YPSILANTI, MI - An Eastern Michigan University professor has partnered with a Michigan-based company to help commercialize "green" protective coatings developed by his research team at the university.

Vijay Mannari, along with a group of students and other researchers at EMU's Coatings Research Institute, located in the College of Technology, have focused their efforts on developing sustainable polymers and coatings that use renewable sources.

The results of their work over the past seven years are six new patent-pending inventions. The coatings developed are designed to protect metal, wood, plastic and building materials, and are used on industrial products within the automobile, aerospace, transportation, packaging and building industries.

One of the products Mannari's team developed is a chromate-free, anti-corrosive pretreatment for metals - basically a protective coating that inhibits rust.

"The product is an innovative system based on Sol-Gel technology that is much safer than existing products yet comparable in performance," said Mannari.

This unique coating has the potential of replacing materials currently on the market that are based on hexavalent chromium, a proven carcinogen.

The team was recently awarded two grants by the Michigan Initiative for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, totaling $125,000, to help fund the commercialization of Mannari's inventions. Mannari, along with Philip Rufe, a technology commercialization coordinator at EMU, will lead the initiative.

Mannari's group will take one of its coating innovations to the next level through a partnership with Plascore Inc., a Michigan company that is eager to embrace sustainable "green" technologies. Plascore, with headquarters in Zeeland, MI, is a global manufacturer of honeycomb core and composite structures used in aerospace, marine, military, safety and transportation industries that utilize coatings on many of their products.

Other green technologies Mannari's team is developing include UV-curable coatings made from soybean oil.