Short-Term Scientific Missions  Reports

Below you may find reports of STSMs (Short-Term Scientific Missions) carried out within the scope of the MP1105 COST Action.

Dr.  Igor Jordanov

Location: Faculty of Natural Science and Technology, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Host: Prof. d-r Petra Forte Tavcer, Prof. d-r Barbara Simoncic
Period: Period: 12.10.2015 - 11.11.2015

The purpose of visiting Department of Textile at Faculty of Natural Science and Engineering in Ljubljana was obtaining recycled PA6 filaments with flame retardant properties based on phosphorus and silica chemicals as well as their combination. The spinning of PA6 filaments were done on laboratory extrusion system Ltd., Bradford, VB. On the filaments their mechanical properties as well as vertical test on knitted goods made from filaments, were tested. LOI, TGA and cone calorimetry were done too. The results have shown that introduction of the flame retardant chemicals in the structure of filaments have not significantly changed mechanical properties and improve flame retardancy on the PA6. Vertical test have shown that time of ignition were increased and velocity of flame spreading were decreased. This STSM is starting point for deepening collaboration with the Department of Textile at Faculty of Natural Science and Engineering in Ljubljana in the area of flame retardant filament production for different uses. With this work we have obtained flame retardant recycled polyamide from fishing net that will find wide usage as a fiber for carpets, composites, automotive industry etc. The present work will give some contribution for solving the problem with sea and ocean pollution with fishing nets as well as contribution in production flame retardant synthetic polyamide from secondary source.

Dr. Claudio Larosa

Short Term Scientific Mission 2015, Bucharest Romania
Period: Period: 2015.6.19 - 2015.7.7

The thermal behaviour of polycarbonate cerium oxide/ composites was suggested as topic investigated in this STSM period, which was performed at the Institute of INMR of Bucharest, Romania under the supervision of Prof. Radu Robert Piticescu. The principal aim, was to acquire data information about the changes of glass transition, phase changing and melt temperature in Polycarbonate / cerium oxide composite with different doping ratio values. These calorimetric thermal analysis data were acquired using DSC to define a prediction model of cone-calorimeter behaviour. Second part in this activity was also to define a method to deposit zinc on a clean polycarbonate surface layer and then performed as a consequence a galvanic reaction by electron exchange, with a cobalt nitrate 1M solution. Primary, acquired DSC results shown as evidence a thermal shift of the glass transition temperature. About my permanence in the institute, greatly contribute has been offered in term of scientific support by inspiring competence of Dr. and PhD candidate Arcadii, using his vacuum apparatus, and Mrs Maria with her full professionally and humanity charge to dedicate me with patience and support technique. I’m also not indifferent to the sentinel support and fast coordination of Mrs Els. Van Der Burght and their secretary staff involved in this COST MP1105 activity.

Weijun Yang

Host institute: IMDEA Materials Institute, Madrid Spain
Period: Period: 2015.9.09 - 2015.12.12 (3 months)

I appreciate the financial support from the COST Action MP1105-Flaretex. Meanwhile, I am also very grateful for the support from Prof. De-Yi Wang and Prof. Jose M Kenny. I have spent three months research activities on Preparation of flame retardant poly(lactic acid) nanocomposite and its fire behaviors in IMDEA Materials Institute, from Sep. 9, 2015 to Dec. 12, 2015, under the supervision by Prof. De-Yi Wang, Prof Jose M Kenny and Dr. Debora Puglia. I have grasped some skills and knowledge about halogen-free flame retardant in the application of polymer matrix with combined use of some bio-nanofillers, which showed some interesting results, for instance mechanical and thermal performance, crystallization behaviors and so on. I also investigated the structural-properties relationship and the mechanism of the flame retardant in the polymer nanocomposite system. Furthermore, through the short-time research activities in IMDEA Materials, I also come up with some other ideas which are now being carried out. By the way, Prof. Wang's group (High Performance Polymer Nanocomposites Group (HPPN Group)) in IMDEA Materials Institute is a wonderful research group with state-of-the-art facilities and management.

Stefanos Koutsoumpis

Host institute: Cracow University of Technology, Poland
Period: 2015.06.02-2015.07.06.

Through the COST Action I was given the opportunity to visit the lab of prof. Pielichowski in Krakow, Poland, a long lasting collaborator of our lab in Athens. Our samples are prepared in Krakow and I had the chance to be involved in the synthesis and see all the trouble, shortcomings and difficulties a chemist has to overcome during this process. My Polish collaborates trained me on apparatus and experimental techniques dedicated to studying flammability. The group of prof. Pielichowski specializes, among other things, in synthesizing polyurethane elastomers and foams, a material with great importance when it comes to daily applications and as a result I got insight on the actual open questions that are of greater importance to both researchers and industry. Once again I came to understand how important it is to closely interact with one’s coauthors when composing an article; we did much more progress in one month than in the past year that we were discussing everything over Skype. Needless to say that the STSM was a success!.

