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Smart by Design and Intelligent by Architecture for turbine blade fan and structural components systems

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - SMARTFAN (Smart by Design and Intelligent by Architecture for turbine blade fan and structural components systems)

Berichtszeitraum: 2021-01-01 bis 2021-12-31

Within SMARTFFAN project, Smart-by-Design and Intelligent-by-Architecture, structural component systems have been manufactured using the investigated “smart” materials. A variety of research activities were implemented within this period, like the synthesis of new nanomaterials, the design of smart components, modelling and simulations in different scales, as well as the development of advanced composite manufacturing techniques and testing procedures.

The conclusions of the action include:
- Surface Treatments of Carbon Fibres, to incorporate carbon nanomaterials
- Development of (nano-)materials with smart functionalities for the preparation of nanocomposites
- Design concepts for intelligent structures
- Advanced Composite Manufacturing technologies, like Continuous Carbon Fibre 3D Printing, Injection and Compression Moulding
- Optimisation of performance through modelling in atomistic, mesoscopic and macro-scale

Different structures/components have been developed for a variety of applications covering a range of sectors (automotive, home appliances, electronic industry and space):
• Automotive sector: (I) Lightweight and cost-effective energy absorber for large production (II) Lightweight and smart front wing for the racing car sector
• Home appliances: Self-sensing hood with new conveyor/impeller prototypes with active control
• Space: Autonomous smart grabbing device for harsh environment with modular structure made of carbon fibre reinforced (CFR) “hands” and shape memory polymer composite (SMPC) hinges
• Thermal management applications: 3D printed fan prototype with thermal response which exhibits repeatable blade deformation under different operating temperatures.
• Electronic industry: Nano-carbon based electronic structures for batteries and supercapacitors.
During SMARTFAN Project, the development of various smart materials and innovative manufacturing processes has been achieved. After a careful selection of material combinations, advanced manufacturing technologies were utilised towards the construction of SMARTFAN demonstrators. Required characterization for the materials choice, testing and validation methodologies have been performed. The end-users of SMARTFAN worked on new designs for the demonstrators and produced tooling for the final industrial applications. Non-destructive and reliability testing of large dimension composite parts has been carried out. The consortium has set and validated strategies for recycling both of thermoplastic and thermoset materials in parallel. The modeling activities carried out, covered models for the polymers and fillers in atomic scale and mesoscale modelling for composites structures. Determination of interfacial properties and work related with the development of coarse-grained models has been also conducted. Also, macroscopic and continuum models have been developed oriented towards demonstrators manufacturing. Software and hardware (sensors) for IoT have been selected and tested in specific demo cases. A Business Model Canvas has been created for SMARTFAN's Open Access Pilot Line. Risk assessment has been performed in technical and administrative level and updated recommendations regarding safety aspects within the consortium were provided. A detailed cost evaluation report supported the exploitation of SMARTFAN's technologies. Also, a DMP platform was created to guide how the data will be processed and exploited, based on IP strategy. The final market intelligence plan identified products and services in respect with the partners expertise and production method, that will enable the further exploitation of SMARTFAN Products. Dissemination and communication activities were extensively carried out, focused to present SMARTFAN’s results to the scientific community and shared to the industrial ecosystem and general audience. The project website and social media shared the latest news, 8 newsletters were prepared and distributed, 32 scientific articles have been published and still 10 are under preparation, join clustering and networking events were organised to approach stakeholders. IP technology insights data were used to elaborate the master plan for industrial exploitation. Key exploitable results were evaluated to verify IPR and exploitation opportunities and to define a strategy on innovation management and technology transfer.
The impact of the project can be summarised in the following:
- Accelerated market uptake of the developed smart materials and the intelligent structures and new market opportunities for European industries in some of the most challenging and demanding fields such as renewable energy systems, aerospace, transport, consumer goods and ICT, with potential to be extended to other technological areas.
- Improvement in existing manufacturing processes through integration of smart materials. Self-sensing and self-healing properties of smart materials enabled the prediction of possible structural defects. In addition, the establishment of extended non-destructive testing, developed new methodologies to ensure reliable products.
- Improvement in technical knowledge on the integrated manufacturing processes for nanomaterials and smart materials in terms of productivity, environmental performance and cost-effectiveness. Introduction of composites in an affordable way in smart architectures: material cost reduction, process design and automation. Development of self-sensing and self-healing properties to access markets like in automotive industry, where the use of composite materials is limited, due to the difficulty to detect damages and to repair them.
- Promotion of safe-by-design approaches in collaboration with EU Clusters and contribution towards the framework of EU nano-safety and regulatory strategies.
- Improved understanding of materials properties based on theoretical materials models. The proposed modelling techniques provided an in depth understanding of the material properties from atomistic to continuum scale and will export the SMARTFAN technology to other applications.
- Enhancement of knowledge base in the EU, not only at the R&D level but also at the manufacturing and production level, by creating a highly skilled workforce with improved levels of job satisfaction.
- Contribution to a future circular economy; The environmental impact and the cost benefits were evaluated at each step of the project in order to result in a new, low-cost and green technology.
- A basis for recycled materials was set, suggesting a full recycling cycle of thermoplastic composites coming from production scraps up to the end-of-life.