Aerospace Engineering researchers receive IRI/NSF grant for coatings and adhesion research
Geubelle, also a researcher at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology, leads the investigation, “Multiscale Modeling and Assessment of Interfacial Adhesion Failure in Polymeric Coatings and Multilayered Devices.” Other project investigators include AE Affiliate Prof. Nancy R. Sottos of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and The Beckman Institute, and John Kieffer, of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Michigan.
In addition to maintaining physical integrity, adhesives and coatings in modern devices, must also provide specific function(s)—the interface must not provide a barrier to electrical or thermal continuity in some devices, or to chemical diffusion or osmosis in others.
“Next generation models need to predict adhesive strength and functional properties—electrical, thermal, chemical conductivity—and they need to predict the factors that will cause these properties to vary over the life of the device. Such models can facilitate development of accelerated life tests and significantly reduce both the cost and the time required to develop new products.”
The Illinois researchers are collaborating with Keiffer because of his expertise in molecular modeling of polymeric materials in bulk and close to interfaces. His group also conducts some very small-scale experiments to validate his models.
Keiffer’s molecular-level modeling will be used in Guebelle’s multiscale cohesive framework to develop a failure model (i.e., a model of the failure of the interface) that can be used at the device-level. Sottos will perform the “macro-scale experiments” — with specimens that are a few microns in thickness and a few millimeters in length — so the researchers can validate the continuum models.
As part of an intensive process, an IRI advisory panel conducted background research among a diverse industry cross section of IRI member organizations to identify issues and challenges industries face in which targeted academic research might identify possible solutions. Ultimately, the IRI advisory panel focused attention on two topics: Renewable Energy related challenges and Materials.
“In defining these questions and connecting industry to academia in the search for adhesion and coating solutions, the Industry-Defined Fundamental Research program promises to have a measurable effect,” stated IRI president Edward Bernstein. “We expect this research will lead directly to a fundamental understanding of problems common across industry, the solution of which will strengthen industry’s competitiveness and open new markets.”
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded IRI a $1.2 million grant to pilot the Industry-Defined Fundamental Research program. The program intends to allow participating companies to influence a scientific research agenda, in a pre-competitive space, by defining key questions and then partnering with universities and companies to explore them.
This grant is a direct extension of work Geubelle and Sottos have been doing on characterizing the failure properties of thin films. That work, sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) and NSF, and has been going on for about four years. # # #