Balázs Démuth

PhD student at Budapest University of Technology and Economics
Host institute: Johnson&Johnson, Beerse, Belgium
Period: 2015.01.15-2015.04.15.

Thanks to COST Action MP1105 I could spend 3 months in one of the largest companies worldwide, Johnson&Johnson. In Budapest my group is dealing with electrostatic spinning on which my PhD work is based. So COST has given a chance to me to work on my research abroad in a huge international company. Besides the fact that I could acquire some industrial standpoints that is not familiar at the university, I got the possibility to make new friends. In my opinion the internship was very successful and I hope I can return to Belgium soon. I had tried to make as many trips to cities as possible since Belgium is a lovely country.

Dan Xiao
Host’s Institute: IMDEA Materials Institute
Period : 2015-03-09 to 2015-05-31

I visited Prof. Dr. De-Yi Wang’s group and to be trained with the fire retardant knowledge and skills via STSM project in IMDEA Materials Institute this year. Fire retardant polymer nanocomposites were prepared by melting compounding via twin screw extruder. The samples were produced by injection moulding. On the one hand, structural properties relationship included the full-scale properties of fire retardant polymer nanocomposites, like thermal behaviors, burning behaviors, etc. On the other hand, it included the detailed study on the mechanisms.
I got to know on the fire retardant knowledge and skills within the 3 month stayed in Spain. Based on this visit, we have generated several new ideas for a further collaboration. We will introduce the electron beam irradiation to the current flame retardant PP system, because my home institute in Germany has excellent expertise on the study of using electron beam technology on polymers. This new collaboration will create more ideas as well.

Agnieszka Przystas

Diploma Student
EMPA Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology
St. Gallen, Switzerland

The main research topic in Additives and Chemistry Group in EMPA St. Gallen, where I realized my master thesis project, is flame retardancy. The most important goal of my internship was determination of the mode of action of novel phosphorus-based flame retardants for flexible polyurethane foams.
Thanks to COST Action MP 1105 I spent two weeks for STSM in the Pôle Matériaux Polymères Avancés Centre des Maté-riaux at the Ecole des mines d’Alès. The COST has given me the great opportunity to get trained on the Pyrolysis Combustion Flow Calorimeter coupled with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometry (PCFC-FTIR) under the supervision of Prof. Laurent Ferry. During these two weeks I was able to test my samples and learn analyzing the data. I spent nice time in France in friendly and helpful atmosphere. Participation in COST-STSM was a great experience.

Piyanuch Luangtriratana

Fire materials, University of Bolton
Bolton, UK

To evaluate the thermal barrier effectiveness of a coating on a fibre-reinforced polymeric composite laminate, it is important to predict the thermal barrier behaviour of the coating at elevated temperatures. Beginning of 2013, the STSM gave us a very good opportunities to use thermal conductivity measurement facilities available at Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille (ENSCL), University Lille 1, France to determine temperature dependent thermal conductivity values of polymers, coatings and fibre-reinforced composites. The outcomes were very important and valuable. Using this information, a simple heat transfer model for expandable thermal barrier coating was also successfully developed, which can be used to predict the thermal requirements of a coating to be able to protect a composite structure from specified heat for a specified time.

Mid of 2014, I was involved in unsaturated polyester (PU)/ phenolic resins blended project at University of Bolton. The main problem of blending UP and phenolic resins is their incompatibility owing to their different curing mechanisms. In order to make them compatible, the phenolic resin needs to be chemically modified. A modified novolac resin has been developed and synthesized at University of Bolton, UK. However, the sample produced is too little to be used for blending with the UP resin. There are no facilities available at Bolton to upscale this reaction. The STSM allowed us used facilities available laboratory in Sumitomo Bakelite Europe NV, Belgium, to upscale the above reaction up to 1 kg scale, and also the reaction conditions for the synthesis of modified novolac resin were optimized for future experiment to market this resin in the future.

