With the rapid scientific development related to nanomaterials that has taken place in the last decades, research into the potentials of nanotechnology has grown in importance. This is true both for many different academic disciplines and in the industry.

The industrial partner AkzoNobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals (AkzoNobel PPC) ensures world-leading expertise in the synthesis of silica particles. The company has a vast experience in the synthesis of variants of silica nanoparticles, evident through a large patent portfolio and extensive research activities. In fact, silica nanoparticles (synonymous with colloidal silica) are likely by far the largest industrial product based on discrete nanoparticles in water dispersion, i.e. silica sols, in the world. The reason is that the raw material is inexpensive, due to the abundance of silica in the earth crust (25%). Therefore, silica nanoparticles have been selected as key materials for systematic studies due to the industrial relevance of various silica products.


The industrial perspective

In recent years, there has been an increasing interest from academia in the potential innovations, benefits and risks related to nanomaterials. This has created opportunities for AkzoNobel to share experience and to participate in increasing knowledge in the area, by developing methods for risk assessment, characterization and identification of properties of low and high risk nanomaterials.

“In the MISTRA Environmental Nanosafety program we contribute with an industrial perspective as well as our deep knowledge regarding the silica nanoparticles properties and behavior. As a company co-operating with several research groups, we can more in depth understand which properties of the nanomaterials are most relevant when it comes to potential negative effects on human health and the environment. This is extra important when it comes to development of new products”, says Michael Persson Innovation Manager at AkzoNobel Pulp and Performance Chemicals.

From the existing range of commercial particles, a library of particles with various particle size and modifications is supplied. From a research point of view, the focus is mainly on labelling of silica to facilitate analysis in various testing protocols. The idea is to synthesize labelled silica with similar behavior and surface chemistries to the commercial ones.

Björn Stolpe, AkzoNobel, Julie Gold, Program Manager, Jörgen Rosenqvist, University of Gothenburg, Michael Persson, AkzoNobel

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