Tallinn University of Technology

Laboratory of Biopolymer Technology

The main focus of the laboratory's research is the valorisation of bio-based environmental resources in everyday and high-tech applications. The aim is to find sustainable alternatives to fossil-based polymeric materials by applying bio-based alternatives and recyclables.

The laboratory seeks novel ways to sustainably valorise cellulose by applying new, recyclable solvent systems, bio-based chemical modification reagents, and energy-saving technologies. New, bio-based or well-recycled solvent systems are used. The use of plant oils for the esterification of cellulose is being studied, and the technology of reactive extrusion is being developed as a synthesis medium.

The laboratory is the only one in Estonia that has the capacity to pilot electrospinning. By the electrospinning method, triboelectric materials and filter materials based on cellulose derivatives are developed.

The laboratory has a unique pilot production capability in Estonia in essential areas of polymer technology, such as hot mixing, extrusion, and injection moulding. Thermoplastic or thermosetting polymer composites with inorganic or bio-based additives are being developed to efficiently use secondary raw materials in the circular economy. It will be clarified whether and how different types of mineral waste, such as ash from electricity or oil production, can replace mined mineral resources such as limestone. Solutions are also being sought for larger-scale recycling of textile waste and lignocellulosic fibers.


  • conducting studies at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral level.

  • conducting basic and applied research in the field of technology and chemistry of polymeric materials and biopolymers.

  • providing product and technology development, piloting and testing services to companies.

Virtual tour in the laboratory

Staff of the laboratory

Biopolymer group members 2024
Bioplymer group members 2024​​​​

Academic education

The laboratory is actively involved in teaching at all three levels of higher education. The most significant contribution to the study is the explaining nature, production, processing technologies and properties of polymeric materials and biopolymers.

The curriculum provides a broad overview and knowledge of most essential materials that surround us in our daily lives. The origin or manufacture, processing, properties and environmental impacts of these materials are explained. After acquiring basic knowledge, it is possible to choose which direction of material technology to focus on more. Production and properties of polymeric materials (including biopolymers) are introduced in this curriculum by the course Polymeric Materials and processing is introduced by the subject Technology of Plastics.

Check out the curriculum (in Estonian)

The international curriculum makes it possible to acquire in-depth knowledge of various materials' obtaining, properties, and processing. The curriculum has a solid industrial background, and an important part of the study is the acquisition of practical skills in technology laboratories or business. The program focuses more on overcoming the environmental problems of the production and use of materials and finding alternatives to fossil-based materials. The production, processing, and use of polymeric materials (including biopolymers) can be studied in depth by choosing the main specialty of plastics and textile technology. The most important subjects of the specialty are Polymeric Materials: Synthesis and Properties, Biopolymers: Basics, Production and Applications, Biopolymers Technology and Cellulose derivatives.

Check out the curriculum

After completing the master’s program, it is possible to apply for doctoral studies. Doctoral studies are a special form of study with the main emphasis on the individual development of the doctoral student as a future researcher or top company specialist. Therefore, the volume of auditory study is smaller, and the share of individual research is higher. The early-stage researcher works as a full-fledged member of the research team and contributes to the achievement of the laboratory's research and development goals. Doctoral dissertations can be carried out in cooperation with companies contributing to innovation. A particular form of doctoral study, industrial doctoral student, has been created for this purpose.

Read more about doctoral studies (main specialty Chemical, Materials and Energy Technology)

Research and development

The most important directions of the laboratory's R&D work are:

  • thermoplastic cellulose derivatives to replace fossil-based plastics.
  • reactive extrusion technology.
  • advanced micro- and nano-fibrous materials for the collection and filtration of fine particles.
  • sustainable plastic recycling, composites of waste plastics and secondary mineral or organic raw materials.
  • fully bio-based composites of lignocellulosic raw materials.

