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CoACH Report Summary

Project ID: 642557
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CoACH (Advanced glasses, Composites And Ceramics for High growth Industries)

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

CoACH (Advanced glasses, Composites and Ceramics for High Growth industries) is a four year project coordinated by Politecnico di Torino and supported by the EC through the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action. It provides an innovative and inter-sectorial doctoral training for young researchers in prestigious academic institutions as well as private companies. CoACH, which includes five academic partners and 10 private companies from seven different European countries, promotes international excellence in glass, ceramic and composite science and technology, modelling, design, characterisation and commercialisation of advanced glass, ceramic and composite based products.
The scientific and technological objectives, based on specific needs expressed by industries, are the design, processing and characterisation of:
•Glasses and composites for HEALTH care industries:
o novel glass and composite antibacterial coatings;
o innovative doped glasses and glass fibres for fibre amplifiers and fibre lasers for medical diagnostics and therapeutics in healthcare applications.
•Glasses, ceramics and composites for the ENERGY production and ICT industries:
o innovative and low cost glass fibre based sensors for chemicals and new tests and modelling methods for glass fibre reinforced composites in harsh environments;
o new glass, ceramic and composite materials and synthesis routes for energy harvesting/scavenging;
o novel glasses, glass-ceramics and ceramics for solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC). Thin films and sealants.
•ENVIRONMENTALLY-friendly, low cost glass, ceramic and composite materials:
o new glass-ceramic proppants from waste for oil and gas industry;
o low cost glass ceramic and composite materials from waste. New eco-friendly insulation materials, geopolymer based materials.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

At ERLANGEN, an innovative ordered mesoporous bioactive and antibacterial silver-doped glass was developed using a sol-gel technique.
At COLOR, in collaboration with ERLANGEN, a bioinspired approach was used to develop a new antibacterial nanostructured hybrid coating. The functionalized surfaces seem to be biocompatible, although deeper analyses are needed and will be performed in collaboration with BACTIGUARD.
At NANOFORCE, it has been using electric current assisted sintering involving rapid heating to develop processing routes to produce new biocompatible and antibacterial coatings.
The collaboration between POLITO, nLIGHT and COLOR concerns the synthesis of rare earth doped nanoparticles using soft chemistry and the fabrication and characterisation of novel Er3+doped bioactive glass-ceramics. The investigated glasses possess a good thermal stability and are very promising for the fabrication of fibre lasers and amplifiers.

POLITO team, in collaboration with ELEMENT, manufactured, integrated and preliminary tested new and low cost evanescent wave optical sensors for monitoring the diffusion of corrosive sea water and degradation through the thickness of glass fibre reinforced polymers. ELEMENT’s work also focused on developing a dead weight creep test rig to evaluate creep stress rupture of the materials under investigation at different temperatures and stress levels, in collaboration with IPM, and on setting up an ageing study to investigate the effect of seawater and synthetic oil on the neat resin.
At UR1, in collaboration with DIAFIR, several new compositions of chalcogenide glasses, glass ceramics and polycrystalline materials have been tested for thermoelectric properties. At NANOFORCE, it has developed a rapid processing route (1,000 °C/min) using a modified spark plasma sintering furnace and promising results were obtained on silicide thermoelectrics. NANOFORCE, ETL and POLITO are collaborating to develop joining methods and protective layers for thermoelectrics to enable the production of demonstrator thermoelectric modules.
The high operation temperature and the harsh environment, to which solid oxide cells are exposed, lead to several critical issues responsible for degradation. The study of IPM has been targeted to the behaviour of the single cell, also known as MEA (Membrane Electrode Assembly). The obtained results will be used to extract the elastic behaviour of individual layers, suitable as an input for future simulations. Besides, new silica–based glass-ceramic compositions were designed and characterised as sealant materials by POLITO in close collaboration with SUNFIRE.

At UNIPD, starting from mixtures of recycled glasses and inorganic waste, dense proppants were produced with a total residual porosity not exceeding 4% and compressive strength in the order of 140-170 MPa.
ERLANGEN, in collaboration with SASIL, fabricated different geopolymers formulations at low temperatures with a low cost process and low environmental impact by using silicate wastes. Additionally, at UNIPD a new process was developed and used to convert recycled soda-lime into highly porous glass foams (porosity exceeding 85%) at only 700 °C, i.e. at far lower temperature than those required by conventional methods, after alkali activation, gelification and mechanical foaming of gelified suspensions. The collaboration between IPM, UNIPD, ERLANGEN and SASIL was extended also to new formulations, comprising recycled glasses and other inorganic waste, such as red mud and fly ash. Dense waste-derived geopolymers exhibited very good mechanical properties (>100 MPa compressive strength) despite being prepared with a low temperature curing.

Besides, The CoACH ESRs are trained by IDP’s instructors with a built-in traini

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

All the research activities carried out in CoACH have strong potential for excellent research and technological development and for disseminating and converting the results into social and economic benefits. The production and characterisation of novel materials for high technological applications is performed together with the development of the appropriate cost-effective, cost-competitive and innovative methodologies. A comprehensive exploitation plan will be developed by each CoACH fellow before the end of the project.
Additionally, this project directly contributes to achieving the objectives of the European Commission towards the training of young and highly skilled researchers who are at ease in both industrial and academic environments, thanks to a strong and effective industry-academia cooperation and collaboration, thus bridging the gap between the academic and commercial research sectors.
Attending international conferences, CoACH fellows can get involved with CoACH Network Workshops, which are designed to promote knowledge transfer among academic and industrial partners. Moreover, their stall at the annual EU Researchers’ Night together with talks at schools and open-access scientific publications mean that everyone has the opportunity to learn about this cutting-edge field of materials science.

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