The freezing of colloids is an amazingly common phenomenon encountered in many natural and engineering processes such as the freezing of soils, food engineering or cryobiology. It can also be used as a bioinspired, versatile and environmentally-friendly processing route for bioinspired porous materials and composites exhibiting breakthroughs in functional properties. Yet, it is still a puzzling phenomenon with many unexplained features, due to the complexity of the system, the space and time scales at which the process should be investigated and the multidisciplinary approach required to completely apprehend it.
The objective is to progress towards a deep understanding of the freezing of colloids through novel in situ observations approaches and mathematical modelling, to exert a better control on the processing route and achieve the full potential of this novel class of bioinspired materials. Materials will be processed and their structure/properties relationships investigated and optimized.
This project offers a unique integration of approaches, competences and resources in materials science, chemistry, physics, mathematics and technological developments of observation techniques. For materials science only, the versatility of the process and its control could yield potential breakthroughs in numerous key applications of tremendous human, technological, environmental and economical importance such as catalysis, biomaterials or energy production, and open a whole new field of research. Far-reaching implications beyond materials science are expected, both from the developments in mathematics and physics, and from the implications of colloids freezing in many situations and fields of research.
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