Polymer material development
Polymer Pilot offers versatile services in the field of plastic materials and composites development and processing in both laboratory and pilot scale. Our expertise covers the whole chain of material development from design and processing up to productisation. We have an especially wide know-how concerning functional polymeric materials and composites, and biobased and biodegradable material solutions to various applications.
Functional polymer materials
Our core competence is to tailor materials properties, such as flame retardancy, heat conductivity, electrical properties and functionalities, biodegradability, recyclability, barrier properties, UV-protection, antimicrobial properties, wear resistance and low friction.
The family of composites, meaning materials formed by combining materials together, is extensive. Our core competence includes, for example, biocomposites containing natural fibres and biobased plastics, nanocomposites for electric applications and the utilisation of industrial side streams as composite materials.
Processing of thermoplastics
Our expertise in tailoring material properties is based on long-term experience with different materials and processing methods. The facilities in Polymer Pilot enable the processing of plastics in various scales (5 g - 1000 kg). Our methods include, e.g., film extrusion, compounding, injection molding, thermoforming and foaming. Our processing facilities will be supplemented in the near future by equipment specifically designed for plastics recycling. Read more about our facilities on the Facilities tab.
Circular economy and biomaterial solutions
Recycling of polymeric materials is one of the big challenges in the development of a more circular economy. The development of biobased materials is also a crucial part of the new plastics economy. Our expertise covers material design, recycling technologies and assessment covering the whole value chain, which enables the development of genuinely sustainable solutions.
Biobased material solutions
The development of novel biobased and/or biodegradable plastics opens up new opportunities in the sustainable plastic economy. We have over 20 years of experience with the development of natural fibre composites for various applications covering the chemical and mechanical treatment of natural fibres, such as wood, cellulose, linen, hemp, and peat, their blending with biobased or fossil-based plastics, and tailoring of material properties with additives. For example, with the development of light, foamed stuctures we can offer new environmentally friendly solutions for packaging and construction sectors.
Recycling of plastics
Polymer pilot is an expanding testbed for mechanical recycling of plastics. We offer a wide range of services related to the pretreatment of plastics waste and mechanical recycling of plastics. The development of plastics waste treatment and processing in order to enchance the quality of the recycled plastic is crucial for the development of a more circular plastic economy, and creates new areas of application for recycled plastics.
Textile waste handling procedures will change considerably by 2025, when the new requirements for separate collection of textile waste in the EU come into force. The progress from collection to recycling necessitates rapid advancements in the refining processes of textile waste. Polymer pilot’s plastic processing facilities can be used for developing the recycling of synthetic textiles and fibres. In addition, Modix, which is a VTT’s in-house developed and patented device, enables the pretreatment of fibre mixtures, and textile products containing other than fabric-like materials, like quilted jackets, pillows and bed covers, facilitating the further refinement and use of these waste materials.
Other services supporting new plastics economy
Solutions based on bio and circular economy are new opportunities for plastics. VTT offers services that support companies and other parts of the value chain in their needs to adapt to the changing operational environment.
Concept development and studies
VTT has a good capability for conceptual development in line with bio and circular economy objectives, because we have a long experience in using bio-based raw materials, and we are developing both mechanical, thermochemical and biotechnological routes for plastic recycling. LCA, TEA, logistics optimisation and productisation services can be integrated into the service package.
We provide training on plastics and bio-based solutions and their sustainable use and recycling. The training is tailored to the needs of our customers. Our training enables our customers to prepare for, for example, renewing regulation, the introduction of new technologies and the acceleration of recycling. We would like to envisage the challenges and opportunities of a new plastic economy with our customers.