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Jamaican nanotechnology lecturer at world congress

Kavian Cooke from the University of Technology (UTech) in Jamaica is the only Caribbean researcher to address the first World Congress of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, being held in China this month.

The nanoparticles are used extensively in the automotive and aircraft industries, the young engineer told Research Africa.

“My speech is on the use of nano-composite coatings to join advance aluminum composites,” Cooke said.

“The addition of a reinforcing phase has led to significant improvements in the mechanical properties of these alloys.”

His research focuses on providing a trustworthy way to join the different surfaces.

‘‘Despite substantial improvements in the properties of these advance alloys, the lack of a reliable joining method has restricted their full potential.”

“The differences in properties prevents the successful application of fusion welding processes conventionally used for joining monolithic aluminum alloys,” Cooke’s abstract reads.

Cooke did his undergraduate and master’s degrees at UTech before studying for his PhD in Canada this year and returning to lecture at UTech’s department of mechanical engineering.

In May 2011, he was the lead author of an article on using a nickel nanocoating to improve joint strength, which appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Materials and Design, published by Elsevier.

Cooke co-authored the paper with three colleagues, including Gossett Oliver, dean of the UTech department of mechanical engineering.

The journal’s impact factor has increased from 1.518 to 1.694, according to Thomson Reuters.

Cooke is currently conducting more research on reinforcing advance alloy metals using materials rich with nano-particles.

Aluminum reinforced with nanoparticles “is a method of increasing joint strength,” Cooke said.

According to Cooke’s abstract, silicon carbide or alumina particle reinforcements are used extensively.

The nanotechnology congress will be held in Dailin, China from the 23 to 26 October 2011. The congress organisers, Biteomics, are a high-tech biological company established by overseas Chinese scientists.

At the congress, Cooke will discuss alternative techniques that prevent microstructural changes in the base metal.

The results of his study indicated that nano-size alumina dispersed into an interlayer can provide approximately 90 per cent of the base metal strength within the joint.

Cooke’s doctorate this year in material science at Canada’s University of Calgary focused a nano-particle reinforced aluminum alloy.

Before obtaining his doctorate, Cooke completed a Master of Philosophy in 2007 at UTech. In this degree, he focused on improving the wear resistance of cutter blades for agricultural applications.

He used a new heat technology, thermally sprayed coatings, to extend the lifespan of the cutting blades and thus improve the efficiency of the harvesting process in local agriculture.

Cooke is also the managing director for Naivak Electronics, an information technology company, located in the Technology Innovation Centre on the University of Technology campus.

He is the former director of research and development for KYA Options, a consulting company, which is also based in Kingston in Jamaica.