Polymer Science Institute

Introduction

The Polymer Science Institute (PSI) was established in 2012, bringing the number of institutes at SIRDC to 12. PSI is envisioned to play a pivotal role in many of the Centre’s projects which use polymeric materials.

  • Objectives

    The mandate and objective of the PSI is to serve Zimbabwe and the region, as well as international societies with scientific and technological advancement of polymeric materials and nanotechnology through research and development. This objective is pursued through the following activities:

    • Polymeric research projects and contracts
    • Education and training of personnel
    • Dissemination of scientific information for local product beneficiation
    • Technical support for sister institutes and industry.
  • Chemistry and Properties of Polymeric Materials

    This division deals with product characterization and product formulation. The different polymers are incorporated according to their desired properties in order to bring optimal properties for the product end use. Equipment such as the FTIR, GC-MS, MS-MS, HPLC, GPC just to mention a few are used for characterization before and after synthesis. Computational simulations play a big role in this division as well.

     

    Polymeric Nanomaterials and Biomaterials

    Research and development of nano materials and biomaterials is carried out in this division. The projects include:

    • Water sanitization
    • Drug delivery systems
    • Nano drugs and cosmetics
    • Biodegradable plastic research

     

    Polymer and Applied Molecular Physics

    In this division, the kinetics of polymer reactions, degradation and fluctuation, etc., are studied in different environments (e.g. temperature) so as to come up with products that are durable and specific for particular end uses. These products are mainly in:

    • Elastomer applications (paints/adhesives)
    •  Energy storage and fuel cells

     

    Industrial, Institutional and University Research Projects

    In this division scientific and technical assistance is offered to the public and institutions as consultancy. Consultancy is offered to the different industries when their products fail to perform for one reason or another. The scientists work closely with the consulting partner to identify the any faults. From this division, value chain diagnostics of different products are studied to come up with optimal conditions for high valued products.

  • Training Courses on Offer

    • Best workplace practices
    • Polymer materials and nanotechnology awareness
    • Safe use/handling and disposal of polymer/plastic/nano materials
    • Trouble shooting and fault finding in injection or blow moulding processes

     

    Services Offered

    • Material characterization
    • Industrial support
    • Effluent treatment
    • Polymer waste management/recycling
    • Process control optimization
    • Product development/improvement
    • Trouble shooting and fault finding in product defects
    • Contract R & D
    • Student internship
  • Current and Potential Projects

    • Chemical activation of waste polystyrene for heavy metal removal from industrial effluent
    • Application of natural and synthetic zeolites/flocculants for effluent and water treatment and use in breweries and related industries
    • Development of Shape Memory Polyurethane (PU) Pre-polymers to supply local foam manufacturing industries
    • Development of biodegradable plastics  using local resources (soya bean oil)
    • Development of novel polymers for new applications, e.g. medical, personal care, agricultural, packaging and other industrial applications.
    • Fabrication of nano drugs/nano cosmetics/nano water sanitization filters
    • Production of graphene/carbon nano particles from graphite
    • Development and optimization of PEM fuel cell membrane
    • Fabrication of nano catalysts to be used in fuel cells
  • Areas of Collaboration

    • Pharmaceuticals:  Nanodrugs and drug delivery systems
    • Energy: Fuel Cell, Lithium Battery
    • Water/Sanitization:  Q-drum Water container, Nano composite water filter

 

For Further Information contact:
The Director, PSI
Landline: + 263-242-860320, 860322
FCT Lines: +263-778860323, 778860324, 778860327
Mobile:
Email: psi@sirdc.ac.zw