Karol Kulasinski room HIL E 46.2
PhD tel +41 58 765 4783
  fax +41 58 765 4009


Karol Kulasinski has received his B.Sc. in Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology (2010) the topic of his dissertation was Generator of Two-Particle Correlations in Heavy-Ion Collision Model, EPOS. In 2009 he started Master Nuclear Energy course at Université Paris-Sud 11. In 2010 he did an internship at Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. The topic of the project was Modelling of Accelerator-Driven Systems in Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles. In 2011 he prepared his master thesis during an internship in Nuclear Engineering Dpt., Texas A&M University in USA. The same year he obtained his M.Sc. degree at Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (Saclay, France). The topic of his dissertation was Uncertainty Quantification in Flow Models for a Primary Reactor Loop Model. From the beginning of 2012 he worked for Institute of Fundamental Technological Research, Polish Academy of Sciences on TiNi Shape-Memory Alloys. Since August 2012 he started his Ph.D. studies at ETH Zürich. In April to June 2013 he was a visiting scholar in the Mechanical Dept. of Northwestern University, IL in the United States. He defended his Ph.D. in October 13, 2015 in front of a six-member committee. Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at Prof. Lammers group at UC Berkeley.

PhD: Physical and Mechanical Aspects of Moisture Adsorption in Wood Biopolymers Investigated with Atomistic Simulations

Adsorption of water and swelling are phenomena occurring in wood cell wall, a porous polymeric composite material. The thickest cell wall layer, S2, is composed of three types of polymers: cellulose (crystalline or amorphous), many types of hemicellulose and two types of lignin. Cellulose fibrils give its strength to the material, whereas lignin and hemicellulose play the role of matrix. Amorphous cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin are hydrophilic polymers: with increasing relative humidity, they absorb water molecules causing a decrease of stiffness and overall swelling of the cell wall. The aim of this project is to investigate in details, using Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations the mechanisms of swelling pressure and material weakening due to sorption in the S2 layer. The construction of a simplified MD model of S2 layer, followed by collection of relevant experiments, will give a better insight into wood-moisture interaction, at atomistic scale. The results of the MD experiments will be introduced in a poromechanical model.

The visualization of some adsorption-related processes can be found under:


Attended conferences

Penn State Plant Biology Symposium on cellulose synthesis, structure, matrix interactions and technology, May 16-18, 2013, University Park, PA, USA

The 19th International Conference on Nonlinear Elasticity in Materials, ICNEM, June 22-28, 2014, Frejus, France

7th World Congress of Biomechanics, WCB, July 6-11, 2014, Boston, MA, USA

7th International Conference on Multiscale Materials Modelling, October 6-10, 2014, Berkeley, CA, USA

7th International Conference on Porous Media & Annual Meeting, Interpore, May 18-21, 2015, Padova, Italy

20th International Conference on Nonlinear Elasticity in Materials, ICNEM, July 5-10, 2015, Bruges, Belgium

8th Plant Biomechanics International Conference, Nov. 30-Dec. 4, Nagoya, Japan



[1] Kulasinski, K., Keten, S., Churakov, S. V., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., 2014. A comparative molecular dynamics study of crystalline, paracrystalline and amorphous states of cellulose. Cellulose, 2014, 21(3), pp.1103–1116.

[2] Kulasinski, K., Keten, S., Churakov, S. V, Guyer R., Carmeliet J., and Derome D., 2014. Molecular Mechanism of Moisture-Induced Transition in Amorphous Cellulose. ACS Macro Letters, 2014, 3, pp.1037–1040.

[3] Kulasinski K., Guyer R., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., ''Impact of Moisture Adsorption on Structure and Physical Properties of Amorphous Biopolymers'. Macromolecules, 2015, 48, pp. 2793−2800.

[4] Kulasinski K., Guyer R., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., Water diffusion in hydrophilic systems: a stop and go process. Langmuir, 2015, 31, pp. 10843−10849.

[5] Kulasinski K., Guyer R., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., Poroelastic model for adsorption-induced deformation of biopolymers obtained from molecular simulations, PRE, 2015, 92, 022605.

[6] Kulasinski K., Guyer R., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., Water adsorption in wood microfibril: role of crystalline-amorphous interface, Biomacromolecules, 2015, 16, 2972−2978.

[7] Kulasinski K., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., "Modeling of hydration effects on wood cell wall secondary layer using molecular dynamics simulations", in submission.

[8] Kulasinski K., Salmen L., Derome D., and Carmeliet J., "Moisture adsorption of glucomannan and xylan hemicelluloses", in submission.

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