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Laboratory 8. Physical Chemistry of Polymers
Head of laboratory: Dr. Anton AIRINEI
Description Research Groups Publications Projects Infrastructure
Project: Improving food safety through the development and implementation of active and biodegradable food packaging systems

Project: EEA-JRP-RO-NO / Project no.:  1SEE/30.06.2014
Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2014 – 2017

Budget: 900.000 Euro

Biodegradable food packaging systems based on stratified composites or obtained by melt processing of the polylactic acid/chitosan/vegetal extracts/nanoparticles multicomponent system in collaboration with NOFIMA - Norway, USAMV Bucuresti, ICPAO Medias and RODAX SA Bucuresti - Romania were developed.

Project: Antimicrobial bionanocomposites for medical applications

Project: PN-II-PT-PCCA-2011-3.2-0979 / Project no.: 164/2012
Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2012 - 2016

Budget: 2 500 000 Lei

The main objective of the project was to obtain antimicrobial urinary catheters, biocompatible and biodegradable. These were made at laboratory phase or pilot phase from complex formulations containing polylactic acid or polyurethane, hydrolyzed collagen, elastin, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and silver nanoparticles prepared in situ.

Project: Ionizing radiation and plasma discharge mediating covalent linking of stratified composite materials for food packaging

Project: IAEA - Viena / Project no.: 17689/2013

Acronym: RC-17689-R1 IAEA

Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2013-2017

Budget: 15 000 Euro

This project objective was to develop new (bio)active multifunctional nano-coverings for food packaging applications. In this direction, the intrinsic properties of different polymeric substrates, both synthetic and natural, were modified and enhanced by distinct methods, namely ionizing radiation and plasma discharge. The natural compounds that were exploited in this project belong to polysaccharides (cellulose, chitin, chitosan), proteins (lactoferrin) and natural antioxidants (vitamin E, C, various natural extracts with antioxidant properties – polyphenols) classes.

Project: Joint innovative training and teaching/learning program in enhancing development and transfer knowledge of application of ionizing radiation in materials processing

Project: Erasmus + / Project no.: TL-IRMP 2014-1-PL01-KA203-003611
Acronym: TL-IRMP
Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2014 – 2017

Budget: 44 416 Euro

Improving the global qualification and the specific competences on radiation technology of young graduates through high quality learning offers conditions the scientific and technological development of countries, with significant impact on their economical and societal status. The project has filled up the gap of education quality between different regions of EU countries. 7 partners from 5 different EU countries and 1 associate member state (Poland, France, Italy, Lithuanian, Romania and Turkey) were involved in this project.

Project: Functionalization of synthetic polymers for development of new antimicrobial packaging

Project: Bilaterale Romania-Slovenia PN II UEFISCDI / Project no.: 525/14 06 2012
Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2012 – 2013

Budget: 41 600 Lei

Development of new materials for functional, biodegradable, antimicrobial and antioxidant packaging for the food industry, especially for fresh meat products. The specific objective was towards the study of the interaction between the components of the systems: bioactive liquid formulations (polysaccharides-antioxidants)/polymeric surfaces and packaging / functionalized food, aiming at evaluating the efficiency of packaging functionalization regarding the storage time (preservation) of meat.

Project: Innovative eco-friendly food active packaging based on xanthan cryogels with antibacterial and antioxidant properties

Project: PN-III-P1-1.1.-TE-2016-2038 / Project no.: 77/2018
Project manager: Irina Elena Raschip
Duration: 2018 – 2020

Budget: 450 000 Lei

The purpose of the project is to obtain new film packaging materials based on polysaccharide xanthan (X)(E-415) and poly vinyl alcohol (PVA)(FDA has approved PVA to be in close contact with food products; PVA films exhibit excellent barrier properties for food packaging systems). The new coating material will be characterized in detail, aiming its applicability in the food industry. Obtaining new bioactive packaging films, using as raw material, xanthan and PVA both biodegradable will increase the interest of companies in the food industry (packaging) with the intention to increase their market share at the national and European level.

