Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS


ESTER Informe resumido

Project ID: 20599
Financiado con arreglo a: FP6-MOBILITY

Final Activity Report Summary - ESTER (Fluids and surfaces at the engineering science interface)

A key challenge that exists in relation to numerous engineering problems encountered in practice is to understand the interactions that occur at the interface of a fluid meeting a solid surface and the effect of the one on the other. The ESTER project explored problems at the cutting edge of engineering science, covering a diverse range of topics such as tribo-corrosion and wear, biomechanics, surface scaling interaction, free surface thin film flow and droplet spreading over micro-scale topography and coupled optimised solid fluid interactions at flexible surfaces.

Significant inroads were made into understanding the biomechanics of spinal tissue during vertebral trauma, caused, as was often the case, by a bone fragment released during a road traffic accident, or by any other type of accident involving humans impacting with rigid surfaces. A combined experimental and computational study on the impact between a bone fragment and the spinal cord established, for the first time, that cerebrospinal fluid played a key role in the mechanical behaviour of the cord during the impact. A novel feature of this work was that it was the first time that a fluid and structure interaction model was used to investigate the behaviour of the spinal cord. In addition, research into the wear of metal body implants and the surface damage resulting from wear debris and ion release was carried out and its findings were quantified.

A major contribution was made in addressing the lack of understanding of the basic science that existed in the field of corrosion and erosion-corrosion of plasma transferred arc (PTA) metal matrix composites. The overall focus of this ambitious experimentally based research programme was to understand the associated surface degradation mechanisms involved in order to reduce, and hopefully prevent, equipment failure and eliminate costly accidents.

Similarly, considerable progress was made toward the understanding of surface scale prevention in pipe installations, which was a major problem faced by the oil and gas industries. To this end a significant advance was realised in relation to establishing the missing link between bulk precipitation and surface deposition with the emergence of a new and validated predictive kinetic model for bulk flow and surface calcium carbonate precipitation. Explored in tandem was the use of novel 'green' surface scale inhibitors, as opposed to the chemical types that were widely used and known to be harmful to the environment.

New predictive multi-scale models, continuum and free energy multiphase lattice Boltzmann based, were developed to understand the behaviour of thin film flow and droplet motion over complex engineered and naturally occurring surfaces with applications in the fields of tissue engineering and drug delivery, lab on chip and micro-mechanical systems. An issue of particular focus was the adhesion of micro-scale robotic devices to wet tissue. Understanding of the latter was extremely important in the rapidly developing area of miniature, robot assisted and minimally invasive surgery. In the broader context of thin films used in numerous manufacturing processes, a significant contribution was provided in understanding the physics which affected free surface planarity, in particular the application of an electric field for this purpose. In addition, excellent progress was made in relation to developing multi-fidelity models for understanding the deformation and control of a 'flexible' interface which was subjected to large deformations by the action of a fluid. Such an example was the deformable wing of a small unmanned aircraft subjected to a sudden gust of wind and its ability to quickly return to a stable flying envelope.

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