Dr. Denis Panaitescu is a senior researcher in the Polymer Department at ICECHIM, the National Institute for Research & Development in Chemistry and Petrochemistry in Bucharest, Romania. Together with her team, she has just published a paper on polymer composites made using cellulose nanofibers. Through this work, the team is working towards achieving fully biodegradable nanocomposites, which will be of great benefit in sustainable design and the development of clean manufacturing methods. Dr Panaitescu tells us a little more about her work and her team here.
Could you tell us a little about your research team and the subject of your work?
Our research team is formed by dynamic people who understand the true meaning of the word “research”: hard work and passion. I manage a polymer characterization laboratory, equipped with modern equipment for the preparation and mechanical and morphological characterization of polymer nanocomposites. Our research activity is spread over more than one topic, but polymer nanocomposites are at the center of all our work. My current research is focused on environmentally friendly polymer-based materials and is directed toward a goal of great importance, the protection of the environment. We try to find new ways of developing biodegradable and high performance materials using natural resources like cellulose, for instance.
What do you hope to achieve in the long term with your work?
The cellulose and cellulose-based composites are still a great challenge because of the versatility of this polymer and of numerous issues that still remained unsolved. We wish, through our work, to elucidate some of these issues and to obtain a valuable class of materials whose attractiveness is expected to rise in the future.
Why did you decide to publish an Open Access paper?
We consider that Open Access publishing offers us an important chance to make our work known all over the world. We also hope to be considered a possible partner in research projects focused on the development of new environmentally friendly materials which can be applied in medicine, packaging and other important fields. We believe that it is important for everyone to be informed about the latest scientific research. We also believe that our work has a higher significance if all the others may benefit from it.
About the book
The book “Advances in Composite Materials – Ecodesign and Analysis” explores the achieved advancements in the research field of polymer composites in the perspective of sustainable design and cleaner production.
About the paper
The chapter “Properties of polymer composites with cellulose microfibrils” is focused on the physical and mechanical properties of polyvinyl alcohol reinforced with cellulose fibers prepared by different methods. Three types of fibers with different characteristics in terms of composition, size and aspect were tested as reinforcements and the properties of final polymer composites were discussed in relation to the fibers’ characteristics.
Dr. Denis Mihaela Panaitescu is a senior researcher at Polymer Department of ICECHIM, Romania and she has been active in the field of polymer composite for 20 years, especially in the processing and characterization of polymers and polymer composites. Her recent work is focused on polymer nanocomposites with inorganic and organic fillers (including natural fibers and cellulose nanofibers), and new methods for increasing the interfacial adhesion and performance of polymer composites. She has written more than 100 publications (papers and conference proceeding contributions), mostly in the area of polymer composites.