Dr Pratheep Kumar Annamalai

Advance QLD Research Fellow (Mid)

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
p.annamalai@uq.edu.au
+61 7 344 31303

Overview

Dr. Pratheep Annamalai is an Advance Queensland Research Fellow in the areas encompassing ‘polymers and nanotechnology’. He is passionate about engineering and designing materials towards sustainability using nanotechnology tools and has extensive expertise in both translational and fundamental research. Before joining UQ, Pratheep studied Chemistry in University of Madras, received PhD in Chemistry from University of Pune (India), then went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher on hydrophobic membranes at the Université Montpellier II (France) and on ‘stimuli-responsive smart materials’ at the Adolphe Merkle Institute - Université de Fribourg (Switzerland).

He is broadly interested in valorisation of native and alternative feedstock into reactive, nano building blocks for improving performance and utility of materials for infrastructure, agriculture, and food. Currently, his research focuses on nano-enabled construction materials (cement, mortar, concrete and bitumen), sustainably engineered polymers (elastomers, carbon fibre), and insulation materials (rigid polyurethane foam, lignocellulose).

He contributes to teaching and learning in the area of polymers, materials engineering and nanotechnology applications in sustainability, civil engineering, and food.

Upon being instrumental in the discovery of spinifex nanofibre nanotechnology and establishing Australia’s first nanocellulose pilot-plant, he is also awarded a UQ Excellence award for leadership for 2019. Recognising his contribution to the nanomaterials, polymer nanocomposites, polymer degradation and stabilisation regionally and globally, he has been invited to serve as a mentor in TAPPI mentoring program (2018), committee member for ISO/TC229-WG2 for characterisation of nanomaterials (2016), guest editor and handling editor for various journals (Fibres, Int. J Polymer Science, PLOS One). He has served as a member for LNR ethics committee for reviewing the applications (2017-), a member for first AIBN-ECR committee in 2014, co-organised a conference in Life Sciences in Brisbane.

Research Interests

  • Nano-enabled Construction Materials
    * Nanoparticles for improving performance, durability, and sustainability of cementitious materials (cement, mortar, concrete, and geopolymer) * Nano-modified and polymer-modified bituminous materials
  • Sustainably Engineered Insulation Materials
    * The use of lignocellulose biomass and natural oils in insulation foams * Engineering the microstructure of foam for improving performance
  • Sustainably Engineered Polymers
    * Advanced materials from indigenous biomass 'Spinifex grass' using resin and fibres * Cellulose materials: Nanocellulose from non-wood sources and its applications in polymer nanocomposites * Lignocellulose and nanofibres for carbon precursors (Carbon fibre and anode material) * Chemically engineering polyethylene for carbon fibre (UQ-Dow project: 2014-2015)
  • Polymer Nanocomposites
    Clay reinforced polymer nanocomposites (for TenasiTech Pty Ltd) Polyurethanes: insulation foams, barrier sheets, golf balls and durable seals Acrylics: Anti-scratch materials
  • Other consultative interests
    Spectroscopic, chromatographic and morphological analysis, Thermal and mechanical properties measurements

Research Impacts

Spinifex nanofibre nanotechnology The spinifex nanofibre nanotechnology has led to: 1) the benefit-sharing landmark agreement between Indigenous Australian community and UQ in 2015 ensuring the ongoing equity and involvement of their indigenous community in the project, 2) establishment of first nanocellulose pilot-scale plant in UQ Long Pocket Precinct with a 5kg/day production capacity by the support of both state and federal governments, and 3) promotion of the systematic harvesting of spinifex grass in regional Australia potentially providing training, jobs, and education in regional Australia, aligning with the major effort 'Closing the gap' by government. Over last seven years, this partnership has single-mindedly supported further R&D for utilising it as renewable functional additive for improving strength and durability of a wide range of materials spanning from rubber, recycled papers to building materials like cement and concrete.

Industry engagement

  • Dugalanji Aboriginal Corporation
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR)
  • Australian Road Research Board
  • Dow Chemicals USA (polyethylene)
  • TenasiTech Pty Ltd (Nanoclay Nanotech)

Pre-UQ

  • Polyurethane-Cellulose nanocrystals nanocomposites based Shape Memory Effect had become the thrust of further research and funding.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Pune
  • Master of Science, University of Madras
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Madras

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Publications

Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • Ramanujam, B. T. S. and Annamalai, Pratheep K. (2017). Conducting polymer-graphite binary and hybrid composites: structure, properties, and applications. In Vijay Kumar Thakur, Manju Kumari Thakur and Asokan Pappu (Ed.), Hybrid polymer composite materials applications (pp. 1-34) Cambridge, United Kingdom: Woodhead. doi:10.1016/B978-0-08-100785-3.00001-2

  • Annamalai, Pratheep K. and Depan, Dilip (2015). Nano-cellulose reinforced chitosan nanocomposites for packaging and biomedical applications. In Vijay Kumar Thakur and Michael R. Kessler (Ed.), Green biorenewable biocomposites: from knowledge to industrial applications (pp. 489-506) Boca Raton, FL, United States: CRC Press/Apple Academic Press.

  • Jorfi, Mehdi, Annamalai, Pratheep K. and Weder, Christoph (2014). Preparation of cellulose nanocrystal/polymer nanocomposites via sol-gel processes. In Kristiina Oksman, Aji P. Mathew, Alexander Bismarck, Orlando Rojas and Mohini Sain (Ed.), Handbook of green materials: processing technologies, properties and applications (pp. 23-34) Singapore, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing.

  • Jorfi, Mehdi, Amiralian, Nasim, Biyani, Mahesh V. and Annamalai, Pratheep K. (2013). Biopolymeric nanocomposites reinforced with nanocrystalline cellulose. In Biomass-based biocomposites (pp. 277-304) Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom: Smithers Rapra Technology.

  • Annamalai, P.K. and Singh, R.P. (2011). Biopolymeric nanocomposites as environment benign materials. In Susheel Kalia, B. S. Kaith and Inderjeet Kaur (Ed.), Cellulose Fibers: Bio- and Nano-Polymer Composites (pp. 519-535) Verlag, Germany: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-17370-7_20

  • Lonkar, S.P., Kumar, A.P. and Singh, R.P. (2011). Commercial aspects associated with bionanocomposites. In Vikas Mittal (Ed.), Nanocomposites with Biodegradable Polymers: Synthesis, Properties and Future Perspectives (pp. 400-419) Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199581924.003.0016

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision