VEGA (Scientific Grant Agency)

Coordinator: Dr. Milan Parchovianský

Dates: 2023- 2026

Abstract:Epoxy-based coatings are one of the most applied materials for corrosion protection. The increased interest in bio-based epoxies emerges as an alternative to the toxic Diglycidylether of Bisphenol A (DGEBA), employed in several consumer and industrial applications. However, inter-layer adhesion of epoxy coatings is a complex phenomenon depending on chemical bonds, functional groups, and roughness, making it prone to blistering. Furthermore, a good adhesion may not always guarantee long-term corrosion protection, since all organic coatings will physically and chemically age with time. Therefore, we propose the development of a bio-based epoxy-silica topcoat and a silane primer seeking excellent adhesion and corrosion protection to aluminum alloys used in the aerospace industry (AA2024 and AA7075). The main strategy consists of covalently bonding an eco-friendly epoxy topcoat to a silane primer and substrates, resulting in an efficient bilayer system that can meet the most demanding anti-corrosion applications.

Coordinator: Dr. Akansha Mehta

Dates: 2023- 2026

Abstract: Currently the need to preserve the environment has drawn much attention, especially for processes involving glass recycling and treating industrial wastewater. Ceramic membranes combined with photocatalysis are useful green systems for wastewater treatment. The limitations directly affect the membrane performance, for example: porosity, higher fabrication/operation cost, loadings of TiO2, membrane fouling. Keeping the limitations in mind, an innovative strategy is proposed to fabricate photocatalytic ceramic membrane which focuses on microstructure integrated with chemistry and functionalities of membranes. Firstly, the fabrication of membranes via upcycling of waste pharmaceutic glasses in terms of achieving the highest open porosity (>70%), immobilizing TiO2 to achieve long-term stability/reusability will be accomplished. Secondly, new 3D printing techniques will bring an unprecedented opportunity to modify the design of membranes and surface patterns depending on the organic moieties present in wastewater.

Coordinator: Dr. Si Chen

Dates: 2023- 2026

Abstract: The proposed project aims to fabricate hierarchically porous bioactive glass scaffolds that mimic cortical bone for bone regeneration. The combination of bioactive glass microspheres/nanoparticles, freeze-drying and 3D printing, is expected to construct hierarchical porous scaffolds with oriented submillimetre pores (200-400 microns), and micron pores (10-80 microns), and nanopores. The ratio of microspheres/nanoparticles, the structure of sacrificial scaffolds, freeze-drying and sintering conditions will be optimized for optimal mechanical properties, as well as efficiency of angiogenesis and cell penetration. The microspheres/nanoparticles will also be doped with therapeutic ions including boron, cobalt, zinc, cerium, bismuth and gallium to achieve angiogenesis-promoting, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory biofunctions. Multifunctional hydrogel composites will also be derived during porous scaffold preparation for small bone defect repair, wound healing, and soft tissue regeneration.

Coordinator: Dr. Branislav Hruška

Dates: 2023- 2026

Abstract: The issue of corrosion and weathering (eg by the action of bio-active drugs in vials, but also during storage and ocean transport) of glass is constantly paid considerable attention. The production of glass itself is burdened by a large carbon footprint, so any degradation of the product,or the material, can cause not only large financial but also environmental impacts. The aim of the project is to study the surface morphology and corrosion processes of selected types of glass intended for biomedical purposes. One of the possibilities of studying the corrosion process is to prepare model glass with a chemical composition identical to the glass used in medicine and to subject them to a comprehensive examination in the corrosive environment. This approach will provide results that will allow a more detailed view of the corrosion mechanism of the examined glass and thus contribute to the optimization and selection of glass suitable for these applications in accordance with the methods of their use and storage.

Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Robert Klement

Dates: 2022- 2025

Abstract:The project is focused on research and development of new type phosphors with zero thermal quenching (TQ) behaviour, for potential application in light sources based on conversion of excitation light in NUV spectral range (produced by LED chip) to visible light, such as high power HB LEDs (high brightness LED) or laser lighting. Phosphors will be prepared as powders/nano-powders and as PiG (Phosphor in Glass) composites. The effect of activator and co-dopant concentration on PL emission intensity produced by phosphor under NUV excitation will be investigated. Photoluminescence properties of phosphors containing rare-earth and transition metal ions will be studied in detail with special attention on near-zero/zero TQ behaviour of phosphors up to 250°C. The
attention will be paid to study of relations between luminescent properties of materials and their structure and morphology.

Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Velazquez Garcia Jose Joaquin

Dates: 2021- 2024

Abstract: The proposed project is based on the development and characterization of novel binary nanostructured materials based on wide bandgap semiconductors. These nanostructured materials will be doped with metals and rare-earths ions, both for hydrogen production using water-splitting such as photocatalytic method. These materials will be designed, synthesized and characterized using a bottom-up and top-down approximation taking special attention in those semiconductors and/or its binary combination will show an efficient photocatalytic response to the UV-VIS light to generate H2 by using the water-splitting process. The approaches proposed by this topic are in the scope of the SDG7 (“Affordable and clean energy”) and SDG9 (“Industrial innovation and infrastructure”) by enabling electromobility through sustainable energy storage technology and by enhancing scientific research and upgrading the technological capabilities of industrial sectors of the European Union.

