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

Description of the LCPP

The Laboratory for Characterisation 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.

The team of the Laboratory for Characterisation and Processing of Polymers performs extended polymer analyses, with emphasis on fiber forming polymers. 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) 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 apparatuses are used. Electro spinning and 3D printing are the methods used in the lab for preparation of PS nano structures as well as for example PS/sol gel hybrid nano fibers. 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), functionalized biodegradable polymeric materials used in packaging, paper, textile industry and others are our research target.

Description of the polysaccharide research activities:

Scientific and industrial research on PS advanced materials:

1) Polymer interfaces:

  • Solid/liquid and solid/gas interface property and interaction studies
  • Surface coating and micro- and nano-patterning of polysaccharides/derivatives and synthetic polymers (spin coating, inkjet printing, dip coating, adsorption, lithography)
  • Interaction studies and immobilization of functional (bio)molecules (DNA/proteins, polysaccharides) and cells on surfaces
  • Improvement of production processes of polymer and polysaccharide based materials
  • Derivatization of polysaccharides in aqueous and organic solvents

2) Particles

  • Synthesis of functional nano- and microparticles (polysaccharide; magnetic iron oxide, Ag, alkaline, other metals)
  • -coating of substrates with functional particles (antimicrobial, conductive, catalytic, protective, drug release)

3)    Fibres

  • Structure, morphology, surface property correlation studies
  • Determination of charge, mechanical and optical properties
  • Determining fiber dye/adsorbate interaction
  • Surface modification and composites for advanced applications
  • Development of polymer nanofibers by electrospinning

4)    Product development and application:

  • Bio-Surfaces
    • Model wound dressings with anti-inflammatory properties
    • Biosensors for DNA and proteins
    • Matrices for controlled drug release (particles and tissue)
    • Membranes and scaffolds for tissue engineering/cell culturing
    • Antimicrobial & anticoagulant materials
    • Biocompatibilization of materials
  • Technical surfaces
    • Polymeric surfaces for technical applications and their modification (packaging, protection)
    • Paper surface morphology and interaction with inks and water
    • Preservation of historical paper
    • Integration of sensors for oxygen and pH into wound dressing and tissue engineering materials
    • Textile fibers (testing, modification)
    • Fibers with magnetic, optical and electric properties
    • Non-biological surface interaction studies (adhesion, wetting etc.)

Main pieces of equipment:

AFM Agilent 550; Scanning electron microscope Fesem Supra 35VP; KS 300 Rel. 3.0. image processing and analyses; Optical microscope Carl Zeiss; Oxford Ins. EDX; TOC TN-2100 Jena Analitic; Perkin Elmer spectrum GX FT-IR with Raman attachment and microscope; Atomic absorption Spectrophotometer; Wide Angle WAXS and Small Angle SAXS X-ray Apparatus; Titrators DL 35; 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; Fungilab viscometer, 3D printer MakerBot; 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); TGA/DSC; Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope (Leica TCS SP5 II).


Karin Stana Kleinschek

Phone: +386 22 20 78 81
Fax: +386 22 20 79 90

Address: Smetanova ulica 17 - 2000 Maribor - Slovenia