Dr. Simona Schwarz

Group leader Functional Polymers 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



Mission statement

Our fields of work include firstly polyelectrolytes (both synthetic and biopolymers such as chitin, chitosan, starch and pectin) and polyelectrolyte complexes, i.e. mixtures of cationic and anionic polyelectrolytes. Secondly, we work with adsorbent materials such as mesoporous poly(melamine-co-formaldehyde) particles and particles of conjugated microporous polymers (CMPs) as well as hybrid materials of these with embedded silica, gold or silver particles.

What we do...

One focus of research in the working group is on the application of charged polymers (polyelectrolytes) for water treatment to maintain or restore good water quality. Increasingly, biopolymers are being used in this field, although synthetic polyelectrolytes such as polyacrylamides and their derivatives are still being applied. A current, very urgent environmental project is the removal or reduction of iron content in rivers. Due to the closure of old mines and groundwater elevation, Fe ions lead to a so-called "ochreisation" of rivers. This is associated with a very high sulphate content in the rivers, which also urgently needs to be reduced. Currently, biopolymers such as chitosan and its derivatives are used for this purpose.

Environmental protection does not only mean water purification. In other fields, too, we are looking for ways to replace synthetically produced polymers with biopolymers. For example, in the field of paper production and the use of adhesives based on natural polymers. It is important that the replacement of previously used polymers with biopolymers preserves the quality of the end products.

Applications in chemically demanding environments such as highly acidic wastewater or for the efficient separation of extremely high levels of pollutants sometimes require the use of synthetic adsorbent materials. Here, the focus is also on the most environmentally friendly production and resource-saving use possible.

Profiling projects

  • BMBF (Mach was): Ferrosan - Entwicklung hochvernetzter Biopolymere auf Basis von Glucan-Chitin-Komplexen zur Schwermetallabscheidung insbesondere der Eisenadsorption (2015-2017) (in collaboration with Biolog Heppe, Prof. Andreas Heppe)
  • BMBF: WATER-LEGO – Lego-style approach for problematic water streams treatment (2018-2021) (in collaboration with ICH, Vladivostok, Russia, Prof. Dr. Svetlana Bratskaya and PPIMC, Iasi, Romania, Dr. Marcela Mihai)
  • SAB: DeFloWasser -  Biopolymer-basierte Sensor-Aktor-Systeme zur Detektion und Flockung von Schadstoffen in verockerten Oberflächenwässern (2019-2022) (in collaboration with KSI, Prof. Michael Mertig)
  • AiF: Bio-Ad -  Bio-adsorber aus Brauereireststoffen zur Schwermetallionenabtrennung, (2019-2022), (in collaboration with TUM, Dr. Karl Glas)
  • AiF: BioGlyk -  Herstellung biobasierter Schmelzklebstoffe auf Basis von Polysacchariden und deren Anwendung in Papier- und Kartonverpackungen (2021-2023) (in collaboration with PTS Heidenau, Birgit Kiessler)
  • BMBF: Silizium-konjugierte mikroporöse Polymerhybride für die solarbetriebene Wasserstoffproduktion (2021-2022) (in collaboration with Dr. Dana Schwarz Infineon)

Selected publications

  • Borchert, K.B.L.; Steinbach, C.; Reis, B.; Gerlach, N.; Zimmermann, P.; Schwarz, S.; Schwarz, D. Mesoporous Poly(melamine-co-formaldehyde) Particles for Efficient and Selective Phosphate and Sulfate Removal. Molecules 2021, 26, 6615.
    DOI 10.3390/molecules26216615
  • Reis, B.; Gerlach, N.; Steinbach, C.; Carrasco, K.H.; Oelmann, M.; Schwarz, S.; Müller, M.; Schwarz, D. A Complementary and Revised View on the N-Acylation of Chitosan with Hexanoyl Chloride. Mar. Drugs 2021, 19, 385.
    DOI 10.3390/md19070385
  • Borchert, K.B.L.; Steinbach, C.; Schwarz, S.; Schwarz, D. A Comparative Study on the Flocculation of Silica and China Clay with Chitosan and Synthetic Polyelectrolytes. Mar. Drugs 2021, 19, 102.
    DOI 10.3390/ md19020102
  • Weißpflog, J. ; Vehlow, D. ; Müller, M. ; Kohn, B. ; Scheler, U. ; Boye, S. ; Schwarz, S., Characterization of chitosan with different degree of deacetylation and equal viscosity in dissolved and solid state - Insights by various complimentary methods, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 2021, 171, 242-261.
  • Bucatariu, F. ; Ghiorghita, C.-A. ; Zaharia, M. ; Schwarz, S. ; Simon, F. ; Mihai, M., Removal and separation of heavy metal Ions from multicomponent simulated waters using silica/polyethyleneimine composite microparticles, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2020, 12, 37585-3759.