Leibniz Institute for New Materials

Saarbrucken, Germany
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New nano-coatings have an anti-adhesive, anti-corrosive and antimicrobial effect. Credit: Ollmann When processing milk and juice, the food industry uses heat exchangers in numerous steps throughout the process. To protect consumers, heat exchangers have to be free from microbes. In the numerous grooves and recesses of the heat exchanger, persistent biofilms can remain stuck. As a result, heat exchangers must be cleaned at regular intervals using aggressive chemicals. These increase the sensitivity for corrosion, especially if mild steel is used as heat exchanger material. Now the INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials is introducing new nano-coatings that reduce the effort required for cleaning heat exchangers and preventing corrosion. In these new coatings, the research scientists combine antiadhesive, anticorrosive and antimicrobial properties. The developers will be demonstrating their results and the possibilities they offer at stand B46 in hall 2 at this year's Hannover Messe which takes place from 24th to 28th April. The developers achieved the anti-adhesive characteristics by introducing hydrophobic compounds that are similar to common Teflon. These inhibit the formation of any undesired biofilm and allow residues to be transported out more easily before they clog up the channels of the heat exchangers. At the same time, the researcher used structures that act as a diffusion barrier in the coatings. These inhibit corrosion provoked from substances or aggressive cleaning agents. To prevent microbes, bacteria or fungi from adhering to surfaces, the scientists additionally use colloidal copper in the coating. Due to the oxygen or water that is present in many processes, copper ions are released from the copper colloids. These migrate to the surface and, as a result of their antimicrobial effect, prevent microbes from proliferation and growth. "In addition, we can keep the paint chemically stable. Otherwise, it would not withstand the aggressive chemicals that are required for cleaning," explained Carsten Becker-Willinger, head of nanomers at INM. Adding that the paint could also be adapted for special mechanical loads, he explained that this was important for paint used in heat exchangers, too. Due to mechanical vibrations, the individual plates of the heat exchangers could be subjected to a certain amount of abrasion at points of contact. The paint could also be used in other contexts, Becker-Willinger said, including in air conditioning with heat exchangers. Furthermore, the paint could be used for equipment in water purification plants, for example. The paint can be applied using standard methods such as spraying or immersion and subsequent hardening. It can be used on stainless steel, steel, titanium or aluminum. By selectively adapting individual constituents, the developers are able to respond to the particular, special requirements of interested users. Explore further: New nano-paint reduces the cost of processing foodstuffs

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMP-26-2014 | Award Amount: 11.93M | Year: 2015

One of the greatest challenges facing regulators in the ever changing landscape of novel nano-materials is how to design and implement a regulatory process which is robust enough to deal with a rapidly diversifying system of manufactured nanomaterials (MNM) over time. Not only does the complexity of the MNM present a problem for regulators, the validity of data decreases with time, so that the well-known principle of the half-life of facts (Samuel Arbesman, 2012) means that what is an accepted truth now is no longer valid in 20 or 30 years time. The challenge is to build a regulatory system which is flexible enough to be able to deal with new targets and requirements in the future, and this can be helped by the development and introduction of Safe by Design (SbD) principles. The credibility of such a regulatory system, underpinned by the implementation of SbD, is essential for industry, who while accepting the need for regulation demand it is done in a cost effective and rapid manner. The NANoREG II project, built around the challenge of coupling SbD to the regulatory process, will demonstrate and establish new principles and ideas based on data from value chain implementation studies to establish SbD as a fundamental pillar in the validation of a novel MNM. It is widely recognized by industries as well as by regulatory agencies that grouping strategies for NM are urgently needed. ECETOC has formed a task force on NM grouping and also within the OECD WPMN a group works on NM categorisation. However, so far no reliable and regulatory accepted grouping concepts could be established. Grouping concepts that will be developed by NanoREG II can be regarded as a major innovation therefore as guidance documents on NM grouping will not only support industries or regulatory agencies but would also strongly support commercial launch of new NM.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETPROACT-01-2016 | Award Amount: 7.13M | Year: 2017

