doctoral student | TU Graz
When I started studying chemistry in Graz some years ago and my main goal was, next to not dropping out, to become a researcher at the university at some point. I might have reached this stage by now, however, instead of investigating reaction mechanisms I am now investigating trees and paper.
The thing I find fascinating about this topic is the joint approach we have in our team. We try to connect classical chemical engineering, as paper making, with chemical analysis methods and the modification of biomaterials. Sometimes it is rather frustrating that at many points we have to admit that nature can do things better.
The main challenge is, next to the inhomogeneity of samples, to understand natural processes in order to generate similar structures and mimic remarkable properties. This is not an easy task but a fascinating field of study, between nature and application in order to be better, or competitive, than synthetic (petrol based) products for the same purposes. Thus we keep disassembling and reassembling pure- and hybrid systems in an attempt to tune properties of biomaterials.