Project: Safe, Health-promoting, Green Food Packaging

Project: Bilaterale Romania-Grecia PN II UEFISCDI / Project no.: 571/2012
Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2012 – 2014

Budget: 23 146 Lei

Development of active packaging materials with improved properties, beneficial for human health, based on polymers from renewable resources.

Project: Volatolomics test for the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis

Project: H2020-MSCA-RISE-2017 / Project no.: 777832
Acronym: bTB-Test
Project manager: Mihai Brebu
Duration: 01.01.2018-31.12.2021

Budget: 1 395 000 Euro total, 184 500 Euro PIMC partner


Project: Development of a non-invasive breath test for early diagnosis of tropical diseases

Project: H2020-MSCA-RISE-2014 / Project no.: 645758
Project manager: 
Duration: 01.02.2015-31.01.2019

Budget: 1 386 000 Euro total, 85 500 Euro PPIMC partner

Project: Biofuels from Solid Wastes

Project: Grant FP7 PIRSES-GA-2009-247550
Acronym: BIOFUEL
Project manager: Cornelia Vasile
Duration: 2010-2013

Budget: 108 000 Euro total, 41 400 Euro PPIMC partner

Project: Aero - and Cryogels Based on Biopolymers - Versatile Materials for Medical Applications

Project: PN-III-P3-3.1-PM-RO / Project no.: 84 BM/6.04.2017
Acronym: BIOGELS
Project manager: Dr. Diana Elena CIOLACU
Duration: 2017 – 2018

Budget: 25.483 lei

The present project aims to obtain xero-, aero- and cryogels with designed properties as versatile materials for biomedical applications and to develop the existing collaboration that is mutually beneficial, in the field of polysaccharides porous matrices. The originality of the project is the fact that starting from the same precursor (cellulose or pectin) three-dimensional (3D) polymeric materials will be obtained, which will be further dried by different methods (xero-, aero- and cryo-) and subsequently tested for two biomedical applications: drugs controlled release systems and scaffolds for tissue engineering. In this context, an understanding of the influence of polysaccharide state (solution or gel) and drying mode (xero-, aero- or cryo-) on the morphology and final porosity of the materials will be pursued. The purpose of the project is to obtain versatile porous polymeric materials, providing "recipes" that lead to a certain morphology and, as a consequence, to a particular biomedical application. Finally, matrices prepared from natural polysaccharides and from mixtures of natural/microbial polysaccharides will be compared in terms of efficiency/performance for the chosen scope. The evaluation of polymer matrices in order to identify the requirements to be met for biomedical applications will be achieved through drug release studies and biocompatibility studies (viability and cell proliferation). 

Project: Innovative biopolymer-based hydrophilic matrices with tailored properties for medical application

Project: PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-0558
Acronym: MATINOV
Project manager: Dr. Diana Elena CIOLACU
Duration: 2015 – 2017

Budget: 550.000 lei

This project aims to develop innovative hydrogels based on biopolymers with properties designed for high-values medical applications. The extraordinary versatility of these materials has its origins in the diversity of the constituent biopolymers, ranging from vegetable polysaccharides (cellulose and its various allomorphic forms) to the bacterial polysaccharides (alginate, xanthan, etc.), coupled with the presence of materials reinforcement of high-tech, such as cellulose nanoparticles (CNs). The purpose is not only the assembly of biopolymers in hydrophilic matrices by chemical cross-linking, but also the biosynthesis of new exopolysaccharides (EPS) with well-defined chemical and structural characteristics. The new series of EPS will be biosynthesized by lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus spp., Weisella sp., Pediococcus sp.) in order to provide a controlled composition, degrees of branching and molecular weights. Moreover, the isolation of CNs by novel methods for a low environmental impact (enzymatic hydrolysis with specific cellulases together with classical and/or unconventional methods) emphasizes the complexity of the project. Its originality is given also by the isolation of CNs from the corresponding allomorphic forms. Finally, the biocompatibility of the new hydrogels will be tested in order to determine their uses, either as systems for controlled release of active principals or as scaffolds in tissue engineering.

