Tag Archives: CMKNT

Cement and concrete festival

Over the last week or so there’ve been a number of articles and publications about cement and concrete and nanotechnology. The Dec. 17, 2012 Nanowerk Spotlight article by (Mohammed) Shakeel Iqbal and Yashwant Mahajan for India’s Centre for Knowledge Management of Nanoscience & Technology (CKMNT, an ARCI [International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials] project, Dept.of Science & Technology) seemed to kick off the trend with a patent analysis of nanotechnology-enabled cement innovations,

China is the world leader of patent filings, their 154 patent applications contributing 41% of overall filings, representing the major and active R&D player in the area of nano-based cementitious materials. South Korea is the second leading country with 55 patents (15% of patent filings) on nano-enabled cement, closely followed by United States with 51 patents. Russia, Germany, Japan, France and India are the other leading patent filing countries with 37, 18, 11, 9 and 5 patents respectively, while the remaining patents represent a minor contribution from rest of the world.


Dagestan State University (Russia) is the leading assignee with 15-patents to its credit, which are mainly focussed on the development of heat resistant and high compression strength concrete materials. Halliburton Energy Services Inc (USA) comes second with 14-patents that are directed towards well bore cementing for the gas, oil or water wells using nano-cementitious materials.

This is another teaser article from the CKMNT (see my Dec. 13, 2012 posting about their bio-pharmaceutical teaser article) that highlights the findings from a forthcoming report,

A comprehensive Market Research Report on “Nanotechnology in Cement Industry” is proposed to be released by CKMNT in the near future. Interested readers may please contact Dr. Y. R. Mahajan, Technical Adviser and Editor, Nanotech Insights or Mr. H. Purushotham, Team Leader [email protected]

Regardless of one’s feelings about patents and patent systems, the article also provides a  good technology overview of the various nanomaterials used as fillers in cement, courtesy of the information in the filed patents.

A December 20, 2012 news item on Azonano points to at least of the reasons cement is occasioning research interest,

Cement production is responsible for 5% of carbon dioxide emissions. If we are to invent a “green” cement, we need to understand in more detail the legendary qualities of traditional Portland cement. A research group partly financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) is tackling this task.

The Dec. 20, 2012 Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) news release, which originated the news item on Azonano, goes on to describe the research into exactly how Portland cement’s qualities are derived,

The researchers first developed a packing model of hydrated calcium silicate nanoparticles. They then devised a method for observing their precipitation based on numerical simulations. This approach has proven successful (*). “We were able to show that the different densities on the nano scale can be explained by the packing of nanoparticles of varying sizes. At this crucial level, the result is greater material hardness than if the particles were of the same size and it corresponds to the established knowledge that, at macroscopic level, aggregates of different sizes form a harder concrete.” [said Emanuela Del Gado, SNSF professor at the Institute for Building Materials of the ETH Zurich]

Until today, all attempts to reduce or partially replace burnt calcium carbonate in the production of cement have resulted in less material hardness. By gaining a better understanding of the mechanisms at the nano level, it is possible to identify physical and chemical parameters and to improve the carbon footprint of concrete without reducing its hardness.

For those of a more technical turn of mind, here’s a citation for the paper (from the SNSF press release),

E. Masoero, E. Del Gado, R. J.-M. Pellenq, F.-J. Ulm, and S. Yip (2012). Nanostructure and Nanomechanics of Cement: Polydisperse Colloidal Packing. Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.155503

Meanwhile, there’s a technical group in Spain working on ‘biological’ concrete. From the Dec. 20, 2012 news item on ScienceDaily,

In studying this concrete, the researchers at the Structural Technology Group of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya • BarcelonaTech (UPC) have focused on two cement-based materials. The first of these is conventional carbonated concrete (based on Portland cement), with which they can obtain a material with a pH of around 8. The second material is manufactured with a magnesium phosphate cement (MPC), a hydraulic conglomerate that does not require any treatment to reduce its pH, since it is slightly acidic.

