Institute of Polymer Research

Polymer Technology Centre

With the Polymer Technology Centre (PTC) a research platform arises on the grounds of HZG with the aim to promote the transfer of membrane-based separation technologies into industrial applications.
Membrane technology has a high potential to make numerous industrial processes more environmentally friendly and resource-saving. A prerequisite for successful entry into industrial application is the provision of the new materials and technologies in sufficient order of magnitude and their testing under realistic operating conditions. That will be realised in the PTC by upscaling of the methods for polymerisation, characterisation, processing and piloting of polymers respectively the membranes produced therefrom.
The expertise of the Institute of Polymer Research in membrane development and membrane technology for gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, oxygen, hydrogen, methane) and liquids (e.g. water, organic solvents) will be made available pooled via the PTC to external users, wherein both, partners from the industry as well as from universities and research institutes are addressed. To work out together appropriate solutions for separation processes up to application readiness, is the main aim of the PTC.

Infrastructure at PTC

Metpore Container

In the laboratories and pilot plants of the new building especially tailored polymers will be synthesised, characterised and processed.
Compared to the so far at the Institute of Polymer Research existing laboratory equipment, the polymers can be produced in an increased by factor of 20 scale, making it possible to provide the innovative materials for technology transfer in sufficient quantities.
An essential element in the upscaling is the approach to recover the solvents impurified during the polymer production by using in-house developed membrane technology, so as to realise sustainable process management.
The PTC will offer a pilot plant infrastructure that allows the testing of membrane processes for gas separation under realistic conditions. Furthermore, a technical plant for the production of polymer membranes by means of solvent-free processes (foam extrusion, sintering method) will be available. Also a laboratory for the study of mechanical properties of polymers under gas loading and pressurization is provided.
The conception of infrastructure and methods is designed in a modular way, permitting a fast reaction on the issues of external users. In close cooperation with the external user new solutions will be developed, tested and be transferred to the application.

Portfolio of future Polymer Technology Centre

  • Upscaling of the preparation of various polymers, especially block copolymers, in application relevant magnitude (0.1 to 1 kg scale)
  • Pilot plant infrastructure in a modular design for rapid deployment of customized system configurations
  • Solvent-free membrane preparation (foam extrusion, sintering)
  • Mechanical properties of plastics under pressure by gases
  • Explosion-proof gas permeation pilot plant for studying the separation behavior of various membranes and membrane modules for different gas mixtures at pressures up to 60 bar and in a temperature range from -20 to 100° C
Major projects for the future - extensions at the Helmholtz Research Centre in Geesthacht