In 2023 the International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM) took place in Belfast, Ireland. ICCM is the premier international conference in the field of composite materials and was first held in 1975.
The conference attracted leading researchers and practitioners in the field from all parts of the world to report and exchange ideas on the latest developments in composite materials and structures. Covering a wide range of topics, plenary and keynote presentations, as well as oral and poster presentations provided a comprehensive global snapshot of the current state of the art. A number of site visits and an entertaining social program were also part of the event.
During the conference, Laura Mera Álvarez from AIMEN Centro Tecnológico presented some of the groundbreaking results of Greenvehicles LEVIS. According to her, the development of resin chemistries is truly a game changer for a range of sectors and applications. This was also seen in Prof. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh’s keynote lecture on this very topic.
Especially the automotive sector can benefit from these developments since they enable novel manufacturing routes such as TP-RTM (Thermoplastic Resin Transfer Molding). TP-RTM exhibits a promising balance of structural properties and cycle times; however, due to the novelty of the manufacturing process a few technological challenges remain for the full deployment of this technology. In her talk, Laura addressed some of the main considerations to bear in mind and also shared details on the process window adjustment at the lab scale.
Also, Sandra Roche from ITAINNOVA held a very interesting poster presentation about debonding within LEVIS. She explained how the weight reduction of electric vehicles will be achieved with optimized multi-material components, which technology developments are therefore covered within the project and which challenges are faced compared to mono-material products.
In this regard she threw light upon the end-of-life treatment, which can be difficult for multi-material products. In a global environmental impact assessment framework, this aspect could counteract the positive effect of weight reduction. For this reason, the disassembly capability needed to improve recyclability, reuse as well as maintenance, repair, and overhaul activities has become more important in the last years. LEVIS’s approach includes specific tasks to address these aspects.
The work presented by ITAINNOVA has shown that, through a proper formulation of the adhesives, it is possible to introduce the debonding-on-demand (DoD) capability in the joints maintaining the joints in-service performance.