KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Profile & expertise
Since its founding in 1827, KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. It is Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world dedicated to advancing knowledge.
The Department of Fiber and Polymer Technology at KTH is one of the largest academic polymer departments in Europe with 12 professors and around 160 employees. The department combines polymer chemistry, polymer physics, and advanced characterization methods with materials and processing expertise in composites and devices. The largest research grant is 5 million Euro per year for Wallenberg Wood Science Center, and is shared with Chalmers in Gothenburg. Prof Lars Berglund is the director and he is also leading the Biocomposites group with about 20 researchers focused on cellulosic materials. The group are among the pioneering and most well-cited researchers in wood nanocellulose materials with more than 100 publications and around 5 500 citations in Web of science.
Role in the Project
KTH will develop characterization methods for microfibrillated cellulose as a product and in the context of various applications. This includes the structure of microfibrillated cellulose, its behavior in water suspensions as well as characterization of microfibrillated cellulose mixed with other components. Examples include cellulose mixed with polymers, for instance in adhesives applications.
Key KTH personnel in the project
Prof Lars Berglund, professor of wood and wood composites at KTH. Research interests are nanocellulose materials, including nanocellulose itself, but also materials such as polymer matrix nanocomposites, aerogels, foams, inorganic cellulose hybrids, and recently, transparent wood.
Prof Lars Wågberg. The work in the division of Fibre Technology is focused on molecular tailoring of cellulose fibres and fibrils and a fundamental characterization and understanding of the colloidal and chemical behaviour of cellulose nanofibrils. Several different modification techniques are being used with the main focus on physical methodologies which can be used in aqueous media at neutral pH and room temperature.
We are developing high-resolution methodologies for measuring adsorption of polyelectrolytes and adhesion between well-characterized model surfaces. In this work we are able to prepare and characterize model surfaces of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin on which we can study and understand the fundamental interactions between wood components and other chemical compounds. This gives us the ability to molecularly tailor the surface properties of fibres and fibrils for different end-use applications.
Just to mention a few new materials developed in our laboratory, we have prepared antibacterial fibre surfaces, Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors based on fibrils, superhydrophobic fibre materials, nanofibrillar foams with controlled porosity and strength, and strong and ductile papers and films.
In our work we have the outspoken strategy to link the modification on a molecular scale to the macroscopic properties of final materials and to create mutual benefits through co-operation projects with other groups at KTH as well as with world-leading experts outside of KTH.
Dr Per Larsson, PhD in Pulp and Paper Chemistry and Technology. Current research activities involve modification and functionalisation of cellulose fibres and nanofibres for an improved range of application and for use in novel materials and applications.
Dr Ramiro Rojas, Ph.D. in polymer chemistry with ample experience in the use of new materials technologies with a focus on method design, processing, and the study of structure-property relationships of natural and synthetic polymers. Currently working on the general topic of “Wood Nanotechnology” where natural resources are processed into, e.g., hydrocolloids and nanocelluloses and their use is aimed towards novel applications.
Dr Anastasia Riazanova, PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. Post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology (Biocomposites Group), responsible for the electron microscopy laboratory. Current research activities involve state-of-the-art structure-properties relationship analysis of the microfibrillated and nanofibrillated cellulose-based materials.