A path with plenty of room for discovery

A path with plenty of room for discovery

The Polymer Path – a project of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. Visit our educational path and learn more about the fascinating world of polymers and plastics, their history, use and more about current exciting research topics.
The winner is established

The winner is established

Mainz University of Applied Sciences and the MPI-P launched an architectural challenge  during the 2021 summer semester. The aim of this interdisciplinary project “PolyWood” was to highlight the use of natural polymer wood as a sustainable material in house construction. The winning entry in the competition was “wowood” and in November it was assembled on the trail by the prize-winning team together with many helping hands.
Pretty much out of order

Pretty much out of order

Here’s a polymer structure for you to touch: this is how the structure of a plastic material can appear – randomly disordered. Here you get an idea of how polymer chains can lie flexibly on top of each other like a big coil of cooked spaghetti. This is why PE (polyethylene), for example, which plastic bags are made from, can be flexible and transparent.
The wood designer Gisbert Baarmann and his team have constructed this wooden sculpture. Along this trail you will discover how wood can be bent  to achieve such amorphous structures.
Change of perspective

Change of perspective

Focus in a different direction. See what happens when you change your point of view: At the “Paradigm Shift” station, you can change your perspective several times. Here you are invited to think about your own (plastic) consumption. Take your time and reflect on your everyday habits.
On the way to a “green” future

On the way to a “green” future

No car is possible without plastics! Plastics used in cars not only enhance safety, but also increase comfort, lower prices, reduce weight and save fuel. Of the approximately 7000 parts in a car a quarter is made from 150 different plastics – from windscreen wipers and bumpers to upholstery and paintwork. Hybrid materials in particular, made from a mixture of plastic and metal, are extremely stable and save up to 40% in weight. If these plastic units can be separated  during recycling, the individual components of cars can also be recycled.
New products from old coffee grounds

New products from old coffee grounds

The way in which new products are created from coffee grounds, or how flax is turned into mobile phone covers is explained  by many best-practice examples seen on our “shelves”. The shelves are loaded with different applications rangingfrom fashion, architecture and agriculture. They show that renewable raw materials can replace conventional plastics and that oil-based products can also be biodegradable. There is a lot to see and to reflect on.
Circular flow – in the full sense

Circular flow – in the full sense

Technical and biological cycles are demonstrated: how do closed economic cycles work? How can PET bottles be recycled so that an old bottle finally turns into a new one? And how will my old organic cotton Tshirt become humus? Here you can walk around these two cycles and find out more.
Why are there so many different plastics in everyday life?

Why are there so many different plastics in everyday life?

There are many plastics in our everyday lives. Used properly, they can make our lives easier. But where are all the hidden plastics that surround us every day? It is always amazing to discover where plastics are used and what their function actually is. You can place the cubes in the right position given the help of a few useful tips.
PET Recycling

PET Recycling

Video June 08, 2022
Two experts explain to us how the technical cycle in PET recycling works: Philipp Langhammer from the company KHS and Prof. Kurt Kremer from MPI-P.
The wooden coil is set up

The wooden coil is set up

Video June 08, 2022
After several months of building the amorphous structure, it could be transported to Mainz and set up last November.
The construction phase of wowood

The construction phase of wowood

Video June 08, 2022
The assembly of the struts prefabricated in the wood workshop was not an easy endeavor: many helpers were needed to join the numerous struts together and bring them into plumb.
wowood - out of the workshop onto the path
With a lot of preliminary planning work, it was possible to get down to fine-tuning, sawing and drilling in the carpenter's workshop, so that the construction could then be erected over several weeks.
An exhibit is built

An exhibit is built

Video October 28, 2021
An amorphous structure is created. Wooden slats are glued together layer by layer ending up with a 4 m high walk-through structure that amazes everyone.

Image film

Image film

Video September 10, 2021
Franzi goes on a voyage of discovery: Prof. Dr. Katharina Landfester is connected to a mobile from the laboratory and explains the different stations to Franzi. The new video introduces us to a wide range of colorful topics. A few impressions of the opening ceremony on 3 September 2021 show the appearance of polymers and how they can become entangled.

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