The Composite Research Group (CRG) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) is currently hosting their Third International Conference on Composites, Biocomposites and Nanocomposites (ICCBN) which is taking place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from today, 7 November 2018, to 9 November 2018. The conference is hosting leading researchers, scientists and experts from around the world.
The conference will delve into research pertaining to Composite, Biocomposite and Nancomposite materials which are widespread and continually increasing. Their versatility is extensive and their uses in various applications are growing daily, and the increased use of these advanced materials has raised concerns regarding their fabrication methods as well as their impact on people and the environment.
The conference has adopted a variety of themes to tackle which include Materials and Applications, Processing and Characterisation, Analysis and Optimisation and Quality Assurance.
Dut’s Professor Krishnan Kanny welcomed delegates to the conference which will unpack and cover research questions and findings in the areas of composites, biocomposites, and nanocomposites.
“The ICCBN meeting provides a forum for exchange, discussion and interaction on cross-disciplinary research on exotic materials systems development, processing of these material systems and testing thereof, for a variety of applications including aerospace, automotive, naval and mass transit systems.
We were most fortunate to have many leading scientists from all parts of the world help launch ICCBN on a path of academic excellence and practical relevance; we express our sincere thanks to all of them,” he said.
Prof Kanny also acknowledged the invaluable effort of DUT’s Executive Management, the Conference Operations Committee, and Composites Cluster, DUT staff, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his postgraduate students whom worked tirelessly to make this conference a success.
“The conference is well on its way to becoming synonymous with technical excellence and has attracted some of the worlds’ top researchers in this field. I look forward to an exciting week of sharing technical ideas and visions with colleagues from around the globe,” he added.
Vice-Chancellor and Principal of DUT Prof Thandwa Mthembu, also congratulated the DUT Composite Research Group (CRG) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, for hosting the conference.
“ICCBN 2018, provides both our staff and students an international platform hosted by DUT where new knowledge, innovations and ideas around biocomposites and nanocomposites can be shared. There are many known applications of course from these materials and coupled with the next generational needs that are posed through the 4th industrial revolution, we believe DUT is at the cutting edge of knowledge in this area. We are also glad to see high student participation rates – as these students will be the next generation of engineers! I congratulate the organising team led by Prof Krishnan Kanny and the faculty members, on behalf of the University, and wish all participants a productive and fruitful ICCBN 2018,” he said.
Prof Moyo also congratulated the DUT Composite Research Group (CRG) for hosting the conference.
“ICCBN 2018 for us is one of our major platforms where we bring together researchers, students and experts in their field to share on new developments, showcase and exhibit some of the innovations that are at the cutting edge of technology and new products. The focus of course on nanocomposites cannot be underestimated and possible applications to the production of new products and technologies that can help address some of the current national and global challenges while addressing the sustainable development goals,” she said.
Executive Dean: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment Prof Theo Andrew added that the event is more than just a research conference, but also a gathering of established and budding experts across the value chain of additive manufacturing and materials technology.
“The range of themes from materials and applications, process and characterisation, analysis and optimisation to quality assurance is an indication that ICCBN 2018 is committed to the materials innovation chain. ICCBN is a critical event and intervention in supporting South Africa as a global player in the smart materials enterprise,” he stressed.
Day one of the conference included invited and plenary presentations, and plenary speaker for day one was Prof P Santhana Gopala Krishnan, the Principal Director and Head, Department of Plastics Engineering, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET), Patia, India.
His topic of discussion was on: Flame Retardancy of Polymers and Nancomposites. He spoke on how polymeric materials have become an indispensable part of our daily life due to its light weight, better performance characteristics and low cost. He added that the production and consumption of plastics is continuously increasing, due to their ability to conform to numerous applications including public transport and sky-rise buildings. “One of the major disadvantages of most polymeric materials is their intrinsic flammability because most of them are highly flammable in nature, which restricts it applications. The flame retardancy of these polymers can be improved by the incorporation of numerous materials like mineral, halogenated, phosphorus-containing, nitrogen-containing, silicon-containing and nanometric compounds as additives or by copolymerisation or by surface modification,” he said.
He further spoke on the fact that though some of these compounds impart excellent flame retardancy, they tend to be toxic and persistent, having a significant long term impact on the environment.
Prof Krishnan has worked as Research Scientist for five years in Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), Singapore. He has about 40 research publications in reputed International Journals and written five book chapters. His Biography is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in the World and Science and Engineering. He is the Editorial Board member of Academic Journal of Polymer Science.
Day two will have invited speaker Dr Maya Jacob John talk on sustainable materials and technologies from Biomass resources. Day three includes renowned Dr Neerish Revaprasadu, who will elaborate more on the synthesis and affiliations of functional materials for energy applications.