Tim Slawik

Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS)
Dresden, Germany

Within the working group shaping at Fraunhofer IKTS we are dealing with the development of thin ceramic tapes used in diverse areas of application, for example, energy, medical engineering or electronic industry. The STSM allowed us to find new partners and gave us the possibility to investigate a new application field for our green or sintered ceramic tapes. For this, it was intended to increase the fire resistance of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites using the ceramic tapes. 
During the first part of the STSM, several ceramic tapes made of alumina and zirconia with different thicknesses were produced by tape casting. During my stay at the institute INEGI (Porto, Portugal), in collaboration with Celeste Pereira and Marta Martins, it was possible to investigate the fire resistance behavior of the green and sintered tapes on top of the FRP composites using cone calorimetry.

Lea Botteri

University of Zagreb Faculty of Textile Technology, Zagreb, Croatia
Department of Textile Chemistry and Ecology

Thanks to COST Action MP1105 I spent two weeks for STSM at Politecnico di Torino. I selected this University because there I had great opportunities to work on my doctoral thesis, supervised by Prof. Ana Marija Grancaric from University of Zagreb Faculty of Textile Technology.
The research work of my doctoral thesis includes investigation of silicone-based flame retardants for cotton fabric. From Jenny Alongi, PhD, prof. Giovanni Camino and prof. Giulio Malucelli group which are at the top at this area, I have got many of knowledge about thermal properties of cotton materials. Also, there I had opportunities to use some instruments (e.g. cone calorimeter) which we don’t have at our Department. They took care of me during the whole my stay there. I felt very comfortable and learned many things I used in my work. This experience was invaluable for me and I would like to thanks to those who made this visit the successful one.

Prof. Giulio Malucelli working group at Politecnico di Torino, Italy

Milijana Jovic

Lab Leader and Chemical Technician
EMPA Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology

From Switzerland to United Kingdom
The main research in my team is based on Flame Retardants. My responsibility as the Lab Technician of the group is that I have to synthesize  the compounds and test them in several different burning tests. 
We have a Cone Calorimeter, it’s one of the methods to analyze our Flame Retardants.
The Cost has given me the chance to get a very good training and education with the Cone Calorimeter at the University on Bolton. Beside I learnt a lot about the Cone itself and about the handling and the maintenance I had an good experience for myself. Two weeks free English lesion and kind of holiday.

Khalifah Salmeia
Swiss Federal Institute for Materials Science and Technology
(EMPA), St. Gallen, Switzerland.

As a research center, EMPA works with industry partners to meet their requirements and the needs of society. Recently EMPA have developed new types of phosphorus-containing flame retardants that are used for foam. Due to environmental concerns, conducting the research to study the toxicity is crucial. COST-STSM program gave me a great chance to work at the fire labs of Prof. Anna A. Stec at the University of Central Lancashire (Uclan) in the UK. Prof. Stec and coworkers provided me a friendly and scientific environment. The group supported me and helped me as a family. I would like to thank COST for giving me the opportunity to work worldwide and make new friendships and getting new experience. Many thanks to Prof. Stec who hosted me and thanks to the doctoral candidate Ashleigh Lyons who helped me with the tube furnace and managed my research work at Uclan.

Photo with tube furnace in the background.
Khalifah Salmeia (left) and Ashleigh Lyons (right)




Melissa Matzen
BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing
Technical Properties of Polymeric Materials, Berlin, Germany

Melt dripping is one of the important factors influencing propagation of flames. Melt flow and dripping in polymeric material can withdraw fuel from the pyrolysis zone and thus support flame retardants by removing heat. On the contrary burning drops can become an additional source of ignition. A better understanding of structure-property relationship is demanded based on a systematic and scientific work-up. Supervised by PD Dr. habil. Bernhard Schartel in the Flame Retardancy of Polymer group at BAM, I work on the enlightenment of dynamic decomposition product balance controlled dripping in fire test. Within this STSM, population balance model simulation on polymers has been carried out in cooperation with Dr. John Staggs at the University of Leeds. The melt dripping behavior of different polymers and the change of dripping by adding flame retardants was investigated during the second part of the STSM in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Baljinder Kandola at University of Bolton. In conclusion, this STSM was not only a great opportunity to learn new aspects of flame retardancy and appertaining approaches of other working groups, but also a positive start of mutual cooperation.






Jenny Alongi
Politecnico di Torino
, Italy
Department Materials Science and Chemical Engineering

Why a STSM should/could be important for a young researcher? The answer to such question is very simple: the scientific research is international, and not only local. Flaretex cost action is a very useful tool through which it is possible to discover it. Indeed, I collected two experiences within this research program. Last year I spent two months in the laboratories at the Institute for Materials Research & Innovation, Bolton University, and this year one month at Unité Matériaux et Transformations, Fire Group, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Lille. From the professional point of view, these experiences have deeply contributed to upgrade my knowledge on the flame retardancy of polymer materials. Indeed, the possibility to compare my experience with that of well-known experts of the field, like Prof. B. Kandola, Prof. R.A. Horrocks, Prof. S. Bourbigot and Prof. S. Duquesne, has been extremely stimulating and encouraging. Furthermore, working abroad in other laboratories means the possibility to use other type of instrumentation not available in our own Institutions and to meet people, probably people coming from other places with different experiences and cultures. Indeed, a STSM means new relationships, as well. In my opinion, these aspects make a STSM an important experience that any researcher should/could find an essential thing, a “must”.

