The strategic program of the Unit for the period 2015-20 is developed under the theme "Develop and apply knowledge and technology to improve mobility" in order to perform advanced research in mechanical engineering in its modern sense in which complementary knowledge areas intersect, to arrive at appropriate solutions so as to face new challenges posed by mobility. Thus, the strategic program of the Unit contains four thematic lines:
Mechanical Engineering & Mining/Raw Materials
Research Groups Involved: Advanced manufacturing systems | Surface engineering | Nanomaterials & micromanufacturing | Structural integrity | Mining & raw materials
Under this line of research, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies will be developed to deal with Raw Materials, joining geologists, biologists as well as mining, mechanical and material engineers from the several groups of CEMUC. Namely, these studies will address environmental constraints, usually a problem to overcome without the loss of the economic interest of the exploration of raw materials; the occurrence of metals in nature, usually in complex mineralogical forms, presenting metallurgic challenges for their extraction under economic conditions; the use of optimized exploration processes in mining operations; the development of new tools for mining activities, using nanotechnologies to produce lighter, smaller and more effective tools, and the use of surface modification by developing hard and super hard coatings; the use of robotic in challenging environments, allowing to improve the conditions of human work and to extend mining capabilities to environments where human operation is not possible; the evaluation of induced health problems to workers and surrounding populations of mining areas through the exposure to radioactivity, mineral dusts and nanoparticles; recycling of residues of mining operations; and the replacement of critical raw materials.
Materials' Contacts, Surfaces and Interfaces
Research Groups Involved: Advanced manufacturing systems | Surface engineering | Nanomaterials & micromanufacturing | Structural integrity | Sensors and nanoelectrochemistry | Bioengineering and polymer synthesis
This thematic line focusses on the study and prevention of materials’ degradation due to movement, and to new strategies for materials protection. It involves investigation of wear and corrosion phenomena of contacts, surfaces and interfaces at the nano- to macroscale, of contact mechanics and friction through to biotribology. Innovative methods of materials protection will be achieved through sputtering, self-repair coatings, self-adapting solid lubrication coatings, and by surface structuring.
Advanced Materials, Technologies & Structures for Health
Research Groups Involved: All the Groups
This thematic line is focused on Health and Quality of Life which embraces Mobility in several aspects. Research in the field of Advanced Biomaterials that involves topics such as Micromanufactured nanomaterials, Biomechanical computer simulation, Tissue-engineered scaffolds, Antimicrobial activity and the understanding of diseases namely the Electrochemistry of cancer cells and Improving disease diagnosis contribute, in a complementary approach, to reinforce the outcome of this research line.
Research Groups Involved: Advanced manufacturing systems | Surface engineering | Nanomaterials & micromanufacturing | Structural integrity | Bioengineering and polymer synthesis | Mining & raw materials
A Green Vehicle presents very low environmental impact throughout its lifecycle: uses low-carbon energy sources, has very low air pollutant and noise emissions and can be easily recycled. Whatever the fuels and propulsion technologies adopted, the design of future vehicles demands improved knowledge on existent manufacturing technologies and materials, as well as for the development of new technologies. The goal of this research line is to support the shift towards a green design of structural and mechanical components of vehicles, through the adoption of the three-dimensional concurrent engineering (3DCE) concept, which advocates the integration of product development into process and supply chain design. The challenge lies in ensuring that Green Vehicle components production meets both economic and environmental targets, without neglecting social value and sustainability issues.