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Group of Materials Science and Technology

Description of the research Group

The  research activities of the DIMI's Materials Science and Technology group aim at generating, developing and promoting knowledge on traditional and advanced polymer-based materials, and, more specifically, on their preparation, characterization (chemical-physical, morphological, thermal, mechanical and rheological), processing technologies and engineering applications.
The main research areas regard:

  • development of polymeric materials and biomaterials for advanced engineering applications;
  • mechanics of polymeric and composite materials;
  • rheology of polymeric materials;
  • processing technologies and product engineering.

The group is involved in teaching activities in various courses in the engineering area and is acxtive in the PhD programs in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering (DRIMI - “Materials for Engineering” division) and in "Technology for Health", developing thesis and ph.D thesis, also in collaboration with companies.
The group has numerous research collaborations, on national and international basis, with universities and research institutes within the framework of research/technological innovation projects, and is involved in consultant activities with companies, both locally and nationally.
The group carries out most of the experimental activities in a laboratory ("Materials Science and Technology Laboratory"), where the following devices are present: dynamometers for mechanical tests; pendulum for impact tests; rheometers; instruments for thermal analysis (DSC, TGA, DMTA); spectrophotometers; an optical microscope; machinery for the transformation of thermoplastic polymers. It is equipped with calculation tools for the simulation of processing operations.
The group is part of the Brescia Research Unit of INSTM ("National Interuniversity Consortium for Materials Science and Technology"), and participates actively in the work of ESIS ("European Structural Integrity Society", www.structuralintegrity.eu).

Research activities
  • Development of innovative polymeric biomaterials for tissue engineering: "blend", composites, hydrogels and foams.
  • Bioplastics and green technologies: development and optimization of the biotechnological properties of new biodegradable and/or compostable materials with specific functional properties and obtained from raw materials derived from renewable sources, industrial waste and used materials.
  • Recycling of plastics: development of techniques for separation and analysis of mixed plastic fractions, reactive compounding of homogeneous and/or heterogeneous plastics and thermal, mechanical and rheological characterization of the second raw material in order to identify the most appropriate application field.
  • Development of smart polymeric hydrogels for the realization of microactuators and devices for controlled drug delivery.
  • Surface modification processes aimed at providing new features and/or functionality to systems/products for applications in controlled release and delivery of active substances and in environmental sensors.
  • Development and characterization of the shape memory behaviour of polymeric materials and optimization strategies for a tailored response for smart sensors and biomedical devices.
  • Development of prototypes, smart biomedical devices and "sensor embedded" devices with polymer matrix support.
  • Development of process-structure-property relationship in micro-components in thermoplastic polymeric material.
  • Study of the mechanical behaviour and reinforcing mechanisms in elastomeric systems filled with micro- and nanoparticles.
  • Development of fracture mechanics test methodologies for the measurement of fracture resistance of polymers, composites and rubbers (participation to the activities of the "Polymers and Polymer Composites" Technical Committee of ESIS, "European Structural Integrity Society”).
  • Study of the capillary flow of polymer melts filled with rigid particles (polymeric compounds).
  • Study of the rheological behaviour of polymeric materials for the development of devices for controlled drug delivery.
  • Study of the application of  non-conventional processes (electrospinning, 3D printing) to polymeric systems for biomedical applications.
  • Development of experimental tests to evaluate the performance of polymers and elastomers under specific working conditions (eg: strain recovery; impact failure).
  • Measurement of material properties aimed at generating database for structural or process simulations (eg: vulcanization kinetics and viscosity of engineering rubbers).
  • Design of manufactured polymer-based articles obtained via injection moulding and corresponding flow simulations.
  • Effects of the moulding process parameters on the polymer morphology and on the properties of the manufactured articles.
  • Defects in the injection moulding process: main causes and how to avoid them.
Keywords

biomaterials; bioplastics; advanced mechanics of polymers, elastomers and composites; rheology of polymers; polymer processing.

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