Claudio Larosa
University of Genoa, Italy
Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

During the last ten years, the progress in the field of nanotechnology and the capability to synthesize and manipulate new materials have suggested the use of nanoparticles for building sensors and for the environment. In the effort to recognize new strategic and commercial fields, new properties are being discovered by highly motivated groups of researchers working in academic universities and private institutions. In this new global context, network plays a key role as well as the collaborations between multidisciplinary groups of researchers. We can introduce my activity in this flame retard COST action with the goal to improve the quality of nylon 6,6 textile fibres to fire with modified magnesium hydroxide nanoparticles.
In the last year, I have been involved in a new formative experience in short temp scientific mission (STSM) which has helped me to get in contact with the Enshedè country in Holland in the Institute of Engineering with the supervised professionalism and experience of Prof. Victoria Dutchk and her team of researchers working in the field of super hydrophobicity surface. This has helped me to extend my approach and interests, exploring new aspect in tensioactive materials and multilayer system. Spectrophotometer absorption and wet ability experiments in amorphous polycarbonate thin film samples and optical not linear on indole derivative have been performed in the host laboratory with good results. From these, a process was started for a competitive submission within the Marie Curie action IEF, with submission of posters and a paper currently under finalization.

Erik Dümichen
Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (BAM)
Polymere in Life Science und Nanotechnologie, Berlin Germany

In our lab at the BAM (Berlin) we developed a new method where the thermal decomposition products, released in the thermogravimetry, are trapped on solid-phase extraction agents. As extraction agents we use twister, which are stir bars with polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) on the surface. The advantage is the defined area of surface what makes the measurements direct comparable by using the same amount of polymer. This method is similar to Py-GC-MS. To investigate the advantages and limitations of the methods it was necessary to measure the same samples with both methods. Through the cooperation of EMPA (Dr. Sabyasachi Gaan) and BAM (Dr. U. Braun) it could be realized with the COST program that this comparable measurements could be carried out. It was a great success and a very nice stay in the swiss.

Working group of Dr. Sabyasachi Gaan at the EMPA (Swiss)

Marcos Batistella
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Porto Alegre, RS-Brasil
Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

A collaboration between Ecole des Mines d’Alés (France) and University of Trento (Italy) for the study of the influence of different mineral clays (two different kaolinites: K1 and K2 and halloysite) on the mechanical behavior of polyamide 6 (PA6) fibers for textiles. It was showed that the dispersion of fillers is dependent of filler type: for kaolinite K1 and halloysiste a good dispersion was foud whereas for PA6/K2 composites a poor dispersion was achieved. Mechanical properties were directly related to filler dispersion: an improvement of elastic modulus for kaolinite K1 and halloysite were found whereas a decrease was found for PA/K2 composites wich could be explained by severe agglomeration and lack of homogeneity of this composites. Finally, surface treatment of kaolinite with a coupling agent does not lead to the significant strength improvements..

Marta Martins
Institute of Mechanical Engineering
and Industrial Management, Porto, Portugal

It was intended with this STSM to develop thin ceramic films to be used in the fire protection of FRP composites under development for my thesis work. The first part of the mission was to prepare these ceramic films at IKTS, while the second part aims to apply and test these structures, using the cone calorimeter, at INEGI.
Three different ceramic compositions with two different thicknesses each were prepared. Furthermore, sintered and non-sintered tapes were also prepared for each thickness/composition. For the production of these films (or tapes), the tape casting technology was used. Below are shown some photographs of the experimental work developed during this STSM.

In conclusion, this short term scientific mission allowed the possibility to understand ceramic materials and their manufacturing techniques, mainly tape casting. The production of different ceramic tapes – in composition and thickness – was achieved. The work is ongoing with the application of these ceramic tapes on FRP composite materials and the fire reaction behaviour testing using cone calorimetry.

Location: Faculty of Natural Science and Technology, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Host: Prof. d-r Petra Forte Tavcer, Prof. d-r Barbara Simoncic
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This web site is supported by COST Action MP1105 and with European Cooperation in Science and Technology