February 24, 2011
School of Arts and Sciences, Amritapuri
Ms. Saritha A., faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at Amritapuri recently received the second best paper award for her paper titled, Tailoring Chlorobutyl Rubber Nano Composites for Advanced Applications.
The award was received when Saritha made a presentation at a CSIR-sponsored national conference on Recent Applications of Nanomaterials in Chemistry and Environmental Research in Tamil Nadu.
Saritha’s paper was based on polymer nanocomposites; an area of research recognized as one of the most promising in polymer science and technology of the 21st century.
Polymer nanocomposites have unique mechanical and thermal properties, due to which the material is resistant to most gases and liquids. As such, it is used for many applications, mainly in the aerospace and automobile industries.
A protective cover made from a polymer nanocomposite is an important component in aircrafts.
The material is also used to make protective gowns that can be worn by experts in labs, when working with toxic substances.
“The major focus of my work is the development of impermeable membranes from chlorobutyl rubber nanocomposites,” informed Saritha.
Saritha has been working for nearly four years in this area. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at IIST, Trivandrum under the guidance of Dr. Kuruvilla Joseph as a part-time student. Her project receives funding from ISRO.
“In this paper, I tried to show that understanding the influence of surface characteristics is the basis for selecting the ideal organoclay for a given rubber matrix,” Saritha said, discussing her award-winning work.
“The organoclays used were selected to explore the effects of the amine surfactant structure on the dispersion of clay particles in chlorobutyl rubber matrix. Understanding the interaction between organically modified clay platelets and organic solvent molecules as well as the corresponding structure of organoclays in a suspension is a critical step towards tailoring and characterizing rubber nanocomposites.”
“The enhanced mechanical properties and the excellent barrier as well as transport properties can pave the way for the effective utilization of these nanocomposite materials in sophisticated industrial, automotive, defense and space related applications.”