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You are here: FRIAS Fellows Fellows 2016/17 Jun.-Prof. Dr. Pieter Samyn

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Pieter Samyn

Every year, approximately 50 Fellows are invited to work on their projects at FRIAS for 2 to 12 months in an intellectually stimulating environment. Fellows that have already been at FRIAS before can return to FRIAS for 2 to 6 weeks within the framework of the Alumni Programme, for example in order to finish a project. Furthermore, junior and senior researchers are regularly invited as guest researchers.


Our Research Focus profited enormously from the international team of Fellows and guest researchers at FRIAS.

Prof. Dr. Tobias Schätz, ERC Consolidator Grant 2015, Research Focus Quantum Transport 2014/15

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Bio-based Materials Engineering
Junior Fellow
October 2014 - March 2016


Pieter Samyn studied Materials Science and Engineering at Ghent University (Belgium) and completed his Ph.D. in 2007 on “Tribophysical Interpretation of Scaling Effects in Friction and Wear for Polymers”. After post-doc positions at Department of Textiles (Ghent) and Department of Microsystems Engineering (Freiburg), he moved to Albert-Lüdwigs University of Freiburg in 2010, where he is appointed as a Juniorprofessor in Bio-based Materials Engineering in the Faculty for Environment and Natural Resources. His research group is sponsored by the Robert-Bosch Foundation in the framework of “Sustainable Use of Natural Materials” (2011-2016). He received several awards including the Arcelor Mittal prize (2001), Robert-Bosch Juniorprofessorship award (2011), Baden-Württemberg Juniorprofessor program award (2012) and the Heinz-Maier Leibnitz prize for excellent young researcher (2012). He has been visiting researcher at ETH Zürich, Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology (2006) and visiting professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry (2013). He has been selected as a distinguished „Young Researcher“ for participation in the “Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting” on chemistry (2013). He became a Juniorfellow of the Freiburg Institute for Advances Studies in October 2014.


Selected Publications

  • P. Samyn, G. Schoukens, L. Vonck, D. Stanssens, H. Van den Abbeele, “How thermal curing of an organic paper coating changes topography, chemistry and wettability”, Langmuir, Vol. 27 No. 13 (2011), 8509-8521.
  • P. Samyn, G. Schoukens, D. Stanssens, L. Vonck, H. Van den Abbeele, “Hydrophobic waterborne coating for cellulose containing hybrid organic nanoparticle pigments with vegetable oils”, Cellulose, Vol. 20 No. 5 (2013), 2625-2646.
  • P. Samyn, “Review paper: Wetting and hydrophobic modification of cellulose surfaces for paper applications”, Journal of Materials Science, Vol. 48 No. 19 (2013), 6455-6498.
  • P. Samyn, K. Shroff, O. Prucker, J. Rühe, M. Biesalski, “Fluorescent sensibility of microarrays through functionalized adhesive polydiacetylene vesicles”, Sensors and Actuators A: Physical, Vol. 214 (2014), 45-57.
  • V.K. Rastogi, D. Stanssens, P. Samyn, “Mechanism for tuning the hydrophobicity of microfibrillated cellulose films by controlled thermal release of encapsulated wax”, Materials (special issue: Advances in cellulosic Materials 2014), Vol. 7 No. 11 (2014), 7196-7216.


FRIAS Research Project

Sustainable use of forest resources as nano-scale building blocks for functional biocomposites and coatings

The integration of sustainable and biorenewable resources into functional polymer nanocomposites offers high potential for replacement of traditional polymers based on petroleum derivates, and will have an impact on general concerns about global warming, energy supply and recycling. In this research, polymeric wood constituents including lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose are converted into nanomaterials that are created by top-down or bottom-up engineering. The integration of renewable nanocomponents into biopolymer matrixes will allow to create fully bio-renewable polymer nanocomposites with structural or functional properties. The project involves the processing of nanoscale cellulose materials and selection of biopolymer matrixes, but the main focus of this research is put on fundamental fiber-matrix engineering by introducing novl nanoscale surface modifications that control adhesive and hydrophobic interactions. The fundamental rheological properties of nanocomposite blends are extensively studied in order to optimize the processing conditions for melt-extrusion and injection moulding. We specifically aim at designing fully bio-based coatings for packaging papers by applying an innovative biopolymer coating in combination with nanocellulose additives such as microfibrillated cellulose and cellulose nanowhiskers. We aim at controlling barrier-properties water-repellence, gas diffusion and printability of paper surfaces by controlled thermal release of encapsulated vegetable oils. In our approach, we follow a multidisciplinary approach by combining materials engineering, polymer chemistry, nanotechnology and mechanical sciences in order to provide practical and more fundamental insights in the design of bio-based nanocomposite materials and coatings.