Home Economy Raw Materials Council, researchers produce brake pads from palm kernel shell

Raw Materials Council, researchers produce brake pads from palm kernel shell

by Business News Report

The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) and a team of researchers have produced automotive brake pad and linings using palm kernel shell. Director General of RMRDC, Prof. Peter Onwualu told the News Agency of Nigeria, in Abuja, that the research commenced in October 2010 and was funded by the council.
He said that the team of researchers from Obafemi Awolowo University was led by Dr Olufemi Koya of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. According to Onwualu, the project was part of the council’s effort to develop local content. He said that the product had already been tested in three auto industries in Nigeria where it was subjected to rigorous industrial testing.

“The auto industries are really excited about the product and what is now left is to actually put the brake pads on a vehicle and run it for months,’’ Onwualu said. He said that it was exiting that a product, which was hitherto regarded as a waste product in the oil processing value chain, would be put to very good economic use.
“In most of our villages, palm kernel shells were used for heating purposes, you burn them. But this researcher has shown that you can use them to make brake pad as the friction material, and it has shown very good results and everybody is excited. What we are now trying to do is to help the engineers who invented it to secure a patent, and then we will begin to shop for manufacturers.

“Once that is done, we will package and market the product at industrial scale and even for international markets. In fact, one of the collaborators on this project is actually a factory that makes brake pads in Lagos and they are willing to adopt this raw material,’’ he said. Onwualu said that once the new raw material was adopted, the company would gradually phase out the importation of the raw materials being used at present. The DG added that there was need for additional funding to ensure that the brake pads were delivered “with consistent quality, in large quantities and at affordable prices to the market”.

He expressed optimism that when the project was fully commercialised, it would complement other efforts in developing the oil palm sector.“If this succeeds it means that if you have palm kernel shells it is business for you, it is not something you throw away,’’ Onwualu said. Also speaking, a Senior Scientific Officer in the council, Mr Olarongbe Aduagba, said that the project was to determine the physical and thermal properties of palm kernel shell particles. He added that the project was also to develop an automotive brake lining using palm kernel shells as base material and to evaluate the tri-biological characteristics of the developed brake lining. Aduagba said, “The focus of this work is to use PKS in the production of automotive brake pad and linings as an alternative to asbestos, which has been found to be carcinogenic.

“It was considered that the use of this raw material would increase its economic value and stimulate growth in local production of standard brake pads.

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