IIT Madras Partners With JK Fenner To Develop Biodegradable Alternatives To Rubber Products

IIT Madras Partners With JK Fenner To Develop Biodegradable Alternatives To Rubber Products

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras is partnering with JK Fenner (India) Limited, for the research and development of a biodegradable alternative to elastomers or rubber products used in the production of various utilitarian items. JK Fenner is providing support for this research project as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The CSR funding will also support research to explore the modification of natural fibers such as cotton, and hemp, among others to substitute synthetic materials in belts.

“This research is vital as although natural rubber is biodegradable, the finished product is slow to biodegrade, in part, due to the presence of non-degradable chemical units that function as molecular bridges," IIT Madras said in a statement.

"Most synthetic rubbers are also not amenable to biodegradation due to their structural feature, which consists of carbon-carbon single bonds in the backbone. Hence, the finished rubber product after its service life remains without much structural degradation for a long period of time,” it added.

An IIT Madras research team headed by Professor R Dhamodharan, Department of Chemistry, aims to tackle this issue by researching and developing effective, biodegradable, molecular bridges as an alternative, through their research.

Highlighting the impact of this CSR Funding, Professor Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “We are proud to partner with JK Fenner, an industry leader, on this impactful CSR initiative. We jointly believe that CSR invested in technology development is a sound way to ensure a more sustainable tomorrow for all of us.”

Speaking about this CSR Partnership with IIT Madras, Nagaraju Srirama President and Director, J K 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 environment-friendly. This research will set a new direction in the rubber industry (belts or hoses) which will be environmentally friendly and will support our initiative towards a sustainable future.”