IIT Madras – JK Fenner developing biodegradable alternative to rubber

Indian Institue of Technology (IIT) Madras and JK Fenner (India) Limited have partnered to develop a biodegradable alternative to rubber. As part of its CSR initiative, JK Fenner would fund the project.

The objective is to make the finished rubber product biodegradable quicker. Synthetic rubbers are also not biodegradable due to their structural feature, which consists of carbon-carbon single bonds in the backbone.

An IIT Madras research team headed by Prof R Dhamodharan, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, will research and develop practical, biodegradable molecular bridges as an alternative. Speaking about this CSR Partnership with IIT Madras, Nagaraju Srirama, President and Director, JK 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 the environment- friendly. This research will set a new direction in the rubber industry (belts/hoses), which will be environmentally friendly and support our initiative towards a sustainable future.”

Elaborating on the scope of their research, Principal Investigator Prof R Dhamodharan, Department of Chemistry, IIT Madras, said, “The structure of the polymer to address these issues should be amenable to the ‘standard curing procedure’ established in the rubber industry. The polymer and the ‘crosslinker’ or the ‘bridge molecule’ used in the curing should also be designed with structural features that would make it suitable for biodegradation.”
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