Project: Development of non-conventional materials and cold plasma techniques for sustainable solutions in paper heritage conservation

Project: PN-II-PTPCCA2011-3.2-1281

Responsible partner ICMPP: Dr. Georgeta CAZACU
Duration: 2012 – 2016

Budget: 1.500.000 lei

Natural ageing of paper documents from museums, archives and libraries is responsible for a huge loss of documentary cultural heritage. The conservation of paper documents is aiming to extend their lifetime by removing the effect of damages and recovering their integrity. However, various conservation methods are applied without a deep knowledge on the interactions between paper support and the restoration medium and/or conservation materials, which could result in physical-chemical alterations and even to the lost of heritage objects. PAPHERCON project proposes new ecological conservation solutions that are respecting conservation principles of reversibility, minimal intervention and scientific objectivity. Proposed new conservation method will bring out following novelties and innovations: (i) A reliable procedure to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation treatments, which will be based on interdisciplinary expertise of project consortium; (ii) New conservation materials based on chitosan nano-composites with specific functionalities for paper heritage conservation (anti-microbial, barriers and strength properties) as more sustainable alternatives to conventional cellulose derivatives; (iii) Cold HF plasma technique with extended functionality, which offers a fast, non-invasive and ecological solution for cleaning and sterilization of paper items; (iv) Integration of the both steps in paper heritage conservation (cleaning/sterilization with consolidation treatments) in a single technology by combining cold HF plasma treatments and multifunctional coatings based on chitosan derivatives. The new conservation method will be implemented and validated at real scale by the applications on natural aged paper documents. 

Project: High Performance Polymeric Biomaterials Based on Functionalized Polysulfones with Medical Applications

Project code: PNII-RU-TE-2012-3-0143/ Project no. 62/30.04.2013

Acronym: PolySulf-BioMembr

Project leader: Dr. Anca Filimon

Duration: 2013 - 2016

Budget: 645 832 Lei

The project is based on the idea of complex structure and combines the new physicochemical and structural concepts for the development and characterization of some biomaterials polymeric composites with specific properties and superior to those of the conventional polymers required in medical applications. The project aims to obtain the new biomaterials polymeric composites - functionalized polysulfones/natural polymer and functionalized polysulfones/synthetic polymer, pursuing the properties in order to use them as semipermeable membranes in biomedicine. The research theme presents both scientifically and practically interest, and therefore, is designed to the investigation of physicochemical properties of the biomaterials polymeric composites, such as conformational and viscoelastic characteristics, hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, and morphological changes of the surfaces induced by the topography reorganization, in order to obtain performed biomembranes used in the immobilization of active principles.

Project: Complex systems based on polymers containing alicyclic structures for high performance materials

Project: PN-II-ID-PCE-2011-3-0937 / Project no.: 302/5.10.2011
Project manager: Dr. Silvia IOAN
Duration: 2011 – 2016
Budget: 1 000 000 Lei

Project has its root at the convergence of two disciplinary areas: polymer chemistry and materials science. Scientific and economical premises are: (1) the heterocyclic polymers are recognized as high performance systems and (2) the progress of advanced technologies takes place in an explosive rhythm.

The theme is focused on the development of new imide type polymers containing complex systems, based on flexible and/or rigid alicyclic monomers, with potential applications in advanced technologies as alignment layers for liquid crystals (LC ALs), dielectric and/or surface-related materials.

Project: New approaches in designing polymer surfaces with controllable pattern for applications in biomedicine and high technologies

Project: PNII-RU-TE-2014-4-2976 / Project no.: 256/1.10.2015
Acronym: PIPATT
Project manager: Dr. Andreea Irina BARZIC
Duration: 2015 – 2017
Budget: 550 000 Lei

The project is focused on obtaining and processing of some transparent polyimide films, with new structures, obtained by novel techniques in order to obtain scaffolds with controlled structure of the morphology for liquid crystal alignment layers and target growth cells.

The project brings new contributions in the polyimide surface engineering. The novelty is reflected by obtaining new polyimide films with biocompatible character and investigating issues related unstudied processing techniques that can contribute significantly to improvements in surface characteristics. Texturing methods will lead to materials with advanced morphological properties as required by technologies and applications in microelectronics and tissue engineering.

Project: Aging Behavior Study of New Wooden Materials Obtained by Environmentally Friendly Methods

Project: PN-II-RU-PD 460/2010/ Project no.: 195/10.08.2010

Acronym: -

Project manager: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2010-2012

Budget: 118666 Lei

The aim of this project is to obtain important information about the microstructure of different species of untreated and densified wood using environmentally friendly methods by applying modern analysis techniques. In this sense, it is proposed to study wood fragments of different untreated and densified species, by visual examination, optical microscopy in normal, polarized and fluorescence light, electron microscopy, different spectroscopic analysis methods (FTIR spectroscopy, 2D FTIR correlation spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction), as well as various methods of thermal analysis (thermogravimetry, differential calorimetry). 

Another objective is to improve knowledge on the influence of environmental factors, especially microorganisms on these types of wood in order to optimize treatment conditions. This will lead to obtaining information on the action of degrading factors on wood materials, duration and resistance to various degradation agents and also obtaining theoretical and practical data on wood degradation, able to solve key aspects of improving the processing and properties of the final product for the development of new ones and the preservation of quality over the long term.


Project: Inovative eco-friendly antimicrobial bio nanomaterials for food and medicine packaging

Project: PN-II-RU-TE-2014-4-1828 / Project no.: 226/ 01.10.2015


Project manager: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2015-2017

Budget: 550 000 Lei

The main objective of the project is to find scientific and technical solution and to identify the opportunities and obstacles for introduction to the market of new innovative bio-nanomaterials with antimicrobial activity, with application in food and/or surgical instruments packaging, by combining the properties of cellulose nano whiskers with those of biodegradable polymers and natural antimicrobial agents in order to overcame the actual technological, industrial and social limitation.

Research and development of new eco-friendly antimicrobial bio-nanomaterials have shown huge potential to extend the food life, enhance consumer safety and reducing the contamination of surgical instruments before use. From social point of view the project will improve the managerial competences of the project leader and will permit the organisation of a specialised multidisciplinary team by involving the young PhD and master students. 


Project: Nano-clay, nanocellulose and MIP based composites for environmentally friendly microbial formulations

Project: COFUND-M-ERA.NET II-COMPIO/ Project no.: 73 / 01.07.2017

Acronym: COMPIO

Project manager: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2017-2020

Budget: 810 000 Lei

In COMPIO we will develop both synthetic and biobased high performance composites for microbial formulations:

  • Based on molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs)
  • Based on nanoclay
  • Implementing nano crystalline cellulose as carrier, natural filler and dispersion agent.

The integration of these types of composites will provide clearly enhanced water vapour and O2 barrier properties, significantly improve mechanical strength and reduce abrasion, protect beneficial microbes from UV-radiation damage and enhance shelf life.

This project will make its principal impact in development of sustainable materials and processes for the highly requested field of biocontrol addressing the market of large-scale plant cultures (maize, tomato sunflower). COMPIO is expected to support current research efforts of the consortium (AIT, PPIMC, AGLYCON, Simbiyotek, Melodea) and generate strong input for the company partners opening up new business segments and application fields.


Project: Characterisation of the fine structure and properties of papermaking fibres using new technologies

Project: E54/2007-2011/Project no: 278/06


Management committee: Dr. Cornelia Vasile

Duration: 2006-2010

The average bulk parameters do not provide a real possibility of predicting relevant fibre properties and chemical composition. Nowadays the development of analytical methods provides new tools to investigate the parameters of individual fibres and of separate fibre wall layers providing results that are reliable as well as applicable in practice. The current micro- and nanosystem technology, among many other new developments, provides novel tools and opportunities for the precise handling and characterisation of any microscopic object including pulp fibres.

The main objective of the Action is to generate new information and data on the fine structure and composition of different papermaking fibres during and after pulping processes (i.e. for chemical and mechanical pulps), and fibre treatment including recycling. This is of great interest both for theoretical wood science and for the pulp and paper industry. The expected benefits of the Action for the European pulp and paper industry are an improved understanding of how mechanical and chemical treatments change papermaking fibres and the material properties of products including paper, paperboard and other fibre-containing composites, It will also provide additional knowledge to technologists developing ‘smart’ paperboard packaging with better barrier properties against gas and moisture, with higher quality visual imaging and printability.


Project: Biotechnology for Lignocellulose Biorefineries

Project: FP0602, Project no.: 313/06

Acronym: BIOBIO

Management committee: Dr. Cornelia Vasile, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2007-2011

This Action aims at developing innovative biosciences and technologies required to build and implement advanced lignocellulose biorefineries. The primary objective is to develop environmentally sound and cost-effective biotechnical tools and production technologies to be exploited in the production of fibres, chemicals and bioenergy. European industry and R&D already have a strong position within white biotechnology. This Action would strengthen the position of Europe in the areas of white biotechnology and lignocellulose-based biorefineries. The Action will be organized into three areas: 1) development of new biotechnical tools; enzymes and microorganisms, 2) application of enzymatic tools and processing methods to improve the competitiveness of renewable fibre products and 3) production of second generation biofuels, biobased polymers and chemicals. The Action will work closely together with the European forestry agro sector and industry. The participating experts are active in a broad range of related scientific fields (enzymology, genetics, biochemical engineering, polymer chemistry, fibre technologies). The Action will contribute to the further development and implementation of biorefineries, thereby assisting the member countries to achieve the targets set by the European Commission for sustainable energy supply and bio-based economy.


Project: Experimental and Computational Micro-Characterization Techniques in Wood Mechanics

Project: FP0802, Project no.: 224/08

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu, Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu

Duration: 2008-2012

The emerging techniques in the fields of physics, chemistry, materials and computer science bear an enormous potential for the investigation of wood materials. Their appropriate application will boost the state-of-the-art in wood mechanics. Highly sophisticated imaging techniques in combination with increasing computer processing power and memory capacities allow studying materials at always smaller length scales. This COST Action aims at exploiting the emerging experimental and computational techniques for improving the knowledge of microstructural features of wood and their relevance for the macroscopic material behaviour. Particular attention will be paid to the effects of moisture, load, temperature, and time on the mechanical behaviour. The increased knowledge of the hygro-thermo-mechanical behaviour of wood will result in a better predictability of the material properties and their changes over time and, thus, enhance the reliability of the material. Together with the improved characterisation techniques, the better knowledge base will create new possibilities for the development and engineering design of innovative wood-based products in the future, starting off at the scale of the wood cell wall or its constituents. Stimulating the use of wood as a renewable and CO2 neutral raw material will contribute to a sustainable development in Europe.


Project: Analytical Techniques for Biorefineries

Project: FP0901, Project no.: 222/09

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Cornelia Vasile, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2009-2013

Trees, annual and perennial plants, recycled fibres, and lignocellulosic side streams from forest and agroindustry are renewable resources for the development of natural materials, biochemicals, and bioenergy. The chemical complexity of plant materials, the feed material of Biorefineries, renders the analyses of the feed constituents, processes, and valorised products challenging. The main objective of the Action is to develop new and evaluate existing analytical methods related to forestbased and agroindustrial Biorefineries. Thus, the Action covers the analytical methods for the Biorefinery feed material and for processed biochemicals, biomaterials, and process residues.

Especially analytical pretreatments will be evaluated. Critical steps are the representativeness of the sampling and samples, the extraction, fractionation, and sample storage methods applied. New methods will be applied and evaluated for their relevance. Other emphasised areas will be development of analytical on-line applications, hyphenated techniques, and applying statistical multicomponent analyses to sort out the relevant data from the main data stream. The European forest-based, bioenergy-based and agroindustrial industries will benefit from the Action in receiving relevant information on their developments of sustainable and environmentally benign solutions for novel utilization of renewable resources. The development of analytical tools will lead to cost effective and sustainable processes and products.


Project: Synthesis and Characterization of Dendrimers in Biomedical Applications

Project: TD0802, Project no.: 272/08

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2009-2013

Dendrimers are a relatively new group of polymers of considerable interest to biomedical researchers because they may be manipulated during synthesis to introduce desired properties. New medical applications of these nanostructures have appeared. However, there is still a substantial gap in understanding how dendrimers act and, within Europe, the pace of translating research from bench to bedside is not satisfactory. The present Action seeks to improve European research in this area by creating a multidisciplinary European Research Network that will bring chemists and biologists together, sharing expertise and experience in the biomedical applications of dendrimers that will lead to more rapid development of novel therapeutics and improve European competitiveness in this emerging field. Meetings, Short-Term Scientific Missions, workshops, training schools and conferences will ensure effective cooperation. There will be particular emphasis on the involvement of early stage researchers. Improving therapies for many incurable or chronic diseases such as AIDS, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and others will be the ultimate goal of the project. Therefore, European citizens will be the final beneficiaries of the Action. 


Project: Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical Wood Behaviour and Processing

Project: FP0904, Project no.: 265/09

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Cornelia Vasile, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2010-2014

The polymeric components of wood and its porous structure allow its properties to be modified under the combined effects of temperature, moisture and mechanical action – so-called Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical (THM) treatments. Various types of processing techniques, including high temperature steam with or without an applied mechanical force, can be utilised to enhance wood properties, to produce eco-friendly new materials and to develop new products. During these THM treatments, wood undergoes mechano-chemical transformations, which depend upon the processing parameters and material properties. An investigation of these phenomena requires collaboration between groups from different wood disciplines; however, to date research has been rather fragmented. This COST Action aims to apply promising techniques in the fields of wood mechanics, wood chemistry and material sciences through an interdisciplinary approach to improve knowledge about the chemical degradation and mechanical behaviour of wood during THM processing. This will help overcome the challenges being faced in scaling-up research findings, as well to improving full industrial production, process improvement and the enhancement of product properties and the development of new products.


Project: Bringing new functions to wood through surface modification

Project: FP1006, Project no.: 4202/10

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu, Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu

Duration: 2011-2015

Many applications of products are determined by their special surface properties, and based on the physical, chemical and biological interchange of various molecules with the materials surface. This is especially true for the use of wood and wood based products due to the special wood characteristics like anisotropy, UV-degradation. Thus, bringing new functions to wood through surface modification is needed in order to enhance the quality of the existing wood products and to open the way to new applications, products or markets. This COST Action aims to provide the scientific-based framework and knowledge required for enhanced surface modification of wood and wood based products towards higher functionalization and towards fulfilment of higher technical, economic and environmental standards. This will be achieved by working within three main areas: Wood surface modification and functionalization, Wood interface modification and interface interaction and Process and Service life modelling.


Project: Understanding wood cell wall structure, biopolymer interaction and composition: implications for current products and new material innovation

Project: FP1105, Project no.: 4172/11

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Cornelia Vasile, Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu

Duration: 2012-2016

The primary objective of the Action is to build knowledge and understanding of fundamental physical (self assembly) processes and biological systems (e.g. genetic control) that drive natural structures and biopolymer composition within the plant/wood cell wall and to use new knowledge of self assembly processes to support the development of new biopolymer based materials. The Action also aims to quantify the impact of new knowledge on our understanding of the mechanical properties of the cell wall and how processes such as pulping, bleaching recycling, cell wall disintegration methods and ongoing tree improvement and biotechnology programmes impact both positively and negatively on structure and composition of the cell wall. The intent is to explore how this knowledge can be used to support ongoing improvement in these areas of activity.

An overarching goal is to develop multidisciplinary competence and capability to support these objectives and to work closely with commercial organisations to promote effective dissemination of knowledge and the development of a more economically sustainable Forest Based Sector.


Project: Innovative applications of regenerated wood cellulose fibres

Project: FP1205, Project no.: 4172/11

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2013-2017

Demand for high performance products is increasing globally, as is the demand for more environmentally responsible sourcing. The combination of these facts places significant strain on traditional material supplies and processing. Fibre demand and nanocellulose are two such area of increasing demand, where diversification of fibre supplies is necessary to provide the demands and allow use of land for agricultural food purposes and biorefinery / biofuel supply. One area where fibre supply is increasing in supply is through the wood industry. This is through greater forest reserves under sustainable forestry practices, especially across Europe. However, it is necessary to think “outside the box” on how this resource can be put to optimum value (i.e. in areas in addition to construction, pulp & paper and bioenergy). This Action aims to develop the sustainable emerging technologies in the areas of textile fibre production, cellulosic fibres, and the various forms of nanocellulose derived solely from wood. This advancement needs to be undertaken within a COST framework not only to provide a means of information sharing, but to educate and train scientists in new areas of development. Through a programme of collaboration and knowledge exchange and training, this Action will develop a pan-European leap in capabilities, product and processes. This will lead to an improvement in the environmental credentials of advanced cellulose-based materials, strengthening R&D and innovative material production across Europe.



Project: FP1302, Project no.: 019/13

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2013-2017

This Action aims to combine forces and to foster research on wooden musical instruments in order to preserve and develop the dissemination of knowledge on musical instruments in Europe through inter disciplinary research. This program involves curators and conservators on the one side, wood scientists, chemists and acousticians on the other side, and finally, researchers in organology and making of instruments. As part of the CIMCIM (International Committee of Musical Instrument Museums and Collections) network, working with some members of the former WoodCultHer COST and with makers, the project will integrate study, conservation and preservation works on musical instruments in heritage, and will allow the different European teams working on wood to participate in research projects on musical instruments. The collaboration will help to develop cooperative programs on specific projects about the study and identification of artefacts and about the conservation of musical instruments.


Project: Performance of bio-based building materials

Project: FP1303, Project no.: 020/13

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2013-2017

Maintaining and expanding the market potential for bio-based building products in indoor and outdoor construction uses remains a key activity for European industry in the forestry and biotechnological sector. Performance data for many "environmental friendly" building materials are lacking as well as suitable comprehensive test methodologies to determine their resistance against mould, stain, and decay. The similarity in terms of decay hazard, resulting response on climatic loads and thus performance of different bio-based building materials has not yet been recognised adequately, wherefore this Action will provide a platform for networking and scientific exchange between different disciplines, such as material sciences, wood technology, biology, biotechnology, building physics and engineering. Consumer demands and preferences, which might serve as limit states to develop service life prediction and performance models, will consider aesthetical aspects as well as the functionality of building assemblies. A coordinated effort to put the issue of biodegradability of organic building products on the agenda will contribute to the control and prevention of this imminent threat to use bio-based building materials, which in turn could severely damage a pan-European low carbon building agenda.


Project: From molecules to crystals - how do organic molecules form crystals? (Crystallize)

Project: CM1402, Project no.: 027/14

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu, Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu

Duration: 2014-2018

Typically during chemical manufacturing, crystallization is employed as a purification step or to isolate the final product. Crystallization determines the quality of the product obtained but understanding the molecular mechanisms which occur during crystallization remains a scientific challenge, particularly for organic compounds. Developments in advanced analytical techniques, molecular recognition probes and computational methodologies are beginning to provide insight into how molecules interact in solution, aggregate and, ultimately, form crystals. Together with studies in different phases, in confined systems, on surfaces and with impurities, this will improve our understanding of crystallization processes. Europe plays host to recognised global leaders in different aspects of crystallization which, if brought together, will be in a unique position to drive the molecular understanding of the crystallization process. Crystal Engineering has advanced so that there is understanding of the supramolecular interactions in molecular solids. The next step is to fully understand structure/function relationships in order to custom design new materials for specific applications. European researchers need to embrace this new paradigm in materials design, combine it with the developing insights into the crystallization processes, and exploit both of these to control crystallization processes with increased product yield and purity, and also reduced environmental impact and cost.


Project: Next Generation of Young Scientist: Towards a Contemporary Spirit of R&I - Sci-GENERATION

Project: TN1301, Project no.: 044/13


Management committee: Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2013-2017