Mechanical forces transmitted through specific molecular bonds drive biological function, and their understanding and control hold an uncharted potential in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterial design. However, this potential has not been realised, because it requires developing and integrating disparate technologies to measure and manipulate mechanical and adhesive properties from the nanometre to the metre scale. We propose to address this challenge by building an interdisciplinary research community with the aim of understanding and controlling cellular mechanics from the molecular to the organism scale. At the nanometric molecular level, we will develop cellular microenvironments enabled by peptidomimetics of cell-cell and cell-matrix ligands, with defined mechanical and adhesive properties that we will dynamically control in time and space trough photo-activation. The properties under force of the molecular bonds involved will be characterized using single-molecule atomic force microscopy and magnetic tweezers. At the cell-to-organ scale, we will combine controlled microenvironments and interfering strategies with the development of techniques to measure and control mechanical forces and adhesion in cells and tissues, and to evaluate their biological response. At the organism scale, we will establish how cellular mechanics can be controlled, by targeting specific adhesive interactions, to impair or abrogate breast tumour progression in a mouse model. At all stages and scales of the project, we will integrate experimental data with multi-scale computational modelling to establish the rules driving biological response to mechanics and adhesion. With this approach, we aim to develop specific therapeutic approaches beyond the current paradigm in breast cancer treatment. Beyond breast cancer, the general principles targeted by our technology will have high applicability in oncology, regenerative medicine and biomaterials.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 2.82M | Year: 2015

The last half century has seen a tremendous advancement in adhesives technology and has led to widespread replacement of mechanical fasteners with adhesive bonds (e.g. aircraft, automobile, construction, etc.). Bonding to wet, rough and fouled surfaces, however, remains challenging and adhesive technology is rarely applied for bonding in wet conditions, such as in (orthopaedic) medicine. Therefore, a need exists to educate young researchers in this interdisciplinary research field of controlling adhesion under wet conditions and to bridge the gap between the fundamentals of underwater adhesives and their practice. BioSmartTrainee is set up to provide such training by a combination of three complementary scientific fields: polymer science, adhesion and (fluid)-biomechanics. We aim to (i) extract principles from biological systems and mimic them to design synthetic materials; to (ii) experimentally test their adhesion properties in wet conditions and to (iii) clarify the adhesion mechanisms based on natural examples and theoretical modelling. These innovative adhesives will be useful for reversible attachment to a variety of surfaces in wet environments and, therefore, be highly relevant for products from European industry such as technological adhesives, coatings, tissue adhesives, wound dressings or transdermal delivery devices. This carefully planned research and training program in a network of leading academic and industrial (BASF, AkzoNobel, UGRO) partners will ensure that young researchers are given an excellent training in a pioneering research domain of high scientific and technological relevance, where Europe can take a leading position.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2014 | Award Amount: 639.00K | Year: 2015

CREATe-Net is composed of 3 academic institutions in Europe (Saarland Univ., DE; Technical Univ. of Catalonia, ES; and INM - Leibniz Institute for New Materials, DE), 3 non-academic institutions in Europe (AB Sandvik Coromant, SE; Steinbeis Research and Innovation Centers, DE; and Nanoforce Ltd., UK), as well as 6 academic partners outside Europe (CSIR - Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, ZA; Univ. Catlica de Uruguay, UY; Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencia e Ingeniera de Materiales, AR; Univ. de Concepcin, CL; Univ. de Sao Paulo, BR; and Georgia Institute of Technology, US). The network will cooperate in the field of design, processing and characterization of novel composite materials for resource-efficient applications and environmentally friendly technologies, in particular energy storage, bearings, electrical contacts, and cutting tools. The purpose of the network is to combine different thematic expertises of the academic and industrial network members in the multidisciplinary field of materials science and engineering in order to design new composite materials with superior properties and performance. The expertise of the network includes: a) design by modelling at different scales (e. g. atomistic modelling, thermodynamic and kinetic modelling, finite element modelling); b) novel processing methods (e . g. atomic layer deposition, severe plastic deformation and rapid solidification); c) advanced characterization methods (e. g. serial sectioning and atom probe tomography, high resolution transmission electron microscopy); d) processing/characterization of carbon materials, metal and ceramic matrix composites as well as functionally graded materials; and e) performance testing for targeted applications (available through special designed testing facilities at the research centres and industrial partners). Two workshops and one final conference will contribute to the exchange of knowledge beside the exchange of researchers.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2013-2 | Award Amount: 2.72M | Year: 2014

The global production of steel is in the range of 1400M tons, worth nearly 1trillion. The steel demand in Europe in 2011 was estimated to be 145M tons, of which 39M tons p.a. for the construction sector and 16M tons p.a. for structural steel. Most of this steel is carbon or mild steel (as opposed to stainless steel) which corrodes at a high rate and although there are a significant number of anticorrosion solutions on the market, protective coating is most widely used, thanks to its low cost and high versatility. Often, an anticorrosion primer is applied just after manufacturing of steel in order to prevent rusting during storage and transportation before fabrication (cut,weld,drill,etc). Most anticorrosion primers last max 6 month due to poor quality or mechanical damage resulting in corrosion. Additionally, these anticorrosion primers are often too thick (~50m) preventing weld quality, so time consuming localised grinding is done to remove the primer. If the primer is thin enough (~25m) to allow welding, its anticorrosion properties are so limited, not reducing the risk of corrosion. Above all, the increased zinc content in the weldable primer formulation in order to achieve the anti-corrosion property result in health hazards and discomfort during fabrication process as it releases significant amount of zinc fumes. Alternatively, primers are simply not used at all but the expensive and hazardous blast cleaning of steel is carried out before fabrication which may sometimes be too late that it results in huge material waste and cost. The problem to be solved is the inability of the weldable primer produced today to allow both good quality welding and durable corrosion protection without health hazards. The WeldaPrime project proposes an innovative approach for a zinc free corrosion protection primer with an optimum thickness and affordable cost, offering durable corrosion protection, resistant to mechanical damage and weldable without zinc fumes.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.39M | Year: 2016

