Research story: Professor Paul Zelisko – Vanchem Performance Chemicals:

Research story: Professor Paul Zelisko – Vanchem Performance Chemicals:

Vanchem Performance Chemicals, a wholly Canadian-owned company, is a green steward of the environment and have been a chrome-free facility for more than twenty years. In 2003, Vanchem eliminated all nonylphenol ethoxylates from their metal cleaners and iron phosphate cleaner-coaters. Vanchem can now boast that nearly half their revenue comes from green industrial wastewater treatment chemicals – the chemical treatment of industrial waters before returning it to sanitary sewer. Vanchem has an extensive product line of low temperature metal cleaners, zinc phosphates and iron phosphates including ambient non-chrome sealers. Low temperature products require less energy input and save money during production. This is environmentally friendly because less energy is required lowering your carbon footprint.

Silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, second only to oxygen. As a result, the field of silicon chemistry rivals that of organic chemistry in its complexity and breadth. Of particular interest to Dr. Zelisko’s research group is the interface of silicon chemistry and biological chemistry. Dr. Zelisko is exploring the use of enzymes as a green method for synthesizing polymeric silicon species; including linear polymers, elastomers, and silica. He is also interested in developing novel silicon-based delivery systems for both the topical and oral delivery of biologically active agents.


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The goal of the project with Brock University is to develop a silicon-based anti-corrosion paint primarily for the automobile industry that not only inhibits corrosion of the underlying metal, but also promotes the adhesion of paint to the metal surface. In today’s current market, the only equivalent coatings typically contain toxic metals such as chromium or phosphates. Silicon compounds simply degrade to sand if released to soil or water, making them much more environmentally friendly.

Project funded by FedDev Ontario Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative