On June 17, we awarded $1.2M through the Ignite Program to four B.C.-based research projects that are creating technologies that solve real-world problems. One of the projects is a collaboration between the University of Victoria's Dr. Jeremy Wulff and Epic Ventures Inc. They received $300,000 to commercialize their technology that will enable “impossible-to-bond” plastics to be permanently joined, facilitate the production of ultra-strong light weight fabrics for enhanced ballistic protection, and more.
With the support of Epic Ventures over the past three years, Dr. Jeremy Wulff, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Victoria, and his team have discovered an entirely new type of adhesive. It allows almost any plastics to be bonded together in a completely new way – forming a continuous material where the materials were bonded. This process is called “crosslinking” because it joins the long polymer strands in plastic to each other through the formation of new chemical bonds.
“Our project will provide the world with a new, stronger adhesive that will enable easier bonding of a wide variety of plastic materials, including many that are extremely difficult to bond,” says Peter Berrang, President of Epic Ventures Inc. “It will also enable companies to produce lighter, stronger textiles that are highly resistant to environmental degradation and can thus be used for longer periods of time.”
The success of this project will lead directly to commercialization of the chemical crosslinker by Epic Ventures and its dedicated spinoff company, XlynX Materials Inc. (pronounced “cross-links”).
“The Innovate BC Ignite funding will be directed entirely toward our central objective of bringing our universal crosslinker to market,” says Dr. Wulff. “We know a lot about making molecules, but nothing whatsoever about commercialization. The academic and industry partnership is vital if we are going to get this new discovery out in the world for people to use.”
There are three distinct markets for their universal crosslinker: as a laboratory reagent, as an adhesive, and as a strengthening agent for polymer fabrics. Together these applications will allow for myriad scientific advances in the fields of glues and sealants, high performance outdoor sports, and ballistic protective equipment, as well as making plastics easier to recycle.. Dr. Wulff and his team are also working on functionalized variants of their crosslinker to create self-sterilizing surfaces that limit the spread of hospital-borne infections and may reduce viral transmission.
“Ongoing innovation, with the accompanying creation of new intellectual property, leads to new innovative products, new high-quality jobs, and successful companies that can provide long term economic benefits to the people of Canada,” says Berrang.
Are you looking for funding to commercialize your research project? The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent for the next round of Ignite funding is August 10, 2020. Learn more about the program here.