Department of Chemistry and Materials Science

MMD student projects 2021-2022

Student projects in the Multifunctional Materials Design research group in 2021-2022.

Xiang Hu

Synthesis of copper nanowires in different reaction conditions. Photo by Aalto University, Xiang Hu.
Synthesis of copper nanowires in different reaction conditions. Photo: Aalto University / Xiang Hu.

Role in MMD group: MSc studies-related PRA 
Research area: synthesis and purification of copper nanowires
Degree Programme / Major: Master's Programme in Advanced Materials for Innovation and Sustainability

Peter worked on the copper nanowire synthesis conditions and operation of suitable purification methods. His previous work focused on the design and synthesis of biomaterials for Polyrotaxane-based Multicomponent Synthesis of Glycopolymers. 

“This project enhanced my abilities in material synthesis and design, as well as material characterization. I plan to deepen my knowledge in sustainable biomaterials design and modification.” (Xiang Hu)

Pinja Kangas

Role in MMD group: MSc thesis worker
Research area: biomaterials (biocomposites)
Degree Programme / Major: 

Pinja was doing research work for her Master's thesis: "We are trying to find a biodegradable and bio-based binder for a hemp fibre-based insulation material for the construction industry. The main goal is to find a binder that works and fulfills the requirements in terms of biodegradability, and can be used to make a material that has a low enough thermal conductivity value so that it can be utilized as an insulating material. Moreover, since the final material is to be used in construction, we are also interested in its flammability or reaction to fire. My thesis is being done in collaboration with a start-up company." (Pinja Kangas)

Laura Koskelo

Role in MMD group: BSc thesis worker
Research area: card (tablet) weaving
Degree Programme / Major: Bachelor's Programme in Chemical Engineering / Bioproducts
Thesis title: Materiaalin vaikutus lautanauhan kierteisyyteen / Fabricating helical structures through card weaving
Keywords: tablet weaving, tablet woven bands, helicity, helix, spiral
Link to the thesis:
Thesis supervisor: Eero Kontturi
Thesis advisors: Jaana Vapaavuori, Maija Vaara 
The Bachelor's thesis presentation was held on the 27th of April, 2022.

Fabricating helical structures through card weaving. Photo by Aalto University, Maija Vaara, Mithila Mohan
Fabricating helical structures through card weaving. Photo: Aalto University / Maija Vaara, Mithila Mohan

"In my Bachelor's thesis, I was researching how different materials affected the helicality of tablet woven bands. I was trying to achieve a helical structure for card woven bands by using different yarns and a simple way of weaving (switching the cards every time in the same direction). I noticed that it is important to tighten the weft lengthwise but leave it a bit softer laterally so that the warp has a place to coil. Bands coiled best when the weft was made of a softer yarn and the warp of a thin yarn​.

Working in the MMD group was very nice, and I feel that I got some valuable work experience. Being part of this group taught me how research is conducted, and I also learned more about documentation of the work. It was useful to see that doing research sometimes requires lots of patience when you need to make many almost similar samples and they do not perform as expected. I learned a lot about how tablet weaving works." (Laura Koskelo)

Maxime Muller

Role in MMD group: MSc thesis worker
Research area: photocatalysis of TiO2 coated cellulosic materials with ALD
Degree Programme / Major: Master's Programme in Advanced Materials for Innovation and Sustainability / Functional Materials for Global Challenges
Thesis title: ALD synthesis and characterization of crystalline thin films of TiO2 over cellulose-based materials
Keywords: ALD, cellulose, photocatalysis, spectroscopy, XRD, dioxide titanium
Link to the thesis:
Thesis supervisor: Ville Miikkulainen
Thesis advisor: Fangxin Zou
The Master’s Thesis presentation was held on the 21st of June, 2022.

"My research project is about developing new ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) processes to be able to realize deposition of titanium dioxide at low temperature over cellulosic substrate (this material does not stand well with high temperature). The goal of this deposition would be to obtain photocatalytic properties on cellulose. An application of this project could be self-cleaning clothes. So far, the main findings were deposition at 185°C, obtaining crystalline TiO2 films (anatase phase), using tert-butanol as precursor. This process with water has been investigated as well.

I've found this project really interesting and I've learned much about lab work in general. I am quite happy about this specific topic, as I already had some experience in ALD last year. I liked it a lot and wanted to investigate this process more. Having now more experience in this topic might be beneficial for me later to find a job related to the ALD process." (Maxime Muller)

Image by Aalto University, Maxime Muller
Image: Aalto University / Maxime Muller

Riia Vidgren

Role in MMD group: MSc thesis worker
Research area: sustainable material development
Degree Programme / Major: Master’s Programme in Chemical, Biochemical and Materials Engineering / Functional Materials
Thesis title: Sustainability Assessments for Novel Materials in Development: Crystalline Nanocellulose from Biowaste
Keywords: nanocellulose, sustainability, PESTEL, material development
Link to the thesis:
Thesis supervisor: Jaana Vapaavuori 
Thesis advisor: Mikko Jalas
The Master’s Thesis presentation was held on the 22nd of June, 2022.

"In my previous studies within material science, there wasn't really a lot of discussion on sustainability overall, though it might have changed now, hopefully. When doing my Master's, I got accepted into the Creative Sustainability programme, and that was truly a big change for me! ...I would say that the urge to write about this topic is based on my personal journey in regard to the way I think about materials and sustainability within this context. 

...I think I had a very strong "we need to change this" motivation. It became quite worrisome to me that there was this big gap in discussions within material science and material development: why we are not talking about sustainability enough, and when we are doing it, then it is mostly discussed in a way that ‘biomaterials are sustainable’, no questions asked. Therefore, it seemed a bit one-sided to me that a biological prefix in a word might automatically imply a 'sustainable' meaning." (Riia Vidgren)

Read an interview with Riia Vidgren about her Master's thesis

Related content:

Multifunctional Materials Design

Group led by Professor Jaana Vapaavuori

MMD webpage main image. GIF image by Aalto University, Giulnara Launonen

MMD team

Multifunctional Materials Design: research group members

MMD research group 20220615_2.jpg
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