Within the BSc honours program, teams of students work on various topics that are mostly theoretical in nature. The multi-disciplinary project of Layla Broers (nutrition and health), Sjoerd van Dongen (molecular life sciences), Veerle de Goederen (biology), Joep Spaen (food technology) and Marijn Ton (economics and governance) revolves around improving properties of biodegradable plastics using nanotechnology; standard plastics are still favoured over bioplastic due to their favourable properties.
Although the team worked very diligently on the project, a question that remained was how to make such plastics in practice. In order to also be able to experience that, their coach Karin Schroën, got permission to enter the team in a national chemistry competition for MSc students organised by NWO, and the team successfully did a bid for one of the projects that could be financed within the program.
During most of the Summer break of 2016, the team worked together with the team of Carmen Boeriu at the food and bio based research institute, and used just about any machine that was available to not only make biodegradable nanoparticles, but also apply them in plastics. Amongst others the mechanical properties were considerably improved, and many interesting properties were discovered, as you can see in this clip.