Live Updates: COVID-19 Cases
  • World 18,874,078
    World
    Confirmed: 18,874,078
    Active: 6,105,781
    Recovered: 12,060,142
    Death: 708,155
  • USA 4,959,672
    USA
    Confirmed: 4,959,672
    Active: 2,279,486
    Recovered: 2,518,828
    Death: 161,358
  • Brazil 2,817,473
    Brazil
    Confirmed: 2,817,473
    Active: 750,380
    Recovered: 1,970,767
    Death: 96,326
  • India 1,963,239
    India
    Confirmed: 1,963,239
    Active: 595,300
    Recovered: 1,327,200
    Death: 40,739
  • Russia 866,627
    Russia
    Confirmed: 866,627
    Active: 183,111
    Recovered: 669,026
    Death: 14,490
  • South Africa 529,877
    South Africa
    Confirmed: 529,877
    Active: 143,313
    Recovered: 377,266
    Death: 9,298
  • Mexico 449,961
    Mexico
    Confirmed: 449,961
    Active: 100,838
    Recovered: 300,254
    Death: 48,869
  • Peru 439,890
    Peru
    Confirmed: 439,890
    Active: 117,426
    Recovered: 302,457
    Death: 20,007
  • Chile 364,723
    Chile
    Confirmed: 364,723
    Active: 16,640
    Recovered: 338,291
    Death: 9,792
  • Spain 352,847
    Spain
    Confirmed: 352,847
    Active: 324,348
    Recovered: ?
    Death: 28,499
  • Iran 317,483
    Iran
    Confirmed: 317,483
    Active: 24,749
    Recovered: 274,932
    Death: 17,802
  • UK 307,184
    UK
    Confirmed: 307,184
    Active: 260,820
    Recovered: ?
    Death: 46,364
  • Saudi Arabia 282,824
    Saudi Arabia
    Confirmed: 282,824
    Active: 34,490
    Recovered: 245,314
    Death: 3,020
  • Pakistan 281,136
    Pakistan
    Confirmed: 281,136
    Active: 20,836
    Recovered: 254,286
    Death: 6,014
  • Italy 248,803
    Italy
    Confirmed: 248,803
    Active: 12,646
    Recovered: 200,976
    Death: 35,181
  • Bangladesh 246,674
    Bangladesh
    Confirmed: 246,674
    Active: 101,657
    Recovered: 141,750
    Death: 3,267
  • Turkey 236,112
    Turkey
    Confirmed: 236,112
    Active: 10,822
    Recovered: 219,506
    Death: 5,784
  • Germany 214,104
    Germany
    Confirmed: 214,104
    Active: 10,159
    Recovered: 194,700
    Death: 9,245
  • France 194,029
    France
    Confirmed: 194,029
    Active: 81,558
    Recovered: 82,166
    Death: 30,305
  • Canada 118,037
    Canada
    Confirmed: 118,037
    Active: 6,478
    Recovered: 102,599
    Death: 8,960
  • China 84,491
    China
    Confirmed: 84,491
    Active: 810
    Recovered: 79,047
    Death: 4,634
  • Netherlands 56,381
    Netherlands
    Confirmed: 56,381
    Active: 50,228
    Recovered: ?
    Death: 6,153
  • Australia 19,444
    Australia
    Confirmed: 19,444
    Active: 8,398
    Recovered: 10,799
    Death: 247
  • S. Korea 14,456
    S. Korea
    Confirmed: 14,456
    Active: 748
    Recovered: 13,406
    Death: 302
  • New Zealand 1,569
    New Zealand
    Confirmed: 1,569
    Active: 24
    Recovered: 1,523
    Death: 22

Engineers, including two Indian-Americans, to create bulletproof coatings from nature

Author at TechGenyz Science
Polymer Engineering
A Conceptual Image Of Engineering Of Polymers. Credit: @zeeshan09/Pixabay

Three engineers, including two of Indian-origin, are producing eco-friendly polymers using material from shrimps, mushrooms and other organisms to produce high-impact multilayered coatings that can protect soldiers on the battlefield, according to a statement.

Two Indian-American engineers along with another at the University of Houston are using chitin, a derivative of glucose found in the cellular walls of arthropods and fungi and 3D printing techniques to produce the coatings, the varsity said in a statement.

The coatings can protect soldiers against bullets, lasers, toxic gas and other dangers

Indian-American Alamgir Karim, Dow Chair Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, told PTI “chitin offers promise as a commonly available material that could be processed and used in some products that now require petroleum-based plastics”.

What if we could process these materials and get them to a certain level of performance, so we could do some really good things in the plastics world?” he asked.

“They would be biodegradable by design, so they could decompose and return to Mother Nature.”

Karim, who also serves as director of the International Polymer & Soft Matter Center and of the materials engineering programme at the university, is principal investigator on the project, funded by a USD 660,000 grant from the US Department of Defence, the university said.

Another Indian-American Venkatesh Balan, assistant professor of engineering technology, along with Megan Robertson, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, are co-principal investigators.

They are charged with developing tough, durable and antimicrobial multilayer films capable of resisting an impact from projectiles or lasers while simultaneously absorbing toxic gas.

Karim said the work will also have applications beyond the military, potentially expanding its environmental benefits.

Chitin is the primary component of cell walls in fungi and the exoskeletons of arthropods, including crustaceans, insects and mollusks. It’s also found in fish scales. It can be harvested and processed to produce chitosan, or de-acetylated chitin, a fiber that is also produced and sold as a dietary supplement to treat obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Crohn’s disease, it said.

Chitosan is easier to handle than the brittle chitin.

Balan, whose lab produces bio-molecules for medical and industrial use, is using chemical and enzymatic processes to produce the chitosan molecules using crustacean shells.

We are trying to do the same thing with mushrooms, he said, noting that mushrooms yield a more consistent degree of polymerisation sustainably, helping to standardise production of chitin and then process it to become chitosan.

A stable source of chitosan polymers will be just the beginning.

Robertson will determine how to alter the atomic composition at the surface of the chitosan in order to improve how it interfaces with the functional layers. Her research includes designing sustainable and biodegradable polymers derived from renewable resources.

That enhanced compatibility between the chitosan and the polymer will improve the coating’s ability to trap gas or absorb the impact from a projectile, she said.

That’s where Karim comes in as engineering a multilayer system that will be comprised of a hardened impact-resistant layer; an energy-absorbing crush layer reminiscent of the way modern cars are designed to crumple on impact, safeguarding the passenger capsule; a layer to absorb toxic gas, with charcoal nanoparticles dispersed in the chitosan; and a textile adhesion layer, which will bind the coating to canvas and other textiles.

That will involve 3D printing different chitin nanoparticles and chitosan-fabricated or reinforced crush-zone design structures and testing them to determine their ability to withstand an impact.

It is a very good, environmentally friendly project, Karim said, and one that will have applications for the automobile, construction, and other industries.

Career

Subscribe