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Characterization, process monitoring and modelling activities

Author: Hermine Lemaire, CEA-list

Several partners of Bionanopolys joined the project to bundle expertises on all important aspects about the develeopment of bio-based nanomaterials. Technical support activities will allow to improve the production processes of the pilot lines. Characterization and monitoring actions all along the production chain are key elements in new developments and different technologies were evaluated and proposed for primary, intermediate and final materials and products. In parallel, modelling physical processes through advanced simulation tools will provide valuable insight to the physical properties of new materials and on the predicted behaviour of nanocomposite based products. Let’s have a short look on these supportive services:

Innovative methods for thin layers measurements and homogeneity assessment

The proposed characterization actions aim to cover areas of measurements which are not readily available to the pilot lines through commercial products. CEA (France) works into extending the capacities and the performance of Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) techniques applied to inspection and monitoring new materials or coatings. The homogeneity of non-transparent or opaque materials or coating layers will be measured using a specially designed prototype device. Homogeneity and other characteristics such as fibre orientation or porosity analysis, at micron and sub-micron scale, will also be evaluated by using phase contrast techniques on an adapted laboratory bench, well suited to low absorption materials.

Mathematical and physical modelling

Technical support activities also benefit from IMT (Romania) expertise, particularly in terms of mathematical modelling at micro and nanoscale, and analysis of material properties by analytical and hybrid models. The industrial users of the OITB will be able to benefit from IMT technical services for example for predicting effective properties from microstructure (replacing some costly experiments with numerical predictions), or for on-line monitoring (obtaining 2D or 3D images of the microstructure) to predict on the fly the influence of process variations on effective properties. A tool will be offered for end users, based on models for optimization of composites formulation and of some processing parameters, on methodologies for nanocomposites virtual characterization, and on a neural network able to predict directly the properties of nanocomposites from their constituents. The type of materials suitable for applying this tool are composites, fibres, coatings, foams and fluidic. The tool will provide valuable aid in the optimization of product formulations, in order to improve functionalities and performances of bionanocomposite materials for packaging, textile and nonwovens, agriculture, cosmetics, medicine, pharma or food applications.

Rapid prototyping

Technical support activities carried out by CIDAUT (Spain) aim at providing a predictive performance modelling of 3D printed parts by FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) or similar additive manufacturing technologies employing bionanocomposites or polymers with any reinforcements. A characterization study is being performed on test samples, printed in three different orientations (flat, on-edge and upright) and in some cases, taking into account the influence of the strain rate, in order to consider the materials performance related with each building orientation. Material models are created by means of the proper management of the data obtained from the characterization tests campaign on printed specimens. The final objective of CIDAUT will be to provide material cards in accordance with the software used by potential stakeholders, as well as to propose and implement mechanical and thermal performance simulations.