Polymers and polymeric materials polymers with special properties
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The development of polymers and polymeric materials with special properties follows the goal of introducing new polymeric materials for specific applications in modern technologies. From application point of view, such polymers are very important for Slovenian polymer and related industries.
The goal of the program is the research and development of novel functional polymers and polymeric materials with special properties. The program consists of two subunits: functional polymers for sustainability and biomedical applications, and nanostructured polymeric materials and nanocomposites. The research comprehensively covers synthesis, modification, characterization, and analysis of polymeric materials, involving the basic aspect of planned use. The program group has numerous connections and contacts outside Slovenia that contribute to an international visibility of Slovenia in the area of polymers. We are currently involved in four European, two COST and seven national projects. In addition, we extensively collaborate with industrial partners. Let us now look briefly into individual types of polymers under investigation.
Biodegradable polymers gain more and more importance, especially in application fields such as medicine and pharmacy. In addition to biodegradability, such polymers must have well-defined composition, structure and low dispersity of molar masses. We synthesize linear and star homo- and block copolymers of natural amino acids and other monomeric units with intention for the use as carriers in advanced drug delivery systems. Dendritic polymers with defined structure, molar mass and a large number of functional groups allow various modifications and finally diverse applications. Part of our research focuses on the synthesis of dendrons and from them derived different dendritic polymers for the use in biomedical application.
In line with the search for viable substitution of fossil sources with non-food renewable resources we investigate the use of wood biomass for the production of various polymeric materials. Using liquefied lignocellulosic materials we synthesized polyesters, polyurethane foams and adhesives based on melamine-urea-formaldehyde polymers for the particle boards production. We achieved a considerable reduction of the formaldehyde emissions from particle boards, which is important for better living conditions.
Nanocomposites are used in electronics, chemical sources of energy, solar technology, catalysis and materials for construction. We focus on the preparation of zinc oxide nanoparticles and related transparent polymeric nanocomposites with poly(methyl methacrylate) with high UV absorption. We also investigate poly(methyl methacrylate) and unsaturated polyester nanocomposites with montmorillonite modified by ionic polymers.
The research is also directed on the use of ionic liquids and microwaves as an alternative medium and as an alternative energy source for the synthesis of polymers in order to reduce environmental burdens resulting from traditional polymer synthesis.
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