It is always nice with friends, both good old ones and new exciting people that we are yet to meet. In the FireCellCoat project, some of the partners have a history of common projects, while others were introduced to each other during the planning of the project. In this blog text, I briefly reflect on a previous collaboration between VTT and Fraunhofer WKI, giving us the opportunity to find common ground, resulting in the application for the FireCellCoat project.
Starting from 2017, both VTT and Fraunhofer WKI took part in a project called VALBIO-3D (Valorization of residual biomass for advanced 3D materials), which lasted for three years. The general goal was to develop sustainable and 100% biobased composites based on agroindustrial residues, and promoting cooperation between South America and Europe, including a long list of partners from both continents. During this project, VTT started working on polymerization of nanocelluose-stabilized emulsions, while the researchers at Fraunhofer WKI just had begun to explore the world of nanocellulosic materials. Rather soon, it became apparent that we could benefit from learning from each other; as VTT have a strong background in development and applications of nanocellulosic materials and Fraunhofer WKI have rigid expertise on synthesis and use of polymeric binders. This resulted in two short researcher exchanges where I got the opportunity to work as a guest researcher at Fraunhofer WKI (Braunschweig, Germany) with Claudia Schirp as my host. By working together, hands-on in the lab, the knowledge transfer was fast and we had a lot of fun, a real win-win situation.
The researcher exchange was a success, and part of the work is now published in our recent paper entitled Creaming Layers of Nanocellulose Stabilized Water-Based Polystyrene: High-Solids Emulsions for 3D Printing. For those curious on what we were doing, the full article which will be included in my PhD thesis, is available at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fceng.2021.738643/full.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. Espoo, Finland.