On account of its quick setting properties, magnesium phosphate cement has been used in the past as a repair material. It has also been employed as a biocement in the field of medicine and dentistry, indicating that it does not have an additional environmental impact.

The innovative feature of this new (vertical multilayer) concrete is that it acts as a natural biological support for the growth and development of certain biological organisms, to be specific, certain families of microalgae, fungi, lichens and mosses.

Here’s a description of the ‘biological’ concrete and its layers,

In order to obtain the biological concrete, besides the pH, other parameters that influence the bioreceptivity of the material have been modified, such as porosity and surface roughness. The result obtained is a multilayer element in the form of a panel which, in addition to a structural layer, consists of three other layers: the first of these is a waterproofing layer situated on top of the structural layer, protecting the latter from possible damage caused by water seeping through.

The next layer is the biological layer, which supports colonisation and allows water to accumulate inside it. It acts as an internal microstructure, aiding retention and expelling moisture; since it has the capacity to capture and store rainwater, this layer facilitates the development of biological organisms.

The final layer is a discontinuous coating layer with a reverse waterproofing function. [emphasis mine] This layer permits the entry of rainwater and prevents it from escaping; in this way, the outflow of water is redirected to where it is aimed to obtain biological growth

This work is designed for a Mediterranean climate and definitely not for rain forests such as the Pacific Northwest which, climatologically, is a temperate rainforest.

The ScienceDaily news item ends with this information about future research and commercialization,

The research has led to a doctoral thesis, which Sandra Manso is writing. At present, the experimental campaign corresponding to the phase of biological growth is being conducted, and this will be completed at the UPC and the University of Ghent (Belgium). This research has received support from Antonio Gómez Bolea, a lecturer in the Faculty of Biology at the University of Barcelona, who has made contributions in the field of biological growth on construction materials.

At present, a patent is in the process of being obtained for this innovative product, and the Catalan company ESCOFET 1886 S.A., a manufacturer of concrete panels for architectural and urban furniture purposes, has already shown an interest in commercialising the material.

Almost at the same time, the US Transport Research Board (a division of the US National Research Council) released this Dec. 19, 2012 announcement about their latest circular,

TRB Transportation Research Circular E-C170: Nanotechnology in Concrete Materials: A Synopsis explore promising new research and innovations using nanotechnology that have the potential to result in improved mechanical properties, volume change properties, durability, and sustainability in concrete materials.

The report is 44 pp (PDF version) and provides an in-depth look (featuring some case studies) at the research not just of nanomaterials but also nanoelectronics and sensors as features in nanotechoology-enabled concrete and cement products.

There you have it, a festival of cement and concrete.

Bio-pharmaceutical teaser from India’s Centre for Knowledge Management of Nanoscience and Technology (CNMKT)

The Dec. 13, 2012 Nanowerk Spotlight article about India’s bio-pharmaceutical industry and its nanotechnology efforts was written by Vivek Patel of India’s Centre for Knowledge Management of Nanoscience and Technology (CMKNT) and appears to be an excerpt of a larger report to be released at a later date. The article is well worth reading and might be eye-opening for some folks,

Chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, osteoporosis and cardiovascular among others are not well diagnosed, because symptoms of these diseases are often less apparent (progress slowly) than acute and communicable diseases. With the rapid urbanization and the unhealthy lifestyles, the disease profile in India is gradually shifting towards an ample growth in the chronic diseases segment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India has the highest number of patients with diabetes and 60 percent of the world’s cardiac patients belong to India (read more: “Background Paper: Burden of Disease in India“; pdf). It is also estimated that India has the largest number of coronary artery disease related deaths in the world. The bio-pharmaceutical industry expert says that the chronic disease-related therapeutics is the fastest growing segment in the Indian pharmaceutical market.

Patel offers an analysis of the current nanotechnology-enabled bio-pharmaceutical industry in India,

Nanotechnology-enabled bio-pharmaceutical R&D and products in the Indian industry are still in the early stages of evolution. Only modest amount of investments have been made so far and most of projects are moving through different phases of research/clinical trials (phase I-III), even though a few nano-based drug delivery systems have already reached the market. The Indian bio-pharmaceutical industry is witnessing business opportunity trends such as merger & acquisitions/takeovers/collaborations/in-licensing, increase in R&D investments, innovations in healthcare and drug delivery as well as product penetration into the tier I to tier VI markets to make significant inroads into nanomedicine and nanodiagnostics. CKMNT believes that these trends, along with the favourable macroeconomics and growth drivers, nanotechnology will propel Indian bio-pharmaceutical industry to the next level of growth. It is expected that in the next 10-20 years, market will be flooded with nano-based medicines and drug delivery systems as well as nano-enabled ultrasensitive and rapid detection devices for diagnostics and therapy.

Cientifica, an international consulting firm which specializes in emerging technologies and business, authored two analyses of the international business context for nano drug delivery systems, one is a free white paper overview and the other is a full report. The company also issued a full market report on nanotechnology-enabled medical diagnostics. (Note 1: Cientifica is offering some of its 2012 reports [the drug delivery and diagnostics reports are included in the sale] at a discount price of up to 80% until Dec. 31, 2012. Contact Cientifica at +44 7887 497630 or +44 7894 708989 or email [email protected] for pricing. Special academic discounts are also available. Note 2: The FrogHeart blog does not receive any monies whatsover from Cientifica.)

Getting back to the analysis of the nanotechnology-enabled bio-pharmaceutical industry in India, Patel provides a list of the most prolific Indian companies in this sector,

Fresenius Kabi Oncology Ltd. (erstwhile Dabur Pharmaceuticals Ltd.) made its foray into the field of oncology with the launch of ‘Nanoxel’, which is a novel nanoparticle-enabled formulation of Paclitaxel in 2007. …

Lupin Ltd., one of the world’s largest producers of tuberculosis drugs, with 12 factories and six research centres in India and Japan, has launched ‘Genexol-PM’ (paclitaxel nanoparticle) nanomedicine for cancer treatment by tie-up with the South Korean company Samyang Corporation. …

Cipla Ltd., one of the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical companies with a presence in over 170 countries, has successfully developed and manufactured Paclitax Nab (nanoparticle albumin bound) product for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in 2012.

Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company Ltd. is engaged in creating new drugs and delivery systems such as ‘Paclitaxel Injection Concentrate for Nanodispersion (PICN)’and ‘Docetaxel Injection Concentrate for Nanodispersion (DICN)’. …

In 2012, Venus Remedies Ltd. has launched two nanotechnology-enabled products for arthritis and cancer treatments, respectively. The brand Taxedol consists of Docetaxel in nanoparticle form and company claims that it gives 11 % higher cancer cell killing potential as compared to existing Docetaxel…

Cadila Healthcare Ltd. (erstwhile Zydus Cadila) has successfully developed and launched nanotechnology-based ‘Oxalgin Nanogel’ formulation for the pain management therapy (arthritis, backache, joint pain etc.).

Shasun Pharmaceuticals Ltd., the active pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturer has entered into collaboration (50:50 joint ventures) with Nanoparticle M/s. Biochem, Inc., USA to develop gold nanoparticles-enabled radioactive medicine to treat prostate cancer.

Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd. has established a joint venture company, CPL Biologicals Pvt. Ltd., in partnership with M/s. Novavax Inc., USA to develop, manufacture and sell nanotechnology-based novel therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines, biological therapeutics and diagnostics in India. …

As noted earlier, this article does appear to be a teaser for a more comprehensive report due at a later date,

A comprehensive report on “Indian Nanotechnology Market: Technologies, Applications and Opportunities” is slated to be released by CKMNT in the future. Interested readers may please contact Mr. Vivek Patel at [email protected] or [email protected] for further details.