Sci-GENERATION is a new COST initiative that aims at elaborating contemporary scientific thought and thereby disseminating a new Spirit of Research and Innovation in Europe. These aims will be developed though the creation of a bottom-up and pan-European platform for young outstanding European next generation researchers (including ERC Starting Grantees and other talents of less research intensive countries) in order to share and transmit their visions on emergent research paths and research policy as well as their respective experience and ideas. Sci-GENERATION is exclusively directed to excellent next-generation scientists because they truly live on a daily basis current limitations and obstacles on their way to develop an outstanding research career, resulting from short-term decisions in European, national or regional research policy. Their solid experience and competent input constitutes a wealth of information for European science policy makers in order to draw a robust long-term vision for European science policy, which is one of the pillars of the future economic success of Europe in an increasingly competitive global market. Sci-GENERATION should in this way provide a unique, coordinated effort by one of the target groups of European Research Policy, the next-generation researchers, through a truly bottom-up approach as well as clearly defined deliverables, with the aim to substantially contribute to shaping a highly productive, attractive and competitive European Research Area. The main objectives of Sci-GENERATION are to create career perspectives for young researchers in public research centres and universities, in the true sense of a European labour market, and particularly in countries with fewer opportunities for next generation researchers; promote new and emergent research topics as well as research methods and organisation; improve synergy and avoid duplicating efforts between organisations, universities and other European platforms for a true European Research Area. The Sci-GENERATION Memorandum of Understanding contains further details on the network, such as detailed objectives, programme, organisation and timeplan.


Project: Fire Safe Use of Bio-Based Building Products

Project: FP1404, Project no.: 040/14

Acronym: -

Management committee: Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2015-2019

Bio-based building products have a very long history, e.g. as timber structural members. Combustibility was the main reason why bio-based building materials were banned from many applications. When performance based design (PBD) became possible many building regulations opened the market for bio-based building products. However, large differences between regulations in countries exist and the use of combustible building products is still very limited. Modern living offers attractive, flexible buildings and aims for cost efficient building techniques. Sustainability of building products became an issue. Consumers demand renewable products; however the Fire Safety of the end-product has to remain on a high level. Fire Safety Engineering (FSE) has achieved large acceptance in the recent years. FSE allows a PBD with customized building solutions. However, the available techniques are often limited to noncombustible materials. During the last decade the portfolio of building products made from bio-based raw materials has increased enormously. The material properties affecting a possible fire development vary which has been confirmed in many development projects including European researchers. This Action wants to create a platform for networking, exchange and collection of performance data, experiences, authority- and climate requirements which affect the design with respect to the Fire Safe Use of Bio-based Building Products. By systematically organisation knowledge in this area will advance at a significant higher rate. The Action will Exchange researchers, organize Workshop and create comprehensive dissemination material.


Project: Understanding wood modification through an integrated scientific and environmental impact approach

Project: FP1407, Project no.: 101/14

Acronym: ModWoodLife

Management committee: Dr. Carmen-Mihaela Popescu, Dr. Maria-Cristina Popescu

Duration: 2015-2019

The forest-based sector can become a leader in achieving the European Commission’s ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions with innovative production technologies, reduced energy consumption, increased wood products recycling, and reuse. Apart from these undoubted environmental benefits, the use of forest products in long life products, such as built environment applications, allows for the possibility of extended storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Wood modification (chemical, thermal, impregnation) is an assortment of the innovative processes currently being adopted. Though many aspects of these treatments are known, the fundamental influence of the process on product performance, the environment, and end of life scenarios remain unknown. It is essential to integrate interactive assessment of process parameters, developed product properties, and environmental impacts. To optimize modification processing to minimize environmental impacts, much more information must be gathered about all process related factors affecting the environment (VOC, energy use, end of life use, etc.). This Action will investigate modification processing and products design with emphasis on their environmental impacts. This will require analysis of the whole value chain, from forest through processing, installation, inservice, end of life, second/third life (cascading) and ultimately incineration with energy recovery.


Project: Setting up research-intensive clusters across the EU on characterization of polymer nanostructures

Project: FP7 Program, Grant Agreement ID: 218331 (Call FP7-NMP-2007-CSA-1/ NMP3-CA-2008-218331-NaPolyNet)


Project manager: Dr. Cornelia Vasile

Duration: 2008 - 2011

Budget: 59 064 Euro 

The project aimed to create a network of experts at European level on characterizations of polymer nanostructured materials, facilitating transnational access to unique equipment and to bridge the gap between scientific and engineering approaches towards improved understanding of the structure-performance correlation in polymer nanodevices. NAPOLYNET addresses the area of characterization of polymer nanostructures in the field of packaging, textiles and membranes aiming to contribute to the identification of the key factors that govern formation of ordered nanopatterns in polymer-based hybrid nanosystems. 

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