Cellulose and biopolymers

Biopolymers hold great promise for fiber production because they are based on renewable raw materials, are biodegradable and have good physiological properties.

Biopolymers include:

  • Polylactide (PLA)
  • Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a polyester produced by fermentation from renewable raw materials
  • Cellulose and chitin, the most widely used polysaccharides on earth
  • Alginate

These biopolymers can be processed into fibers using appropriate spinning processes (melt or solution spinning). Research activities at the DITF focus on the chemical and technological aspects of how these biopolymer fibers are produced. New, ecologically harmless processes - such as using ionic liquids as solvents - can be utilized in the production of fibers with special properties for medical and hygiene applications. Special airgap spinning processes enable the production of highly oriented biopolymer fibers that can be used as filament fibers in technical applications, for example as precursors for carbon fibers or as reinforcing fibers in composite materials. A number of patents underpin DITF's expertise in this field.