10 Years of Science at Fibrenamics
Opinion article by Inês Pimentel Moreira, ScienTech Manager at Fibrenamics Association.
Science is the fundamental pillar of Fibrenamics, acting as the structural basis of its existence. This is because the development of sustainable solutions for the future with innovative market characteristics is strongly dependent on the scientific knowledge generated in research and development activities. This relates not only to the study of materials, their processing into different forms, and characterization/performance assessment but also to the scientific methods used. Indeed, the scientific spirit is essential to test new things in a methodical way, applying well-defined and proven methodologies, to draw conclusions and optimize processes to achieve desired goals.
Science at Fibrenamics focuses mainly on fiber-based materials and their combination with other materials (cementitious and polymeric matrices) to obtain composite materials. Thereby, Fibrenamics has developed relevant scientific knowledge in these domains with a vision that encompasses three fundamental pillars:
ECO - sustainability
NANO - performance
SMART - adaptability
Combined with concepts associated with Multifunctionality, Multiscale and Multimaterial. The research group is a leader in these areas, playing a preponderant role in the national, as well as international, panorama. This is visible as well in the international conferences that Fibrenamics organizes, in the numerous research projects led by the Association, in the impact of more than 850 scientific papers published, and in the 45 patents registered.
Therefore, the main scientific results obtained by Fibrenamics over the last 10 years of research, include:
- Functionalization of fibrous substrates, mainly of natural origin, through nanoparticles of different origins (e.g. graphene and metal oxides) in order to confer multifunctionality, such as piezoresistivity, antimicrobial capacity, UV protection, moisture absorption control, among others;
- Nanofibers from biopolymers functionalized with nanoparticles and/or natural extracts;
- Fibrous structures and composite materials with auxetic behavior;
- Biofibers extruded from natural-based polymers and polymers extracted from industrial waste;
- Intelligent composites (cementitious and polymeric) with deformation monitoring capabilities in various applications (construction, automotive, aeronautics, etc.);
- Eco composites combining natural fibers and biopolymers;
- Advanced fibrous structures for use in implantable systems including stents, ligaments, tendons, and axons.
Fibrenamics was recognized by the European Union as a success case and the ideal model for knowledge transfer between universities and companies. Such recognition makes us proud but also gives us an important sense of responsibility every day. In fact, Fibrenamics currently has more than 350 national and international partners and more than 50 technological solutions developed, which proves quantitatively this successful transfer of knowledge and technology.
Over the last 10 years, Fibrenamics has fulfilled its mission to generate, enhance and transfer advanced knowledge in the area of fibrous and composite materials to the business sector. And this is only possible due to the fact that Science is a leader in the research lines in question.
Inês P. Moreira, ScienTech Manager of Fibrenamics Association.