Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paint goes nanotech

An IIT Mumbai and Jadavpur University alumnus has made an eco-friendly, long lasting product.

By Ritwik Mukherjee, mydigitalfc.com

Arup Kumar Chatterjee has used nano technology to produce a new paint for your walls made, which he claims, is robust, long lasting and offers high resistance to impact and abrasion. It has high water repellency, is anti-fungal, bactericidal, UV protective and, above all, environment-friendly. Chatterjee is an alumnus of IIT Mumbai and Jadavpur University.

“While conventional paints and coatings are made of large molecules where water, dirt and other particles can leach into the gaps and erode the surface, the nano-engineered paints are densely packed with robust molecules that act as a penetrative and functional barrier,” Chatterjee, who is an M Tech said.

Nanotechnology is the chemical manipulation of functional paints and coatings at the molecular level to create highly resistant, longer lasting and environment friendly products. Chatterjee’s invention from the stable of his own company—I-CanNano (Innovation Center for Applied Nanotechnology) has been certified by the Paint Research Association as being 99.99 per cent bacteria free and an eco-friendly paint.

“This is low cost paint compared to any other available. And all these paints are now being manufactured at a new state-of-the-art plant at Baruipur, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal,” said Chatterjee.

Chatterjee’s clientele already includes Godrej & Boyce, Parryware Roca, Mahindra, Shapoorji & Pallonji and more. “Although everything at ICanNano is indigenously developed, we are working in close collaboration with Caneus Jet Propulsion Lab, USA, National Research Center, Canada, Neumann-UK and Bell Helicopters,” said Chatterjee.

“We are quite happy and satisfied with these nano-engineered product,” says B J Wadia, president of Godrej & Boyce. “We had always been looking at hit conductivity in paints and there is no denying the fact that hit conductivity has improved significantly through this new-found technology.”

He is not the only one. Head of contracts at Shapoorji & Pallonji N D Tarapore said, “The whole world is going green, or atleast aspiring and trying to go green. We have been able to move in this direction with the help of these research-based nano technology engineered paints & coatings and composites. The quality and durability have also gone up substantially.”

At the company, former president and scientist APJ Abdul Kalam wrote in the comment book: “This is affordable nanotechnology for common man”.

The claims of the company appear to have been validated by Paint Research Association, UK. The recent PRA study shows that ICanNano’s paints are not only anti-fungal but also anti-bacterial and UV stabilised.

Chatterjee’s company wants to commercially take this technology to the common man. I-CanNano is driving industrial nanotechnology scenario across various industries in construction, automotive, biotech, renewable energy and filters. Paints and coatings is one of the first areas chosen for commercialisation, where nanotechnology impact is early.

In industrial segment, his product portfolio includes heat conducting paints, high electrically insulating paints that withstand 5,000V, high anti-corrosive paints, pollutant adsorbant paint, high impact and scratch resistant paints, high temperature resistant paints and clear coat paints.

“Besides, we have already started working towards commercialisation of composites. I-CanNano is envisaging development of world’s largest carbon nano-fiber manufacturing facility in India catering to not only light weight/high strength composites for aerospace, wind blade, automotive structures but also for high abrasion resistant rubbers, conducting inks, and electrodes,” Chattrejee said.

I-CanNano already has one US patent on fuel cell electrode and one Indian patent on super-capacitor electrode to its credit. It has research interest in hydrogen storage and fuel cell development.

The centre has also developed process technology for industrial scale manufacturing of nano-materials that are tunable in size and structure, scalable and pure in terms of quality.

Said Chatterjee, also a visiting scientist at IIT Mumbai and a governing body member of Calcutta University: “We have not restricted its activity in the field of nano-materials but also graduated to development of applications in various areas of paints and coatings, composites, filters, catalysts, electrodes and drug delivery. This development of nano-products is due to graduation from first generation to third generation nanotechnology.”

In nanotechnology, entry barrier is high and once a product gets developed dissemination is fast. ICanNano does not envisage any entry barriers where products are technologically and commercially competitive, yet affordable. Currently, I-CanNano has its foothold in USA, UK, Africa and UAE and is planning to expand further.

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