Polymers. In us and around us.

Polymers. In us and around us.

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 capsule rolls

The capsule rolls

The ball symbolizes a capsule that can be loaded with active substances, i.e. medicines. The capsule is supposed to be steered past all possible “obstacles” in the patient's body, directly to the target, e.g. immune cells that fight cancer. There, the drug can be released, if possible without side effects for the patient. This is what is being intensively researched at the institute. The obstacles that have to be overcome in the body can be tried out with the ball game!
Quite similar

Quite similar

Ropes are stretched and form a pattern. The pattern in the front looks like the pattern behind. What does this tell us? In an abstract model, the patterns symbolize the chemical structures at the molecular level: natural polymers are just as chain-like in structure as synthetic polymers. And natural ones are plentiful: our hair and our DNA consist of so-called biopolymers. Or even the starch we use to cook our chocolate pudding is one of them.
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.
Disordered versus ordered

Disordered versus ordered

The wooden coil in the foreground and the wooden rods in the background: two polymer structures symbolizing the same basic polymer, the plastic polyethylene. Highly scaled up molecular structures, we might say. And these differently arranged structures also have different properties. In the case of a thin plastic bag, these are: transparent and flexible. Deep inside, it looks like this amorphous, disordered structure. And a hard-sided suitcase, on the other hand, looks like these wooden rods standing close together.
A heart beats for...

A heart beats for...

...polylactide. In that case also called polylactic acid or PLA, which is biodegradable. This is of great advantage in medicine because the polymer is decomposed by the body itself. What is the point? When it is spun into a kind of net in a certain process, cells can settle on this very fine nano-scaffold. More and more of them grow, and in the end, an artificial heart valve is created from the body's own cells, while the scaffold dissolves! This is a dream of the future, but there is already a lot of successful research about this and other applications going on.
Stylish plus compostable!

Stylish plus compostable!

Flax is not only a pretty plant, it can even be made into very beautiful mobile phone covers. And what's even better: they are recyclable and compostable. All these properties are shared by many more products that are shown on our display shelf. Either they are made from renewable raw materials or are biodegradable or both. This is also the case with products that are made of conventional raw materials: These can also be biodegraded. Really? Yes. See for yourself which materials can be used to create innovative products.
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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