Mintek’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Division aims to produce value-added products by leveraging skills from various disciplines, ranging from chemical sciences to physics, materials science and engineering, biochemistry, and chemical engineering.
The focus areas through which these are attained are Physical Metallurgy, Catalysis, and Nanotechnology. The Physical Metallurgy group coordinates the Department of Science and Innovation’s development networks for precious and ferrous materials, which are part of the Advanced Materials Initiative. Expertise in the group include computational materials science for alloy development, powder atomisation and additive manufacturing. Metallurgical services are provided to various industries through the Products & Services Platform (also known as Metals Technology Centre (MTC) and include chemical analysis of alloys, mechanical testing and materials processing (rolling mills), casting and foundry technology, grinding media testing, powder metallurgy and corrosion testing. Major projects that the group has undertaken include the development of low nickel austenitic stainless steels (Hercules™), smart stainless steel rockbolts (Smartbolt™), novel and cost effective grinding balls (UMPABALL™) and grain refiners for aluminium and titanium alloys (Aluhard-TiCAl).
Catalysis finds special applications in the hydrogen economy sector by manufacturing fuel cells for various applications and catalysts for environmental applications. Through the Catalysis Group, Mintek has taken a strategic position to increase the opportunities to commercialise its fuel cell intellectual property by building capacity for fuel cell manufacturing along the entire value chain of catalysts, membrane electrode assemblies, fuel cell stacks, and fuel cell systems.
Programmes in general catalysis include the production of gold catalysts for use in carbon monoxide remediation and general air purification applications.
The Nanotechnology programme focuses on materials synthesis for application in health, water, and wastewater technologies.
The recently formed Mintek Health Platform relies on nanotechnology-based colloidal gold products of high value, which enable the production of functionalised gold nanoparticles with "smart" capabilities. These nanoparticles offer a pathway for developing nanotechnology-based health solutions, including point-of-care diagnostic kits for detecting human and animal diseases.
From metals/materials-in-medicine research and development to designing health-related solutions for diseases such as HIV and malaria, the Division has built a knowledge base that can be tailored towards various health-related solutions. One such solution is the design and production of biomarkers that are critical enablers towards diagnostics and therapeutics product development and manufacture.
Through these capabilities, the Mintek Health Platform is well-positioned to foster the expansion of the Diagnostics industry by manufacturing high-value diagnostic products (human and animal) and supplying the products commercially.