Science and research

The Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials fosters research in areas with some aspects which are quite unique in the Czech Republic. In addition to scientific research, the Institute contributes to the education of students of the Faculty of Chemical Technology in all the three stages, i.e. in the study programme for the Bachelor's degree, in the ensuring study programme for the Master's degree and in the doctoral study programme. The Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials was established in 2009 by joining the Department of Wood, Pulp and Paper to the then Institute of Polymeric Materials. The Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials comprises three Departments: the Department of Paints and Organic Coatings, Department of Synthetic Polymers, Fibres and Textile Chemistry, and the Department of Wood, Pulp and Paper. Thus, materials research is concentrated in the three areas within the scope of each of the three Departments, reinforced by the synergy following from cooperation of the Departments within the Institute. Students in all the study types are also engaged in the research within specific research projects.

Scientific research at the Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials falls in the category of materials research. In line with international research, not only in Europe but globally, science and research at the Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials are focussed on macromolecular and supramolecular structures intended for modelling organic/inorganic composite and hybrid systems. Currently the Institute is among the foremost institutes within the Faculty as regards transfer of research results to industrial practice. The Institute earned grants from various institutions such as the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, NAKI project, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, MSM, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Materials research at the Institute of Chemistry and Technology of Macromolecular Materials is associated with macromolecular chemistry, technology of macromolecular materials, chemistry of polymers and composites, chemistry of organic coatings, fibres and textile chemistry, and chemistry of paper and cellulose materials.

Research at the Department of Paints and Organic Coatings is focussed on composites and their components –polymeric and inorganic matrices, inorganic particles and polymeric materials. Included are, for instance, structural and construction materials (anticorrosion paints) and materials designed for use in medicine. The Department of Paints and Organic Coatings is engaged in the following experimental research areas: formulation of new composites; protection of materials against corrosion; coatings designed to enhance protection and performance of those materials; surface finishing which reduces bacterial contamination; targeted surface modification of pigment and filler particles; synthesis and catalytic action of organometallic compounds and coordination compounds of transition metals for auto-oxidation of binders whose drying is driven by the oxidative mechanism.

Scientific activities at the Department of Polymeric and Textile Chemistry encompass polymerization and polycondensation reactions and investigation of water-based dispersions. Insight is gained into polymer-bonded antidegradants intended for polymers (conventional thermoplastics and some types of reactoplastics), and technological processes are being developed for preparation of these new materials and their applications in various types of polymers, such as styrene and polyethylene. Furthermore, research is aimed at obtaining functional layers supporting wound healing, modification of wound dressing materials made of staple microfibres from hyaluronic acids and its derivatives; practically usable syntheses of a biodegradable chelating surfactant are carried out, and compounds for surface finishing of textile materials are synthesized.

The Department of Wood, Pulp and Paper addresses problems associated with surface processes in porous systems, i.e. hypermolecular processes in cellulose and lignocellulose based materials; preparation of fibre from novel materials of plant origin with the aim to get better insight into the ageing of lignocellulose based materials and, based on the insight, to control it to some extent; research into the properties and modifications of cellulose, paper and other cellulose-based materials; mechanical, chemo-mechanical and chemical methods for the processing of rape straw (which remains as waste from the production  of biofuel) into fibre.

When the American professor of macromolecular science Eric Baer (*1932) was once asked by a group of laymen what his field of science was good for in practice, he explained that macromolecular science is the basis of 6 major industrial areas, namely: manufacture and processing of plastics, industry of rubber and tyres; manufacture of plastic sheets and packaging materials; manufacture of composite materials; manufacture of paints, resins and adhesives; and manufacture of synthetic fibres. Today we can add special polymers for the electrical industry and electronics, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, agriculture, printing industry, the medical sector and many others. (Taken from: http://archiv.otevrena-veda.cz/users/Image/default/C1Kurzy/Chemie/33raab.pdf)