Research Unit

Sustainable Materials Science

01 October 2010 → Ongoing
Group leader
Other information
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Crystallography
    • Structural and mechanical properties
    • Phase transformations
    • Thermodynamics
    • Electrochemical methods
    • Instrumental methods
    • Spectroscopic methods
    • Structural analysis
    • Thermal analysis
    • Chemical characterisation of materials
    • Physical chemistry of materials
    • Electrochemistry
  • Engineering and technology
    • Thermodynamic processes
    • Thermodynamics not elsewhere classified
    • Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
    • Recycling
    • Sustainable and environmental engineering not elsewhere classified
    • Destructive and non-destructive testing of materials
    • Metals and alloy materials
    • Metals recycling and valorisation
    • Metallurgical engineering not elsewhere classified
The Sustainable Materials Science research group investigates the materials science related aspects directly linked with the big challenges we face as a society. One of these challenges is sustainable energy. Hydrogen is considered to be a very promising energy carrier, since it produces no CO2. However, hydrogen can degrade metallic materials, which can lead to unpredictable and catastrophic failures. The research group investigates the interaction between hydrogen and different materials and develops relevant and dedicated experimental methodologies to study this interaction for both gaseous and electrochemical hydrogen sources. Another research area related to environmental assisted cracking of materials is on corrosion. Corrosion is the degradation of materials by (sometimes aggressive) environments (e.g. by chemicals or marine environments). The research group investigates the mechanisms behind the corrosion process and, moreover, how corrosion can be prevented, as such maximizing thelife span of the materials. A third research line is linked to recycling of metals. Since we use more and more materials and metals, they risk to become depleted. Therefore, we need to recycle them and aim for a circular economy. Pyrometallurgy, the extraction of metals at high temperatures (up to more than 1000°C) is one of the main technological processes in that perspective. In order to realize pyrometallurgical processes with optimal efficiency, which lead to pure and clean metals which canafterwards be re-used, the process needs to be understood very well. The research group optimizes pyrometallurgical processes combining both experiments and computational modeling.