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Modified cost effective fibre based structures with improved multi-functionality and performance

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - MODCOMP (Modified cost effective fibre based structures with improved multi-functionality and performance)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-03-31

MODCOMP project investigated new approaches to improve the functionality of carbon fibre reinforced materials (CFRPs). It studied fibre-based materials for technical high -value and high -performance products at reasonable prices with improved functionality and safety. In MODCOMP, the enhancement of the mechanical properties of composites was studied, through special functionalisations on the surface of the carbon fibres (e.g. plasma treatments, electropolymerisation and nanomaterials incorporation). In parallel, material providers or manufacturers managed to upscale their processes and work on continuous pilot lines for their functionalizations. Specifically, MODCOMP activities reached a TRL up to 5, up-scaling processes in order to satisfy end-users needs, which belong to automotive, aeronautics, aerospace, construction, marine and electronics sectors. MODCOMP partners represented mainly large industries, such as BREMBO, AERNOVVA, YUZHNOE and THALES, as well as SMEs, like GLOBAL SAFEGUARD LTD, ANTHONY, PATRICK & MURTA EXPORTACAO LDA. The developed materials aimed to meet the requirements of these industries, through new sizing procedures for improving the affinity between carbon fibre and matrix. Moreover, MODCOMP was focused on engineered fibre-based materials that can be used for novel smart high-value and performance parts, taking into account their sustainability, recycling, cost effectiveness and safety. All of the developed products applied to industrial applications with a high industrial uptake potential, in order to ensure the sustainable development of EU’s competitiveness, taking into account the increased global demand of CFs till 2025. Life cycle analysis and Life cycle cost studies supported the sustainability assessment. The properties that were also studied, in depth, was mechanical strength, electrical and thermal conductivity and lighting strike protection. One of the strong points of MODCOMP was the development of various demonstrators, eleven (11) in total, indicating the broad spectrum of industrial applications.
Main Results:
Novel functionalisations:
- Batch electropolymerisation of 50x50 cm2 CF fabrics (aeronautical parts, shelters and vessels)
- Continuous electropolymerisation line (150m CF/day)
- Active screen plasma treatment for 10km long CFs (space propellant tanks)
- Reduction of production costs for electropolymerisation and active screen plasma through automation
Improved properties of CFRPs:
- Improvement (up to 18% in resistance to deformation and up to 21% in strength) of the modified materials compared to initial (sample specimens)
- Treated materials have shown a better performance regarding mechanical strength.
- Electrical and thermal transverse properties prediction
- Increase of about 18% (12 kgf/cm2) of the internal working pressure of the propellant tank
- Positive influence on mechanical properties after continuous EPD (hat stringer & handbrake lever)
- Maximum load enhanced by ~30% without the cost of extension (hat stringer)
- SleekFast and handbrake lever prototypes made with MODCOMP materials presented lower contribution on global warming
- Manufacturing of knuckles and handbrake levers by CFRP instead of aluminum (without a re-design of the remaining components in the cases considered), that allowed weight reduction
Other notable results:
- Real-time method to detect the cracks initiation and propagation during failure process
- Machine learning for nanomechanical testing results
- Development of control banding risk assessment tool
- In vitro toxicity testing (MTT assay and SEM analysis) for MWCNTs and GNPs
- Continuous engagement with EU and international initiatives in the areas of exposure and risk assessment
For all eleven (11) demonstrators an exploitation strategy has been foreseen, based on the main innovations.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that during the four years of the project, numerous dissemination activities took place and more than 70 scientific papers in peer-review journals have been published, presenting MODCOMP’s innovations. Also, during the last reporting period there were more than 500 new website users and from the beginning of the project, more than 130 posts on Social Media channels. From the beginning of the project until M48, MODCOMP partners reported 291 dissemination activities in 12 different categories. The last six months, a 20% increase of dissemination activities was achieved (49 additional activities comparing to M42), with particular increase of publishing content in Social Media. Successful dissemination activities from project partners reached vast number of persons with particular increase of the Scientific community and Industry.
Current technological demands are increasingly stretching the properties of traditional materials to expand their applications to more severe or extreme conditions, whilst simultaneously seeking cost-effective production processes and final products. The aim of MODCOMP project was to demonstrate the influence of different surface enhancing and modification techniques on carbon fibre (CF)-based materials for high value and high performance applications. The developed processes will further exploit advanced materials, using additional functionalities, without compromising structural integrity. Modified CF based materials showed particular advantages due to their lightweight, good mechanical, electrical and thermal properties. The Current generation CFs have extensively been used in a multitude of applications, taking advantage of their valuable properties to provide solutions in complex problems of materials science and technology. MODCOMP developed the next generation of CF-based materials for structural and electronics applications. The benefits of fibre-based materials have clearly been shown, particular in aerospace applications, which require lightweight, high strength, high stiffness, and high fatigue-resistant materials. Moreover, the demonstrators that have been developed correspond to everyday products that are useful for the society, such as handbrake levers and steering knuckles for the automotive, as well as shelters that can be used in emergency cases, showing also that new technologies can have a high societal impact.