KF2180 Biopolymers 7.5 credits


Basic course in the structure, function and use of biopolymers.

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Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

The aim of the course is to provide detailed knowledge of the structure, function, properties and use of biopolymers.

Molecular architecture for some biological structures such as wood, collagen, soft tissue, silk, wool, spider’s thread is emphasized.

The concept of nature as a model for polymeric materials is discussed.

Survey and introduction to biomedical materials and “drug delivery” formulations is conducted.

The role of biocomposites is related to biological attacks on polymeric materials and degradation mechanisms in polymeric materials with respect to degradation products in different environments. 

The discussion focuses on environmental issues when using biopolymers and synthetic polymers, specifically, various routs for recovery/reuse of plastics.

Intended learning outcomes *

After finishing the course the student should be able to:

  • Explain and evaluate biopolymer properties based on their structure (at atomic, nano-, micro- and macro-level) and give their chemical structure.
  • Relate a specific biopolymer to biological structures in nature.
  • Describe the process and explain the material properties and environmental effects of biodegradation.
  • Reflect on the polymeric material choices for biomedical applications and pharmaceutical formulations.
  • Identify and discuss current environmental issues with a focus on the material’s impact in relation to the sustainable development objectives set by the community.
  • Suggest and discuss the choice of biopolymers vs. synthetic polymers suitable for common applications with respect to raw materials, energy aspects, material properties, function, environmental impact, waste management, ethical aspects and economy

Course Disposition

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Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

At least 150 credits from grades 1, 2 and 3 of which at least 110 credits from years 1 and 2, and bachelor's work must be completed, within a programme that includes:
50 university credits (hp) in chemistry or chemical engineering, 20 university credits (hp) in mathematics and in computer science or corresponding.

Recommended prerequisites

KF1010 Polymer Technology and Cellulose Technology


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J. Vincent: Structural Biomaterials

M. Elices: Structural Biological Materials

Scientific articles

Examination and completion

Grading scale *

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination *

  • LAB1 - Project Laboratory Work, 3.0 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • TEN2 - Examination, 4.5 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade *

Examination 4,5 credits.
Project lab (report + seminar) 3 credits
Participation in educational visit.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Sigbritt Karlsson

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web KF2180

Offered by

CBH/Fibre and Polymer Technology

Main field of study *

Biotechnology, Chemical Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Education cycle *

Second cycle

Add-on studies

Graduate courses:
Chromatographic analysis – polymers/environment
Microbiology in polymer science


Emma Strömberg, emmast@kth.se

Ethical approach *

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Supplementary information

Will replace 3E1146

Project can be conducted in cooperation with KD2020 Organic and Biochemical Analytical Separations