Hybrid Polymers


New technology

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Researchers at The University of Auckland have overcome a major obstacle in processing polymerised aniline to deliver a new class of modified aniline polymers.

These polymers have exceptional anti-microbial activity and are easily combined with conventional plastics.

In other words – transformational products.


These transformational products also come with exceptional flexibility, opening opportunities across:

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Packaging 
From trays and films for raw meat to juice packaging to both protect and extend shelf-life.

 

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Hearing technology 
Anti-microbial polymer films can significantly reduce infection risk with mp3 players, headphones, and hearing aids.

 

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Wound dressings 
Anti-microbial technology can improve the safety of wound dressings, sanitary products, and disposable clothing.

 

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Food processing 
Think of conveyor belts in food processing. Coating them in anti-microbial film can reduce contamination risks.

 

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Polymers can maintain sterility in hospitals and factories. They can also be used in coatings.

 

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Air-conditioning and air filters 
The incorporation of active polymers will inhibit the growth of health threatening bacteria (eg Legionnaire's disease).

 

Several New Zealand and international companies have a commercial interest in these new polymers and have already invested co-funding in the development of commercial products.

How the technology works


Think of it as an equation: hybrid polymer technology plus the substrate material.

CooneyDiagram

What about food?


Fresh protein-based food, such as meat, chicken, poultry or fish, are a challenge because they’re only partly in contact with the film or tray of the packaging. This limited contact is less effective. It doesn’t deliver as much power to to inhibit bacterial growth unless it manifests itself in one of its other properties – oxygen diffusion, oxygen permeability, or optical absorption.

Where you have a food or beverage capable of moving around – fruit juice, milk, beer – where contact is made occasionally but sufficiently, we expect the oxygen diffusion method to work.
 

Homogeneous solutions


Anti-microbial polymers offer new levels of compatibility, stability and flexibility. No existing polymers have these qualities which include:

  • Fibres - electrospun
  • Coatings on:
    • Elastomers
    • Metals, oxides, clays and zeolites
    • Papers and cellulose
  • Colloids
  • Blends in thermoplastics

The technology is thermally stable to above 200oC.

They are non-cytotoxic against human fibroblasts and at concentrations lethal for bacteria.

It comes in a range of forms, including surface films, sprays and fibres and can be manifested through oxygen diffusion, oxygen permeability, or optical absorption.