Inspired by the small hairs on a gecko’s feet which enable it to scale walls, a
University of Akron
professor and alumnus have invented nanotube technology replicating a gecko's unique properties in synthetic adhesives.
Ali Dhinojwala and Sunny Sehti launched ADAP Nanotech, LLC
in 2009 to commercialize their invention. The company recently received a $250,000 investment from the entrepreneurial support organization JumpStart Inc.
, a nonprofit that serves Northeast Ohio. That cash infusion will enable ADAP Nanotech to develop manufacturing processes to make large quantities of its nanotube adhesive at competitive costs for the electronics market.
Sehti, a Ph.D. researcher in polymers, and Dhinojwala, Chair of UA’s Department of Polymer Science, expect their new adhesive to be successful as a thermal conductive adhesive, which could have applications in cooling electronics.
“People are looking for alternatives to dissipate heat in electronic equipment,” says Sehti. “Our product removes heat 300 percent faster than anything commercially available today.”
The thermal interface materials market that this new product would fit into is estimated at $500 million annually, Sehti adds. He says that their product, NanoTIM, could achieve sales of roughly $3-4 million in its first year.
The carbon nanotechnology that went into the development of Nanotech was created entirely at UA in the past 10 years, says Sehti. It could have applications for adhesive use in extreme conditions, including space exploration.
The JumpStart investment represents ADAP's second round of financial support. Last February, the Student Venture Fund at UA, a chapter of the Northeast Ohio Student Venture Fund, selected ADAP to receive $25,000 in startup funds.
ADAP Nanotech’s first commercial sales could begin in 3-4 months. By the end of its first year, it could add 3-4 new, full-time employees in sales and technology support. After five years, Sehti hopes the firm will employ 25-30 people.
Source: Sunny Sehti
Writer: Val Prevish