The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has partnered up with JK Fenner (India) Limited, for research and development of a biodegradable alternative to elastomers or rubber products used in the production of various utilitarian items. This research is a part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of JK Fenner. This initiative will also support the research to explore modification of natural fibres such as cotton, hemp, among others to substitute synthetic materials in belts.
IIT Madras in a statement said, “This research is vital as although natural rubber is biodegradable, the finished product is slow to biodegrade, in part, due to the presence of non-degradable chemical units that function as molecular bridges.”
The statement added, “Most synthetic rubbers are also not amenable to biodegradation due to their structural feature, which consists of carbon-carbon single bonds in the backbone. Hence, the finished rubber product after its service life remains without much structural degradation for a long period of time.”
The research is done by a team headed by Professor R Dhamodharan, Department of Chemistry, to research and develop effective, biodegradable, molecular bridges as an alternative to existing synthetic rubbers.
Nagaraju Srirama President and Director, J K Fenner (India) Limited, said, “JK Fenner India Limited is happy to partner with IIT Madras, the premier research institute in the country for developing the next generation rubber which is going to be biodegradable and environment-friendly.”