September will mark the first anniversary of the European research project THERMACO, “Smart Thermal conductive Aluminium Metal Matrix Composites (Al-MMC) by casting”. Graphenea is part of the project together with 10 other industrial and academic partners. The project will last until September 2016.
Due to their improved properties compared to traditional metals or polymers, composite materials are now used in several technologically advanced products. Recently, the products used have been carbon-based materials which, apart from delivering extremely good thermal properties, do not usually have a structural value in terms of mechanical properties, hindering stand-alone applications. However, when enclosed in metal envelopes, they could be used to form MMC (Metal Matrix Composite) parts which are significantly more durable and strong, delivering thus a breakthrough solution in this context.
Nevertheless, due to the lack of satisfactory machining and manufacturing technologies, they cannot yet be implemented. So far, complicated and cost-intensive multi-part cooling systems have had to be applied, hindering a further functional integration or power increase. THERMACO aims at providing manufacturing technologies with extremely efficient solutions in heat evacuation based on Aluminium Metal Matrix Composites (Al-MMC) with graphene-based inserts, applicable in many key technologies and products bolstering several sectors in Europe.
We are incorporating technological and strategic innovations in order to provide products applicable to a wide range of sectors with suitable tools and methodology for a significant increase in functional properties while ensuring compact design, weight reduction and cost efficiency
Potential heat evacuation applications will focus on critical fields such as power micro-electronics, e-mobility and (renewable) energy generation as well as highest performance combustion engines. The project is part of the FP7 theme “Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials and new Production Technologies (NMP)”.
Photo: The 9-month meeting in San Sebastian.
The project team, which includes Technische Universitat Chemnitz, Technion, Lamborghini and others, held our 6-month meeting in Haifa (Israel), our 9-month meeting in San Sebastian (Spain), the home of Graphenea, and the first annual meeting on August 4-6 2014 in Krakow, Poland, which is home to our project partner the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas (IETU). As we went through the Work Packages, we also discussed the recent formation of a cluster of projects that develop composite metallic materials, and our membership in it. We'll keep our readers updated on the progress of this project and its main results in the coming years.