Laboratory for Characterisation and Processing of Polymers - University of Maribor, Slovenia

Description of the LCPP

The Laboratory for Characterization and Processing of Polymers (LCPP) is active within the Institute for Engineering Materials and Design at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maribor, Slovenia. Six well equipped laboratories enable research activities in a wide variety of newly developing sciences and technologies. The Institute`s interdisciplinary research teams are involved or coordinate numerous international and national projects and industrial research activities. 9 full professors, 7 associate professors, 3 assistant professors, 15 assistants with PhD, 2 assistants with master degree, 17 researchers, and 7 technicians are active at the Institute at the moment. Numbers of doctoral students are enrolled in the research activities as well. LCPP is collaborating on national and international scientific and educational level within several organizations. LCPP is a member of EPNOE - European Network of Excellence for polysaccharide, POLIMAT – Centre of Excellence Polymer Materials and Technologies, AUTEX - Association of Universities for Textile, EURATEX - European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing, etc. Our team is active in common regional research activities among neighbouring Universities of the Styria region (University of Technology Graz, Karl Franzens University of Graz, Montanuniversität Leoben) on the field of Functional Polysaccharide Materials development. Since this research is highly interdisciplinary, most of the activities in this field are performed in close cooperation with our national and international partners.

The team of the Laboratory for Characterization and Processing of Polymers performs extended polymer analyses, with emphasis on fiber forming polymers. The main activities of the laboratory include basic, applied and other R&D work connected with the polymeric materials used in different industrial application. Special attention is given to the study of structural parameters, surface characterization (surface morphology, chemistry and interaction ability), modification and functionalization of polymers and polymeric materials (fibers/foils/films), correlations between the surface/structural parameters and its reactivity/interaction capacity, as well as the development of new and ecologically friendly processes. A wide range of possibilities for sample preparation, depending on the desired application and the polymer starting material are used. For thin films, spin-coating is the method of choice while for the coating of fibers dip, spray or roller coating techniques are used. Electro-spinning and 3D-printing are the methods used in the lab for preparation of PS nanostructures as well as for example PS/sol gel hybrid nanofibers. Ink-jet printing is used for functionalization of flat surfaces (e.g. development of microfluidic devices and sensors). In addition, LCPP offers several methods which are able to alter the prepared materials such as ozonization, plasma treatment or ultrasonication, to mention only a few. The evaluation of modification methods and the preparation of materials is performed by  surface property analysis (surface morphology and structure, surface chemistry, surface charge, the quality and quantity of specific dissociable and accessible polymer surface groups, their dissociation constants, wettability, etc.) in combination with other analytical concepts. Accordingly, development of bioactive polymeric materials used in the medical sector (3D structured soft materials for tissue engineering and wound dressings, bioconjugates development) and functionalized biodegradable polymeric materials used in packaging, paper, textile industry and others are our research target.

Main pieces of equipment:

AFM Agilent 550; Scanning electron microscope (SEM with EDX) - Supra 35 VP (Carl Zeiss) with Inca 400; KS 300 Rel. 3.0. Image processing and analyses; Optical microscope Carl Zeiss; Oxford Ins. EDX; TOC – Multi N/C 2100 (Jena Analytic); Perkin Elmer spectrum GX FT-IR with Raman attachment and microscope; Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer; GC-MS (Perkin Elmer Clarus 580 Gas Chromatograph with Clarus SQ 8 S Mass Spectrometer); XPS; Wide Angle WAXS and Small Angle SAXS X-ray Apparatus (SWAXS System 3 Hecus); TGA/DSC (Mettler Toledo); Titrators DL 35; Charge Titrations – ZetaOSzi Titration techniques and Zeta potential; Zetasizer Nano ZS; Particle Charge Detector; Electokinetic Analyzer; Kjeldahl apparatus; UV/Vis spectrophotometers; Franz cells; Tensiometer K12; Goniometer OCA 35; Quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation (QCM-D); E4 instrument (Q-Sense AB); Spin coater Polos; Martindale Abrasion and Pilling tester; Lenzing Dynamometer; Electronic Dynamometer; Apparatus for determination of water vapor and air/oxygen permeability; Apparatus for LOI index determination; Heraeus Xenotest; Datacolor Spectra Flash SF 600 Plus; Perkin Elmer Lambda 900; PELA 1020; Minolta- CM 512m3; ElMarco pilot-electrospinning machine Nanospider NS500; Fungilab viscometer, 3D printer MakerBot; Bioscaffolder (3D bio-printer);  Fujifilm Dimatix DMP-2831 ink jet printer; SPR Navi 200 surface plasmon resonance spectrometer; Agilent Capillary Zone Electrophoresis; Total organic carbon (TOC) – Multi N/C 2100 (Analytik Jena); Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (Leica TCS SP5 II); freeze dryer; Rotavapor (KNF RC600) ; encapsulator, spray dryer, pyrolysis oven, homogenizer, rheometer, BET apparatus, spectral interrogator, optical fibre welding machine, THz (Terahertz) Antenna, capillary porosimeter, femtosecond laser patterning device, X-ray diffractometer, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), profilometer.

Contact: Prof. Karin STANA-KLEINSCHEK; Head of LCPP and IEMD

Email: karin.stana@um.si

Phone: + 386 2 220 7881

Address: Smetanova ulica 17 - 2000 Maribor - Slovenia

Website: http://lcpp.um.si/