More than 100 materials research experts from Aalto University gathered at the Learning Centre on 10 May to launch the new Materials Platform and discuss collaboration opportunities.
Professor Orlando Rojas from the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, who also chairs the board of the Materials Platform, hosted the event and encouraged participants to network and discuss the collaboration platform.
‘We want to activate operators in different fields to work together and be a meeting point for the university and stakeholders. Everyone is welcome to join the activities,’ said Rojas.
Professor Orlando Rojas, Materials Platform chairman
Vice President of Research and Innovation Tuija Pulkkinen opened the event by reminding everyone that materials research has a long history at the university. The field was identified as one of Aalto University’s strengths during the first research assessment exercise in 2009.
‘Materials research plays an important role in future industrial applications and innovations, for example, in energy production, preventing climate change, health and well-being technology and environmental protection,’ said Pulkkinen.
‘Top-level materials research requires high-quality research infrastructure, and cooperation between different actors supports the efficient use of resources. The new Materials Platform provides an outstanding opportunity to network, share information and build new, multidisciplinary collaboration.’ stated Pulkkinen.
A review of materials research at Aalto University
Professor of Computational Electronic Structure Theory Patrick Rinke presented the first Materials Platform highlight, which is a special multidisciplinary publication called Advanced Electronic Material, which consists of 12 articles written by 40 Aalto University researchers and 10 external researchers.
Professor of Sustainability Management Minna Halme approached materials from the viewpoint of sustainable development and the related business.
‘We study what happens to materials when they are used and how the ecological footprint of materials can be reduced. To support technical innovations, we often need business models that put innovations into practice in materials recycling,’ explained Halme ‘It’s a good idea to enter the market before the market even exists if you want to get a foothold.’
Professor of Nanotechology Harri Lipsanen presented the EU-funded Graphene Flagship Consortium project, where two of the Finnish partners are Aalto University and VTT. The project has 150 partners from 23 countries. Examples of key graphene applications include optical and flexible electronics, functional light components and advanced batteries.
Associate Professor of Fashion Research Kirsi Niinimäki talked about CHEMARTS, a joint project run by the School of Chemical Technology and the School of Arts, Design and Architecture that studies the use of different materials, such as cellulose, in textiles and architecture.
‘Designing materials at the nanolevel sounds almost like science fiction,’ said Niinimäki. ‘It’s interesting to consider how the materials needed for various applications could be designed according to what is required from the fibres.’
Professor of Engineering Geology Jussi Leveinen described how remote laser-spectral measurements are used to measure the properties of minerals.
‘The extractive industry in particular needs a reasonably priced, safe and reliable method of identifying the mineral composition of the rocks being used, which affects treatment processes, business productivity and the safety of recycling processes,’ stated Leveinen. ‘The new measurement methods can identify problems in construction materials, such as concrete, asbestos in buildings and even small amounts of toxins in the water and air.’
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