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Department of Chemical Engineering

Microemulsion Polymerization: Creating clean and green nano-size polymers

Nano-size polymers have made headlines in the recent years for their biological and medical applications. With dimensions of less than 100 nanometers (nm), they can carry drugs and pharmaceuticals in the body due to their subcellular size, sustained release properties and biocompatibility with our tissues and cells. But how are these nano-size polymers synthesized? In a recently written book chapter in the book, ‘Nano-size polymers: preparation, properties, application’, Prof. Manas Chanda, a retired faculty from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and an expert in the field of polymers, has enunciated the direct synthesis of these tiny polymers by a method called microemulsion polymerization.

Scientists Use a Sweetener to Make Materials for Bone Reconstruction

A team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, has developed a novel polymer that can accelerate healing of bone fractures. Dr. Kaushik Chatterjee, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering in collaboration with Professor Giridhar Madras from Chemical Engineering at IISc are working on developing polymers that can serve as templates to facilitate bone growth. The team is working on developing maltitol-based biodegradable polyesters for accelerated healing.

How do grains flow?

Over 50% of materials processed in many large industries today such as mining, agro, pharmaceuticals and food processing, all handle large quantities of particulate materials. They need to be transported, processed and distributed. All these actions involve controlling the flow of these complex fluids – a critical operation in some industries such as pharmaceuticals. Unfortunately, we do not yet fully understand how these complex fluids flow or deform under applied loads. Prof. Prabhu Nott and his research group at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, are working towards solving this mystery.

Purifying Our Rivers With a Bit of Rare Earth

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science have found a remarkable way to degrade microbes and chemical dyes polluting our rivers. All you need to do is take the material and suspend it in water in sunlight! Moreover, it is reusable.

A potential strategy to design new treatment regimens for Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a severe liver disease that affects more than 130 million people worldwide. There is currently no vaccine for the disease, making it one of the most deadly viral infections prevalent today. Dr. Narendra Dixit and his team from the Department of Chemical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, have been studying the dynamics of hepatitis C viral infections for over ten years. Using mathematical and computational models, the latest study has shown why two different types of antiviral drugs can be used in concert to treat the disease.

Building nanostructures, economically

Imagine a scenario in the not-too-distant future when someone wants to have his blood tested. The process will not be as complicated or expensive as it is right now. The diagnostic device of the future would be so common that it would be easily available in our homes. These devices would conclusively show the results within seconds of placing a tiny drop of blood on it. This new diagnostic device of the future would be based on microfluidic channels on special paper. Microfluidic channels are networks of pipes whose diameters are much smaller than that of a human hair. Working towards such goal is Dr. Venugopal Santhanam, an Assistant Professor specializing in Nanoparticle engineering, at the Indian Institute of Science.

New material to protect organic electronics from moisture

Protecting organic devices against water vapour is a concern for many scientists. Organic devices are known to be highly reactive to atmospheric water vapour, a significant cause for their premature degradation. A successful solution was generated by a team of four researchers at the Department of Chemical Engineering in IISc. Using a polymeric nanocomposite, they have devised an efficient and economical barrier to protect organic devices.

Prof. Giridhar Madras: studying chemical reactions

Prof. Giridhar Madras, a Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is an expert in the field of reaction kinetics.

His group in IISc works on reaction kinetics, the study of rates of chemical reactions in various systems and processes. Reactions between chemical compounds are dependent on a variety of environmental factors as well as active participants of the reactions. This area of study involves varying some of these parameters while keeping others constant in order to gauge their influence on the speed of reactions. This is especially useful in trying to find the rates at which plastics degrade and how they can be made to degrade faster to save the environment. “I primarily study reactions at normal pressures, at high pressures (supercritical fluids), at high temperatures (catalytic reactions for energy and environmental applications) and between large molecules (polymers),” he explains.