Polymeric materials: Research areas of the working group



Strand 4: New areas of application for polymers

In this strand, we realize new application ideas for polymers. Prominent examples are new application for hydrogels normally used in diapers or for water delivery in agriculture. We showed that they can be used for water desalination [Arens et al., 2017] or for the construction on an osmotic motor. Both application are based on the capability of hydrogels to change the ion concentration in electrolytes. Another example is the entropy wheel where polymeric elastomers are used to build a machine that transforms waste heat into mechanical energy. The basic concept behind is the usage of the change in the restoring force of elastomers under strain by ongoing temperature changes. A partial heated wheel starts to rotate, so it transfers heat to mechanical energy, also working for very low heat differences of only 50° C. This allows heat recovery also for low temperature of cooling liquids not possible with actual available methods.

Examples of research topics in this strand:
Entropy-Wheel    (more Info available)
Desalination with hydrogels    (more Info available)
osmose motor based on hydrogels    (more Info available)

Selected related articles for research strand 4:
Please see also the full list of publications  
Desalination of Seawater Using Cationic Poly(acrylamide) Hydrogels and Mechanical Forces for Separation C. Fengler; L. Arens; H. Horn; M. Wilhelm; Macromol Mater Eng 305; p 2000383 (2020); DOI 10.1002/mame.202000383
Optimizing the Power Production in an Osmotic Engine via Microfluidic Fabricated and Surface Crosslinked Hydrogels Utilizing Fresh and Salt Water A. Jangizehi; C. Fengler; L. Arens; M. Wilhelm; Macromol Mater Eng 305; p 2000174 (2020); DOI 10.1002/mame.202000174
Osmotic Engine: Translating Osmotic Pressure into Macroscopic Mechanical Force via Poly(Acrylic Acid) Based Hydrogels L. Arens, F. Weißenfeld, C.O. Klein, K. Schlag, M. Wilhelm; Advanced Science 1700112 (2017); DOI: 10.1002/advs.201700112
Link to full article containing title page
Energy consumption for the desalination of salt water using polyelectrolyte hydrogels as the separation agent L. Arens, J.B. Albrecht, J. Höpfner, K. Schlag, M. Wilhelm; Macromol. Chem. Phys. 218 1700237 (2017); DOI: 10.1002/macp.201700237
Das Entropierad : Maschine aus Konformationsänderungen I.F.C. Naue, M. Wilhelm; Phys. in uns. Zeit 44 36-39 (2013); DOI 10.1002/piuz.201301318