Prof. Sigbritt Karlsson
Professor of Polymer Technology-the Environmental Interaction of polymeric
materials, KTH, 1999. Vice Dean of Faculty Strategic Education Issues, 2008-
The research focuses on the polymer technology with specialisation in the environmental interaction of polymeric materials. This includes the biodegradation of materials in various environment using bacteria, fungi and algae. Biopolymers (e.g. polysaccharides, proteins) and synthetic polymers are manufactured with tailored properties for high value applications in out- and indoor environments and biomedical implants. Key materials are the sustainable polymers and composites, the recycling of polymeric materials, the surface modification of biofibres (wood cellulose, coir, sisal, hemp etc.) for sustainable biocomposites and new cellulose derivatives with improved properties. The research on the adhesion of micro-organisms (biofilms) to polymeric materials in electrical products gives the basis for the design of new materials with antimicrobial properties. New polymeric materials are designed for medical use (e.g.: urinary catheters, tracheostomy tubes etc.) which slowly release antimicrobial agents as a function of time in order to avoid any kind of infection inside the human body during use. Advanced polymer characterisation is developed with special focus on mass spectrometry and chromatography. The monitoring of low molecular weight degradation products of polymeric materials and additives in various environments aims at understand the degradation of polymers and give basis for environmental impact studies (e.g. indoor air quality; biomaterials, emission to water, soil and air).