Pidilite Sponsored M. Tech. Project on “Flow-induced changes in the thixotropy of sealants”

Sealants are compounds that are fillers, i.e., they do not bond but fill spaces between two surfaces and solidify upon application. These typically comprise a prepolymer (oligomeric materials), fillers, thixotropes, other additives and solvent. The thixotropes are typically associating polymers that form network-like structures. Along with fillers, these provide the necessary mechanical properties for the target application – the sealant should not flow, drop or sag up on application and should be a uniform pasty material with no grits.

Sealants are prepared by adding the various components in a specific sequence and mixing using various kinds of mixers that offer different flow profiles. When some types of mixers are used, the thixotropic properties of the formulation are adversely affected. The thixotropes lose their ability to associate and form networks to create a stable sealant. One of the objectives of this M. Tech. project is to understand the effect of various flow conditions on the structure of the formulation and map out the relations between flow fields- sealant structure and (rheological) properties in these systems.

Pidilite has different types of small-scale mixers at their facility in Mumbai which will be used for this project. Model sealant compositions will be formulated using these mixers and based on the understanding developed, a recommendation on flow conditions, type of mixer, order of addition and perhaps even sealant composition, will be made to Pidilite. The selected student will get the opportunity to visit and formulate a few batches of sealant at Pidilite’s laboratory located in Mumbai and interact closely with the researchers there. In addition, the student will also receive an honorarium above and beyond the M. Tech. fellowship. 

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