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Professor Sigbritt Karlsson

prof. Sigbritt Karlsson
Foto: Tobias Ohls

Personal Information

Professor of Polymer Technology - the Environmental Interaction of polymeric materials, KTH, 1999

Vice Dean of Faculty Strategic Education Issues at KTH, 2008-2010

Vice-Chancellor of University of Skövde, 2010-2016

Presently rector at KTH

Contact Information

Research Interests

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).

Current Projects

Qualitative characterization of particle emissions from nanomaterials during simulated service life

Recently Completed projects

Recent publications

O. Gil-Castell, J.D. Badia, E. Strömberg, S. Karlsson and A. Ribes-Greus Effect of the dissolution time into an acid hydrolytic solvent to taylor electrospun nanofibrous polycaprolactone scaffolds  - European Polymer Journal, in press

O. Gil-Castell, J.D. Badia, T. Kittikorn, E. Strömberg, M. Ek, S. Karlsson and A. Ribes-Greus Impact of hydrothermal ageing on the thermal stability, morphology and viscoelastic performance of PLA/sisal biocomposites (2016) - Polymer Degradation and Stability, 132, 87-96

F. Vilaplana, J. Nilsson, D.V.P. Sommer and S. Karlsson Analytical markers for silk degradation: comparing historic silk and silk artificially aged in different environments (2015) - Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 407(5), 1433–1449

S. Atarijabarzadeh, C. Salas Lacamprett, S. Karlsson  and E. Strömberg Use of essential oils for the prevention of biofilm formation on silicone rubber high voltage insulators (2015)- Polymers from Renewable Resources, 6(4), 119-136

S. Atarijabarzadeh, F. Nilsson, H. Hillborg, S. Karlsson  and E. Strömberg Image Analysis Determination of the Influence of Surface Structure of Silicone Rubbers on Biofouling (2015)- International Journal of Polymer Science, Volume 2015, Article ID 390292

R. Moriana, F. Vilaplana, S. Karlsson and A. Ribes‐Greus Correlation of chemical, structural and thermal properties of natural fibres for their sustainable exploitation (2014) - Carbohydrate Polymers 112, 422-431.

R. Moriana, E. Strömberg, A. Ribes and S. Karlsson. Degradation Behaviour of Natural Fibre Reinforced Starch-Based Composites under Different Environmental Conditions (2014) - Journal of Renewable Materials, 2(2), 145-156

J.D. Badia, T. Kittikorn, E. Strömberg, L. Santonja-Blasco, A. Martínez-Felipe, A. Ribes-Greus, M. Ek and S. Karlsson. Water absorption and hydrothermal performance of PHBV/sisal biocomposites (2014) - Polymer Degradation and Stability, 108, 166–174

O. Gil-Castell, J.D. Badia, T. Kittikorn, E. Strömberg, A. Martínez-Felipe, M. Ek, S. Karlsson and A. Ribes-Greus . Hydrothermal ageing of polylactide/sisal biocomposites. Studies of water absorption behaviour and Physico-Chemical performance (2014) - Polymer Degradation and Stability, 108, 212–222 

T. Kittikorn, E. Strömberg, M. Ek and S. Karlsson. Comparison of water uptake as function of surface modification of empty fruit bunch oil palm fibres in PP biocomposites (2013) - BioResources 8(2), p.2998

M. Ek and S. Karlsson. NewCell, ReCell and some other cell: Some highlights from dissolving pulp projects (2013) - Abstract of Papers of the American Chemical Society, ISSN 0065-7727, Vol. 245.

