Six grants awarded to New Polymer Materials research projects

22 January 2016

In December 2015, NWO has awarded six New Polymer Materials (NEWPOL) grants. These public-private partnerships will be conducted in collaboration with DPI.

The various research projects aim at the development of new polymeric materials that meet the societal and industrial needs for sustainability and multi-functionality.

Overview of the awarded NEWPOL grants:

Colouring paint without pigments 
Dr. ir. J.H.B. Sprakel 
Paints are traditionally coloured using pigments, which gradually fade under light exposure. Nature has a smarter strategy, where precise nanostructures give butterfly wings and peacock feathers their intense and fade-resistant colour. In this project, the researcher will introduce this biologically inspired pigment-free coloration method in sustainable, water-based, paints. 

Polymers become smart 
Prof. dr. A.P.H.J. Schenning, Prof. dr. ing. C.W.M. Bastiaansen, Dr. ir. T.A.P. Engels 
Smart functionalities are introduced into commodity polymers. The research is focused on commodity polymers with self-organizing smart coatings that respond to environmental changes by changing color and/or shape. Self-organizing responsive coatings are combined with processing techniques for the large scale manufacturing of nano- and micro-patterned end-products at low cost. Applications of these responsive commodity polymers are expected in field of smart textile, soft robotics, sensors and health. 

Supramolecular biomaterials for stem cell expansion 
Prof. dr. E.W. Meijer, Dr. ir. A.R.A. Palmans 
Inspired by nature and using the large variety of building blocks in polymer and supramolecular chemistry, the researchers are aiming to construct hydrogels in water with a dual network architecture. These networks will have all the mechanical and biological properties needed to expand stem cells into organoids. 

Self-synthesizing gels 
Prof. dr. S. Otto 
Aim of the research is to develop new gels that are able to construct themselves from simple building blocks. The process of gel synthesis can be controlled to give the gels the desired structure and properties. The researchers will apply the resulting materials as media for the growth of cells in three dimensions. 

SuperActive antimicrobial scaffold repairs tissue 
Dr. P.Y.W. Dankers, Dr. S.A.J. Zaat 
A SuperActive synthetic biomaterial will be developed that is able to repair damaged tissues in the body. Making use of unique, supramolecular chemistry the researchers aim to make this material perform multiple functions simultaneously. Besides important anti-infective properties, the material will have the ability to induce self-repair and tissue formation. In this way the prognosis is that complications after implantation are diminished and that one surgery suffices to repair tissue. 

Towards flexible memories made from coordination polymers 
Dr. ir. M.A. van der Veen, Prof. dr. J. Gascon 
Smartphones that snugly wrap around our wrists or flexible implanted devices that could retrieve energy from our movements. These innovations become possible when adequate memories are developed. For this purpose, we will develop coordination polymers with small fragments inside that can be placed into two positions by applying an external force. The two positions represent stored information.

Source: NWO