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|N°39 - November 2003|
A priority for Europe's future
With a research budget of €1 300 million, the Sixth Framework Programme is granting pride of place to the nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based materials and their industrial applications. In this respect, the federation of projects within the Nanotrib cluster was a forerunner of the new 'integrated projects' instrument.
Nanotechnologies under the Sixth Framework Programme
Nanotrib: six coordinated research projects
Tribo (Nanostructured coating for engineering tribological applications) – This research is seeking to improve tribological performances in the aerospace industry where they are particularly important for safety and energy savings. The Tribo approach involves developing new processes for depositing thin coatings of solid lubricants in the form of 'nanostructured' powders.
Hidur (Improving competitiveness and conserving the environment through high-durability nanocomposite coatings) – The research concerns the depositing of nanocomposite coatings combining metal (chromium, aluminium, titanium) and ceramic materials for various low- or high-intensity friction applications, in particular for the mechanical components of wind power turbines and automotive construction.
Miclub (In-process structured hard coatings for microlubrication) – This project is aiming to achieve a drastic reduction in lubricant consumption during metal forming. The process consists of depositing a finely microstructured high-friction coating on the surface of the forming tool so as to optimise the action of the lubricating fluid which is captured in the micropores it generates.
Lubricoat (Environmentally friendly lubricants and low-friction coatings) – Many instances of ground and water pollution result from 'routine accidents' involving the leakage of lubricant fluids from site equipment. This research project is looking at a new generation of lubricants prepared from vegetable and biodegradable synthetic ester oils. The obstacle in using such oils is their susceptibility to thermal deterioration when subject to intense friction. The solution is therefore to reduce this friction by obtaining low-friction coatings such as DLC (diamond-like carbon) for the mechanical parts involved.
Nanocomp (New nanocomposite wear-resistant and self-lubricant PVD-coatings) – This research essentially concerns the benefits of PVD (physical vapour deposition) – a process of depositing composite elements in the plasma state using a magnetron. This permits a multilayer outer layer which can include solid coatings providing dry self-lubrication which eliminates the often toxic effects of conventional lubricants.
Smart Quasicrystals (Tailored quasicrystalline surface layers for reduced friction and wear) – This project is looking at the problems posed by friction and wear in sliding devices where there can be no lubrication between the contact materials. Such systems are commonly found in aerospace devices as well as in various industrial mechanical applications using agglomerated metal powders. The aim is to explore the possibilities presented by depositing quasicrystalline coatings with very low-friction characteristics.