Kordula Schnabl

PhD Candidate
Employed since: June 2019
Email: k.b.schnabl@uu.nl
Room: DDW 4th floor study area



The application of coatings comes nowadays along with a high consumption of solvents to enable an easy treatment of the coating substance. As organic solvents are polluting the environment and pose a health risk on people working with coatings, systems which are based on water would be a highly attractive alternative and are therefore of rising interest for the research. The by now known waterborne systems still have crucial limitations like weak thermal stability and water sensitivity, which makes them appear rarely in every-day applications.

I am therefore working on the controlled breakdown of bio-based polymers with a stable backbone like chitin, which is further tuned to an ideal building block for the subsequent binder formation for a waterborne coating. Together with PhD students from other universities and industry partners, the aim is to find new concepts for the design and synthesis of durable and functional water-based coating products based on biopolymers.

Therefore, optical characterization techniques will be used to explore both the catalyst-solvent combinations for depolymerization as well as the solubility and functionalization of the resulting building blocks. Further on, the film formation and drying processes of the waterborne coatings will be examined with AFM-IR to use it as a feedback loop for fine-tuning of the experimental conditions of the depolymerization processes.




2019 – present
PhD candidate at the Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis group, Debye Institute for Nanomaterial Science, Utrecht University within the Advanced Research Centre for Chemical Building Blocks Consortium (ARC CBBC).

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. B.M. Weckhuysen

Project title: Controlled catalytic breakdown of bio-based polymers to waterborne building blocks

2016 – 2019
Master’s degree in Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich
Master’s thesis in physical chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ueli Heiz

2013 – 2016
Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at the Technical University of Graz
Bachelor’s thesis in biocatalysis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Peter Macheroux