J.D. Badia, E. Srömberg, S. Karlsson and A. Ribes-Greus. The role of crystalline, mobile amorphous and rigid amorphous fractions in the performance of recycled poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) (2012) - Polymer Degradation and Stability 97, p.98

T. Kittikorn, E. Strömberg, M. Ek and S. Karlsson. The effect of surface modifications on the mechanical and thermal properties of empty fruit bunch oil fibres PP biocomposites (2012) - Polymers from Renewable Resources 3(3), p.79

J.D. Badia, E. Strömberg, S. Karlsson and A. Ribes-Greus. Material valorisation of amorphous polylactide. Influence of thermo-mechanical degradation on the morphology, segmental dynamics, thermal and mechanical performance (2012) - Polymer Degradation and Stability 97(4), p.670

J. Wang, S. Gubanski, J. Blenow, S. Atarijabarzadeh, E. Strömberg and S. Karlsson. Influence of biofilm contamination on electrical performance of silicone rubber based composite materials (2012) - IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, 19, p.1690

B. Ndazi and S. Karlsson. Characterization of hydrolytic degradation of polylactic acid/rice hulls composites in water at different temperatures (2011) - eXPRESS Polymer Letters 5(2), p.119

N. Ezekiel, B. Ndazi, C. Nyahumwa and S. Karlsson. Effect of temperature and durations of heating on coir fibers (2011) - Industrial Crops and Products 33, p.638

J.D. Badia, E. Strömberg, A. Ribes-Greus and S. Karlsson. Assessing the MALDI-TOF MS sample preparation procedure to analyze the influence of thermo-oxidative ageing and thermo-mechanical degradation on Poly (Lactide) (2011) - European Polymer Journal 47, p.1416

J.D Badia, E. Strömberg, A. Ribes-Greus and S. Karlsson. A statistical design of experiments for optimizing the MALDI-TOF MS sample preparation of polymers. An application in the assessment of the thermo-mechanical degradation mechanisms of poly(ethylene terephthalate) (2011) - Analytica Chimica Acta 692, p.85

S. Atarijabarzadeh, E. Strömberg and S. Karlsson. Inhibition of biofim formation on silicone rubber samples using various antimicrobial agents (2011) - International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 65, p.1111

P. Kaali, M. Pérez-Madrigal, E. Strömberg, R.E. Aune, G. Czel and S. Karlsson. The influence of Ag+, Zn and Cu exchanged zeolite on antimicrobial and long-term in vitro stability of medical grade polyether polyurethane (2011) - eXPRESS Polymer Letter, 5(12), p.1028

F. Vilaplana, S. Karlsson, A. Ribes-Greus, C. Schade and N. Nestle. NMR relaxation reveals modifications in rubber phase dynamics during long-term degradation of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) (2011) - Polymer 52, p.1410

Complete publication list

Google Scholar

Review Articles and Book Chapters

Biomedical Engineering, Trends in Materials Science, Prevention of biofilm associated infections and subsequent biodegradation of polymeric materials (2011)- Ed. Intech Open Access Publisher, Vienna, Chap. 22, 513-540

Quality concepts for the improved use of recycled polymeric materials: a review (2008) - Macromolecular Materials and Enginering 293 (4), 274-297

Environmental and resource aspects of sustainable biocomposites (2010) - Polymer Degradation and Stability 95 (11), 2147-2161

Degradable Polymers, Techniques and mechanisms of polymer degradation (2002) - 2nd Ed. Gerald Scott, Kluwer Academic Publishers, the Netherlands, p.51-69

Courses and PhD Courses

KF2180 Biopolymers, 7.5 credits

3E5048 Mass Spectrometry of Polymers, 4.5 credits

3E5037 Microbiology in Polymer Science, 7.5 credits


Honorary medal, Skövde Municipality , Sweden, 2014

Inspiring Leader of the Year , ST - The Union of Civil Servants, Sweden, 2013

Junior Individual Grant (JIG), Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), 1996


Editor of Polymers from Renewable Resources , Rapra, UK, 2010-

ResearcherID: D-6935-2014

ORCID: 0000-0002-5394-7850

Belongs to: Department of Fibre and Polymer Technology
Last changed: Nov 20, 2018
Professor Mikael S. Hedenqvist
Professor Ulf W. Gedde
Professor Sigbritt Karlsson
Associate Professor Richard T. Olsson
Assistant Professor Anna Hanner (Svagan)
Docent Fritjof Nilsson
Adjunct Professor Henrik Hillborg (Hitachi ABB Power Grids)
Adjunct Professor Mikael Unge (NKT)
Affiliated Professor Petra Mischnick