EMU Research Team Awarded U.S. Patent for Metal Finishing Industry

From left to right: Vijay Mannari, Himanshu Manchanda, and Hamid Asemani. Photos courtesy of Eastern Michigan University.

A faculty-student research team from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) (Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA) has been awarded a U.S. patent for its invention of “Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Polymeric Compositions, Related Articles, and Related Methods.” This is the third patent for Organic-Inorganic Hybrid materials for EMU’s Coatings Research Institute in the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology. 

According to Vijay Mannari, director of the Coatings Research Institute, the invention of the composition can potentially replace hazardous heavy metals used in the metal finishing industry. The concepts within the patent are also advancing the development of 3D-printing materials and solving the challenges of conventional materials and processes. 

“This invention demonstrates our contribution to advancement in material science and engineering,” says Mannari. “It’s extraordinary because the two co-inventors were students at the time of its invention. This innovation is an amazing example of what students can do when appropriately mentored, encouraged, empowered, and enabled.” 

In 2006, with a funding award from U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, USA), Mannari started exploring Organic-Inorganic Hybrid (OIH) coatings. Throughout his exploration, the team developed hex-chrome free versions of these coatings. 

The hex-chrome free OIH coatings showed comparable performance to those based on hex-chrome, a carcinogenic compound. According to Mannari, this success ignited the exploration of other innovative applications of OIH coatings. 

“Excited by the success we had developing hex-chrome free OIH coatings, I started exploring other innovative applications of where such coatings can find suitable applications,” he says. “After several years of work by my graduate students, we invented a novel, efficient, and sustainable route for deposition of OIH coatings using ultraviolet light radiation.” 

Himanshu Manchanda and Hamid Asemani, both EMU alumni, also played pivotal roles. Manchanda conducted early students on ultraviolet-curable OIH chemistry and compositions, while Asemani completed many investigations on the deposition and corrosion resistance of OIH coatings. 

The combined discovery by Mannari, Manchanda, and Asemani opened opportunities for tailoring the precursors for OIH materials at molecular scales. These OIH films can be deposited as thin as 2–5 µm and as thick as 50 µm. This leaves room for many advanced applications. 

“I am looking forward to possibilities of licensing our patent by industries for commercial applications that will enhance the environmental sustainability of their products,” Mannari says. 

Since the publication of that patent, Mannari has received inquiries for a few industries for customizing OIH coatings for specific end-use applications. 

Source: EMU Today, https://today.emich.edu