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Polymers & Functional Materials

History

Background

Polymers & Functional Materials Division (PFM) Division of CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) is one of the oldest divisions of the institute. The division has started its function along with Oils & Fats Division and become a full fledged division in the year 1956. During its journey of more than six decades, the division has contributed immensely for transfer of various technologies and processes to industry and strategic sectors and the basic research has been published in national and international journals of repute. Coating and allied industry has been always in transition and with the changing environmental and technical requirements, the research focus has been shifted from time to time and CSIR-IICT's Polymers and Functional Materials Division is not an exception to this. This is a unique Division of CSIR-IICT and renamed four times to suit to its expanding activities.

Early Research

1956-81: The Division was known as Surface Coatings and/or Paints Division during 1956-81 wherein most of the work has been carried out to exploit the regional and local resources for the development of paints and also building capacity to serve the industry and to help create entrepreneurs. The highlight of the research during this period was the publication in most sought after journal Nature besides many specialized research publications and generation of intellectual property right. On the technology front, various oils and waste materials have been used for paint and ink development and most of the technologies were based on formulary art. A world class infrastructure has been developed for coating processing and evaluation. However during this time the world research was moving towards the more eco-friendly and structurally defined materials for coating development.

1981-89: The name of the Division was changed to Surface Coatings & Polymers (1981-89) and focus was shifted to development to coating using well defined polymers and water based polymers and emulsions, physical organic chemistry, rheological characterization and development of polymers for other sectors than coatings. During this period the Division was able to demonstrate its capability through development of speciality resins for ink, strategic & construction sectors, strengthening its capability in the area of upcoming polyurethanes, emulsions polymers and started its journey in the area of adhesives.

During this period Division has also started new research initiatives such as development of hyperbranched polymers, different nanomaterials, sol gel chemistry, development of hybrid materials, Fluoropolymers, novel polymerization techniques, polymer blends, nanocomposite, supramolecular chemistry, solar energy and battery materials, development of additives, utilization and value addition to waste, utilization of renewable resources etc and also strengthened the basic characterization, processing and evaluation facilities to meet the global benchmark. The expanding research base and the world requirements of materials with added functionality and advancement and applications of nano-technological principles in the process and technologies development has resulted in the latest renaming of the division as Polymers & Functional Materials division(Since 2011). The leadership of this division has been provided by Dr JS Agarwal, Dr MA Sivasamban, Dr MM Shirsalkar, Dr M Yaseen, Dr N Krishnamurti, Dr BS Sitaramam and Dr KVSN Raju.

Technologies Developed and Transferred

The division has a glorious history of translating basic research into process and products as per the requirements of the sponsoring industries and government agencies. In more than 6 decades of its existence the division had contributed immensely for the transfer of various technologies and processes to industry and strategic sectors and the basic research has been published in national and international journals of repute. The adhesives for various applications, polyols and isocyanate adducts for polyurethane coatings, water proofing compounds, antistatic polyurethane coatings , resistant solder coating, dehydrated castor oil, rain erosion resistant coatings fluoropolymers for strategic applications, biomaterials conducting polymers, cyanate ester polymers biodegradable polymers biocompatible polymers, irreversible temperature sensitive labels, eco-friendly polymer dispenser for pest control etc are some of the important technologies which have been transferred to various national and international clients in recent past. The glimpses of the technologies developed and transferred in past are listed below:

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