The €1.7 million EU funded InForm project, involving 17 world-leading research institutions working together, is bringing together scientists to make the new advances in nanotechnology practical and useful, by combining them into things we use everyday.
The ground-breaking work, known as formulation science, will lead to safer, more effective and more stable products giving increased value for money and performance. Nanomaterials can encapsulate flavours and nutrients making food both tasty and healthy, pharmaceuticals now contain nanomaterials to make them stable or help them work better and nanoparticles in textiles can protect them from wear or give bacteria-killing properties.
Held in Stockholm Sweden, in June, the NanoFormulation2010 conference brought together scientists ranging from international names such as Bayer Crop Science and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras to small companies such as Automaxion SARL and Higgins Consulting, to share their latest advances and ideas.
Delegates visited a leading industrial research institute, YKI Institute for Surface Chemistry, to hear about nanotechnological research in Sweden and attended research talks from internationally recognised companies, who use nanocomposites to manufacture light weight, high strength and fire retardant materials and small companies building more efficient solar cells to generate electricity.
"Turning nano-materials into practical products is a real challenge as they don't behave conventionally when combined into liquids, creams, fabrics, etc. We need to learn to harness the useful behavior without losing it when the material is turned into a product" said Stephen Bysouth of Automaxion SARL. "This conference was a very valuable forum for learning about the advances in formulating nano-materials" he said, "it will be interesting to see what advances will be made between now and NanoFormulation2011"
The InForm project is funded until June 2012 by the European Commission through the European Union Framework 7 programme and links researchers from Europe, USA and Asia-Pacific working in academia, public research laboratories and industry.
InForm activities include six thematic lines of fundamental importance in formulations, using scientific and technical forums, networking events, fact finding missions and technical workshops to share information and experience.
A researcher exchange program also seeds new collaborations between partners in different world regions.
The 17 institutions involved in the InForm project are:
• Automaxion SARL (France)
• Bayer CropScience AG (Germany)
• Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain)
• Daren Laboratories (Israel)
• Dechema (Germany)
• Higgins Consultancy Ltd. (UK)
• Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India)
• Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences, A*STAR (Singapore)
• Novartis (UK)
• Royal Society of Chemistry Formulation Science and Technology Group (UK)
• Societé Chimique de France (France)
• Southwest Forestry University (China)
• Strider Research Corporation (USA)
• University of Malaya (Malaysia)
• University of Manchester (UK)
• University of Sydney (Australia)
• YKI, Institute for Surface Chemistry (Sweden)
The 6 thematic lines are:
• Formulation of Nano-Biomaterials
• Handling and Processing of Nanopowders
• Process technologies for nanoparticle and nanoemulsion formulation
• Physical chemistry at the nanoscale
• Smart and Functional Materials in Formulations: Coatings, Films and Tapes
• Safety and Health Effects of Nanoscale Materials
The next conference in the series, NanoFormulation2011, will be held in Singapore as part of the ICMAT symposium.