The Renewable Materials and Nanotechnology Group at the KU Leuven Campus Kortrijk (Kulak) was established in 2013 by Prof. Thielemans with an Odysseusgrant from FWO.

Our group investigates methodologies to create high-value (nano)materials from renewable materials in its broadest sense. Our interdisciplinary team aims to elucidate the structure-processing-property relationships of these materials by developing an understanding from the molecular level (chemistry), over processing (chemical engineering), to their macroscopic properties (materials science).


  • Chemical surface modification of nanoparticles derived from cellulose, starch and chitin, as well as of macroscopic fibres and grains,
  • Surface modification of organic substrates,
  • Chemical modification of naturally occuring polymers such as lignin, starch, cellulose, chitin and chitosan,
  • Thermodynamic interactions between nanoparticles, between nanoparticles and polymers and between nanoparticles and their environment as function of chemical functionality,
  • Self-assembled materials based on renewable nanoparticles such as supercapacitors, aerogels, sensors and optical materials,
  • Recycling and compatibilisation of bio-based and petroleum-derived polymers,
  • (Nano)composites.

Renewable Materials and Nanotechnology Group in detail

Link with other teams

Our research group has strong links with :

1. the Soft Matter, Rheology and Technology (SMaRT http://cit.kuleuven.be/smart ) group at the Chemical Engineering Department of KU Leuven

2. the Composite Materials Group (CMG http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/Onderzoek/Composites) at the KU Leuven Department of Materials Engineering (MTM http://www.mtm.kuleuven.be/English/ ) of KU Leuven

3. the Propolis group (PROPOLIS http://www.kuleuven.be/samenwerking/propolis) at KU Leuven Technologiecampus Oostende

4. the KU Leuven Materials Research Centre (MRC http://set.kuleuven.be/mrc ).

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