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Exploring the Science behind Clean Surfaces

Contaminated, unclean, fouled or deposited surfaces cause problems and expenses in many industrial processes having a negative influence on efficiency, production and on emissions. Also the cleaning processes usually mean shut-downs, environmental harm and expenses. Broad range of such surfaces have ceramic structure (ceramics, ceramic coatings or oxidized metal surface) putting special emphasis on research and tailoring of ceramic surfaces. Final solution may include special hybride surfaces combining different groups of materials; metals, polymers and ceramics.

Finland has launched a new national technology programme on this field named « Clean Surfaces 2002-2006 ». The total budget of the programme is 27 million euros. (more information http://akseli.tekes.fi/Resource.phx/tuma/clean/en/index.htx)

Tampere Region has a strong involvement in programme. Institute of Materials Science in Tampere University of Technology is coordinating one of the three core consortium of the program and is strongly involved in another.

The coordinated generic research project is named  » Interactions between Liquid Phase and Solid Surfaces in Aqueous Process Conditions, SHINE PRO ». This project is scheduled for four years during the period of 2002-2006 and has total planned budget of 3 million euros.

This project aims to find out the basic mechanisms of fouling in aqueous (or intermittently wet and dry) process conditions, to develop the means and tools to control these phenomena and to develop new innovative solutions on practical industrial scale. The focus is on applications related to industrial processes in chemical, metallurgical, forest and especially pulp and paper industry in the environments requiring self-cleaning surfaces, easy-to-clean surfaces or other functional properties, catalysis, controlled adhesion and bio-catalytically active surfaces that are able to destroy bacteria and living micro-organisms.

The consortium includes 5 different laboratories: Laboratories of Ceramic Materials and Surface Engineering in Tampere University of Technology, Department of Physical Chemistry in Åbo Academi University, Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry and Laboratory of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology in University of Helsinki, Laboratory of Forest Product Chemistry and Laboratory of Mechanical Process and Recycling Technology in Helsinki University of Technology.

In Tampere the main focus in the research and development is in the processing of new ceramic surfaces having specially designed and tailored self-cleaning or easy-to-clean functions through controlling following surface characteristics: desired electric charge, controlled surface energy (ultra-low energy, super hydrophilicy or super hydrophopicy), specific microstructural patterns (e.g. Lotus effect) and catalytic actions (e.g. photo catalysis) or different combinations of these.

more information: Prof. Tapio Mäntylä (coordinator of the consortium), tel: +358-3-31152326 or tapio.mantyla@tut.fi

The Laboratories of Surface Science in Institute of Physics and Laboratory of Electron Microscopy in the Institute of Materials Science in Tampere University of Technology are the members of another generic project named « Control of Small Particle Surface Forces and of Oxidation of Metal Surfaces in High Temperatures ».

more information: Dr. Mika Valden, +358-3-31152555 or mika.valden@tut.fi or Prof. Toivo Lepistö, +358-3-31153566 or toivo.lepisto@tut.fi

One aim in this national technology programme is wide international net-working. Other Euroceram regions are invited to offer special expertise which exists on this topic in their regions for more detailed discussions for possibilities of more detailed collaboration.

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