Arkema, nanoGriptech receive nanomaterial funding

Nearly $500,000 will be used to develop epoxy tougheners for wind applications (Arkema), and fibrous adhesives based on the foot hairs of geckos (nanoGriptech).

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The Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center (Pittsburgh, Pa., USA) has announced funding of two new projects involving Arkema Inc. (Philadelphia, Pa., USA) and nanoGripteh LLC (Pittsburgh).

The Center, in partnership with Lehigh University, has awarded Arkema $275,000 of Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) funding, and the company is providing an equal amount in matching funds. Arkema will use the award to develop and commercialize its Nanostrength block copolymer technology, called BlocBuilder, for extremely efficient toughening of epoxies that are used in wind energy and electronic materials applications. Advantages of this technology are that it allows increased reliability of wind blades without sacrificing strength, and it provides higher resistance to crack formation in materials used in electronics. The company’s BlocBuilder technology also will be valuable in a wide variety of adhesives, coatings and composites.

The center awarded nanoGriptech, a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off, $200,000 in AFRL funding for the commercialization of a fibrous adhesive technology based on the foot hairs of geckos. The materials mimic the nano- and micro-fibers that provide geckos and a number of other animals with their ability to grip strongly and repeatedly to smooth and rough surfaces, even in wet and dirty outdoors conditions. This project will assist the company in the design, manufacturing, material selection and testing of the adhesives for new commercial sportswear applications, in collaboration with leading companies in the sporting goods and materials industries.

In addition, the Air Force Research Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, USA, recently commended its partnership with the center, and in a public release it featured one of the center’s successful projects with Plextronics Inc.

Center director, Dr. Alan Brown, commented that this success story is a significant recognition of the center’s work in assisting small, high-technology companies to commercialize their research for both commercial and defense needs. The mission of the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center is to promote and support the commercialization of nanomaterials research for new and enhanced products critical to the U.S. economy and manufacturing base.