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Research University - Warsaw University of Technology

Materials Technologies

Global and local challenges

Materials Technologies is an interdisciplinary research field which focuses on design, modelling and characterization, manufacturing and optimum use of materials dedicated to different sectors of the economy. The principle of materials technologies is understanding the relationship between technological process, structure and microstructure of the materials and their macroscopic properties and understanding the basic relationship in terms of formability, performance under operating conditions, prolonging the lifetime of the elements and preventing accidents caused by the degradation of the materials.

Materials Technologies are crucial to the industry, as they determine the development and competitiveness of almost all sectors. For instance, transportation, both land and air, is in great need of new materials which would be light-weighted, stiff and have high mechanical strength at the same time; ICT sector requires new semiconductors featuring better electrical and/or thermal conductivity; medical sector stands in need of new biomaterials with better biocompatibility and/or bioactivity. Investing in the development of new materials and material technologies raises the possibility of achieving success on the global market (the perspective of enterprises), and provides the opportunity to create innovations with the economic environment and to increase revenues from research commercialization (the perspective of a university). This is a very important aspect especially for the technical university, such as the Warsaw University of Technology.

New materials and materials technologies create the possibility of developing original solutions to protect the environment, save energy, increase the availability of clean water, protect human health and improve safety and communication.

Therefore, without this research area, it will be impossible to solve global problems and challenges identified in a number of Polish, European and world documents related to key research policies. In this sense, the POB creates the possibility of participating in international consortia developing large research projects, for example, within the new EU research and innovation framework program Horizon Europe.

It is also an important research application area for developing innovative solutions which can be easily transferred to the market. The growth of many industries is strongly correlated to the availability of the materials which can fulfil the demanding requirements concerning the properties, durability, reliability and production costs.

It is necessary to emphasize that Materials and Materials Technologies is a leading research area at many European and American universities. So defined POB is therefore of great importance for international cooperation, in particular, for participation in research and educational networks.

Scientific excellence

The achievements in this field concern advanced materials and materials technologies with considerable development and implementation potential for state-of-the-art. technologies. The analysis of the information available in Scopus database indicates that there are about 150 active researchers affiliated with the Warsaw University of Technology who have published at least 10 papers in years 2013-2017 in the category "materials science".

Every year, researches of the Warsaw University of Technology publish over 500 articles indexed in the Scopus database, which is the highest number among research units in Poland, and 14% of these articles appeared in leading journals belonging to 10% of the best in the field. The research in this field has undoubtedly gained international recognition - the field-weighted citation impact is at the world average level, which constitutes a sound base and offers prospects for improvement in the future. This can be accomplished through the activities undertaken as part of the Research University project. It should also be emphasized that about 10% of publications belong to 10% of the most cited articles, and 30% of them were prepared in international cooperation. The above-mentioned data indicate that the Warsaw University of Technology is a leading university in Poland in the POB "Materials Technologies", yet from a global perspective, there is still room for improvement.

This research field can also boast intensive collaboration with industry as well as strong international links. In the years 2013-2017, over 50 new projects with industrial partners representing different sectors were kicked-off. These projects were financed by the National Centre for Research and Development as well as within European Funds for Regional Development. Applied research in the field of materials technologies leads frequently to patents – in the last 5 years, the Warsaw University of Technology was granted with 45 patents related to materials technologies (3 of them were international). As for international collaboration, one should mention WUT’s participation in the consortia carrying out projects within European Framework Programs, e.g. Graphene Flagship FET, as well as projects dealing with materials, realised within EUROFUSION (earlier EURATOM) programme. ITN projects within Marie-Curie and Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions are also worth mentioning here.

WUT’s activity in the POB manifest itself also in its involvement (since 2002) in the co-organization of the annual conference EMRS Fall Meeting, together with the University and European Materials Research Society (EMRS). This event gathers over 1400 participants from all over the world, which makes it the third largest materials science conference in Europe, right behind EMRS Spring Meeting and FEMS Euromat.

Research plans

Materials technology is a complex and multidisciplinary science which involves, apart from materials science, many disciplines such as physics, chemistry, mechanical or biomedical engineering. Materials Technologies are a promising research field with great potential for new scientific discoveries and publications in highly-ranked scientific journals. Conducting research on such topics as nanomaterials (which exhibit unique properties after reducing the dimensional scale - graphene and quantum dots are flagship examples here), additive technologies (the processed materials are subjected to complex thermal cycles, and thus can achieve extraordinary properties), semiconductor materials and technologies for the photonics, microelectronics and the Internet of Things or new materials with complex chemical composition and/or structure, can facilitate tremendous development and make it possible to achieve a breakthrough. The following topics are of high importance for the development of materials and other field exploiting materials and will be developed at WUT:

  • High strength, light weighted and durable structural materials:
    • Ultrafine grained and nanocrystalline materials,
    • High entropy alloys,
    • Fiber reinforced light-weighted polymer composites and nanocomposites,
    • Additive manufacturing materials.
  • Advanced Functional Materials:
    • Biomaterials for implants, tissue engineering and drug delivery systems,
    • Smart, amorphous and gradient materials,
    • 2D materials, including graphene and dichalkogenes of transition metals,
    • Advanced polymeric and nanocomposite materials,
    • Advanced ceramics,
    • Hybrid inorganic-organic functional nanomaterials, e.g. perovskites for photovoltaic applications and 3D microporous metalloorganic frameworks for gas separation and storage,
    • Semiconductor nanomaterials, including quantum dots for electronics, optics and biomedical applications,
    • Oxide nanomaterials for photocatalysis.
  • Recycling of materials.
  • Modeling of materials and processes.

Education

The education of students is strictly linked to scientific research in the field of Materials Technologies. The main unit offering education in this POB is the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering. However, some elements of the teaching program are being adapted by other faculties, in particular the ones included in their programs chemical technology or physics. It has to be noted that there is an integrated education program in the 1st year of Master’s Degree studies, in the speciality of Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies. The program realized within the School of Advanced Chemical and Materials Technologies integrates 3 Faculties: Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry and Chemical and Process Engineering. The students who receive education in the field of Materials Technologies take part in scientific research – virtually every thesis is based on the scientific investigation or statutory works. The outcome of the conducted studies is usually presented in the form of research articles published with the student’s participation (about 30 yearly). Research-based elements are also present in teaching methods. The Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering offers, for example, the course "Research Project", which entails carrying out individual research projects under the supervision of the experienced academic teachers.

The Warsaw University of Technology has conducted International PhD Programs on advanced materials – one in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) in Switzerland and another with National Institute of Materials Science in Japan.

Human capital

The research activity of the Warsaw University of Technology in the field of materials technologies is performed in many units, in particular at the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, Chemical and Process Engineering, Power and Aeronautical Engineering and Electronics and Information Technologies.

The academic staff consists of about 150 persons supported by about 100 PhD students and graduate students involved in research projects. These figures provide a critical mass and good opportunity to participate in ambitious research projects.