Coordinator: Prof. Duan Galusek

Dates: 2021- 2024

Coordinator / Partner institution: Institute of Inorganic Chemistry SAS / TnUAD

Abstract: Transparent polycrystalline ceramics (TPC) are used in various applications, e.g. solid state lasers, optoelectronics and armor. Its production is demanding and requires sophisticated sintering processes. TPC can be replaced by glass-ceramics, which are easier to prepare, but have poorer mechanical properties. The project aims to improve the mechanical properties of glass-ceramics by ion exchange technology known mainly in connection with the strengthening of common oxide glasses (eg Gorilla glass used in mobile phones). Mechanical stresses on the surface of ion exchange strengthened ceramics doped with suitable additives will allow modification of other properties, such as optical, due to changes in the composition of the glass matrix (chemical environment of optically active additives) or deformation of the coordination polyhedra of optically active ions. The use of silver ions in ion exchange will make it possible to create glass / glass-ceramic surfaces with high durability and antibacterial properties.

Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Amirhossein Pakseresht

Dates: 2021- 2024

Abstract: Thermal barrier coatings (TBCs) are currently used to provide thermal insulation against hot gasses in advanced gas turbines and diesel engines in order to improve their performance and efficiency of these machines. TBC coatings typically consist of a creep-resistant, high strength Ni-based superalloy as a substrate, an oxidation-resistant bond coat (BC), and a ceramic topcoat (TC) of Yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ). Nowadays, La2Ce2O7 (LC) has been proposed as a new TBC coating with a lower thermal conductivity and a higher thermal expansion coefficient compared to YSZ. However, its thermal expansion undergoes a sudden decrease in the range of 200–400 °C and it has poor mechanical properties resulting in short thermal cycling lifetime in the case of the single-layer LC TBC. To solve mentioned problems, in this work, a LC/YSZ double ceramic layer TBC and YSZ fibers (whiskers)/La2Ce2O7 composite layer will be introduced as a new TBC to enhance the thermal and mechanical properties of conventional ones.

Coordinator: Dr. Dagmar Galusková

Dates: 2020- 2023

Abstract: The ethical and financial issuesd are still fraught for the use of animals in pre-clinical in vivo testing. Appropriately designed in vitro methodology can provide relevant information on bioactivity and degradability and thus facilitate and economise selection of bio devices for in vivo testing. Poor correlation of in vitro biomaterial assessments confirms a need for deep reevalution of existing testing prcedures. The aim of the project is to identify and verify the test settings, which are predictive in respect to bioresponse even at the early stage of immersion to become time and cost-efficient alternative to in vivo testing. Optimal condition of in vitro setings will be designed and after verification applied to the novel bioactive scaffolds to assess dissolution kinetics and mechanisms of bioresponse in simulated human environment. Degradation performance assessment of selected biomaterials will provide information on the role of therapeutic ions bone and tissue regeneration.

Coordinator: Dr. Jozef Kraxner

Dates: 2020- 2023

Coordinator / Partner institution: TnUAD / Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of Slovak Academy of Science

Abstract: This project addresses the development of new materials in the form of vitreous microspheres, prepared via flame synthesis, and their utilization in 3D glass and glass-ceramic structures. The project focuses on the optimization of the flame synthesis parameters (i.e. the length vs temperature of flame ratio, the red-ox conditions of ignition, or the precursor feeding rate). These conditions influence the chemistry, structure, and morphology of synthesized microspheres. Full, hollow and porous microspheres will be prepared in aluminate, silicate, borate and boro-silicate systems, which, in many cases such compositions are difficult to achieve via conventional glass-making methods. Hollow and porous microspheres will be prepared via alkali activation or the addition of porogens. Microspheres will be used for the preparation of advanced 3D structures via the Additive Manufacturing Technology (3D print), which utilizes Direct Light Processing, Direct Ink Writing and Hot Isostatic pressing.

Coordinator: Assoc. Prof. Mária Chromčíková

Dates: 2020- 2023

Coordinator / Partner institution: Institute of Inorganic Chemistry of Slovak Academy of Science / TnUAD

Abstract: The essence of the presented project is the complex investigation of the relationship between the composition,structure and physical properties of bio glasses containing the network-forming oxide P2O5 in addition to SiO2.The basis of the project is the preparation of homogeneous bio-glasses, mapping and quantification of glass formation in studied systems and the measurement of basic physical-chemical properties of obtained glasses and glass-forming melts. The other aims of the project are to study the structure of prepared glasses by Raman and MASNMR spectroscopy, the creation of thermodynamic models, the quantification of the relationship between glass composition, their structure and physical-chemical properties. Obtained knowledge of the glass structure will be the prerequisite to elucidate the found dependences of physical-chemical properties (thermal expansion, viscosity, surface tension, thermal stability, …) from the composition and temperature of examined glasses and glass forming liquids.