They will continue developing low-cost "nanoparticles" that could be used in a wide range of applications, such as stronger, light-weight body armor for soldiers, and improved scratch resistance, brighter colors and improved corrosion resistance for paints.
Nanotechnology is the science of engineering with particles of matter that are one-billionth of a meter in size -- or 1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
"INL's collaboration with PPG supports President Bush's National Nanotechnology Initiative to facilitate the transfer of new technologies into products for national security, economic growth, jobs and other public benefit," said Sigurd Sorensen, INL manager of industrial technology. "Our national laboratory-private industry partnership has already achieved a great deal, and is an important part of INL's portfolio of industrial, energy and environmental initiatives."
PPG and INL, working together since 2001 to develop low-cost nanoparticles for commercial use, have made significant progress in developing nanoparticles in a small-scale plasma reactor at PPG's Allison Park, Pa., coatings R&D center, according to James A. Trainham, PPG vice president of science and technology. The partners are working to commission a large-scale pilot project in the near future and, ultimately, to create a commercial process for manufacturing materials made of nanoparticles within the next several years, he said.
"We still have much to achieve, but our work with nanotechnology is showing great promise for application in defense and homeland security, as well as many commercial markets," Trainham said. "The bottom line is that nanoparticles can be used to make a wide array of products lighter, stronger and better."
In addition to being used to enhance existing products, Trainham said nanotechnology can also be used to develop entirely new businesses.
"Once commercialized, this technology will provide keen competitive advantages to all who use it," he said. "For PPG, it will impact virtually all of our businesses, from coatings to glass to chemicals and fiber glass."
PPG is already using nanotechnology in a limited number of commercial applications, Trainham said, including the award-winning CeramiClear automotive clear coat by PPG that protects vehicles' color coat and is resistant to scratches, mars and acid etch. In addition, nano-structured layers are used in developing SunClean self-cleaning glass by PPG, he said.