USJ and Bogala Graphite Lanka Collaborate to Boost Sri Lanka’s Rubber Industry


A team of researchers at USJ invented a new technology to produce RSS with high thermal conductivity by incorporating Sri Lankan vein graphite directly into the latex rubber that could revolutionize the rubber manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka.

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura has signed an Exclusive Intellectual Property and Technology License Agreement with Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC to commercialize a new technology that was developed by a team of scientists in the Center of Nanocomposite Research in the Faculty of Applied Sciences.

The team comprises of multidisciplinary scientists, Prof. Laleen Karunanayake and Dr. Thusitha Etampawala from the Department of Polymer Science, Prof. A R Kumarasinghe from the Department of Physics and Prof. Narayana Sirimuthu from the Department of Chemistry. They received 45 million LKR research grant under Research Innovation and Commercialization grant scheme from the Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development (AHEAD) Operation of the Ministry of Higher Education in Sri Lanka in late 2018.

The team has invented a way to add value to natural rubber by incorporating locally available graphite. In 2019, MoU was signed between the university and the Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC for a joint project to achieve the above objective.

The research involves a novel process for producing Ribbed Smoke Sheets (RSS) with high loading of graphite. No one has done this before because graphite particles wash away when RSS sheets are prepared with graphite if added to latex. The thermal conductivity of the material is significantly improved and hence it has the potential to reduce the curing time of rubber articles, considerably. It was shown that approximately 30% of curing time can be saved when it was used in solid tire fomulations.

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura patented the innovation in Sri Lanka. On 20th of March, 2023 an Exclusive Intellectual Property and Technology License Agreement was signed between the university and the Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC. Under the terms of the agreement, Bogala Graphite Lanka will have exclusive rights to use the technology in Sri Lanka for a period of ten years.  According to the best of the University Business Linkage’s knowledge the university does not have this sort of agreement in history. If the project is commercializable then the university will earns US dollars for the first time in the history.

The agreement was signed by Professor Upul Subasinghe and Mr. Amila Jayasinghe, Chief Executive Officer of Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC, in a ceremony held at the Boardroom of the Administration building of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura in presence of Chairperson and other delegates of Bogala group and some academics of the university of Sri Jayewardenepura.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Bogala Graphite Lanka on this exciting technology,” said Professor Upul Subasinghe, Acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. “This licensing agreement is a testament to the quality of research being conducted at our institution and demonstrates our commitment to supporting the commercialization of innovative technologies which is a much needed requirement at present situation of the country.”

“We are very pleased to be collaborating with the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on this important project,” said Mr. Jayasinghe. “This technology has the potential to add value to the graphite industry in Sri Lanka and we look forward to working closely with the university to bring it to market.”

The signing of the licensing agreement marks a significant milestone for both the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and Bogala Graphite Lanka, and is expected to pave the way for future collaborations between the two institutions.

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