Brussels, 24 Feb 2005
An EU project is bringing science and engineering together in an attempt to find new processes for dispersing nanoparticles in liquid forms such as body lotions and detergents.
Using nanoparticles in certain products can make them more attractive to consumers, for example by making a body lotion less visible on the skin, or protecting paint from sunlight. But in order to be effective, the particles must be dispersed within the liquid. While manufacturers are currently doing this, 'there is currently no fundamental understanding of how the engineering parameters interact with the chemical parameters,' the PROFORM project coordinator, Dr Gul Ozcan-Taskin, told CORDIS News.
The dispersal process can involve several steps, depending on the particle type, for example wetting, dispersing and dissolving. In order to improve on current methods, the consortium will investigate each of the components and stages involved in nanoparticle dispersion, from the properties of the particles (wettability, porosity, shape, size, density, aggregate strength), to the liquid's physical properties and the dispersion itself. It is important to ensure, for example, that the particles neither float nor sink, and that aggregates are broken down. With understanding of these processes, it is hoped that products can be improved and waste reduced.
The outcomes of PROFORM are expected to include a design guide for the entire process, a databank of generic information for characterising particles, and numerical models for the rheological properties of suspensions, kinetics of sub-processes, fluid flow and mixing.
The project brings together ten partners from industry - both large and small companies - and academia. The project started in July 2004, and will run for three years with funding from the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6).
For further information on PROFORM, please visit: