Multifunctional Materials Design: Highlights of 2022

Last year our group had many projects running at full speed and we saw the maturation of diverse research topics, resulting in altogether 15 publications. Moreover, it was a year of publishing our new logo, getting back to more dynamic face-to-face interactions and producing together our first group introduction video.
Image and photo by Aalto University, Giulnara Launonen. MMD logo by Aalto University, Mithila Mohan

Key highlights

*15 papers published or accepted for publication in 2022​​ (MMD research output at

*One of the publications featured in the 2022 Popular Advances collection of the Nanoscale Advances journal

*Textile artwork presented at DIALOGUES exhibition in New York as part of the New York Textile Month. Currently, DIALOGUES exhibition "Creating New Textile Futures" is also showcased in Dipoli Gallery (Aalto University) till February 28th, 2023. 'Unfold' by Mithila Mohan 

*Colloquium 2022: a series of online lectures organized in the area of Wearables Technology 

*Article about our group's research work published in 'Tekstiili-opettaja' (Textile teacher) magazine

*Textile artwork presented at the New Wood (UusiPuu) exhibition in Brussels as part of the "Beyond the Bio-Bubble - Solutions for a circular forest bioeconomy" event organized by FinnCERES and UNITE Flagships. 'Weaving landscapes: from weeds to fabrics' by Mithila Mohan and Maija Vaara

*Exciting projects developed by our group members in the Nordic Biomaterials course of the CHEMARTS 2022: Lupine Project, Cellulose Sounds, 50 shades of red cabbage

*We have had a series of lectures in Project Management organized by Fevzihan Basarir which will continue in spring 2023

*Several summer interns and students (see 'Students' section on 'MMD team' page) implemented their research work within our group

*We introduced our new logo, created our first introduction video and launched our social media channels

*Journal Club meetings continued throughout the whole last year (Journal Club 2021)

New research project

A new research project on bio-based acoustic materials was launched last autumn in collaboration with Aalto Acoustics Lab and Lumir Oy. One of the intended outcomes for the project is to create alternatives to mineral wool construction materials that are commonly used for sound absorption and thermal insulation. The research project has received a two-year funding from FinnCERES.

More about the project


Based on successful periodic reporting, we received second payments for our research projects 'ModelCom' and 'Beyond e-Textiles' from the European Research Council and NordForsk respectively. Moreover, FinnCERES funding was prolonged for the next two years, whereas Maryam Mousavi successfully renewed her grant provided by the Fortum and Neste Foundation for conducting research on improving the longevity of solar cells through the integration of added functions.

Participation in events

*FinnCERES Scientific Seminar 2022: Back to Fundamentals - Fibre, Water & Interactions
Our group leader Prof. Jaana Vapaavuori gave a presentation about plant-based carbon-negative functional materials for emerging applications. Poster session included scientific posters by our group members Yazan Al Haj and Hamidreza Daghigh Shirazi, as well as our visiting student Margarethe Hauck.

*Beyond e-Textiles project: Iterative Workshop #3 in Denmark
The third biannual workshop of the Nordic network on smart light-conversion textiles beyond electric circuits (Nordic Programme for Interdisciplinary Research - NordForsk) was held on May 31 - June 2, 2022 at VIA University College (Herning, Denmark).

*Beyond e-Textiles project: Iterative Workshop #4 in Sweden
The fourth biannual workshop of the Nordic network on smart light-conversion textiles beyond electric circuits took place on November 2-4, 2022 at the University of Borås (Sweden).

Research visits

*In November 2022, our group members had a research visit to the University of Cambridge as part of their collaboration with Prof. Eugene Terentjev’s lab to work with novel liquid-crystalline elastomer textile filaments. The collaboration has already resulted in a proof-of-a-concept of actuating textiles.

*Hamidreza Daghigh Shirazi had a series of short research visits to the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) to explore fabrication of aligned nanocellulose films using a novel strategy. The visits were supported by the FinnCERES GoGlobal mobility program.

*Reima Herrala about last year's visit to the nickel and copper production plant of Glencore Nikkelverk in Kristiansand, Norway: "This visit was part of the EARMetal project, where we aim to create functional surfaces directly from industrial solutions. We were able to test our EARMetal method for five days on solutions from Nikkelverk’s process, and this gave us valuable insight about the behaviour of real hydrometallurgical solutions. In addition, it was a great opportunity to get more familiar with metal production."

*In October, Maija Vaara visited a craft science workshop in Mariestad (Sweden) as part of the Nordic Craft Sciences network. The event included two workshops "The phenomenology of plastering" and "Procedures in plant propagation" and an open interactive seminar with lectures and research presentations for all participants. 

