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EMU prof licenses sustainable coating tech to Michigan firm

An Eastern Michigan University professor has developed a sustainable coating technology that can be applied to materials in various industries, such as automotive and construction.

Vijay Mannari, associate professor of polymers & coatings at EMU, and a group of researchers at EMU's Coatings Research Institute have developed sustainable polymers and coatings that use renewable, non-toxic sources. These coatings (think rust inhibitors) can be used industrial products within the automobile, aerospace, transportation, packaging and building industries.

"It's a huge market," Mannari says. "Anybody who uses structural aluminum uses these coatings."

The prize product, currently being licensed out to a Michigan-based company, is a chromate-free, anti-corrosive coating for metals that inhibits rust. Traditional coatings are based on hexavalent chromium, a proven carcinogen. Mannari's coating "doesn't have any harmful heavy metals, including chromium," he says.

Mannari and his team have received two grants worth $125,000 from the Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to fund the commercialization of these coatings. The EMU research group is also partnering to develop these green coatings with Plascore, a Zeeland-based company known as a global manufacturer of honeycomb core and composite structures used in aerospace, marine, military, safety and transportation industries. It utilizes coatings on many of its products.

Source: Vijay Mannari, associate professor of polymers & coatings at Eastern Michigan University
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
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