Project Summary

The most important objective of the project is to strengthen the research and didactic potential of researchers, particularly early stage researchers employed by universities acceding to the project. The researchers will acquire new research experience in the field of thermoplastic polymer composites processing by means of machines with a screw plasticizing system. Each project partner has at their disposal extruders and injection moulding machines with a single-screw or twin-screw plasticizing system. Their use will contribute to a multifaceted understanding of research issues described in the project topic and to their experimental verification. The staff exchange will contribute to the transfer of knowledge between the individual partners, i.e. between European Union countries taking part in the project and the university in Ukraine as the third country.

Work will be implemented in four Work Packages. Each partner will be responsible for one issue. Single screw extrusion of thermoplastic composites will be conducted at the Lublin University of Technology (Poland), while twin screw extrusion – at the West Saxon University of Applied Science in Zwickau (Germany). Actions connected with injection moulding will be carried out at the Technical University of Kosice (Slovakia). Experiments on the properties of thermoplastic composites will be performed at the Lviv Polytechnic National University (Ukraine).

The expected results include: knowledge transfer, improving the qualifications of staff members, ini-tiating and strengthening cooperation at a high scientific and technological level, and defining the vi-sion of the further development of research on extrusion and injection moulding of advanced materials and the design of plasticizing systems in single- and twin-screw extruders, which should result in new research projects. In consequence, a permanent, long-term collaboration with Ukraine will be developed. The consortium will become more open to future cooperation with other research institutions in the European Union and worldwide.

Scientific Partners

Alongside the LUT Department of Polymer Processing (Coordinator and Beneficiary 1), three universities have been invited to the project: University of Applied Sciences of Zwickau in Germany – WHZ (Beneficiary 2), Technical University of Košice in Slovakia – TUKE (Beneficiary 3) and Lviv Polytechnic National University in Ukraine – NULP (Partner Organization 1). The LUT Department of Polymer Processing has already collaborated with two European Union universities in the field of the processing of advanced thermoplastic polymers and composites with a thermoplastic matrix. The first years of cooperation and joint research have been a great success, hence the willingness to continue this cooperation and benefit from the experience of other universities. Universities taking part in this project have extensive experience in the field of processing of thermoplastic polymers and their composites although each university specialises in different processing techniques. As the principle of polymer plasticizing is similar, combining the knowledge of these techniques may lead to the development of new structural and technological solutions applicable to all these techniques. Due to its scope of activity, the Department of Plastics Processing Technologies at the University in Lviv has been invited to join the three European Union universities participating in the project. Among other issues, the Department deals with the preparation and adequate selection of composites ingredients in terms of quality and quantity for purposes of their further processing, including processing with screw plasticizing systems. In addition, the Department has a well-equipped laboratory for the investigation of various properties of polymer composites and nanocomposites. Establishing links with this university will bring multifaceted scientific benefits and long-term cooperation.

Lublin University of Technology (LUT)

The Lublin University of Technology actively participates in EU projects. Among others, the LUT has implemented research projects under the 6th and 7th Framework Programme. The projects deal with, inter alia, the mechanics of composites, particularly resin set composites reinforced with long fibres. The currently implemented project under the 7th Framework Programme, “Centre of Excellence for Modern Composites Applied in Aerospace and Surface Transport Infrastructure”, is aimed at establishing a centre of Excellence for Composites. The LUT also participates in a key project thematically related to polymer composites, entitled “Modern Material Technologies Applied in the Aviation Industry”, co-financed under the European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme Innovative Economy for the years 2007-2013.

University of Applied Sciences of Zwickau (WHZ)

The Institute of Production Technology at the University of Applied Sciences of Zwickau coordinates numerous research projects and implements research projects dealing with the properties and processing techniques of advanced polymer composites, particularly composites reinforced with natural fibre, as well as screw processing techniques. These projects include:

  • Investigation of flow properties of caramelizing fluids and the production of structures with integrated visual objects with aggregates using screw processing.
  • Investigations for the development and production of a new sharpening and polishing procedure by means of dosage over hollow fibres and/or hollow monofilaments.
  • Development and production of constructively welded components of natural fibre-reinforced Plastics.
  • Development of a material system for a measuring tube for the three-dimensional static and dynamic measurement value recording.
  • Analysis of the application of a reactive extrusion process to create natural fibre-reinforced granulate material under inert gas environment.
  • Development of fluid-filled hollow parts with 3d structures on the base of polyolefins.

Technical University of Košice (TUKE)

Scientific quality The Technical University of Košice (TUKE) is involved in 24 projects financed by EU funds. The projects cover a wide range of themes, including the involvement of various Departments of civil engineering, metallurgy, mining, electronics and information technology through automotive and aerospace engineering and manufacturing technologies. In addition to these projects, TUKE is involved in an international project COST, government grants VEGA and KEGA and many other projects. The University cooperates in the field of applied scientific research with many Slovak and foreign companies (23) as well as universities. The companies include such firms as Volkswagen Slovakia a.s, Drives and Pumps Ltd., Michalovce, SEZ Krompachy a.s., Fragokov Prešov v.d., Tesla Stropkov a.s. and Johnson Controls Trenčín, Ltd., with which TUKE cooperates on the formation of polymer materials.

