Laboratory

Welcome to The Polymer Research Laboratory!

The Polymer Research Laboratory is a part of the Department of Organic Chemical Technology in the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade (UB). Creative and dedicated researches focus on Synthesis and Characterization of Polymeric Materials for Food, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Applications.

The PRL collaborates with other groups at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, as well as Institutions of the University of Belgrade: Vinča Institute of Nuclear Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy and Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering. Besides, we cooperate with The Academy of Criminalistic and Police Studies and have international collaboration with the Chemistry Department the Faculty of Science and Art, Adnan Menderes University, Turkey.

The primary research areas of the group are:

Synthesis and characterization of stimuli-sensitive hydrogels and composites for medical, pharmaceutical and food application
Encapsulation of active substances/Controlled release of active substances: The aim of these researches is design of stimuli-sensitive polymer devices of different shapes and sizes for controlled delivery of active substances. In order to achieve tunable swelling behavior, better responsivity to external stimuli, improved mechanical, antimicrobial and antitoxic properties, we combined natural with synthetic polymers and/or refine them with nanofillers. Active substances are encapsulated by dip-coating or in situ methods, depending on the purpose, nature, as well as characteristics of active substances and polymer devices.
Synthesis of polymeric sorbents for wastewater treatment
Heavy metal ions removal: This topic covers the importance of the environment protection and deals with removal of heavy metal ions from industrial wastewaters. Since the adsorption drove the attention and is a promising method for successful wastewater treatment, we synthetize polymer sorbents that possess ionic functional groups capable to trap metal ions. The influence of pH, sorbent dosage, temperature and concentration of metals on the removal degree and sorbent reusability is being investigated.

Removal/photocatalytic degradation of textile dyes:
Considering that common methods for dye removal end up in production of secondary waste products that require further processing, we apply the Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs), namely heterogeneous photocatalytic degradation, as a promising approach to ensure complete discoloration, as well as degradation of dye from wastewater into smaller and less harmful products. We use titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst, but its powdery form makes the separation from the decontaminated water after wastewater treatment harder and more expensive. Therefore, we immobilize TiO2 nanoparticles onto polymer matrix in order to ease the handling and enable the reusability.

Enzymes immobilization
Biocatalysts syntheses/The use of biocatalysts in ester production: The aim of this topic is immobilization of enzymes into polymer devices in order to achieve their improved stability and prevent the denaturation, offering reusable alternatives to the free enzyme usage. The immobilized enzymes are used as biocatalysts in hydrolytic and catalytic reactions in various media. Furthermore, for each particular immobilized system we optimize and evaluate the support composition, as well as reaction parameters.
Polymers and polymeric materials in forensic applications
Forensic methods for identification of polymers and polymeric materials: Bearing in mind that the forensic investigation of material malfunction is crucial for the understanding and improvement of its properties, our group started with a new topic that deals with malfunction of various polymer products.
Electronic waste treatment
Recycling of polymeric materials from electrical and electronic equipment waste: One of us, Mr. Tihomir Kovačević, started PhD thesis with a new topic in the field of electronic waste treatment. The aim is to investigate a separation processes, recycling and characterization of polymer materials of electrical and electronic equipment waste. The experiments are performed within the external laboratory under supervision of Prof. Željko Kamberović, PhD.
Technology and knowledge transfer
Technology transfer between PRL and Industry: Fast growing technology, an ever-changing economy and rapid changes in innovation have triggered companies to face the challenge of competitive advantages. Academia-industry collaborations have been encouraged in many countries by policy-makers. Cooperation with our group should be especially important for industrial firms to access new knowledge, ideas and technologies, as well as skilled labour, especially qualified engineers.
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