The department covers basic aspects of the research and development of polymer materials including engineering and commodity thermoplastics or bio-based and biodegradable polymer materials. The department pursues material research with a particular emphasis on the effect of internal structure on the behaviour of heterogeneous polymer materials such as polymer blends and composites. Top-level equipment for thermal analysis, rheology and mechanical testing enables to get a detailed insight into the structure of polymer systems. A significant attention is paid to ageing and stabilization of polymers. Finally, the department develops recycling technologies for polymer materials. The department pursues successfully also the applied research in cooperation with industrial partners.
Multiphase polymer materials
Blends and composites are important classes of polymer materials with heterogeneous phase structure. The relationships between rheological properties of individual components, size and shape of the filler particles, applied flow field and final phase structure are studied. Biodegradable starch-based materials, electrically conductive polymer composites or nanocomposites based on layered double hydroxides serve as examples of materials investigated in recent and running projects.
Morphology of thermoplastic non-acetylated starch (a) and low-acetylated starch (b) after 7 days of biodegradation under composting conditions.
Nevoralová M. et al., Polymer Degradation and Stability (2019)
Degradation and Stability of Polymer Materials
Polymers lose their material properties during outdoor exposure due to photodegradation processes initiated by photooxidation. Thus, polymer stabilization is a key factor for their application. In cooperation with the other Institutes departments, investigations into light stabilization of polyolefins using accelerated weathering technique are performed.
Structure - Mechanical Behaviour Relationships
Mechanical properties are a basic condition for successful application of polymer materials. The Department is focused on the relations between individual levels of structural hierarchy and resulting macroscopic mechanical behaviour of polymer composites, nanocomposites and blends. A multiscale approach, based on a combination of structure sensitive methods with mechanical testing, enables to find relations between macroscopic mechanical behaviour and molecular and supramolecular structure.
Structure of poly(butyleneadipate-terephtalate) nanocomposites containing 5 wt % of (a) pristine layered double hydroxide (LDH), (b) LDH-phosphate, (c) LDH-decanoate, and (d) LDH-phosphinate.
(Beneš H. et al., Nanomaterials (2019)
The program of the Department is focused on recycling of plastic waste, compatibilization of polymer blends and development of new processes for materials recycling of commingled plastic waste. Moreover, the microwave-assisted recycling technologies for polyurethanes, polyesters and polycarbonates are investigated continuously. Using a low-energy microwave heating significantly reduces the energy cost and the reaction time of the process. Thus, this approach provides a sustainable recycling solution for polymer waste.
- Beneš H., Kredatusová J.: A method of preparation of polymeric materials, CZ307487
- Kruliš Z., Beneš H., Kredatusová J., Horák P., Nevrkla V.: A scent device to prevent access of animals, CZ307421
- Šlouf M., Kruliš Z., Nevoralová M., Ostafinská A., Horák P., Krejčíková S., Pokorný D., Jahoda D., Fulín P.: A polymeric thermoplastic biodegradable composition for the manufacture of inserts for the treatment and prevention of local infections and a method of its preparation, CZ307056