Key R&D projects

  • Thematic R&D programme (TemTA) in cooperation with Fibenol OÜ, Viru Keemia Grupp and Scanola Baltic OÜ: " New biomaterials made by reactive extrusion from cellulose and by-products of vegetable oil production“.
  • European Space Agency (ESA) funded project in cooperation with Skeleton Technologies OÜ: " Fully electrospun durable electrode and electrochemical double-layer capacitor for high frequency applications“.
  • A project funded by the Swedish wood chemistry company Södra in cooperation with the Swedish research institution RISE "Cellulose based energy harvesting“.
  • Partnership with the Institute of Technology of the University of Tartu: " Promoting the novel bio-based materials for the sustainable polymer industry“.
  • State funding to support R&D on resource valorisation (RESTA)" Chemical valorisation of cellulose in environment of ionic liquids“.
  • Partnership with the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics: " Novel nanoparticle-based filter materials and face masks for SARS-CoV-2 inactivation".

    Recent scientific publications




    Doctoral dissertations defended in the laboratory 

    • Siret Malmberg, 2021, (supervisors) Andres Krumme; Mati Arulepp, Development of electrospun nanostructured electrochemical double-layer capacitor electrodes
    • Kashif Javed, 2019, (supervisor) Andres Krumme, Electrospinning of nanofibrous composites with cellulose acetate, ionic liquids and graphene oxide
    • Tiia Plamus, 2018, (supervisors) Andres Krumme; Natalja Savest; Urve Kallavus, The Influence of Conductive Additives on the Mechanical Properties of Electrospun Mats
    • Viktoria Vassiljeva, 2017, (supervisor) Andres Krumme, Electrospinning of a Polymer Membrane Reinforced with Carbon Nanotubes
    • Dmitri Šumigin, 2014, (supervisors) Andres Krumme; Elvira Tarasova, Composites of Low-Density Polyethylene and Poly(Lactic Acid) with Cellulose and its Derivatives
    • Triinu Poltimäe, 2011, (supervisors) Andres Krumme; Elvira Tarasova, Thermal Analysis of Crystallization Behaviour of Polyethylene Copolymers and Their Blends
    • Triin Märtson, 2010, (supervisors) Andres Krumme; Anti Viikna, Methodology and Equipment for Optical Studies of Fast Crystallizing Polymers

    Test services

    The laboratory conducts physical and chemical testing of polymeric materials, as well as technological tests. For details on the ordering and cost of tests, it is necessary to contact the head of the laboratory andres.krumme@taltech.ee. The laboratory conducts the tests within the best possible limits but is not accredited for these methods and the results are therefore of an indicative nature.

    Test/normative document/method


    Description of the test

    ISO 527 Plastics - Determination of tensile properties.

    MPa, %

    Determination of the tensile strength of plastics (films or test specimen made by injection moulding)

    ISO 178 Plastics – Determination of flexural properties


    Determination of the flexural modulus of plastics (injection moulding test specimen)

    ISO 11469 Plastics - Generic identification and marking of plastics products


    Detection of polymeric materials by the FTIR method

    ISO 1133 Plastics - Determination of the melt mass-flow rate (MFR) and melt volume-flow rate (MVR) of thermoplastics

    g/10 min

    Determination of the melt flow index

    ISO 11357-1

    Plastics - Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Parts 1-3

    °C, %

    Determination of glass transition temperature, crystallization temperature, melting point and degree of crystallisation

    ISO 11357-6:2013 Plastics – Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) – Part 6: Determination of oxidation induction time (isothermal OIT) and oxidation induction temperature (dynamic OIT)


    Thermal stability, oxidation resistance

    ISO 6721-10

    Plastics -- Determination of dynamic mechanical properties -- Part 10: Complex shear viscosity using a parallel-plate oscillatory rheometer

    Pa·s vs. °C

    Pa·s vs. Hz

    The dependence of complex viscosity on temperature and frequency

    Film preparation - laboratory method


    Preparation of film by the method of extrusion blowing

    Preparation of polymer mixtures - laboratory method


    Mixing / compounding of thermoplastic polymers with various fillers

    EN ISO 1872-2 Plastics - Polyethylene (PE) moulding and extrusion materials - Part 2: Preparation of test specimens and determination of properties


    Preparation of test specimen for tensile tests, flexural tests, impact tests, density or rheological properties by injection moulding method

    Preparation of non-woven materials - laboratory method


    Preparation of nano/microfiber nonwoven materials by electrospinning method

    Separation - laboratory method


    Separation of solutions and mixtures by thin-film distillation and rectification method

    Crushing - laboratory method


    Crushing polymeric materials in a knife cutter, 0.1–1 mm particles.

    History of the laboratory

    Research in the field of polymeric materials has a long and dignified history at Tallinn University of Technology. For the most part, R&D has been based on the valorisation of domestic raw materials. In the early years, the primary raw material, fossil-derived oil shale, was the object of research in Estonia. Today, cellulose and other components of the lignocellulosic biomass are the most important bio-based raw materials. Throughout history, learning about polymer materials has also taken place in various forms of education and at various levels of higher education.




    At the Department of Organic Chemistry of the Tallinn Polytechnic Institute, a problem laboratory for polymer synthesis is created. Under the leadership of Hugo Raudsepp, the synthesis of epoxy and polyester resins based on the raw materials obtained by oil shale chemistry is studied.


    The Department of Organic Matter Technology teaches oil shale technology, pulp and paper technology and plastics technology.


    The problem laboratory for polymer synthesis is merged with the Oil Shale Chemistry and Technology Laboratory, which resulted in a Problem Laboratory for Oil Shale Chemistry and Synthesis being created under the supervision of Agu Aarna, head of the laboratory Karl Kiisler. Polycondensation resins based on oil shale chemistry and new structural adhesives are being studied. Novel resins find international recognition and are also patented internationally.


    The Department of Wood Processing and Light Industry of Tallinn University of Technology, the Problem Laboratory of Oil Shale Chemistry and Synthesis and one part of the Department of Organic and Biochemistry forms the Department of Wood, Polymers and Textiles. The first director of the department is Eduard Piiroja. The department has three chairs: the Chair of Woodworking, the Chair of Polymer Technology and the Chair of Textile Technology. At the department, according to study programs in the technology of materials, wood, pulp and paper, polymers and textiles are taught.


    The Department of Wood, Polymers and Textiles becomes the Department of Polymeric Materials. Directors 1994-1996 Eduard Piiroja, 1996-2012 Anti Viikna, 2012-2016 Andres Krumme


    The new bylaws of the Department of Polymer Materials formulate the institute's goal of teaching and researching the chemistry and technology of natural and synthetic polymeric materials.


    Admission to the 5-year diploma program ends and studies begin according to the 3-year bachelor's and 2-year master's program. The undergraduate program "Materials Technology" is common to all student chairs of the institute but still includes specialized subjects. At the master's level "Materials Technology", the curriculum includes a specialty in plastic technology.


    Based on the master's program "Materials Technology", an international curriculum "Wood and Plastic Technology" is created. In 2015, the choice of the main specialty of textile technology will also be added to the curriculum.


    Due to structural reform, the Department of Polymer Materials is merged into a new, larger department called the Department of Materials and Environmental Technology. Under the leadership of Andres Krumme, a Laboratory of Polymers and Textile Technology is established at the department. The undergraduate curriculum of "Materials Technology" is updated to its current form.


    Two new laboratories are formed from the Laboratory of Polymers and Textile Technology: a Laboratory of Textile Technology under the direction of Tiia Plamus and a Laboratory of Biopolymer Technology under the direction of Andres Krumme.



    Tallinn University of Technology

    Ehitajate tee 5, Tallinn

    Academic building U04 0th, 1st, and 2nd floors

    Campus map

    Contact person

    Head of the laboratory Prof. Andres Krumme

    Mobile: +372 5275143

    Phone: +372 6202907

    E-post: andres.krumme@taltech.ee