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Driving the safe, beneficial and profitable commercialisation of nanomaterials

Nanomaterials are forecast to play an increasingly crucial role in market sectors as diverse as pharmaceuticals, plastics, inks, coatings and electronics. Their use offers enormous potential for new product innovation creating discernable differences. These will add value to brands, refresh products nearing the end of life and create entirely new products to meet evolving needs. For manufacturers, nanomaterials can shorten the production process, save energy and raw materials and increase efficiency.

Why use NanoCentral?

As world-class experts in nanomaterials technology, we can help you to overcome problems that you are already facing, or assist you to develop innovative bespoke solutions. NanoCentral can provide you access to expertise, leading-edge technologies and facilities from our extensive Alliance of Providers and help you find solutions to the issues you have identified. If you need a new technology to solve your problem, NanoCentral can introduce you to potential partners to add expertise and capability to the development process.

NanoCentral continually captures emerging technologies from a wide range of sectors and makes these available to you. A key advantage we offer is access to facilities to create and test these nanomaterial solutions in a cost-effective way. If you are excited by the potential of nanomaterials in products, but are unable to find the right supply chain, or are frustrated by the difficulties in developing new products and getting them to market, NanoCentral can help.

NanoCentral uniquely provides existing, potential manufacturers and users of nanomaterials single-point access to an integrated and comprehensive set of nano-related capabilities that encompass:

  • Development of underpinning science;
  • Synthesis;
  • Dispersion, functionalisation & formulation;
  • Application development;
  • Characterisation;
  • Safety, health and environment.

These services can be related to each other in what is known as the nanomaterials supply chain. For a nanomaterial to go from production to end-use, it typically progresses through the technology platforms listed below. Underpinning these technology platforms are characterisation and Safety, Health and Environment. The biggest barrier to commercialisation has been the fragmented nature of this supply chain. NanoCentral is here to co-ordinate these activities and enable you to achieve success through nanomaterials.

Nanomaterial Synthesis

Customers need access to a wide range of reasonably priced nanomaterials in quantities appropriate for feasibility and development programmes. These should be produced using a number of different processing techniques, thereby providing customers with a wide choice of material properties and characteristics. Open access to nanomaterial production processes will encourage customers, previously dissuaded by high risk and capital cost, to evaluate nanomaterials as part of their product offerings.

NanoCentral Alliance members providing nanomaterial synthesis are Johnson Matthey through their flame spray pyrolysis, Intrinsiq Materials Ltd producing materials using Plasma synthesis, Hosokawa Micron offer various manufacturing routes, high shear precipitation methods from HARMAN Technology, NanoGap and Innovnano offer nanomaterials manufactured via several proprietary routes, Promethean Particles utilise super-critical fluid technology and nanoLake who offer an ever-increasing range of materials in commercial quantities.

Dispersion, Functionalisation and Formulation

With the exception of a few specialised applications, nanomaterials need to be supplied in a stable form within a carrier compatible with forward processing steps. The inability of nanomaterial producers (particularly of smaller ones) to provide end-users with nanomaterials in a consistent, well-formulated and dispersed form has been a significant obstacle to commercialisation. We can help you overcome this barrier.

NanoCentral Alliance members providing dispersion, functionalisation and formulation services are the University of Liverpool through their Ultra Mixing and Processing Facility which was manufactured for them by Maelstrom APT who also provide mixer/dispersion technology to the Alliance; Imerys Minerals, who provide processing and milling facilities over a wide range of scales; Netzsch Mastermix and Buhler Ltd who both provide bead milling expertise. Fundamental to these areas is the dispersant technologies supplied by Lubrizol Advanced Materials.

Applications Development

Once nanomaterials have been dispersed and stabilised, they typically go through further processing such as extrusion, injection moulding, inkjet printing, spray coating etc. Nanomaterials behave differently in these applications, delivering different benefits and properties. Currently, there is a lack of open-access applications equipment to provide answers and characterise the material before and after processing. Equally important is to understand the impact of nanomaterials on applications equipment in terms of handling, flow, erosion and health & safety.

NanoCentral Alliance members providing applications development are Macdermid Autotype who offer plastic film-coating facilities, multi-layer coating through HARMAN Technology, compounding, extrusion and ceramic processing provided by Nanoforce, ink jetting technology through Printed Electronics Ltd, compounding, extrusion and composites through Brunel University Wolfson Centre, polymer electrospinning through The Electrospinning Company Ltd, high throughput screening through Ilika Technologies and printing and ink formulation through Teknek Ltd.


The development of new nanomaterials in the UK is frustrated by difficulties in sourcing well-characterised raw materials supplied consistently to specification. The Network?s characterisation platform is designed to address this issue.

Incremental development of the Network will involve linking this platform with other UK centres of expertise in metrology and characterisation in order to broaden its scope. NanoCentral Alliance members providing characterisation services are Intertek Measurement Science Group who offer particle characterisation services through SEM/TEM, X-ray and PCCS techniques as well as many other characterisation techniques, CEMMNT, The Centre of Excellence in Metrology for Micro and Nano Technologies, provides measurement, characterisation, analytical and systems engineering services. Many of the Alliance Providers offer characterisation services in addition to their main service offer.

Safety, Health and Environment

Despite science-fiction tales of self-replicating nano machines reducing the planet to grey goo, there is no widespread public concern about nanotechnology. However, media interest and pressure group attention is understandable and a necessary part of the governance of science. Public debate on the balance between risks and benefits needs to take place sooner rather than later. As yet there is not enough data about the effects of all the available engineered nanomaterials on the human body and the environment.

NanoCentral is well placed to help ensure these uncertainties will be addressed urgently in a coherent, scientific way through our partnership with SAFENANO which is operated by the Institute of Occupational Medicine and AssuredNano, which is being widely marketed by Nano- Central, the first nanomaterials Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) Accreditation Scheme featuring annual Compliance Auditing.

NanoCentral can help you as a technology provider or user to explore the unique opportunities that nanomaterials can offer. Get in touch with the team via the website or the contact details below.

NanoCentral at
The Centre for Process Innovation,
Wilton Centre
Redcar TS10 4RF

Stephen Cash, CEO
Dr Keith Robson,
Senior Business Development Director
Dr Stephen Devine, Operations Director
Dr Dan Gooding, Business Development Director
Tel: + 44 (0) 16 4244 2464

Added the 04 October 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-2

Related elements :

Innovation UK Vol5-1
Central role
How NanoCentral is a driving force behind the safe, beneficial and profitable commercialisation of nanomaterials

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