Core Technology 1: Nanofibers
✓ Nanofibrous technical fabrics are widely used/investigated for air and water filtration, biomedical and energy applications. Those webs are made up of fibres below 1 micrometer, more precisely below 100nm. Versatility of the production techniques enabled numerous functionalized products. There are three prominent mechanisms to process polymer solutions or melts into nano scale: Electrospinning utilizes electrostatic forces to attenuate polymer jets into nanofibre, while meltblowing and solution blowing are pneumatic systems where high speed air guides polymer jets. The centrifugal forces might also be used to obtain nanofibers from both polymers solution and melts. Larger kinetic energy (drawing forces) will be loaded on the molten/dissolved jet, which will enhance productivity.
Core Technology 2: Filtration
✓ Air and water filters are strategically important materials, which has direct impacts in society. Today almost 1.5 billion people breathe high level of pollution every day. World Health Organizations (WHO) estimates 2.4 million deaths due to indoor air pollution. A recent study showed that outdoor air pollution was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2012; which is due to exposure to small particles of 10 microns or less in diameter (PM10). According to estimates, there are 20 million Europeans suffering from respiratory problems. The societal cost of asthma has been estimated at EUR 3 billion/year. Among children aged 0–4 years, 1.8–6.4 % of deaths were attributable to outdoor air pollution. Besides, there happened 10 influenza pandemics in the past century, which increased the awareness on filtration products, i.e. high performance facemasks and respirators in emergency. Today, the need for the high performance air filter with reasonable price is more than ever in the history. On the other side, the number of people in the world who lack access to safe water supplies has reached to almost 1 billion. Today, 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease, where a significant portion is children. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. Water scarcity and pollution is also a concern in developing countries. According to recent estimates more than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged to water resources without any treatment. Under EU legislation, Member States are obliged to have treatment systems for collecting urban wastewater, and they have to ensure that water entering collection systems undergoes ‘secondary’ treatment. Despite lower compliance rates and also EU investments totalling €14.3 billion between 2007 and 2013, still several countries including France, Italy, and Poland were not able to meet criteria. Europe is considered as having adequate water resources, though water scarcity and drought is an increasingly frequent and widespread phenomenon in the member states. A long term imbalance resulting from water demand exceeding available water resources is expected. According to statistics, it was estimated that by 2007, at least 11% of Europe's population and 17% of its territory had been affected by water scarcity,.
Core Technology 3: Composites
✓ The last quarter of the previous century brought new dimensions to composite materials, which exhibit high strength to weight ratio, high specific stiffness, excellent fatigue resistance and outstanding corrosion resistances compared to most common metallic alloys, such as steel and aluminum alloys. Other advantages of composites comprise the ability to form directional mechanical properties, low thermal expansion properties and high dimensional stability. It is the combination of outstanding physical, thermal and mechanical properties that makes composites attractive to replace metals in many applications, especially when weight saving is demanded. Composites are now used in aircraft, helicopters, spacecraft, satellites, ships, wind turbine blades, submarines, automobiles, chemical processing equipment, sporting goods and civil infrastructure etc. AREKA composite studies are concentrated around novel approaches such as green composites, nanocomposites and novel techniques such as filament winding.