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Suprakas Sinha Ray

Suprakas Sinha Ray

Chief Research Scientist and Director, DST-CSIR National Centre for Nanostructured Materials, South Africa

Title: Nanoclay minerals and plastics: tiny particles deliver big impact

Biography

Suprakas Sinha Ray was born in 1973 in India and completed his PhD studies at the University of Calcutta in 2001, and then postdoctoral fellow at ToyotarnTechnological Institute and Laval University studying the structure-property relationship in nanoclay-containing polymer nanocomposites. He started working onrnfundamental understanding to real applications of polymer-based nanostructured materials when he joined the CSIR as a group leader. These studies advancedrnand broadened when he appointed as a chief researcher and director of the DST-CSIR National Centre for Nanostructured Materials and growing to the presentrntime with postdoctoral fellows, students, collaborators and industrial partners worldwide. Currently, more than 80 researchers, engineers and technologists arernworking with him. Prof. Ray is one of the most active and highly cited authors (his articles have been cited more than 14700 times, google scholar, h factor 44),rnin the field of polymer nanocomposite materials and his work has been featured on various international journal cover pages on 14 different occasions. He is thernauthor of 2 books, co-author of 3 edited books, 15 book chapters on various aspects of polymer-based nano-structured materials & their applications, and authorrnand co-author of 250 articles. He also has 4 patents and 7 new demonstrated technologies shared with colleagues, collaborators and industrial partners. His teamrnalso commercialized 16 different grades of polylactide nanocomposites.

Abstract

Modern technology continuously requires new, enhanced materials with special combinations of properties. In recentrnyears, researchers have managed to develop new materials at the nanoscale with excellent combinations of properties.rnThese new materials, called nanocomposites, possess enhanced properties and promise to soon replace classical materials usedrnin industry. With nanoclay minerals, it becomes possible to create plastics, for instance, that are not only stronger and lighter,rnbut are also scratch, ultraviolet and fire-resistant. This enables various advanced modern uses for plastics, such as lighter,rnstronger plastic parts for motor vehicles. Another application is using enhanced plastics for meat and other food packaging.rnTraditionally packaging plastic is made up of up to nine thin layers. With nanocomposite plastics, only three layers are neededrnwhich dramatically reduces the amount of plastic required. During nanocomposite formulation, nano-level dispersion is thernmost important characteristic to achieve, in order to have increased surface area for polymer-filler interaction, improvedrnco-operative phenomena among dispersed particles, and/or a higher degree of confinement effects. However, the primaryrnchallenge is to find the right chemistry to provide the best favorable driving force to disperse fillers at a nano-level. What thisrnmeans is that one needs to determine the right temperature, pressure and environmental conditions needed to successfully andrnoptimally allow a nanoclay to mix with a polymer. The DST-CSIR Nanocentre’s work in nanoclay minerals focuses primarilyrnon South African nanoclay mineral-enhanced plastics and efforts to create awareness of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) inrnindustry as well as the development of products that will benefit the industry. The DST-CSIR Nanocentre is also putting furtherrnresearch efforts into processing and characterization techniques, properties and applications, and key research challenges andrnfuture outlooks in the development of South African nanoclay minerals-based multifunctional PNCs.