TopChim, IWT, Ghent U. to develop polymer nanoparticles

October 20, 2008: To extend its research and development projects on polymer nanoparticles, TopChim NV has signed an agreement with the Institute for the Promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT) and the Centre for Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE) of Ghent University.

For six years, TopChim has been developing polystyrene maleimide (SMI) nanoparticles as a coating component for the paper, cardboard and packaging industry. After a successful market release of the first range of patented NanoTope 26 SMI nanoparticles, TopChim decided to invest in a more in-depth fundamental research program for SMI nanotechnology.

The Institute for the promotion of Innovation by Science and Technology in Flanders (IWT) chose last July to grant the consortium of TopChim NV and the Centre for Materials Science and Engineering (CMSE) government funding to start up a three-year research and development project for SMI nanoparticles. This project, starting in September 2008, has a total budget of €900,000 and aims for a better understanding of the chemistry and physics at the nano level of the SMI nanoparticles. The main aspect of the program is to broaden insight into the physical characteristics of the nanoparticles such as shape, size and uniformity. Interaction with minerals and substances from renewable sources is another focus.

TopChim has two objectives for the scientific results gathered after the completion of this research program: to enable further development of coatings for paper, cardboard and packaging, in order to improve printability, brightness, barrier performances and ecological impact; and to search for new applications in other industries where SMI nanoparticles may improve performances for surface treatment, material reinforcement and material interaction.

“The resulting knowledge will allow TopChim to assure its steady economic growth, as well as its scientific developments. TopChim will translate the acquired scientific results into new innovation opportunities for the industry to produce better products,” says Henk Van den Abbeele, president/director R&D of TopChim.

Nanotope 26 precipitated on Kaolin (enlarged X 75000). NanoTope is the name for a range of patented nanopigments, based on SMI (pstyrene maleimide), developed by TopChim’s nanoresearch department for specific applications in the paper and cardboard industry.


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