Educational Program for Designers of Nanomodified Composites with Defined Properties Has Been Created

03 February 2021

The Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia (MUCT) has completed a new advanced training program in the development, research, and modelling of nanomodified polymeric materials with special properties. The training course was supported by the RUSNANO’s Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs. Specialists from the research and production company Khimpromengineering (UMATEX), the managing company of the Rosatom’s Advanced Materials and Technologies Division, will be trained in the pilot group.

The new 300-hour degree program is designed to provide advanced training for engineers and scientists who use physico-chemical, chemical, and thermal techniques to investigate polymers and composites, as well as for those whose work is related to the design and management of chemical production and the development of chemical engineering processes used to create, study, and simulate nanomodified polymers with special properties. Students will learn how to produce thermoplastic and thermoactive polymers, how to synthesize binder components for polymer composites, and how to regulate their properties, including the use of nanoscale components. As a result, they will learn how to predict the properties of new polymers and composites without carrying out field experiments, and how to plan the costs of establishing appropriate production facilities. “The main feature of the program is that it will teach students not only to assess the possibility of creating a composite with the desired properties at the physical and chemical level but also to calculate the economics of future production by verifying material or process properties using digital predictive modelling in advance, without conducting in situ experiments,” said Igor Sirotin, Dean of the Faculty of Petrochemicals and Polymer Materials at the MUCT.

The pilot group will start training in mid-February 2021. It will include specialists from five UMATEX subsidiaries from the Rosatom’s Advanced Materials and Technologies Division. These include Prepreg-SKM and its research center. In 2009-2018, Prepreg-SKM was part of the RUSNANO’s investment portfolio.

“In pursuit of its goals, UMATEX is implementing numerous investment projects in the materials science sector, acquiring core companies, launching start-ups, and overseeing composite implementation projects in other agencies and companies within the Rosatom circuit. It is interested in improving the quality of expertise and reducing the time and cost of R&D. This is possible with the use of digital tools in materials science and production. We will cover this subject quite extensively, from components to finished products, including their geometry. Industry-leading software will be used for this purpose,” Igor Sirotin explained the specifics of the advanced training program. “There is a general theoretical interdisciplinary course on the physics, chemistry, and physical chemistry of polymers and composites, and two professional modules for professionals of different profiles—engineering and management. However, it turned out that both were of interest to everyone in the pilot group. The training of engineers, scientists, technologists, and project managers from the parent organization is therefore likely to be consistent across all three modules.”

It is intended to use predominantly distance learning methods. However, quite a lot of practical laboratory work is envisaged, using real instruments to investigate the properties of polymers and composites. In particular, it is envisaged that computer modeling of the new material will culminate in full-scale fabrication in the laboratory.

Polymer composites based on nanomodified carbon fibers are increasingly being used in the aerospace and nuclear industries, the automotive industry, power generation, construction, shipbuilding, bridge construction, and pipeline transport. Compared to traditional structural materials (steel, aluminum, reinforced concrete), they have uniquely high strength, fatigue resistance, chemical, and corrosion resistance. The level of technology for the mass production of carbon composites and the extent to which they are used in the industry determine the scientific and technological potential of any nation. This means that qualified personnel are in demand, capable of developing such materials with given properties and modelling the processes by which they are produced.

Rosatom, under the 2019 agreement with the Russian government, is overseeing the development of the entire new materials industry. UMATEX combines a research center and plants for the production of high-strength and high-modulus carbon fibers and fabrics based on them, and is ranked number one in Russia and among the top ten global producers of wide-grade carbon fibers. The company also provides engineering support to partners. UMATEX faces the challenge of full import substitution by creating a high-tech and globally competitive product.

Reference

The Fund for Infrastructure and Educational Programs was established in 2010 in accordance with Federal Law No. 211-FZ “On reorganization of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies.” The Fund aims to develop the innovative infrastructure in the sphere of nanotechnology and implement the educational and infrastructure programs already started by RUSNANO.

The supreme collegial management body of the Fund is the Supervisory Board. Under the Fund’s Charter, the competence of the Supervisory Council, in particular, includes the issues of determining the priority directions of the Fund’s activity, as well as its strategy and budget. The Chairman of the Fund’s Executive Board, the collegial management body, is the Chairman of the Board of Management Company RUSNANO LLC Sergey Kulikov.