*In April last year, we had an opportunity to participate in the lab tour at the Aalto Bioeconomy Infrastructure held by Dr. Bruno Mattos (BiCMat research group). Among the guests were Prof. Ranajay Ghosh from the University of Central Florida and Dr. Andreas Fall from the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. Prof. Ghosh also gave a talk at our group meeting about biomimetic materials (smart/multifunctional materials using architecture and complexity). Andreas Fall took part in a mini-conference to discuss recent research efforts related to cellulose, wood and other biomaterials.

A doctoral student from the University of Cambridge, Xueyan Lin, had a research visit in our group in spring 2022. He presented his research work on liquid crystals during one of our group meetings. 

In late August, Dr. Petri Murto, Research Associate at Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry (University of Cambridge) delivered a presentation to our group members about electro-optical π-radicals for luminescent applications and beyond (as part of CMAT Seminar series).

Visiting students

*Margarethe Hauck, a doctoral student from the University of Kiel (Germany), visited our group last spring to work on the FinnCERES-related projects. She gave a presentation at our group meeting in May about her research work on micro-structured interpenetrating composites. She also presented her scientific poster at the FinnCERES Scientific Seminar 2022.

*Arijeta Bafti is a PhD student working in the field of investigation, functionalization and implementation of different porous materials at the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology of the University of Zagreb (Croatia). She spent six weeks in Finland in August-September 2022 as a visiting student at Aalto University, both in the Multifunctional Materials Design research group and in Aalto Acoustics Lab. During her research visit, Arijeta was mainly studying acoustic parameters of cellulose aerogels. She gave a talk at our group meeting about characterization of cellulose aerogel materials as convincing candidates for applications as acoustic insulators. More about Arijeta's visit

New equipment/infrastructure

*PIR uc 605 infrared camera
The PIR uc 605 is an optical measuring device capable of measuring temperatures between -20°C to 400°C, with an image resolution of 640x480 pixels and a framerate of up to 25Hz. This infrared camera is suitable for thermal imaging in research; with a lens focal length of 19 mm, it can be used at close distances down to 15 cm.

*Solution spinner setup
The solution spinner consists of modular equipment composed of a syringe pump, UV lamps, and digitally controlled rotors. [currently under construction]

*Moreover, we have been using electrospinning setup to develop different types of nonwoven polymer materials for various applications, including textiles.

MMD social event afternoons

Last year, we launched a concept of social event afternoons as a way to enhance and diversify our group activities. The kick-off meeting was held in mid-March with a board games session and some 'coffee & snacks'. 

*Sustainability workshop: an interactive workshop organized by Aalto Co-Educator team (ACE) was a great opportunity to deepen our knowledge and develop our skills in the area of sustainability. 

*April's 'Easter+Vappu experience' involved baking of traditional Finnish 'pulla' (buns) guided by our group member Maija Vaara. We also served 'mämmi' (Finnish Easter food) and 'sima' (Finnish Vappu/MayDay drink).

*MMD Summer Event in June started with a series of presentations. Professor Henrikki Liimatainen from the University of Oulu talked about his research on new nanostructured biomaterials and chemicals derived from lignocelluloses. Tiffany Abitbol, at the time Senior Researcher at the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), presented about biofabrication of mycelium-nanocellulose composites for barrier film applications. Joice Kaschuk gave a talk on the advantages and drawbacks of nanocellulose materials for solar cells substrates.

During the informal part, we had a chance to taste homemade delicacies prepared by our group members - tiramisu from Matteo Iannacchero and saffron drink from Maryam Mousavi. Later in the afternoon, we learned how to play 'mölkky', traditional Finnish outdoor game. 

*For a fresh start of the new academic year, we organized an 'end-of-summer' event on the last day of August. We discussed results of the summer Collaboration Challenge and the latest MMD questionnaire, and had a board games session with 'coffee & snacks'.

*In mid-October, MMD Halloween/Autumn party included a visit to Aalto Acoustics Lab and a 'halloween' style afterwork meetup in local Olarin Panimo. In the same month, we also visited 'Designs for a Cooler Planet 2022: Life 1.5' exhibition in Väre (Aalto University).

*MMD social event afternoon in November: visit to Aalto Design Factory

*Last event of 2022, MMD pre-Xmas party, took place in Otaniemi's Rantasauna. We had a workshop on radical creativity facilitated by Aalto Radical Creativity team. The informal part included discussions about our achievements and challenges in 2022 and plans for 2023, watching our group's new introduction video 'Y.M.M.D.' and board games. 

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Multifunctional Materials Design

Group led by Professor Jaana Vapaavuori

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

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