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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > NanotechnologyKTN > Nanotechnoligy in High Performance Nano-Enhanced Materials (HiPerNano)

Fiona Brewer
NanoKTN

Abstract:
In April 2010, in conjunction with Cranfield University, the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), held its annual High Performance Nano-Enhanced Materials (HiPerNano) Conference, dedicated to raising awareness and promoting developments in nano-enhanced materials for the high performance engineering industry. The conference presentations looked at current scientific and commercial developments, alongside the challenges that need to be addressed within the industry.

May 25th, 2010

Nanotechnoligy in High Performance Nano-Enhanced Materials (HiPerNano)

In April 2010, in conjunction with Cranfield University, the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), held its annual High Performance Nano-Enhanced Materials (HiPerNano) Conference, dedicated to raising awareness and promoting developments in nano-enhanced materials for the high performance engineering industry. The conference presentations looked at current scientific and commercial developments, alongside the challenges that need to be addressed within the industry.

The benefits to materials promised by nanotechnology are at last appearing in the commercial world and are beginning to solve real problems in transport and other engineering sectors. The higher visibility consumer products such as polishes, glass treatments and colour changing paints are only the tip of the iceberg. Nano-filled polymers and resins along with nano-structured ceramics and coatings, offer higher performance and additional functionality such as wear and erosion resistance, reduced friction, toughening and UV resistance.

The event saw presentations from a number of professionals within the industry, starting with a keynote by Dr Al Lambourne, Specialist - Materials, Rolls-Royce.

Dr Lambourne outlined the operational and environmental factors influencing engine design and revealed recent developments such as ‘icephobic' nanocoatings that prevent ice accretion on turbine blades. Lambourne also introduced a novel nanocoating for electrical wire insulation which will withstand the high temperature conditions for future electrical generators designed to be situated within the turbine.

From an automotive perspective, Ian Minards, Director Product Development, Aston Martin, discussed how nanotechnology might meet challenges in the luxury car sector. Surface protection was seen as a key area both for protection from UV, wear, heat; promotion of adhesion; and reduction of engine friction. Thermal management, noise, vibration, light-weighting and aesthetics were also flagged up as areas where nanotechnology can have a strong influence.

Nano-enhancement of materials properties was discussed by a number of speakers. Brendan Weager of NetComposites Ltd explored the use of clay nano-fillers as low cost fire retardants in polyester composites. Daniel Lynch of Exilica presented their nanostructured porous fillers for polymers and rubbers, which can release scent or anti-microbials, with possible use in car interiors.

Dr Gul Ozcan-Taskin of the Cranfield-based research company BHR Group explained the importance of dispersion and stabilisation of nanoparticles in manufacturing processes and outlined the EU FP7 project they have commenced ‘AddNano' on oil additives for friction reduction.

Pete Gooden of nanomaterials manufacturer Promethean Particles presented the company's ‘hydrothermal' manufacturing process, which can be used to develop an almost limitless range of particle compositions and morphologies.

Brian Norton of Indestructible Paint explained how the company was addressing the needs of the aerospace industry worldwide for specialist paints, especially for extreme conditions in engine, airframe and defence. The paints needed for aerospace must resist heat, UV, hydraulic fluid, fuels and lubricants and show excellent adhesion. This complex combination of properties can be achieved using nanotechnology, microencapsulation, surface science and binder specific additives.

Keronite is another well-established company developing plasma electrolytic oxide coatings for metallics, especially for corrosion resistance. James Curran explained how these nano-structured coatings are used on aluminium and magnesium for example, and can also impart aesthetics, such as the top of the range bicycle wheels currently being coated in a black protective coating.

Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs) are a hidden necessity in electronic devices where heat needs to be efficiently transported away from computer CPU and memory chips. For these applications, Chris Stirling of Morganite outlined the work on nanofilled silicone materials, designed to impart enhanced thermal conductivity.

Virginie Buche of Johnson Matthey emphasised how important nanomaterials are to their business. Catalysts are a vital part of fuel refining and generation of renewable fuel such as methane, hydrogen, biogas and biodiesel. Nanomaterials are also used to clean up exhaust emissions through the use of catalysts and filters that remove carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulates, NOx and ammonia from vehicle exhausts. High magnification images of platinum nanoparticles in alumina, and metal-doped zeolites emphasised the importance of nanoscience in the development of these functional materials.

Dr Martin Kemp, the Theme Manager driving HiPerNano commented: "With nanomaterials beginning to have a major commercial impact, it is crucial that a UK community is built, where aerospace, defence, security, power generation and automotive industries can discuss the benefits of nanomaterials in high-performance engineering industries."

‘To get nanomaterials into the market place, we need to create new kinds of supply chains and these have to be generated by market pull, where end-users can pose their commercial challenges and hear the latest success stories from their peers. A target for HiPerNano is to connect up the supply chains to facilitate commercialisation of advanced products based on nanotechnology.
By bringing together industry professionals at events like the HiPerNano conference, the NanoKTN aims to build a complete supply chain, guaranteed to generate wealth for the future of the UK economy.

For further information about the NanoKTN and to download the presentations from HiPerNano 2010, please visit www.nanoktn.com

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