SURFICE is a European Training Network funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 956703.
The consortium comprises universities, research institutions, enterprises and partner organisations in 8 European countries (Italy, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherland, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland). This creates a novel platform for training a network of 13 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) at the intersection between physics, materials and surface science and engineering, making an impact in the fields of aerospace and system engineering, energy systems, surface technology and sensor technology.
Scientific target: SURFICE is an experimental, theoretical and engineering project which will lead to the formulation of a rational framework for the design and the fabrication of a category of discontinuity-enhanced icephobic surfaces that will be tested for industrially relevant applications. The three major research objectives (ROs) of SURFICE, tackling the existing knowledge gaps through dedicated work packages, are:
- Investigation of the physics of icing of morphologically complex microstructured surfaces, to better understand and model the mechanisms of heterogeneous nucleation and discontinuous icing. The models will enable to accurately predict ice adhesion forces, ice fracture and separation on complex surfaces and to describe the dynamics of impact and freezing of supercooled drops – all of which is beyond the current state of the art.
- Rational design of new discontinuity-enhanced icephobic/anti-icing materials and coatings, based on fundamental physical principles, as derived from molecular simulations, semi-analytical and multiscale modelling, and experiments across scales.
- Development of new technologies and systems for efficient ice prevention and control requiring lower energy inputs, based on novel design rules and advanced materials, promoting knowledge transfer to European industries.
SURFICE core-scientific training is focused on:
The participating teams. They include internationally renowned scientists and industrialists, who have a proven record of accomplishments and collaborate with each other.
ESR training and final achieved competences. Scientific and technical training, together with transferable skills and entrepreneurial training, will be one of the main components of the project, with the aim of promoting personal and professional growth of the ESRs. ESRs will also be heavily involved in results dissemination, communication and outreach activities.
ESR future mission. SURFICE is the first project with the ambition of training the next generation of icing specialists with a strong interdisciplinary background in physics, materials science, and system engineering to address the challenges associated to icing in industrial processes.