Lviv Polytechnic National University (NULP)

The Lviv Polytechnic University is experienced in international projects financed from various sources, including Tempus, CEI, 7 FP, INTAS, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), etc. The Department of Plastics Processing Technology at the Lviv Polytechnic National University whose staff will participate in the exchange conducts intensive scientific and production-oriented research in the field of modern composite materials based on thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers. The research involves the elaboration of a new physical modification method during processing, including the recycling processes of waste materials. The Department conducts scientific research under the State Programme for Ukraine’s Fundamental Scientific Work. It has also implemented a Grant from the President of Ukraine that resulted in the elaboration of the scientific foundations for producing materials filled with polymer-composite dispersions. The Department has implemented a considerable number of projects financed by Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science, including research into the production of polymers for biomedical purposes and with controlled functionality. In this respect, numerous special investigations into the physicomechanical, physicochemical and other properties have been carried out. The Department has conducted a lot of research work commissioned by industry in order to develop composites with adhesive, heat-resistant and aggressive environment-resistant properties. It has also implemented projects where the processing technologies of new polymers have been developed. The department has conducted research work under the Joint Scientific Technological Research Programme “Ukraine-Poland”.

Research Areas

Main scientific areas which are researching in Co-ExIn programme are following:

  • single-screw extrusion (LUT),
  • twin-screw extrusion (WHZ),
  • injection moulding (TUKE),
  • properties of composites NULP).

The Lublin University of Technology (Poland) LUT will present original, patented and as for now unique design solutions activating the grooved feed zone (longitudinal and helical grooves) of single-screw extruders and activating kinematically the extruder’s barrel – the rotating segment of the barrel These innovative extruders will be used to conduct experiments on extrusion of advanced materials, which will determine the influence of design changes in the extruder’s barrel on the technology, effectiveness of plasticizing and the properties of the obtained composite extrudate.

Using its twin-screw extruder, University of Applied Science of Zwickau (Germany) WHZ will demonstrate the influence of changes of the rotational speed of the screws and the temperature in the particular zones of the plasticizing system, as well as other parameters of twin-screw extrusion on the properties of the obtained polymer composites.

Technical University of Kosice (Slovakia) TUKE will use an injection moulding machine to conduct experiments on injection moulding of the received polymer blends, with various technological conditions of the process and changes in the moulding pressure, cooling time and mould design. A strength testing machine will be used for tensile tests determining the influence of filler quantity in thermoplastic composites on changes of mechanical properties during injection moulding.

At the Lviv Polytechnic National University (Ukraine) NULP, different advanced materials will be produced through calandering and rolling, to be processed at LUT, WHZ and TUKE. Moreover, the NULP, by changing the conditions of blending of different types of fillers with the thermoplastic polymer, will show the effect of those conditions on the mechanical, physical and physicochemical properties of the obtained composites.

The above actions will facilitate the realization of the individual tasks of the work package. During the workshops, each of the participants in the meeting will have an opportunity to freely discuss and exchange their ideas, comments and conclusions. The results of the open, unrestricted discussion following the experimental part will be recorded. This will make it possible to achieve the specific goals.

Impacts and Deliverables

The implementation of the project under the International Research Staff Exchange Scheme will initiate an exchange of research staff, transfer of knowledge and technologies between EU universities and the third country universitie (Ukraine) with regard to the structural and technological aspects of screw processing of thermoplastic composites. The project will contribute to increased mobility between scientific institutions. It will initiate a high-quality research infrastructure network accessible to researchers working in Europe and worldwide. This, in turn, will lead to the establishment of a centre of excellence for thermoplastic composites processing, which will certainly enable an efficient transfer of knowledge not only between scientific and research institutions, but also between the public scientific research sector and industry and society. The project will also improve the quality of teaching. The partner universities forming the project consortium intend to implement further schemes as well as research and implementation work in the future, also with the support from industry, taking into account jointly agreed priorities. Thanks to the project the partner universities will become more open to cooperation with other research institutions in the European Union and worldwide. The existing synergies and complementarities of the partner universities will be strengthened.

The project deliverables will be the following:

  • staff exchange,
  • knowledge transfer,
  • training of early stage researchers,
  • enhancing the existing knowledge and understanding of new areas in the field of thermoplastic polymer composites processing by staff members participating in the exchange,
  • new structural and technological solutions that may be used by other consortia and research projects,
  • improving the standard of education as well as teaching and scientific potential of the staff,
  • closer cooperation between European Union universities,
  • establishing cooperation with the Lviv Polytechnic National University in Ukraine,
  • publications, dissemination of research findings,
  • ideas for new research projects,
  • promotion of knowledge in society,
  • development of new and expansion of the existing offers for industry.

The deliverables and tasks related to the implementation of the Co-ExIn project will assist the improvement and propagation of knowledge in industry and society.