OBJECTIVE AND RELEVANCE OF THE JOINT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME
Modern Advanced Ceramics (MACs) are characterized by their high strength, texture, longevity, chemical inertness and electrical resistance. Their most distinguishing feature is that they are “more resistant to heat than any other material on the face of the earth” (Peterson, 2003). According to Cérame-Unie (2007), the world ceramics market is worth in the EU region 25% of €120 billion. MACs market has experienced growth in both areas of the application of new and traditional. In traditional applications, the growth came from improved performance, either by a complementary role or the substitution of conventional materials, new applications, MACs assume greater role to provide certain services not possible before. Technological innovations over the years have contributed to improvements in performance and productivity, to popularize an important factor for the use of advanced ceramics in several sectors. MACs find diverse applications in modern industry such as health and medicine, environment and energy, transport and space and communication and information, promising to transform the entire industrial scene.1 A roadmap for advanced ceramics2 for the period from 2010 to 2025 has been developed to provide guidelines for future investments for policy makers, scientists and industry alike. Only in the EU the materials market (including MACs) is stimated in 125 billions EUR. From a R&D and Academia point of view, in recent years, the developments of new devices supporting advanced industries such semi-conductor /IT Industries, environmental industries, nuclear power, aerospace, medical devices, and many others, and development of equipment, higher efficiency, and reduction of environmental loads have been strongly required. For this reason, during these last years, the industrial world, and civil society is pushing the public authorities to develop projects and create new research centers in the area of the materials required to make progress possible. Among the traditional materials, ceramics have played since its inception a key role in social and technical development. Today is the edge of Nano-ceramics, which will improve substantially the properties of traditional ceramics, from their temperature resistance, optical properties, electrical, magnetic etc., thus it will be possible to create the so-called Innovative multi-functional ceramics.
To enable collaboration on specific areas, one of the best ways is undoubtedly the exchange of students and teachers in a fully open collaborative framework. Therefore, EULA-NETCERMAT will focus on partnerships in the area of advanced ceramics based on nanotechnologies due to its future a crucial importance. Such figures and the request from the industry, reveal a promising future nanotechnology and nano-ceramics. However there is a need for an enhancement of fundamental research in critical identified areas such as nanomaterials synthesis, nanomaterials analysis, and nanomaterials modeling to overcome major challenges and barriers recognized. Otherwise, the development of new nano-materials and nano-ceramics will still be limited by our knowledge rather than by our resources. Such barriers and challenges involve:
- Achieve a much better control of the size and shape of the primary materials to exploit their full potential
- Develop a new level of analytical capability for characterization of nano-materials, nano-ceramics, and nano-devices under relevant operating conditions as well as with the highest resolution and sensitivity
- Develop a detailed microscopic understanding of how a given artificial nano-architecture and its properties are related (structure-properties relationships).
The design of MACs requires new concepts, which will inter alia be based on interdisciplinary strategies. The expert input from the field of physics, chemistry, engineering and biology is required. This poses a challenge both for future research structures, as well as for the future training of young scientists who not only have to remain experts in their own field, but must also improve their literacy in neighboring fields. Also is mandatory that the experts in materials and ceramics synthesis collaborate intimately with the experts in Materials structural Characterization (X-Ray Crystallography, Electron Microscopy, etc.), and experts in materials functions and with materials modeling. From a Society and Industrial point of view, given the strong long-term opportunities in this industry, should the producers of the current weak demand focus resources and investment in research and development, process optimization oriented view ceramic production, processing means for technological superiority and quality control equipment and customized marketing strategies. As an example, the different applications of ceramics and in particular micro and nanoceramics, depend on the production of defect-free single and mixed phase ceramics with 50 nm grain size. This imposes requirements on improved process control in order to achieve
reproducible and reliable behavior during the application either of existing or upcoming materials in particular those with a specific nanostructural design. Analyzing the industrial sector, MACs sub-sector is very diverse but manufacture is usually carried out in kilns in the same way that other ceramics are produced. They are based partly on clays and on synthetic raw materials and they are used, inter alia, in electronics products, biomedical innovations and automobiles. Many technical ceramics are innovative and of relatively high value and low weight, reducing energy intensity and
giving greater scope for exports.The three phases of the research in this field are: Fundamentals, Synthesis and Processing, and Applications. In each of these three areas the most interesting points and the most common characterization techniques are highlighted, as well as a separation is done between the microstructure ceramics and nanoceramics.
OBJECTIVES: To solve some of the exposed challenges and barriers exposed on the relevance of the thematic, the main ojectives proposed for the exchange programe within EULA-NETCERMAT involve:
- Enhance human capacity of LA partners by the exchange of know-how and experience, with the support of the EU research centers, organization of twining activities, workshops, training courses etc.
- Supporting innovation and fostering cooperation with industry (EU and LA). Action and Business Plans for the industry, mainly the ceramic industry in Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
- Achieving and reinforce present and future ERA through close cooperation with LA partners.
- Improvement the existing technical and scientific and management capacities of EULA-NETCERMAT partners. (FP8 particiaption of Latin American partners).
- Dissemination and diffusion of results of EULA-NETCERMAT between all relevant and indentified stakeholders according with the Triple Helix (academia, industry and political authorities)
In order to complete these objectives series of activities will be undertaken such as:
1. Mobilities: A total of 206 exchanges (263/m) are planned (66 exchanges/year). 26 % (1st year), 31 % (2nd year), 23 % (3rd year), 20% ( 4th year). The greatest part of the exchanged corresponds to researchers (seniors or young), the rest to technics-administrative.
2. Education and Training: by educational modules on MACs topics capable to generate economic activities with attendant socio-economic impacts on local populations. After completing the modules a platform for on-line courses at the involved LA universities will be created (UNLu responsibility).
3. Action and Business plan: such documents derived from the EULA-NETCERMAT SWOT analysis, will identify and prioritize which systems and processes must be sustained and provide the necessary information for maintaining the activities in order to reach future objectives (scientific-technological and also in economic terms).
4. Dissemination of results: through the specifically designed tools (see WP 5).
The successful completion of the EULA-NETCERMAT project will result in three major outputs:
1. Highest quality competence in research in advanced ceramics with significant influence on the socio-economic development of the region/country
2. Reinforce ERA as an internationally-renown partners of LA and initiator of cooperation projects in the next FP8 with SICA dimension and development of the close cooperation with outstanding EU and LA partners
3. Synergy of the research offer with the requirements of innovation market and industry well developed cooperation Academia-Industry (LA and EU) and high number of technical applications due to the future of ceramic materials.