MULTIMAT addresses (1) the industrial and societal need for affordable materials that have a highly defined and large porosity together with the required (mechanical, chemical and/or thermal) robustness for application in thermal insulation, catalysts, fuel cells and oil spill remediation and (2) the scientific need to better understand the mechanisms underlying the assembly of small building blocks into larger structures that are ordered hierarchally across multiple scales (multiscale assembly). Together this will contribute to achieving MULTIMATs future aim: Understanding and ultimately steering the bottom-up construction of materials with complex hierarchical structures. MULTIMAT will train a next generation of scientists (13 ESRs) able to master this complex design-and-assembly process. The MULTIMAT research activities include 1) the design and synthesis of building blocks with tailor made shapes and sizes, 2) their (co)-assembly into ordered structures with predefined mesoscale organisation, 3) the in-situ analysis of the development of morphology of structure during these processes, 4) the simulation of the structure formation from the molecular to the mesoscale level and the prediction of related physical properties, 5) the evaluation and testing of the properties and performance in selected technological applications. MULTIMAT brings together leading scientists from all relevant disciplines, and a large number of industrial partners, multinationals as well as SMEs. This strong involvement of industry clearly demonstrates the need for researchers educated in steering colloidal self-organisation. Direct outcomes of the project will include novel building blocks, (super-)porous materials with outstanding properties and novel tools for in situ imaging and molecular modelling.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-12a-2014 | Award Amount: 4.00M | Year: 2014

INFINITY will develop an inorganic alternative to a scarce and high cost material, indium tin oxide (ITO), currently used as a Transparent Conductive Coating (TCC) for display electrodes on glass and plastic substrates. The novel conductive materials to be developed in this project will be based on low cost sol-gel chemistry using more widely available metallic elements and will leverage recent advances in nanostructured coatings. Novel printing procedures will also be developed to enable direct writing of multi and patterned nano-layers, removing the waste associated with etch patterning.

Leibniz Institute for New Materials | Date: 2014-10-14

The invention relates to a coating composition consisting of an oxide compound. The invention also relates to a method for producing a coating composition consisting of an oxide compound and to a method for coating substrates composed of metal, semiconductor, alloy, ceramic, quartz, glass or glass-type materials with coating compositions of this type. The invention further relates to the use of a coating composition according to the invention for coating metal, semiconductor, alloy, ceramic, quartz, glass and/or glass-type substrates.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: ERC-AG | Phase: ERC-AG-PE8 | Award Amount: 2.48M | Year: 2014

Nature has, in the course of evolution, found many fascinating solutions to engineering problems. The proposed work aims at three-dimensional (3D) surface structures inspired by insects, spiders and geckoes. Based on the PIs earlier work on passive structures, the new challenge addressed by this interdisciplinary project is to design and investigate active, switchable 3D micropatterns, whose adhesion and touch can be tuned at will and modified on demand. The resulting features will bend or tilt in response to external stimuli (especially temperature, electric field and stress) and thereby create a responsive surface structure. Theoretical modelling and simulation of the relevant mechanics will be a major effort to establish structure-property relationships for switchable patterned surfaces, to guide the choice of structure parameters and to establish new multifunctional design rules for targeted applications. Emphasis will be placed on the novel aspect of interaction with soft, compliant objects, with a view to creating future opportunities for interaction with soft matter and skin. Talented junior scientists with both experimental and theoretical background - will be heavily involved as an opportunity to promote their career opportunities in this modern field of materials research. A final objective will be the exploration of the transferability of patterning techniques to larger-scale areas. Overall, such switchable micropatterns will likely open up revolutionary new possibilities in various technologies: robotic grippers with careful, benign touch of delicate objects, medical adhesives that become sticky on reaching body temperature, and active devices that can respond and send signals to touching fingers. The successful project will thus lay the scientific foundations for innovative devices and solutions that will improve our competitiveness and the living conditions of an ageing society.

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