A report compiling the conclusions from the successful SusChem/ DPI Hybrid Materials workshop held in March was officially handed over to the European Commission on Wednesday 9 June.
Present at the meeting in the Commission's Champs de Mars offices in Brussels were (from left to right in the picture below) John van Haare from the Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI), Renzo Tomellini, Head of Unit for 'Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies' at DG Research European Commission, Ger Spork Innovation Manager at Cefic/ Suschem, Helge Wessel of DG Research, and Jacques Joosten from DPI.
The report highlights the conclusions from the intensive workshop sessions in Luxembourg that covered future materials needs in five key sectors: automotive; solar energy; solid state lighting; civil engineering; and aviation and aerospace.
The workshop aimed to identify technical hurdles and potential technology bottlenecks; capture new ideas; define potential R&D projects; and prioritise those projects.
A number of common technology trends or requirements were identified across the five sectors including better energy management (in terms of consumption, conservation and generation), improved and cost effective hybrid materials and better prediction tools.
The report lists some desirable characteristics and functionality that new hybrid materials should possess. These include light weight but with sufficient mechanical properties, smart capabilities such as sensing, self-monitoring, self-cleaning, self-healing etc, resistance to corrosion, wear, UV and moisture, the capability to generate or store energy, halogen-free flame retardancy, be easier to recycle as useful devices, be low-cost and/ or produced from renewable resources.
New multi scale modeling tools are needed to help predict material properties, optimise structural design and the lifetime of different devices amongst other tasks. High throughput screening tests are also needed for assessing different materials and their properties, and validation tools are needed to shorten the time needed to evaluate new hybrid materials to replace existing components.
In terms of manufacturing and recycle processes the workshop is looking to standardised evaluation processes to make, assemble and disassemble hybrid materials and to help in scale-up of materials to industrial quantities. Improved life cycle analysis and recyclability is required, as is lower manufacturing and recycle process costs.
Finally fundamental studies are needed to investigate the influence of molecular structure on material properties, compatibility between different hybrid materials, and interface properties between hybrid materials.
The full report is available to download from the SusChem website. For further information, please contact the suschem secretariat.