Partnership Research Reveals New Application for Silica Microspheres
November 20, 2014
Materium Innovations is a Quebec-based company specializing in additives. The company’s main product is composed of minuscule silica microspheres – particles so small they are invisible to the naked eye. These versatile particles make it possible for the additive to be used in a wide variety of products such as shoe soles, car tires, heat-resistant plastics, insulating materials and high power lasers.
Working with Centre national en électrochimie et en technologies (CNETE) at Collège Shawinigan and Université de Sherbrooke, Materium Innovations’ product can now be applied in new ways such as for air filtration and water treatment. By altering the microspheres’ surface properties, molecules can be grafted onto silica-graphene particles so microorganisms adhere to them.
|Mathilde Gosselin||NSERC grants, whether they be level 1 ARDs or Engage, because they are the initial steps, allow companies to rapidly determine if the synergy could be good.|
|Nadi Braidy||The purpose of Materium’s and its chemists’ presence was to guide us through research and its goals. Materium manufactures silica microcapsules. Here, we were proposing advanced synthesis methods to give a different function to these microcapsules, with the goal of giving them different properties that can be of interest to different market sectors. Now that we’ve developed a certain confidence and way of working with Materium, and Materium with us, we can move on with the project and, in a way, practically give it back to society to improve the economy and develop new processes.|
|Mathilde Gosselin||Intellectual property, especially with the universities, is a very important aspect.|
|Nadi Braidy||In terms of patents and intellectual property, it’s extremely simple. This allows us to focus on what’s important, that is to say research and development in partnership with industry.|
|Mathilde Gosselin||The first time we worked with the CNETE in Shawinigan, it was because someone, while we were looking for funding, had told us, "I think that your applications are very interesting, but that there are other applications in the field of biotechnologies that could be really appropriate."|
|Jean-Francois Lemay||We’re a CCTT. For many years, we’ve been collaborating with NSERC to help companies promote and engage in research and development. The main challenge was to develop applications for the silica microspheres of the company Materium in the biological field. At first, the company was more focused on making bioplastics, everything at the chemical level, different types of alloys. Afterwards, Materium also wanted to develop this market niche, which was all the biological side. So the company hired two new full-time employees to work in this area.|
|Mathilde Gosselin||We definitely want to continue collaborating with the CNETE and the Université de Sherbrooke. Firstly, we were able to adopt a process that was much more optimized and cost efficient. We were able to reduce the commercialization time, and we also provided a wealth of knowledge to the company.|