Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering

The Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering group is led by Prof. Michael Hummel. The group explores the structural features and thermochemical behavior of biopolymer solutions and suspensions to produce value-added products. Fundamental studies are directed towards the modification of biopolymers following the principles of green chemistry and enhancing the understanding of the visco-elastic properties of biopolymer solutions and suspension.

The application focus of the group is on sustainable textiles and biobased carbon materials.
Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering, photo: Valeria Azovskaya
photo by: Valeria Azovskaya

Research areas:

Dyed textile samples

Sustainable textiles

Our research team continues the development of the Ioncell® process. The focus is on textile recycling and sustainable dyeing processes.

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
A picture of a carbon line machinery

Biobased carbon materials

We investigate the use of wood-derived polymers and other biopolymers as bio-based alternative precursor material for various applications.

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Photo of notes on a whiteboard

Carbohydrate chemistry

Our research is aiming at introducing additional functionality to biopolymers with a special focus on textile applications and to develop suitable analytical tools

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
Transparent film in front of a wood log

Cellulose films

Our research focuses on the use of the Ioncell® technology to produce high-strength films through continuous extrusion.

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
A graph describing shear viscosity as a function of shear rate

Rheological behavior of biopolymer solutions and suspensions

Traditional and novel solvent systems are explored to dissolve various biopolymers and non-polymeric constituents. The solutions or suspensions are characterized by a comprehensive set of rheological tools (shear, capillary and extensional rheometers).

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems
A picture including a graph and chemical structures + chemical supplies

Analytical tools

Analytical chemistry is needed throughout the modification and/or manufacturing process of biomaterials. Knowledge on the chemical composition and molar mass of biopolymers is essential and thus we aim to develop new strategies for detailed biopolymer characterization.

Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

A thoughtful use of biopolymers can help us to create a more sustainable society.

Michael Hummel

Related content:

Four years and lots of tears – three experts tell how they succeeded in making the change

Many entrepreneurs and researchers set their goals based on a realisation that something needs to be done differently. The change they envision might be a new product or material, or it can be a new way to do things. Implementing change isn’t always easy, however, and it demands a stomach for uncertainty, say Professor Michael Hummel and entrepreneurs Annu Nieminen and Richard Nordström.

Piirroskuvitus Aalto University Magazinen kansista. Kuvassa on kaksi ihmishahmoa kävelemässä, taustalla erilaisia ympäristöjä mm. kaupunki, metsä, vuoristo. Kuvittaja: Satu Kettunen.

Aalto University Bioinnovation Centre launching

Aalto University’s Bioinnovation Centre will be established with the grant amounting over 10 million euros received from Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation. Bioinnovation Centre will start its operation in 2021 by the recruitment of a professor enabled by the grant and opening the first call for the doctoral school supported by the grant.

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Get to know us: Associate Professor Michael Hummel

Michael Hummel had plans to stay in Finland for only a year or so. In the end, he enjoyed his work at Aalto so much that he decided to stay.

Michael smiling in Dipoli building

Professor Michael Hummel awarded a Proof of Concept grant from the European Research Council

The ERC grant facilitates the commercialisation of developments that evolved from ERC-funded research projects.

Professor Michael Hummel

Michael Hummel: Sustainable and renewable materials will replace oil-based products

Researchers need to be team players, says Professor of Biopolymer Chemistry and Engineering.

Michael Hummel, kuva: Jaakko Kahilaniemi

Michael Hummel appointed as Associate Professor

Michael Hummel will start in the beginning of May, 2019.

Michael Hummel ja Kristiina Kruus allekirjoittamassa sopimusta

Michael Hummel knows breakthrough research is hardly ever a one-man show

Postdoc researcher thinks that cutting-edge research requires a multi-disciplinary group of highly qualified and highly motivated partners.

Michael smiling in Dipoli building

Seven-figure grant for researcher producing carbon fibre from wood

Michael Hummel, the recipient of the much sought-after ERC Starting Grant, knows that there is a great need for more affordable carbon fibre.

The ERC is funding ground-breaking, cutting edge research. What is needed for opening up new paths?

‘Cooperations that allow for a multi-disciplinary approach are very central. In addition to experts in wood chemistry and forest products technology, we have various specialists in engineering and other sciences’, says Michael Hummel.

Latest publications:

Monolithic nanocellulose films patterned with flower-shaped and other microstructures: A facile route to modulate topographical, wetting and optical properties

Gabriel Banvillet, Samantha Pritchard, Joice J. Kaschuk, Xuetong Shi, Monireh Imani, Yi Lu, Ayako Takagi, Milad Kamkar, Orlando J. Rojas 2023 Materials Today Nano

Regulatory Paradigm and Challenge for Blockchain Integration of Decentralized Systems: Example—Renewable Energy Grids

Ernesto Barceló, Katarina Dimić-Mišić, Monir Imani, Vesna Spasojević Brkić, Michael Hummel, Patrick Gane 2023 Sustainability (Switzerland)

Polymer-Based n-Type Yarn for Organic Thermoelectric Textiles

Sozan Darabi, Chi Yuan Yang, Zerui Li, Jun Da Huang, Michael Hummel, Herbert Sixta, Simone Fabiano, Christian Müller 2023 Advanced Electronic Materials

Micro Nanofibrillated Cellulose as Functional Additive Supporting Processability of Surface-Active Mineral Suspensions: Exemplified by Pixel Coating of an NOx-Sorbent Layer

Katarina Dimic-Misic, Monireh Imani, Nemanja Barac, Djordje Janackovic, Petar Uskokovic, Ernest Barcelo, Patrick Gane 2023 Materials

Seasonal dynamics in structural characteristics within bark stems of cultivated willow (Salix sp.) by NMR and time-gated Raman spectroscopy

Jinze Dou, Martin Kögler, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Leena Pitkänen, Tapani Vuorinen 2023 Green Chemistry

Willow Bark-Derived Materials with Antibacterial and Antibiofilm Properties for Potential Wound Dressing Applications

Jinze Dou, Polina Ilina, Cristina D. Cruz, Denise Nurmi, Paula Zegarra Vidarte, Marja Rissanen, Päivi Tammela, Tapani Vuorinen 2023 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Optimization of Dry-Jet Wet Spinning of Regenerated Cellulose Fibers Using [mTBDH][OAc] as a Solvent

Wenwen Fang, E Yee Lim, Kaarlo Nieminen, Herbert Sixta 2023 ACS Omega

Upcycling of Keratin Wastes in Sustainable Textile Fiber Applications

Wenwen Fang, Ruxia Fan, A. Sesilja Aranko, Michael Hummel, Herbert Sixta 2023 ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering

Indirect determination of partial depolymerization reactions in dialdehyde celluloses (DAC) by gel permeation chromatography of their oxime derivatives

Lukas Fliri, Jonas Simon, Irina Sulaeva, Thomas Rosenau, Antje Potthast, Michael Hummel 2023 Cellulose

Reinvestigating the concurring reactions in early-stage cellulose pyrolysis by solution state NMR spectroscopy

Lukas Fliri, Chamseddine Guizani, Isaac Yair Miranda-Valdez, Leena Pitkänen, Michael Hummel 2023 Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
More information on our research in the Aalto research portal.
Research portal
Photo of group members
The Biopolymer Chemistry & Engineering group in the fall 2022
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