The cutting edge of lighter, strongerPublished: Monday, November 23, 2020 By: Steve Metzer Source: The Journal Record
The product, called E-GO, developed for market by MITO Material Solutions, could potentially be used to make new trailers pulled by big rigs 40% lighter but also more durable than trailers currently on the road, resulting in fuel savings, environmental benefits and other advantages. MITO Chief Executive Officer Haley Marie Keith said there are many other potential applications as well. The hybrid additive can be mixed with epoxy or resin to strengthen fiberglass composites or thermoplastic parts used in aerospace, energy or any number of other industries. E-GO could be a big difference maker for products ranging from racing bicycles to wind turbines.
Some 15 “piloting customers” are exploring how they might benefit from using the hybrid additive, which has been described as a “graphene oxide-based nano-additive that doubles the interlaminar toughness of composite materials.”
While the science behind the product, first developed at OSU’s Helmerich Research Center in Tulsa, may be difficult to explain, incorporating it into manufacturing shouldn’t be. Keith said just a slight amount of E-GO mixed with a polymer in an easy process will yield results.
“We pride ourselves on a foolproof additive. It’s easy to mix and nonhazardous,” she said.
Just 2 pounds of the product would be enough to strengthen and lighten all of the plastic parts built into five new pickups, or to improve as many as 3,000 carbon fiber bike frames.
Keith and her husband, Kevin Keith, both former OSU students, co-founded the company along with partners Bhishma Sedai, who heads up research and development, and Caio Lo Sardo, who takes charge of business development. Dr. Ranji Vaidyanathan, a material science professor at OSU-Tulsa, is credited with inventing E-GO and remains affiliated with the company.
Keith explained that while pursuing her master’s degree in business administration in 2015 she was paired with students in science, technology, engineering and math and tasked with creating a business plan for commercializing technology developed at OSU.
“I decided to go and do some interviews and see what would make up the market (for E-GO), and it was pretty big, actually,” she said.
The overall polymer additive market’s worth has been estimated at $10 billion, and the graphene-based sector has experienced year-over-year growth of 40%.
“Which puts MITO at the cutting edge of this transition,” Keith said.
While the Keiths have moved their offices to their home state of Indiana, R&D and new product development for MITO Material Solutions will continue at the Center for Business Development at