Inventor: Kate Sanders, Institute for Manufacturing
Mentor: Dr. Alex Smeets

Customised materials with controllable levels of porosity and high surface areas are important in a wide range of applications, for example in catalysts, water purification and as electrode materials for batteries.

The inventor has developed a scalable method to manufacture customised micro- and macro- structures from nanoparticles, which allows aspects such as the porosity and internal structure to be tightly controlled. The process is very flexible and can be used with a wide range of nanoparticles. Most of the experiments so far have used carbon nanoparticles and metal oxides, but other materials should also be useable.

The challenge for the i-Team is to investigate the possible commercial uses of such materials and identify the ones which most closely align to the characteristics of this process. This will enable them to recommend the first market for the inventor to focus on, which will help in the development of initial prototypes to showcase the capabilities of her invention.

Schematic showing the type of multi-scale, structured nanomaterials produced by the described manufacturing method, and their potential use in water purification