the potential to be used in everyday products such as mobile phones and laptops.
The STORAGE (“Composite structural power sto- rage for hybrid vehicles”) project has been funded
EUR3.37 million under the “Transport” Theme of the EU‘s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The UK‘s Imperial College London (ICL) is collabo- rating with teams from Belgium, Germany, Greece,
Sweden and the UK to produce a prototype ma- terial that could be used in future hybrid electric vehicles to store and discharge electric energy.
The material is also resilient, strong and lightweight, making it well suited to the manufacture of car parts themselves.
Under STORAGE, the team will develop the material
to replace the current metal flooring that houses the spare wheel (known as the wheel well). Accor-
ding to the scientists, replacing the wheel well in this way could reduce a car‘s overall weight by 15%, and significantly improve the driving range of a future hybrid car. The Swedish carmaker and project part- ner Volvo is also exploring the possibility of fitting the component into its prototype cars for testing.
The researchers say that the composite material they are developing will be able to store and discharge large amounts of energy, and could simply be rechar- ged by plugging a hybrid car into the driver‘s home power supply.
They also believe that the material could even be used in the future for casing of products like mobile phones and computers. By making cumbersome bat-
10-03 :: March 2010
teries redundant, it has the potential to make every- day devices smaller and easier to transport.
Imperial College London: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/
Better ways of making plastic polymers were explo- red by researchers from the EU-funded Polyprop project. Project partners from the Chemical Pro- cess Engineering Research Institute in Thessaloniki, Greece, studied what happens to alpha-olefins in the presence of a polyolefin.
The Greek scientists developed an experimental setup consisting of a feeding mechanism and a sus- pension micro-balance (SMB) that operated together with a view cell (VC). A stereomicroscope was linked to the VC, enabling samples to be seen in three dimensions. Photographs were taken using a high- resolution camera attached to the microscope and examined using Image Analysis-Pro software. Resear- chers used the SMB to measure sorption and swelling of the alpha-olefins.The VC was used to measure elongation in terms of length, width and thickness. Readings could be taken at the necessary high tem- peratures and pressures extending up to 120° C and 300 bar respectively.
Contact: Costas Kiparissides, Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Chemical Process Engineering Re- search Institute Director Of Cperi, P.O. Box 1517, Univer- sity Campus 540 06 Thessaloniki, Greece, Phone: +30- 2310-996211: http://www.cperi.certh.gr/lpre