NaturalNano, Inc., an innovative materials science company, today announced that it has entered into a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with Cascade Engineering, a leading developer and manufacturer of innovative plastics solutions for multiple markets, including the polymer composites industry. This is the second JDA that NaturalNano has announced in the second quarter of 2007.
The new partnership will center on commercializing NaturalNano’s Pleximer products for a wide range of industries. Pleximer, an innovative, turn-key nanocomposite additive, will have a substantial impact on the properties of polymer composites, namely enabling the development of stronger, lighter materials. Pleximer provides a low cost alternative for the polymer nanocomposites market, which is the fastest growing segment of the polymer composites industry. The segment is predicted to more than double in size from $300M today to $740M by 2010.
"We are looking forward to working with NaturalNano to develop a product whose virtually limitless applications have the potential to substantially improve the design and safety of the everyday products people use," said Fred Keller, Cascade Engineering’s Chairman, President, and CEO. "With its focus on strengthening products at the Nano scale and potentially extending their life cycle, our partnership is also an excellent opportunity for Cascade to undertake yet another strategic initiative that advances sustainability and helps leave a smaller environmental footprint."
”Our partnership with Cascade Engineering is a critical step in our path to Pleximer’s commercialization and introduction into the market in 2007,” said Cathy Fleischer, PhD, President and Chief Technology Officer of NaturalNano. “By combining our halloysite nanotube surface functionalization and compatibilization technology with Cascade’s expertise in polymer compounding and molding, we will be able to meet our Pleximer commercialization timeline. In addition, this will help us to produce materials with unique characteristics to create the next generation of products.”
Both NaturalNano and Cascade Engineering anticipate applications in numerous products, leading to utilization of filled halloysite nanotubes (HNT™) to develop materials with unique functionality such as flame retardant and antimicrobial properties.
The companies’ joint development collaboration is an important benchmark in Pleximer’s development timeline. Over the last several months, NaturalNano demonstrated the production of polypropylene and nylon Pleximer on a pilot and manufacturing scale. The resulting materials exhibited excellent dispersion and improved the mechanical properties of the polymer. The highly concentrated Pleximer product would be added to pure polymer in the final molding process by Cascade Engineering to obtain nanocomposite materials with the desired properties for a wide range of applications.
NaturalNano and Cascade Engineering now plan to pursue jointly developed accreditation testing, application definitions, and formula optimization that will be used in the pilot and manufacturing processes to produce Pleximer-based nanocomposites for multiple polymer systems.