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3 Questions - 3 Answers: The research group "Materials Development" at the German Plastics Center (SKZ)

The SKZ Materials Development Group offers one of the broadest fields of activity. The materials and additives used are as diverse as plastics. Boredom is therefore never an issue in materials development. Group leader Dr. Michael Bosse nevertheless found the time to briefly answer the sales colleagues' questions.

December 8, 2022
Materialentwicklung Kunststoff

In the search for the right material, the researchers at SKZ never run out of ideas. (Photo: SKZ)

The SKZ research group "Materials Development" introduces itself.
3 questions to group leader Dr. Michael Bosse.

Michael, what fascinates you about material development? 
Michael Bosse: It's definitely the great variety of new ideas and applications that our customers come up with. Finding the right materials for them is also often surprising. Plastics are so diverse, and the combinations with fibers, additives, beads, particles and also with each other are endless. What the plastics are then expected to do is at least as extensive - there is no shortage of ingenuity. By linking formulation, processing, application properties and recycling, we as material developers can actively contribute to mastering social challenges such as the transfer to a circular economy or the energy transition.

What was the biggest or funniest failure in your SKZ time?
Michael Bosse: We work with biodegradable plastics and aim to achieve a small impossibility for reusable tableware - on the one hand robust, safe and reusable, on the other hand biodegradable practically immediately after use. Our experiments, however, can't be broken. The prototypes have been going non-stop in the dishwasher for half a year and don't change at all. My compost heap also bites its teeth on it. This is a good example that failures are part of research. Afterwards, one is always wiser and sometimes realizes that the objectives of the project were perhaps a bit too ambitious. On the positive side, however, the project partner was still quite happy. He now has a biobased material solution that is suitable for the application environment and we can work together at SKZ to find a mechanical or chemical recycling solution. 

What is currently your favorite topic or what can we look forward to?
Michael Bosse: The circular economy is both indispensable and incredibly difficult to implement. I would like to get to the root of the matter and help make our plastics more valuable. This includes developing sustainable materials for technical applications but also raising awareness of the achievements in the current areas of application of plastics. Then we are more likely to use them more carefully and recycle them sensibly at the end of their life cycle. This is also a social task, not just a purely technical one. I look forward to conducting these dialogs and also receiving critical inquiries, so that we can then work together to find the optimum solution. We can provide the necessary know-how and equipment for this by developing new formulations, compounding material samples at our pilot plant, producing test specimens and checking whether a new material actually delivers what it promises.

More information about research group materials development

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Contact Person:

Michael Bosse, SKZ Bildung
Dr.-Ing. Michael Bosse

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