Design of (novel) improved polymeric products for a variety of specific applications


Prof.dr. F. Picchioni; +31 50 363 4333

University website of Francesco Picchioni

Francesco Picchioni obtained his PhD (2000) in Polymer Chemistry at the University of Pisa (Italy) on a project dealing with thermoplastic rubbers. After 3 years postdoc at the Technical University of Eindhoven (on a project about “solid state modification of polypropylene”), he joined in 2003 the university of Groningen first as assistant professor and then associate (2007). Since 2013 he is full professor in Chemical Product Engineering. He is (co)author of about 90 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 4 patents.

His research interests concern the design of (novel) improved polymeric products for a variety of specific applications. Past and current research projects include:

- design and development of water swelling rubbers for sealing applications;
- chemical modification of aliphatic polyketones for the development of wood adhesives, polymeric resins for water purification as well as polymeric surfactants;
- design and application of water soluble polymers for enhanced oil recovery (EOR);
- development of “green” polymeric products based on biopolymers and/or biobased monomers;
- studies about the use of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) for polymer processing;
- the use of hydrogen bonding and Diels-Alder reaction for the design of self-healing and recyclable (cradle-to-cradle) polymeric materials;
- blending and functionalization of polyolefins;
- synthesis, characterization and applications of electrically conductive composite materials;
- recycling of thermosets and elastomeric materials.

The majority of these research projects are in cooperation with industrial partners. The overall philosophy consists in most cases in the definition of product requirements up the development of a suitable process thorough a “proof-of-principle” for the required performance.


The rational design and development of catalytic materials for applications of academic and industrial relevance, with a special focus on green chemistry.


Dr. P.P. Pescarmona; +31 50 363 6521

University webpage of P.P. Pescarmona

Paolo was born in Italy and studied at the University of his hometown (Torino), where he obtained his Master Degree in Chemistry in 1997. In 1999 he moved to the Netherlands, where he obtained his PhD from Delft University of Technology in 2003. Then, he worked for various years at the KU Leuven, in Belgium, first as post-doc and then as assistant professor. In 2014 he moved to his current position at the University of Groningen.

His research approach involves the rational design and development of catalytic materials for applications of academic and industrial relevance, with a special focus on green chemistry. All aspects of the development of catalysts (heterogeneous and homogeneous) are covered: from the synthesis to the characterisation and testing. The targeted applications include CO2 fixation, biomass conversion, catalytic oxidations, photocatalysis, electrocatalysis and the use of high-throughput techniques for the synthesis and testing of catalysts in liquid phase and in supercritical CO2.

• He published in many prominent international peer-reviewed journals in the field of chemistry and catalysis, including Angew. Chemie, Green Chem., ChemSusChem, Chem. Commun., JACS, J. Catal, Appl. Cat. B, Chem. Eur. J. and J. Mater. Chem. A. He is first or corresponding author in >70% of the publications, with h-index = 22, > 1500 citations, average IF > 5.4 (August 2016).

• He likes to travel the world in his free time, and also his work brought him to present the work of his research group in different corners of the planet. He gave 27 oral presentations, including keynote lectures, at international conferences including the major congresses in the field of Catalysis and Green Chemistry (e.g. ICC16 in China, IZC18 in Brazil, Europacat12 in Russia, Europacat11 in France).

• He is an enthusiastic lecturer and currently he teaches ‘Design of Industrial Catalysts’, ‘Separation processes’, ‘Chemical Catalysis’ and ‘Green Chemistry and Technology’ for the Bachelor and Master in Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Industrial Engineering and Management of the University of Groningen. He is also mentor for the graduate course ‘Mastering your PhD’ of the Graduate School of Science of the University of Groningen.

• Since 2016 he is the President of the Dutch Zeolite Association. He has also been active as Session organiser and Chairman at various international conferences. He enjoys scientific discussions and sharing his ideas with other researchers and this is reflected by various international collaborations.


Design of well-defined functional (co)polymers for industrial applications


Dr. Patrizio Raffa

His main research line focuses on the design of new polymeric materials with tailored structures, optimized for industrial applications. Particular emphasis is given to polymeric surfactants (amphiphilic polymers) which can find applications in industrially relevant fields, such as:
- enhanced oil recovery;
- micro- and nano-encapsulation;
- preparation of (responsive) hydrogels;
- preparation of detergents, coatings, and products for the cosmetics and food industries.

Structural control is achieved through the use of controlled radical polymerization techniques, such as ATRP and RAFT. This allows the establishment of clear structure-properties relationships, which are very interesting from a fundamental point of view and are also crucial to match the desired requirements for a given application.

Currently, the exploitation of monomers derived from natural sources is under investigation with the goal of designing more sustainable polymeric products for industrial uses. Other systems under study include rubbers and thermosets characterized by thermal reversibility.


Solvent-free polymer synthesis and structure-property relationships


Dr. Ranjita K. Bose; +31 50 363 4486

Google scholar webpage of Ranjita K. Bose
University webpage of Ranjita K. Bose

Ranjita obtained a Ph.D in chemical vapor deposition of polymers in 2011 from Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA, under the supervision of Prof. Kenneth Lau. From 2012 to 2017 she worked on self-healing polymers as postdoc in the group of Prof. Sybrand van der Zwaag in Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands. In June 2017, she started as an assistant professor in University of Groningen.

Her current research interests are vapor deposition for synthesis of polymer thin films and coatings, rheology, structure-property relationships and studying physical phenomena such as self-healing. Initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) is a one-step, substrate-independent, low-energy process (0.01 W/cm2) that can be used to produce organic polymeric thin films. Due to the relatively mild deposition conditions, low temperatures and absence of damaging plasma, the chemical functionalities and stoichiometry of polymers are retained. This all-dry process has environmental benefits because no solvents are used. The strengths of iCVD are synthesis of polymers that are insoluble or difficult to post-process, such as fluoropolymers and conjugated polymers. Copolymers comprising of monomers incompatible in solution can also be synthesized. High molecular weights can be achieved due to absence of solubility limitations. Coatings with interesting features such hierarchical roughness, switchable hydrophilicity, non-fouling, controlled release, and self-cleaning have been achieved. Polymers having unique morphologies and properties can be obtained. Self-healing polymers with various supramolecular reversible interactions are being investigated. Rheology is used to obtain a deeper understanding of their viscoelastic behavior.