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Interview with Mohan Tilak : Nanotechnology applications in construction

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Carbodeon, headquartered in Finland supplies super hard materials for improved product performance. Globally, Carbodeon is represented by Insight Interasia Inc. Mohan Tilak, Country Manager (India), Insight Interasia Inc talks to Buildotech about Nanotechnology products and applications.



Reasons for rising importance of Nanotechnology in various industries

The main reason of using nanotechnology is that one can receive more with less. Less materials consumption means less cost and thus affordable and environmentally sustainable solutions.

Enhancing Mechanical Properties

There is a continued need for improving mechanical and thermal properties of both polymeric and metal material over their lifetime. This is in line with preserving the natural resources and materials costs. In industrial devices, the lifetime of various components is crucial for overall efficiency of manufacturing unit. All the improvements in a component lifetime reduces the maintenance time and overall production cost. Various polymeric coatings are often times too soft and wear out rapidly. This applies for industrial coatings such as Teflon as well as traditional paints and lacquers. By applying nano materials, one can optimize the durability properties of these products without altering the optical characteristics at an affordable cost.

Reducing CO2 emissions

A reduction of CO2 emissions can be facilitated by replacing present metal components with light weight ones made of polymer materials. With nanotechnology polymer materials can be strengthened to levels meeting the metal component specifications. Beside weight, second important factor causing CO2 emissions is friction which too can be minimized with nanotechnology.

Heat Management

As various electronic systems get more complex, they produce more heat. But most devices and systems are made of plastic to remain light in weight. Plastics itself is a poor heat conductor and requires thermal fillers for improved performance. Traditional micron sized fillers that are no longer effective in some of the most demanding applications are being replaced by nano-material solutions. Nanodiamond possesses the highest known thermal conductivity and being in nano form, it can be effectively introduced throughout the matrix. When using nano-materials for polymers, multiplied thermal conductivities can be reached by using as small as 0.1 wt% concentrations of nanodiamond material. The existing applications include electronic devices, LED lightning and heat producing components.

Electronics Materials

As a result of increasing miniaturization of electronic devices, stringent specifications are being applied on various wafer material surface, approaching near atomic smooth finish. Acquiring surface roughness below nanometer level can only be reached by conducting the polishing with abrasive particles in nanometer scale.

Saving Energy

Nanotechnology can also reduce the energy consumption as the nanostructured surfaces improve the bubble formation in evaporators, improving the heat dissipation. It is commonly known that more the bubbles, more efficient will be the heat dissipation. Alternatively, nano-particles introduced into the refrigerant (within evaporator) also increase the bubble formation and thus improve the overall heat dissipation and efficacy. Moreover, improved overall heat dissipation facilitates construction of smaller and cheaper cooling systems.


Brief on the types of carbon-based nano-materials & their applications

The nanodiamonds give strength, thermal conductivity and wear resistance in applications where toughness is at a premium and graphitic carbon nitride produces hard, wear resistant and non –toxic coatings which can be made optically transparent. International companies like Carbodeon, apart from producing materials themselves, are actively conducting application development to speed up the commercialization of the materials. The core idea is to facilitate optimized end product characteristics with smallest amount of nano-material addition so that the solutions become affordable.

Nanodiamonds fundamental properties include functionalized surface, chemical inertness, extreme thermal conductivity, electrical insulation, micro hardness and mechanical durability. Its various product forms are powder grade, aqueous suspension and range of polar solvents that serve a growing number of industrial applications.

• Improved life time of tools especially metal coated tools in construction industry.

• Efficient and safe LED lightning due to improved heat management properties

• Extended lifetime of polymer based water pipes and other polymeric parts

• Extended lifetime of metallic decorative coatings on water taps, showers etc.

• Gradually replacing Cr6+ coatings with safer Cr3+ coatings (Cr6+ is hard but carcinogenic, Cr3+ is soft, and can only be used if Cr3+ mechanical properties can be improved for example by nanotechnological solutions)

• Improved efficiency heat pumps

• Improved efficiency and lifetime solar cell structures by facilitating improved heat dissipation

• More efficient solar collectors by improving the overall coolant thermal conductivity

The graphitic carbon nitride is mostly employed in thin film form as a coating, conveniently produced by Ultra Short Pulsed Laser Deposition, a form of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) technology. The coatings are transparent, wear resistant, chemically inert and biocompatible and can thus be utilized in applications wherein the optical properties are of importance. Moreover, product’s thin films acts efficiently as UV irradiation absorber. This novel material in its micron-size graphitic form is used in several applications including:

• Transparent, wear-resistant coatings with diffusion barrier properties

• Biocompatible coatings in various medical applications

• Chemically inert coatings

• Insulators

• Energy storage solutions

Nanotechnology applications and market scenario in India

The nano technology objective is to reduce the overall energy consumption within HVAC by 50%. This can be an important factor in India where there is an increasing demand on energy as population grows. For construction industry, it offers high-thermally conductive material for applications in cement plants as furnace material. Nano diamonds are already being used in lubricants for material handling equipments, cranes and construction machinery in India. The electroplating industry too is using nanotechnology to produce surface hardness and enhanced surface properties.

Currently, in India, Nanodiamonds are used only in highly specialized application areas. A major client from western part of India is currently carrying out trials and tests on highly thermal conductive material using nanodiamonds. Another south India based machinery manufacturer is already using company’s nanodiamond products in manufacturing of the machinery. As the Indian market matures, the usage is likely to expand to more applications. We expect the market to increase hundred fold in next five years and Carbodeon plans to work closely on potential application areas of nanodiamonds with Indian companies.


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