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Strengthen International Research Collaborations on the Development of Functional Surfaces between the EU, Brazil and Mexico

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Training in functional surfaces

An EU-funded team provided training to 27 researchers from the EU and Latin America in the field of nano-structured surfaces. The programme was designed to offer transferable skill training, consisting of training by research and a number of secondments and exchanges.

Industrial Technologies

Tapping the potential of nano-structured surfaces and composites provides an important opportunity for economic growth and development. Researchers in Germany and Spain joined forces with those in Latin America's two biggest economies, Brazil and Mexico, on the EU-funded project FUNCTIONAL (Strengthen international research collaborations on the development of functional surfaces between the EU, Brazil and Mexico). Their goal was to advance development of nano-structured surfaces through strengthened international cooperation and secondments of researchers. Visits from European researchers to Brazilian partner facilities have fostered knowledge about cryomilling to produce nanopowders. In this process, the material is chilled and then ground to create fine particles. Activities included process optimisation and characterisation of nanopowders, culminating in design and fabrication of a die for extrusion moulding to consolidate nano-structured alloys and composites. Researchers employed techniques including friction stir welding and laser cladding, a welding process using laser heat rather than friction heat, to produce nano-structured surfaces. During staff exchanges, they characterised the surfaces with particular attention to corrosion properties, strengthening ties between Mexico and Spain. The team made sure to spread the word to stakeholders through networking, collaboration with universities and other organisations, and contact with companies. Refineries, shipyards and nuclear energy organisations stand to benefit from enhanced corrosion-resistant coatings. In addition, the automotive and aeronautic industries are likely beneficiaries of the nano-structured alloys and composites with improved mechanical properties obtained using high-energy milling. FUNCTIONAL nano-structured coatings and nanocomposites are expected to make an important contribution to many industries while boosting the economies of the collaborating countries. Mutual transfer of knowledge will have long-lasting impact on research and development, enhancing international visibility, funding, and the quantity and quality of results.

Keywords

Functional surfaces, nano-structured surfaces, composites, cryomilling, nanopowders, alloys

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