Research Projects Research Group Structural Polymers

Running Projects

Microscopic images of packaging cross sections to visualize individual layers of material

© E308-02-1

Picture: Microscopic images of packaging cross sections to visualize individual layers of material

The mechanical recycling of plastic waste has become increasingly important in recent years. On the one hand, because polymer waste is now increasingly viewed as recyclable material and, on the other hand, due to stricter legal requirements regarding recycling quotas. In this sense, closed-loop systems such as "PET to PET" for beverage bottles have already been successfully established.

However, due to the conditional compatibility of different plastics, this becomes more complex if there is more than just one type of polymer in a packaging system In the course of the research project, the material compositions of different multi-layer fractions are examined and statistically evaluated in a first step.

This should subsequently enable the modeling of polymer blends for corresponding recycling simulations and allow an evaluation of the secondary material. Furthermore, the recyclability of possible alternative systems is examined under the heading "Design for Recycling".

competing degradation mechanisms in polyethylene

© E308-02-1

Picture: Competing degradation mechanisms in polyethylene

The project, which has been running since autumn 2018, aims to improve the polyolefin recyclate quality of both clean industrial waste (PIW) and mixed fractions from municipal waste (PCW). For this purpose, the degradation mechanisms of polyolefins (polyethylene and polypropylene) are examined in detail and the properties of the different plastics are improved through suitable modification in such a way that they can be used more extensively as raw materials and thus increase resource efficiency. In order to use synergy effects, a network was formed from the project consortium, which consists of well-known specialists in the processing methods of compounding, film production, pipe extrusion, injection molding and pioneers in plastics recycling under the direction of the TU Wien.

The project also resulted in two dissertations, each for the plastic types polyethylene and polypropylene. Since the polymer chains of polypropylene degrade very strongly under thermal and shear stress, which leads to a drastic reduction in viscosity, the focus of this work is on the formation of long-chain branches using reactive extrusion. A scientific Open Access paper has already been published here, and two more are in the publication process. In contrast, polyethylene exhibits two competing degradation mechanisms: chain rupture and crosslinking. The main focus of the tests carried out so far was to be able to identify in a structured manner which mechanism prevails in which PE types (PE-HD, PE-LD, PE-LLD) under different conditions. In the next step, different additives to modify mechanical, rheological and thermal properties are examined.

Expired projects

Component testing of lightweight structures (in cooperation with industrial partners)

Testing of 2PP materials for industrial applications (in cooperation with industrial partners)

Tribological characterization of polymers (innovative project, funded by TU Wien)

Rheological characterization of plastic melts (own research)

Upcycling of polypropylene (innovative project, funded by TU Wien)

Fatigue of rubber composites (in cooperation with industrial partners)

deWaLop - Developing Water Loss Prevention (EU project Austria-Slovakia)

Characterization of polymers for medical technology (in cooperation with MedUni Innsbruck)

Scientific work: Current and Completed Dissertations

Interfacial influences of electrically insulating, thermally conductive polymer matrix composites (Wolfsgruber, N,; ongoing, in cooperation with TCKT and industrial partners)

Blends of post-consumer recycled polypropylene (PP)/polyethylene (PE): rheology, morphology and mechanics (Karaagac, E.; ongoing)

Development and characterization of endless glass fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (Kiss, P.; ongoing, in cooperation with FH-Wels)

Upcycling of polypropylene and polypropylene blends via reactive extrusion (Stanic, S.; ongoing)

Characterization and evaluation of the recyclability of polymer multi-layer packaging (Seier, M.; ongoing)

Optimization of the polyethylene recyclate quality of clean industrial waste (PIW), and mixed fractions of municipal waste (PCW) (Roitner, J.; ongoing)

Gender-specific influences on the service life of load-bearing joint implants (Örs Ünsal, A.; 2020)

Material characterization of dynamically highly stressed composite components using a leaf spring from automotive engineering (Panaitescu, I.; 2019)

Characterization of the aging behavior of polymers for photovoltaic applications (Voronko ,Y.; 2018) Innovative polymer recycling (Kamleintner, F.; 2017)

Service life determination of rubber composite components (Seichter, S.; 2017)

Tribological characterization of thermoplastics (Petrica, M.; 2016)

Material and process development of thermoplastic support bodies for the production of fiber composite hollow components in the RTM infusion process (Staffenberger, T.; 2014)

Effect of ethanol content fuels on the engineering thermoplastics (Yeganeh, S.; 2014)

Fatigue and crack growth of elastomer materials under practical stress (Stadlbauer, F.; 2014)

Development of a material formulation for the robotic rehabilitation of leaky sockets in drinking water supply lines (Schoberleitner, C.; 2013)

Production and evaluation of active antimicrobial polymer films for food packaging (Fleischberger, C.; 2013)

Characterization of Defects in Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) Laminates and Pultruded Profiles (Rodríguez-Hortalá, M.; 2013)