SAUDI ARABIA: KACST research discovers new class of industrial polymers

"Four researchers at the National Petrochemical Technology Center affiliated to the Materials Research Institute at KACST, in collaboration with IBM Global and their counterparts at the University of California at Berkeley and the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, recently discovered the wide range of polymerized materials with unique physical advantages,” sources at KACST media center said.

"These newly discovered polymers combine resistance to cracking with a strength which is higher than bone; an ability to bounce back to their original shape and material (self-heal); are 100 percent recyclable in addition to their being light-weight and highly resistant to solvents which overcome the limitations of the current polymers,” sources said.

These distinguished scientific achievements come within KACST's keen interest in research in petrochemical industries in addition to its collaboration with IBM Global through the Center of Excellence for Nanotechnology, which was established in 2008 and accommodates more than thirty Saudi researchers with a similar number of IBM counterparts.

The research works of the center focus on applications of this technology in fields of petrochemicals and water desalination.

According to the media center, this research collaboration has resulted in a list of patents that are either awarded or registered under the procedure and KACST will work in the near future to focus research on the conversion of these polymers into viable products for industrial investment by the Saudi Company for Investment Technology (Taqniah).

A KACST official said that the discovery was published in the peer-reviewed US journal, ‘Science' last month.

Source: Daily "Arab News", Riyadh; 7 July 2014
(Syed Rasid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)