As a main result of the Concerted European Action "Sol-Gel Processing for Advanced Industrial Material Technologies" new cooperations between partners from industry and scientific institutions from 10 European countries can be stated which will activate future common works in the transfer of suitable sol-gel materials and technologies to the production process. Because of the mostly vertical structure to the projects which links various disciplines (chemistry, physics, electronic, material science, technology), a direct line between research and application has been created. The seven projects to major areas of sol-gel technology contribute to new insights into material synthesis via the sol-gel process, to improved characterisation of the materials structure and materials properties and of the usefulness of analytical methods. In special cases the suitability of synthesised products was examined in view of the technical application. The results of the CEA projects are an important basis for future common works on controlled synthesis of new materials for e.g. chemical, optical and electronic industry with tailor-made properties to a larger scale and their transfer into the production process.
Sol-gel technologies can be considered to become an important tool for development and the supply of key materials in the field of ceramics and composites.
In opposition to the quantity and quality of sol-gel research in Europe, the transfer into advanced material technologies is still far from optimum. Main reasons, are the lack of sufficient interdisciplinary exchange between the disciplines involved, insufficient knowledge of the industrial needs in research institutes on the one and of the research work institutes in industry on the other side. In most cases the reason, therefore, especially for materials users is the fact that the different disciplines with few overlap. The concerted action is focused on the increase of interaction of the different partners in order to increase the innovation speed of material technologies in fields like advanced ceramics, optical materials, electronic materials, coating techniques, membrane and separation techniques or insulation techniques. Therefore, a system of working groups covering the described topics and including aspects of fundamentals and processing will form the backbone of the action. The consortium consists of 2/3 of industrial participants, including 10 SME's, coming from 10 different states. It is expected to strengthen European cohesion and competition by creating new interdisciplinary opportunities and innovative material technologies on the basis of new cooperation between the states of EC.