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Instituto de cienca de Materiales de Sevilla
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The Materials Science Institute of Sevilla is integrated in the Research Centre of Excellence “Isla de la Cartuja” and is the reference point for the research in Materials Science in Andalusia, the South most region of Spain. The Centre is founded by the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), the University of Sevilla (US) and the local Government of Andalusia and is equipped with very modern common services. The research group “Nanostructured Materials and Microstructure”, integrated in the Materials Science Institute of Sevilla, has a wide experience in research in the field of nanomaterials and especially in the correlation between preparation conditions, microstructure and properties.
Within this Network the main interest of ICMSE (CR 9) will be related to the development of low friction and wear resistant coatings. In many mechanical systems the materials are subjected to friction and wear processes that produce important energetic losses and a decrease in the efficiency of the systems. On the other hand, the liquid lubricants are coming to their performance limits under severe operation conditions and also, in many cases, it is required their reduction or elimination due to their dangerous environmental impact. By these reasons the development of new concepts in solid lubrication coatings is of fundamental importance for better performances of the mechanical systems. Potential fields of interest are: mechanical parts in automotive industry, molding, sport devices, cutting tools, etc. In aerospace technology the solid lubrication is also an important field, due to the vacuum conditions that do not allow the use of conventional liquid phase lubrication. Low friction coatings are also important for biomedical applications. For this research the Materials Science Institute of Sevilla is equipped with a unique combination of characterisation techniques suited for a complete microstructural and chemical characterisation of multifunctional coatings at the nanometer scale. The tribological characterisation of substrates and coatings together with an important expertise in the synthesis and deposition of nanostructured and nanocomposite coatings by “magnetron sputtering technology” complete the capabilities of ICMSE in this field.
A second aspect of interest is the synthesis of metallic nanoparticles with a tailored functionalisation with organic- or bio-molecules. The controlled deposition of these nanoparticles on appropriate nanostructured surfaces will be of relevance for the synthesis of new multifunctional coatings with specific magnetic, optical or electronic properties. Our Institute is strongly committed to carry out integrated research and education in the field of multifunctional coatings.
Regarding characterisation ICMSE has a unique combination of characterisation techniques suited for a complete tribological, microstructural and chemical characterisation of multifunctional coatings at the nanometer scale. A very important point in CR9 research is the combination of the spectroscopy analysis by Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy, EELS, with the high resolution of the TEM microscope. At ICMSE a resolution of around 100 nm in the EELS analysis could be achieved. Besides we have got unique capabilities for Glow discharge surface analysis, GD-OES. The technique is very well suited for depth profiling analysis of coatings from a few tens of nm to few microns and could be very useful for other partners within the network, especially for multilayered coatings.
Additionally to conventional X-Ray Diffraction techniques, CR9 has the possibility of doing Gracing Incidence X-Ray Diffraction. The possibility of changing the incidence angle from just 0.5 to higher values can be very useful for characterisation of very thin coatings and also for elimination of substrate contributions. The tribological characterisation of coatings is another field of interest for our research group in this NOE. The facilities include: pin-on-disc and pin-on-flat, control of the gas atmosphere, humidity and conductivity measurements of the contact. A very important point in this field is to use the AFM microscope to carry out friction measurements at the nanometer scale. This could be another strong point in the contribution of CR10 to this NOE, for understanding friction phenomena at the microscopic level. Concerning synthesis and deposition of multifunctional coatings, CR9 can be complementary to the other groups in the consortium by adding the “magnetron sputtering deposition” technique. The HV chamber is equipped with two magnetron heads that can be used in DC or RF mode. Reactive sputtering is also possible. The equipment is suited for the synthesis of nano-composite coatings of the type TiC/a-C, TiN/a-CNx that combine a hard and a lubricant phase. The goal is to develop coatings of low friction and high wear resistance behaviour. Another aspect that it is very important in our research is the development of accommodation layers to improve the adhesion of the active layer, especially to steel substrates for mechanical parts coatings. Ti-TiN or Ti-TiC gradient underlayers are foreseen to achieve critical loads above 70 N. About education and training activities, ICMSE will be highly involved in managing post-graduate courses, also by using new multimedia facilities. Exchange of students, realisation of European PhD studies and even network formation of technical staff in specialised techniques are strong points at CR9.