Dr Karnika De Silva

PhD

Biography

My research utilises applied technology, materials science and nanotechnology based composites to make new high value products and generate new materials process technologies valuable to the manufacturing industry. My field of polymer research involves the development and establishment of company collaborations through the contacts with the scientists and engineers working in the academic and government establishments and in-house R&D centres in the industry. 

My drive and motivation in making these relationships have succeeded through my research experience in rubbers, plastics, coatings and composites. I have established international inks on R&D projects leading to commercialization.

I have delivered a significant number of straight-forward to scientifically challenging science and technology projects during the past few years. The majority of these projects were delivered on time and on budget, meeting milestones and deliverables, something in which I take pride. I have established strong industry engagements locally and internationally with my initiatives, connecting supply chain partners. I have demonstrated a record of innovation in new areas of research.

The development and commercialisation of all the technologies and associated products is an important part of my strategy. This is consistent with the government’s desire to support existing local industries and establish new knowledge-based industries to support the growth of New Zealand's high-tech manufacturing sector.

Research | Current

I am currently involved in:

• Functionalised, nano-structured composites and coatings for use in high quality materials for construction industry 

• Novel, natural and environmentally biocides and their hybrids to cover a wider spectrum of antimicrobial efficacy functionality.

• Developing enhanced performance of materials for various application platforms

• Introducing new materials and product testing through the National Testing Registry that I have established for the benefit of the manufacturing industry

• Carryout statistical analysis of Fire testing using Cone Calorimeter and assign group numbers specified in the BRANZ building code

• Research is in collaboration with Research Institutes and industrial companies in NZ, Australia USA, and Sri Lanka with a long-term goal is to establish new export manufacturing industries in New Zealand and to provide new products and technologies to local and international industries.

I have delivered a significant number of straight-forward to scientifically challenging science and technology projects during the past few years. The majority of these projects were delivered on time and on budget, meeting milestones and deliverables, something in which I take pride. I have established strong industry engagements locally and internationally with my initiatives, connecting supply chain partners. I have demonstrated a record of innovation in new areas of research. I have contributed a fair record of obtaining co-funding + PI in commercial projects and R&D projects ~ $1M 

Postgraduate supervision

Co- supervising three PhD students, two MSc Students, Member of Advisory team for three PhD students

Distinctions/Honours

I have won

  • a cash award from Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF-UoA)- 2013 in recognition of contribution to School of Chemical Sciences –University of Auckland, NZ, Cash award from HoD – C&M Dept. in 2015 for the contribution to the manufacturing industry
  • Commonwealth scholarship  to do Postgraduate studies in the UK and National Science Council award to do MPhil .
  • Grants from CIDA,/ NSERC,  UNIDO and several grants through NARESA / NSF, STDA, IRRDB, TechNZ  to carryout R&D on various short and long term projects in Canada, UK and Malaysia and in NZ
  • A grant from USAID to coordinate an Industrial visit to Australia which supported 10 leading manufacturing industries that opened up new market opportunities 
  • A Merit Award from USAID/ PRISL at a National Award Ceraomony for the valuable contribution to the SL manufacturing sector
    I have been invited as a 
  • Resource Person at Sri Lankan government sponsored Global Scientific Forum held in Colombo SL in Dec 2011
  • Resource Person at Sri Lankan government sponsored international forum  on collaborative scientific research and innovation for commercialization– Global Scientific Forum held in Colombo SL in Dec 2015
  • Invited speaker and Panellist Technology and Innovation in achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Sri Lanka – Science and Technology for Society (STS) Forum in the Science and Technology Imperatives (STI) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) session – International forum held in Sri Lanka 7th Sep – 10th Sep 2016 

Areas of expertise

  • Coatings (UV curable, water-based, solvent based, powder coating)
  • Polymers- Rubber & Plastics
  • Composites

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Wheelwright, W., Cooney, R. P., Ray, S., Zujovic, Z., & De Silva, K. (2017). Ultra-high surface area nano-porous silica from expanded perlite: Formation and characterization. Ceramics International, 43 (14), 11495-11504. 10.1016/j.ceramint.2017.05.333
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/35319
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Sudip Ray, Zoran Zujovic, Ralph Cooney
  • De Silva, K., Ray, S., Blache, R., & Taylor, M. (2017). Evaluation of fire performance of organic fire retardant free acrylic based coatings applied on various building materials by cone calorimetric method. Fire and Materials, 41 (2), 169-179. 10.1002/fam.2376
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/31953
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mark Taylor
  • Hayward, M., Johnston, J., Dougherty, T., & De Silva, K. (2017). Exploring the interface: Improving the mechanical properties of silicon nitride fibre. Advanced Materials: TechConnect Briefs 2017, 1, 196-199. Washington, D.C., USA. Related URL.
  • De Silva, K. G., & Taylor, M. (2016). The NZ product accelerator: A national network in manufacturing design, materials, and processes. The Journal of Plastics and Rubber Sri Lanka : Windows to New Frontiers, 15, 11-13.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34011
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mark Taylor
  • Easteal, A., De Silva, K. G., & Bhattacharyya, D. E. B. E. S. (2016). Fire retardant polypropylene. US 9394423 B2 Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Debes Bhattacharyya
  • Nguyen, C., De Silva, K., Kennedy, J., Johnston, J., Graichen, F., & Taylor, M. (2015). Consultative paper for functionalization of surfaces in manufacturing - Establishing a pathway to highest value creation for New Zealand. Brush Strokes, 23-32.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/31607
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Chuong Nguyen, Mark Taylor
  • Dranebois, C., Smith, D., Taylor, M. P., De Silva, K., & Le Guen, M.-J. (2015). The influence of extrusion parameters on the cure of low temperature powder coatings by DSC and Rheology. In M. Heusser, S. Mendon (Eds.) Proceedings of the forty-second Annual International Waterbourne, High Sloids and Powder Coatings Symposium, 103-111. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/26656
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Clemence Dranebois, Mark Taylor
  • De Silva, K. K. G., Dranebois, C., Rao, S., Coombs, B., Bhattacharyya, D., Smith, D., & Taylor, M. (2015). Optimizing the manufacture of bio-based composites and low temperature cure powder coating. Paper presented at 20th International Conference on Composite materials (ICCM20), Corpenhagen, Denmark. 19 July - 24 July 2015. Proceeding of ICCM20. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mark Taylor, Debes Bhattacharyya