01 May 2012
€ 10.285.626/€ 7.151.000
HIGH-FREQUENCY ELECTRO-MAGNETIC TECHNOLOGIES FOR ADVANCED PROCESSING OF CERAMIC MATRIX COMPOSITES AND GRAPHITE EXPANSION
Lightweight ceramics and fibre reinforced ceramic composites, such as non-oxide Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) and Expanded Graphite (EG), represent very promising solutions for high temperature applications in strategic industrial sectors, such as transport and energy. In fact, these materials are one of topical priorities of the European Technology Platform EuMAT and a strategic issue of the EC Research Roadmap on Materials.
Huge market opportunities are expected for CMC and EG provided to overcome the three major identified gaps: high cost, difficulty of processing and materials reliability. New and more efficient manufacturing technologies can pave the way to improve material quality, reduce processing time, converge towards near-net shape fabrication, trim energy spent and abate production costs.
HELM will address these challenges by proposing innovative high-frequency electromagnetic, microwaves (MW) and radiofrequencies (RF), heating technologies for integrating and, in the long term, replacing standard thermal processing routes, i.e.: Chemical Vapor Infiltration (CVI), Liquid Silicon Infiltration (LSI), Polymer Impregnation and Pyrolysis (PIP), and Graphite Exfoliation (GE). MW/RF heating owns peculiar features (rapid selective bulk heating, reversed thermal gradients, more homogeneous heat distribution) that will enhance materials performance. It can bring 60% processing time reduction (or even higher), with subsequent trimming of production costs, and cut of energy consumption up to 50-60%.
HELM RTD activities involve some of the principal European experts in the field, including research institutes, innovative SMEs, and end-users for industrial validation. A full product assessment, including energy and cost evaluations, will be performed through proper Life Cycle Assessment and thermo-economical analysis. A risk assessment and management plan is included to mitigate innovation related risks and reduce the time to market of the new solutions.