribution of restabilization.
  • Exploitation of thermo-analytical methods (DSC, TGA) for the characterization of homopolymers, polymer blends, composites and block copolymers.
  • Study of the conditions for the thermodynamic stability of complex polymer systems, including macrophase separation in polymer blends, microphase separation in block copolymers, crystallization and liquid-crystalline behaviour in polymer systems, and the characterization of surface and interfacial tension in polymer melts.
The  results are used for plastics recycling  and the development of new materials for applications in industry in medicine.

Development and/or modification of multiphase polymer materials

The applied research projects deal with blends of polystyrene/polyolefin, polyamide/ABS, polyethylene/polypropylene, polycarbonate/SAN and others using non-reactive as well as reactive compatibilizers. The aim of these projects is attaining balanced combination of end-use properties, such as barrier mechanical characteristics, chemical resistance - toughness, etc.

Special attention is devoted to the recycling of commingled plastics waste using special reactive compatibilizing systems leading to high-impact materials, preserving thermoplastic behaviour.