Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

March 08, 2022

Quote of the week: “When three people meet, wisdom is exchanged.” Japanese proverb.

​ From The Editor's Corner

Materials business as the backbone of a better future for all

Strategic Two recent outstanding news refer to a topic that is often addressed here. It is the future of the materials business. We recently reviewed the discussion on the subject, promoted by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, calling for a new materials business model. "Now" is past tense, and what matters is what is to come. As always, we build the future, and both news are directly related to the construction of the said model. To know decisions and initiatives from the leaders is helpful for all the people concerned about the future of the materials business, including the Corrosionists’ community. First, it is interesting to mention the establishment of the “Sovereign Manufacturing Automation for Composites Cooperative Research Center - SoMAC CRC.” It is a typical Triple Helix partnership, including 30 industry partners, seven of the more recognized Australian Universities, and funded by the National Government through Australia’s Cooperative Research Centers program. Again, the close collaboration between industry, academy, and government is considered the best way to develop appropriately.

The mission of the Research Center is “to enable composites R&D to meet Australia’s national self-sufficiency priorities, servicing the rising demand for just-in-time localized composites innovations, automation and digitization.” Such a responsibility is directly related to integrating the real and virtual worlds around materials processing. It is the introduction of the Australian industry through the post-globalization times. And according to the above duty, the SoMAC CRC’s vision is “to transform Australia’s established composite technologies capability into Sovereign leadership, creating a world-class, highly automated, digitally-enabled, network of designers, manufacturers and service providers.” The efforts will impact impressive industry sectors in the coming times, including hydrogen economy, EV, aerospace vehicles, offshore infrastructure, and recycling.

In agreement with the goals of the Center, the established working plan includes five programs moving from the design towards the integration of the developments and passing through the obtention, manufacturing, and assessment of the composite materials of interest. Each program is split into areas of research. Looking at the selected areas in priority, it is found that most of them are directly linked with corrosion and protection issues in post-globalization:

Low-cost materials for automation

  • Composites for marine infrastructure
  • Recycling and the circular economy
  • Robust materials for hydrogen and EV applications
  • Hybrid metal and composite components
  • Incorporation of recycled materials
  • In-field manufacture and sensor integration
  • Multiphysics simulation of extreme environments
  • Advanced characterization of processing and in-service failure
  • Lifetime estimation through combined inspection and embedded sensors
  • Recycling and second life best practice
  • Standards development for hydrogen storage and other high-value applications
  • Field demonstration of installations and repairs

A second valuable document, published on February 07 of 2022, is the so-called “MATERIALS 2030 MANIFESTO. Systemic Approach of Advanced Materials for Prosperity – A 2030 Perspective.” It is also a Triple Helix action but concerning a declaration signed by the companies STMicroelectronics N.V. (semiconductors, Switzerland) and Umicore (raw materials and recycling, Belgium), the University of Oxford (higher education, U.K.), the Fraunhofer Group for Materials and Components (Research, Germany), the Commissariat à l‘énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives – CEA (Research, France), the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory – INL (Research, Spain-Portugal), and the Bureau of European Design Associations - BEDA. The declaration’s perspective perfectly matches with the Australian project. The European signatories ask for an advanced materials ecosystem as the backbone of the post-globalized continent: “A strong European Materials ecosystem drives the green and digital transition as well as a sustainable inclusive European society through a systemic collaboration of upstream developers, downstream users and citizens and all stakeholders in between.” And emphasizing some of the more significant challenges (climate neutrality, circularity, healthy food systems and sustainability in agriculture, transportation, construction, packaging, electronic appliances, and the transition to renewable energy sources) ask for research about materials, characterized by the integration of physical and digital capacities and competences, solutions-oriented efforts simultaneously answering to the technology-push and market-pull requirements, and a genuinely innovative, pan-European, inclusive, intersectoral, Triple Helix collaboration.

