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19 december 2018

Closed Industrial Partnership Programme 

Number i19.
Title Bio(-related) materials (BRM)  
Executive organisational unit BUW
Programme management Prof.dr.ir. S. van der Zwaag 
Duration 2008-2015
Cost estimate M€ 5.1
Partner(s) DPI, TIFN

The general aim of this Industrial Partnership Programme (IPP) is to understand and control, between the molecular and the macroscale, the triangle relation between microstructure, local dynamics, and properties/performance of bio (-related) materials.
In scale-jumping from the molecular scale upward a few typical length scales (and correspon­ding time scales) can be distinguished in such materials that are important for their special properties:
1.   The scale of complex molecules, their interactions and intramolecular organisations.
2.   The scale of organisation into discrete supramolecular aggregates.
3.   The continuum-mesoscale with local heterogeneity.
The scale above this, which allows an effective continuum description, is also very important, but the effect of inhomogeneities over length scales larger than about 1 mm has been recognised already for a longer time and consequently has been studied more extensively at several places in the world.
Research in the area could in principle address all levels. However, to keep the programme focused two length scales and notably their bridging should have priority: from the scale of the supra-molecular complexes to the heterogeneous meso-scale.

Background, relevance and implementation
Bio-feedstock and biopolymers are the obvious ingredients of choice for the food and medical industry. A sustainable materials economy requires that these bio-ingredients can also be introduced in large volumes in application areas that are traditionally served by synthetic polymers, e.g. construction, protection and packaging. In addition, the availability of bio-based molecular building blocks for materials synthesis may open up a field of fundamentally new products, functionalities and applications, and unexpected product-chain economies.
Most solid and solid-like products made of biopolymers can only be understood well by considering their structure over a range of length scales from the molecular scale to the micron scale or even longer, and by addressing the physical interactions and supramolecular organi­sations typical to natural materials. This is difficult and also complicated by the fact that the structures of such materials often change in time. These aspects strongly limit the design of new products (both food and non-food) or the production of well-known products in a more efficient way.
A collaborative programme in which TIFN and DPI would work together with top-level research groups is pre-eminently suited to tackle this problem for a large range of biomaterials related to medical applications, coating, packaging, high-performance materials and food products.

The final evaluation was based on a self-evaluation report initiated by the programme leader.

Please find a research highlight that was achieved in 2013 within this FOM programme here.