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MPTL’s Visit to Continental Tyre (M) Sdn. Bhd

The academia-industries linkage ties between Material Processing and Technology Lab (MPTL) and Continental Tyre (M) Sdn. Bhd. was elongated further with MPTL’s team paying a research visit to Continental factory at Petaling Jaya on 28 August 2017. MPTL’s team was led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suraya Abdul Rashid together with Prof. Dr. Mohd Zobir Hussein, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohammad Amran Mohd Salleh, Dr. Ismayadi Ismail, Mohd Ali Mat Nong, Juraina Md Yusof and Roslina Abdul Rashid.  Meanwhile Continental was represented by Chai Fei Chin, Tang Hon Peng, Jannah Jaafar Sidek, Choong Lap Kit, Addy Chee Wei Kit and Ku Suhasliza Ku Sulong.

The meeting started with a brief introduction by everyone present followed by the agenda of the day. Ms. Chai Fei Chin started with the objectives and expectations of Continental on this collaboration followed by a presentation by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Suraya stating MPTL’s objectives and expectations. Continental’s expectations include knowledge exchanges, sharing and support in research and development, allotment of testing facilities and student exchange.

Continentals briefly laid out their process in research for raw natural rubber from characterization to stabilization and functionality test. Some of their problems were also shared regarding the isolation of protein and lipids in natural rubber, addition of silica to enhance mechanical strength and their interest to embed conductive materials in natural rubber as a sensor or energy harvesting device. The need to control swelling behavior for stabilization of raw natural rubber was also discussed.

MPTL’s expectations includes having a close academia-industry linkages in terms two way student exchanges involving practical students from UPM as Continentals trainee, and accepting Continentals students to further studies in UPM (in general).  MPTL’s research expectations include collaboratively applying for high impact research grants and sharing of facilities and expertise for both parties.

It was later followed by a presentation by Prof. Dr. Mohd Zobir Hussein on Inorganic based phytohormone delivery vector of 2-chloroethylphosphonate nanohybrid, a new stimulating compound with controlled release property to increase latex production.

Later, a brainstorming session was held to go in depth on the research focus and areas for both parties. It was concluded that there are 2 focus topics that can be explored that are functionality and applied research. Topics included under functionality are preparation of clay-rubber nanocomposite, natural rubber (NR) functionalization, crosslinking the functional group with rubbers, NR functionalities enhancement eg; electrical conductive rubber, NR as electrical insulators, In-situ polymerization NR – effect electrical conductivity and enhancement of piezoelectric energy harvester power density using NR. Meanwhile for applied research, suggested applications are flexible sensors of CNT cotton in NR and EMI absorbers shielding using magnetic nanoparticles in NR.

For characterization stage, the research may be apprehended in the characterization of NR component within its microstructure i.e chemically and rheological, quantification of non rubber components, protein and lipid isolation (extraction), characterization of components in NR using high end facilities such as GCMS/LCMS/NMR/Raman, rheological studies of raw NR and NR nanocomposite, molecular weight and distribution of NR, determination of NR composition with FT-IR: Rapid and non-obstructive to determine protein and lipid content, method to improve storage hardening of NR and last but not least the characterization of macro and microgel of NR.

The primary expected outcomes from this joint research are an establish study on stabilization, crosslinking and swelling behavior of NR. The last agenda concluded some actions to be taken by respective parties after the meeting. MPTL will have to check with respective researchers for their journals and replied the open questions from Conti on the related research work. In addition, MPTL planned to call interested researchers to join in the next meeting with Continentals. The MoU draft will be prepared as UPM templates by Continental side.  Both parties will have further discussion on arrangement of equipment usage for the researcher.

After the meeting, MPTL’s delegation was brought to visit Continentals testing site and lunch at the cafeteria. In conclusion, the visit to Continental Tyre (M) Sdn. Bhd was a fruitful networking session with promising outcomes for a tight collaboration between ITMA and Continental.

Updated:: 14/09/2017 [marzieana]

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