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Erosion and Ice Resistant cOmposite for Severe operating conditions

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EIROS (Erosion and Ice Resistant cOmposite for Severe operating conditions)

Reporting period: 2017-09-08 to 2019-03-07

In the wind power generation, aerospace and other industry sectors there is an emerging need to operate in the low temperature and highly erosive environments of extreme weather conditions. Such conditions mean current materials either have a very short operational lifetime or demand such significant maintenance. This makes many applications either very expensive to operate or in some cases non-viable.

EIROS will develop self-renewing, erosion resistant and anti-icing materials for composite aerofoils and composite structures that can be adapted by different industrial applications: wind turbine blades and aerospace wing leading edges, cryogenic tanks and automotive facia. The addition of novel functional additives to the bulk resin of fibre reinforced composites will allow the achievement of these advanced functionalities. These novel additives will enhance the mechanical properties of the composite materials and will give increased erosion resistance and introduce self-renewing anti-icing characteristics on the surface for operation in extreme environments.

In addition, multi-scale numerical modelling methods will be adopted to enable a materials-by-design approach to the development of materials with novel structural hierarchies. The EIROS work plan also includes full Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the EIROS technology to better quantify the environmental benefits of EIROS. With a view to supporting the responsible development and successful commercialisation of these innovations, EIROS is adopting a ‘safe by design’ approach informed by a number of tasks focused on early‐stage evaluation and management of safety aspects associated with the materials, processes and components being used and developed as part of the project.

The modification of thermosetting resins for use in fibre composite resins represents both a chemically appropriate and highly flexible route to the development of related materials with different applications. It also builds onto existing supply chains which are represented within the partnership and provides for European materials and technological leadership and which can assess and demonstrate scalability. The partnership provides for an industry led project with four specific end users providing both market pull and commercial drive to further progress the materials technology beyond the lifetime of the project.
A work package (WP) approach was adopted.

• WP1 defined each case study components and geometry, lay-up, manufacturing process, resin system and reinforcement of each composite part. This information is reported in deliverables D1.1 and D1.2.
Public project deliverable D1.3 described the approach being adopted to evaluate and manage safety aspects associated with the nanomaterials, processes and components being used and developed in EIROS.
Deliverable D1.4 provided an initial approach for conducting the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of the new products that will be created within EIROS.

• WP2: R&D was focused on the design, fabrication, optimization and processing (i.e. functionalization, encapsulation, etc) of the additives developed in the project. Development of the process of incorporating them into the resin/matrix and the characterization of the functional additives and modified resin system(s) is also currently undertaken. The activities also included an early stage transfer of technologies to process scalability.

• In WP3 composite processing techniques were being developed to process the modified resins into composite components. Viscosity, thixotropy and filler filtration of the resin by the preform (fiber reinforcement) and adjust the composite processing parameters to optimize manufacture were investigated.

• During WP4 test coupons were being produced for each case study components on a smaller scale. Surface characterization (erosion, hydrophobicity, self-healing behavior) and mechanical performance (impact, strength, fatigue) was being assessed. Novel technique for ice adhesion measurements have been developed.

• In WP5 multiscale modelling approaches were sought to generate accurate structures of nanoparticle-enhanced composites to predict the interactions of the components, the nanofiller distribution, structure formation, morphology and the evolution of damage. The models are aimed to be used to derive structure-property relationships regarding the performance of the materials in extreme environments.

• WP6 was focused on final refinements to the nanoparticles, fabrication routes and incorporation processes based on the results of WP4. A representative scale components for each case study were prepared and subjected to validation trials.

• In WP7 the partners were designing an approach for maximizing the chances of post-project commercial success, to ensure that the results of the project will be disseminated, project IP and results are protected and there is knowledge exchange between the EIROS partners and wider audiences. Through these tasks the project partners were exploiting the project results and defining the commercial ambitions for the EIROS products and/or processes.
The overall aim of the EIROS project was to develop a range of composite materials based on a resin system containing nano-particles that add functionality to components in extreme environments. These benefits can greatly improve the efficiency and performance in the chosen case studies within the project;
i. Wind turbine blades in low temperature environments where the reduction in ice formation and erosion will lead to increased availability of the turbine.
ii. Leading edge of aircraft wings or blades where erosion and ice formation reduce the efficiency of the wing and maintenance costs are high.
iii. Cryogenic storage tanks for space and energy applications where very low temperature (< -183C) impact resistance is critical.
iv. Automotive oil pan (weight) and bumper trim (erosion). Enabling the lightweighting of vehicles thereby reducing CO2 emissions within the EU.

This advancement beyond the current state-of-the-art will give operating cost/efficiency and performance benefits to EU manufacturers in the high value wind turbine, aerospace and cryogenic storage industries; these industries combined provide around 650,000 jobs for EU citizens and are strategically important, high value, growth markets for the EU economy:
• The EIROS project directly benefits these key sectors, all major employers within the EU.
• EIROS creates components that can benefit high value products.
• EIROS will require highly skilled manufacturing labour to produce the material and the components, helping to safeguard these jobs and keep manufacturing within the EU.
• The multi-disciplinary nature of the project means that participant’s employees will need training and therefore be upskilled as part of the project.

The EIROS project will contribute to the broader challenge of a European nano-enabled industrial value chains for lightweight multifunctional materials and sustainable composites. The project scales up laboratory based expertise and processes to industrial scale and demonstrates this with four case studies. Integrating the materials and processing technologies across multiple sectors is also an aim of the challenge and EIROS directly contributes to it.