The Manifesto follows the market-pull strategy to present a matrix of innovation markets and the critical applications of advanced materials in each one. A total of 55 crucial applications clustered in eight subjects, five of them directly related to corrosion and protections issues: Renewables, lightweight materials, CCSU, design for circularity (reduce, repair, reuse, and recycle), and advanced surfaces. The map of specific innovation needs in each application includes corrosion as part of advanced surfaces. However, the others are also crossed by the need for solid support by Corrosionists.

In the end, two examples on how materials science and engineering, including corrosion and anti-corrosion measurements, are an essential part of the expected answer facing the post-globalization challenges. But national and regional efforts concerning the next material business must move towards global ones to guarantee an actual better future for all.

Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is a profitable business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

“Watchcockroaches” helping us to take care of assets

It is easy to remember or imagine bugs moving across extremely narrow spaces for us. Places of essential importance for the surveillance and inspection of parts and equipment because corrosion processes easily happen in these hidden areas. An engineering research group at the Pittsburgh University dealing with nano and micro-manufacturing processes and design of multi-functional materials created an insect-inspired robot that can squeeze through confined spaces as cracks, crevices, and other hard-to-reach environments. According to the study’s authors, such big-inspired robots can do activities such as environmental assessment, structural evaluation, and sampling. The core of the innovation is related to a transversely curved composite shell of liquid crystal elastomer and polyethylene terephthalate acting as a muscle, which is electrically activated by pulses through enervated electrodes inside the polymeric shell.

An invitation to innovate on sustainability

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the most recognized research organizations worldwide. Its primary and applied research has driven some of the most crucial discoveries and innovations during the last decades. Currently, CERN has opened a call to integrate and support the CERN Innovation Program on Environmental Applications – CIPEA. It is an initiative to support projects founded on the R&D developed by the institution and proposed by persons or teams involving at least a current CERN member of the personnel. “In its initial stage, the program intends to engage CERN experts and collect innovative ideas to address major environmental challenges through CERN technologies, know-how, and facilities, and to select the most promising concepts. In the future, these concepts may be used by industry, other research institutes or startups in their innovation ambitions to develop solutions towards a more sustainable future.”Optimistically, he says, "I hope you never look at a glass bottle in the same way."​


A leader for the hydrogen energy vector

Project Engineer - System Engineering

A great Corrosionist for significant challenges

Gas Ops Corrosion Engineer

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Planning the construction materials business 2050

Virtual. The BRE Group, an R&D organization, joint with Innovate UK KTN, a branch of the UK’s innovation agency, is inviting to attend a workshop and networking event organized as part of the Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge – UKRI program. The aim of the meeting, entitled “Construction 2050: The Future Material Requirements of the Construction Sector,” is to understand the drivers and future material requirements of the construction industry. Specific activities include the presentation of the initial findings of a project in that sense, hearing about innovation requirements, and fostering a Triple Helix networking about the subject.

Date: Thursday, March 24 of 2022.

Time: 10:00 BST (GMT + 0)

Improving such powerful tools

In-person. The University of Trento will host the “12th International Workshop on Application of Electrochemical Techniques to Organic Coatings” on behalf of the European Federation of Corrosion – Working Party 14- Coatings. The main goal of the meeting will be to exchange new ideas, establish research relations, and find global partners for future collaborations around recent developments in the application of electrochemical techniques to the study and monitoring of organic coatings. Some of the subjects to be treated are electrochemical studies of hybrid, sol-gel, and composite coatings; characterization of smart organic layers; green and sustainable organic coatings; novel methods for studying organic coatings.

Dates: Tuesday to Friday, March 29 to April 01 of 2022.

Venue: Hotel Lagorai Resort & SPA, Cavalese - Val di Fiemme, Italy

Upcoming events

May 2022

May 29th The Electrochemical Society (ECS) 241st Meeting. (Link)

August 2022

August 28th Digital innovations for improving safety in chemical plants. (Link)

August 28th EUROCORR 2022. (Link)

Photo by Denis Kirichkov on Unsplash