Polyelectrolytes for environmental protection

Dr. Simona Schwarz

Group leader Polyelectrolytes for Environmental Protection
at the Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden e.V.

Hohe Strasse 6
01069 Dresden
Phone: +49 (0)351 4658-333
Fax: +49 (0)351 4658-231

Group members

  • Dr. Dana Schwarz, Postdoc
  • Sandra Haufe, M.Sc.
  • Mandy Mende, Dipl.-Chem.
  • Gudrun Petzold, Dipl.-Chem.
  • Marina Oelmann (Research Engineer)
  • Janek Weißpflog, Dipl.-Ing. (PhD student)
  • Christine Steinbach (Lab Technician)
  • Evgenia Romanova (Lab Technician)
  • Steven Kluge (Student)
  • Miri Kalaniniki (Trainee)

Research Topics

One main focus of research in the working group is on the application of charged polymers (polyelectrolytes) for water treatment to maintaining or restoring of a good water quality that do not pollute the environment. More and more frequently is set in this field, the use of biopolymers, although synthetic polyelectrolytes such as polyacrylamides and their derivatives are still applied. A current urgent environmental project is the removal or reduction of the iron content of rivers that is caused by the decommissioning of old mining pits and which lead to a so-called “Verockerung” ofthe rivers. This is connected with a very high sulphate content of the rivers, which must also beurgently reduced. Currently, biopolymers such as chitosan and its derivatives are used for this purpose.

Protection of the environment does not only mean cleaning water. On other fields, we are looking for ways to replace synthetically produced polymers with biopolymers too. Thus in the field of papermaking and the use of adhesives based on natural polymers. It is important that the exchange of previously used polymers by biopolymers preserves the quality of the final products. In order to be able to characterize the behavior of polyelectrolytes in solution and their interactionwith different surfaces, a variety of different analytical methods is available as determination of particle size and size distribution by laser light diffraction and dynamic light scattering, determination of charge on polymers and/or particles in solution and on surfaces by measuring the streamingpotential and zeta potential, respectively. In addition, rheological data are determined too to evaluate the behavior of polymers in solution or of dispersions.


  • KIT Karlsruhe: H2OMIN - Verringerung des Frischwasser- und Polymerbedarfs durch Optimierung der Lösetechnologie für Polyelektrolyte, insbesondere PAA-Granulate, am Beispiel der Papierherstellung (2015-2017)
  • BMBF (Mach was): Ferrosan - Entwicklung hochvernetzter Biopolymere auf Basis von Glucan-Chitin-Komplexen zur Schwermetallabscheidung insbesondere der Eisenadsorption (2015-2017)
  • FNR: Glykopack - Entwicklung biobasierter Hotmelt-Klebstoffe und deren Anwendung in Papier- und Kartonverpackungen (2015-2017)

5 most important publications

  • Mende, M.; Schwarz, D.; Steinbach, C.; Schwarz, S., Simultaneous adsorption of heavy metal ions and anions from aqueous solutions on chitosan - Investigated by spectrophotometry and SEM-EDX analysis, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 2016, 210, 275-282.
  • Schwarz, S.; Petzold, G. Polyelectrolyte interactions with inorganic particles, Taylor and Francis Third Edition (2016) 21p.
  • Mihai, M.; Schwarz, S.; Doroftei, F.; Simionescu, B. C., Calcium carbonate/polymers microparticles tuned by complementary polyelectrolytes as complex macromolecular templates, Crystal Growth & Design 2014, 14, 6073-6083.
  • Bratskaya, S.; Genest, S.; Petzold-Welcke, K.; Heinze, T.; Schwarz, S., Flocculation efficiency of novel amphiphilic starch derivatives: a comparative study, Macromolecular Materials and Engineering 2014, 299, 722-728.
  • Licea-Claverie, A.; Schwarz, S.; Steinbach, C.; Ponce-Vargas, S. M.; Genest, S., Combination of natural and thermosensitive polymers in flocculation of fine silica dispersions, International Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry 2013 (2013) ID 242684, 8 pages.