Issue Date: June 6, 2011
Nanoparticles: Research Firm Tries Its Hand At Making Self-Healing Paint
NEI has been in the business of making Nanoparticles for 14 years. But to get the most value out of its technology, the Somerset, N.J.-based firm is going into the business of making its own coatings, formulated with proprietary mixed metal oxide ceramic nanoparticle additives.
In 2010, the firm, which has about $4 million in annual revenues, launched a subsidiary called American NanoMyte to sell a line of corrosion-resistant metal coatings that can repair themselves if scratched. A heat gun waved over a scratch enables the repair. The subsidiary’s first contract was to supply the self-repairing coatings to the U.S. Army, which is evaluating them on armaments, helicopters, and ground vehicles.
A 1997 spin-off from Rutgers University, NEI initially supported itself largely through government research. Along the way it developed more than 20 patents as well as products incorporating Nanoparticles, ranging from lithium battery components to heat transfer fluids and sorbents for mercury removal.
Ganesh Skandan, chief executive officer and a founder of the company, says NEI started out with the idea that “if we made it, no matter the cost, buyers would come.” Skandan, who has a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Rutgers, says he and his colleagues didn’t really understand business. Now, he says, NEI sees itself as bridging the gap between fundamental technology research and end users.
This new attitude is starting to pay off. About a year ago, NEI signed an agreement to develop self-healing coatings for flat-panel displays with JNC, a Japanese maker of liquid-crystal display components. In February, the company licensed technology that gives plastic car windows abrasion resistance to Sekisui Chemical, also of Japan.
Depending on the market for a prospective product, Skandan says, “we can make it ourselves or license what we develop.”
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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