Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and NEI Corporation, provider of nanoengineered materials, have established a cooperative research program in nanotechnology with an Indian government research and development centre.
Under the two-year program, the organizations will explore ways to use nanosized particles to make metals harder, ceramics lighter and stronger, and protective coatings more wear-resistant. These and other nanoparticle-infused materials that the groups will study could be used in machine tools, fuel cells, electronic components, medical devices and automobile finishes.
The program will involve engineers and scientists from Rutgers’ Center for Nanomaterials Research, the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials in Hyderabad, India, and the Piscataway-based NEI. The initial funding source is a $115,000 grant from the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSTF), a New Delhi-based foundation established by the Indian and U.S. governments in 2000 to promote research, development, and technology transfer among industry and academia in both countries.
“Nanotechnology is a field that will have major impact on the world’s economic and industrial growth,” said Bernard Kear, Rutgers professor and director of the Center for Nanomaterials Research. “By combining our decade of nanomaterials research expertise with the efforts of a leading Indian materials institute, we will stimulate innovation in electronics, biomedical technology and other engineering endeavours.”
“This partnership accelerates the knowledge generated by research activities into practical applications,” said Ganesh Skandan, CEO, NEI. “Nanomaterials have the ability to significantly impact product performance and ultimately profitability. Cost-effective manufacturing resources are an essential part of delivering the commercial process that is necessary to address the industry demands. NEI looks forward to expanding the network of development and manufacturing resources between our countries.”
Managing Rutgers involvement in the research program is the university’s Office of Corporate Liaison and Technology Transfer, which facilitates industrial support of university research and promotes its commercialization.
“As research and development increasingly becomes international in scope and practice, there’s a tremendous future for this kind of Indo-US partnership,” said Michael Breton, associate vice president for research and sponsored programs. “This is especially true in nanotechnology, where both countries are on the forefront of exploration and want to jump-start global commercialization opportunities.”
As part of the program, the three organizations plan to exchange research personnel and provide shared access to complementary instruments and facilities for synthesizing, characterizing and processing materials. Initial research efforts will be in developing hardened metals, new ceramic structures and protective coatings.
In the hardened metals effort, researchers will develop nanosized powders containing tungsten, cobalt and carbon, and then apply these powders to metals as a coating or an alloy to increase the wear-resistance of drill bits, cutting tools and machine bearings. In the ceramics effort, researchers will work on ways to produce nanocomposite ceramics, which offer greater strength and less weight than traditional ceramics. And in the coatings effort, researchers will study spraying techniques to make nanostructured powders and to apply powders to materials surfaces as protective coatings.
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