Durability is a key criterion for materials in many applications and environments. Longer performing materials can strongly reduce overall life time costs, such as lower usage costs through reduced maintenance and shorter service interruptions. Costs may also be reduced in the production phase (raw materials, energy, transport, formability), in the installation phase, and the materials may be more appropriate for end of life reuse/recycling. Typical applications requiring excellent long term durability and high reliability are buildings, marine applications and infrastructures including off shore.
In many applications, operational durability needs to be better understood, particularly for innovative products which have no demonstrated long term performance. Durability has to be evaluated both theoretically and in real installation conditions (including within challenging environments when relevant) as these may influence final product performance.
Research proposals should address all of the following activities: theoretical understanding (and development of models if appropriate) of the factors which affect durability of materials, including corrosion and ageing phenomena; experimental methods to measure and reliably test durability, non-destructive inspection procedures and monitoring tools; development of new and more durable materials (possibly multifunctional); and “fit for purpose” validation of new materials through life testing in the planned application and environment.
The proposed solutions should go well beyond the state of the art and it should be demonstrated that materials with improved durability also fulfil all other properties necessary for the application proposed.
The following factors should also be all considered: principles of sustainability (the sustainability of each developed solution should be evaluated via life cycle assessment studies carried out according to the International Reference Life Cycle Data System - ILCD Handbook); ease of installation; realistic solutions at a reasonable price and appropriateness for the operational environment; resistance to harsh environments if applicable. When relevant, design considerations (optimal combination of new materials) should also be considered. Recycling/reuse of materials should also be addressed. Standardisation aspects should be considered when relevant. Proof of concept in terms of one (or more) component(s) containing the new materials developed should be delivered within the project, excluding commercially usable prototypes (2006/C323/01), but convincingly demonstrating scalability towards industrial needs. Information guides for applications, installation and any appropriate training on the new solutions should be provided before the end of the project.
The implementation of this topic is intended to start at TRL 4 and target TRL 6.
This topic is particularly suitable for the participation of SMEs.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.