Institute of Applied Materials
The Institute of Applied Materials is an interdisciplinary materials research group at the University of Pretoria with participation from the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering. IAM is associated with the two SARChI Chairs conducting research in carbon and fluorine materials respectively. It is currently home to four professors, three technicians and two administrative assistants. There are ten students in the Carbon Chair, xx students find their home in the Fluorine Chair and ten full time students work in Polymer and Chemical Product Design. Prof. Brian Rand, a world leader in carbon materials research, is the part-time Chair Holder of the SARChI Chair in Carbon Technology and Materials. Prof Philip Crouse is the Chair Holder of the SARChI Chair in Fluoro-materials: Science & Process Integration.
SARChI Research Chair in Carbon Science and Technology
The SARChI Chair in Carbon Science and Technology was established in 2006 within IAM. It was set up to provide research and training in carbon materials, particularly those relevant to the Pebble-bed Modular Reactor and related industries. Prof. Brian Rand, a world leader in carbon materials research, is the part-time Chair Holder. His brief includes mentoring Dr Manyala as his future successor.
SARChI Chair in Fluoro-materials Science and Process Integration
The SARChI Chair in Fluoro-materials Science and Process Integration was established in the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2007, and has been functioning under the IAM umbrella since 2010. Current research includes: the development of a fluoro-polymer capability in South Africa with a focus on PTFE, PVDF, FEP, and PFA, sponsored by the Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative (FEI); dry fluorination of inorganic materials; modelling of fluorine electrolysis cells; various projects of interest to the Advanced Metals Initiative (AMI) relating to fluoride-based minerals processing; high-temperature processes for the production of high-values products directly form fluorspar. The Chair works in close collaboration with the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) and its wholly-owned subsidiary Pelchem.
Clay and Polymer and Additive Technology
Other IAM research efforts are conveniently classified as Chemical Product Design activities with an emphasis on polymer systems.
Current research projects at IAM consider the use of both synthetic and natural clays for use as functional materials and polymer additives.
IAM staff members are founder members of the Centre for Sustainable Malaria Control at the University of Pretoria. The aim of this Centre is to promote collaborative research within on safer and sustainable malaria control and management. IAM research activities contribute by focussing on physical methods of vector control. The research focus is on creating new tools to accelerate the eradication of malaria including improvements in long-life insecticide netting, durable wall linings and indoor residual spraying. The research has attracted both local and international funding including a Grand Challenges Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Mixture models are everywhere. They are commonly applied in fields such as chemical engineering, material science, and food science. A mixture experiment is defined as an experiment where the physical property of interest is not dependent on the total amount of the mixture but on the relative amounts of the mixture components. The component proportions can be expressed by weight, volume, mole, etc., as long as the values are greater than zero and sum to one. Mixture experiments are employed to predict a response variable; to screen the components of a mixture to simplify the problem; to measure the effects of the components on the response variable or to optimise the response variable over the experimental region. Three key areas form the foundation of a successful mixture experiment. First an accurate mixture model needs to be developed that describes the dependence of the response variable on the mixture components. Once a mixture model is identified, a proper experimental design ensures informative data is collected and finally, statistical analysis is applied for model validation and parameter estimation.
The research effort is focussed on the removal of all lead and toxic heavy metal compounds from mining detonators.