Extreme conditions of temperature, wear, friction, loading, and corrosion, easily occur in a wide range of applications, like:
- Manufacturing (high-speed machining, cryogenic machining)
- Transportation (aeronautics/aerospace, automotive, marine, etc.)
- Energy (concentrated solar power systems, thermoelectrics, oil and gas plants)
- Constructions (bridges, etc.)
Several critical raw materials (CRMs), i.e. materials whose supply could be problematic for the EU due to economical and/or geopolitical reasons, are used in the considered technological fields. For example, CRMs like W, Co and Cr are used in cemented carbide and high-speed steel (HSS) machining tools, as well as in hard coatings deposited on tools. Also, Cr, Co, Nb, Y and other REEs, are present in Ni-based superalloys and high-strength low-alloy steels (HSLA), commonly used in aeronautical turbines, automotive components, building elements, oil and gas pipelines, etc. Aspects related to toxicity must be evaluated too, like for Co.
Due to the strong importance and spread of the technological key-sectors involved, a fundamental need for industries and enterprises is to find efficient substitute materials or reduce the content of critical materials, preserving high performances. Materials and product design, processes optimization, material characterization and testing, recycling and LCA, are essential issues for rational and sustainable use of materials. In this frame, expertise and infrastructures owned by the network EXTREME are focused to effectively act on those sectors, to support Education activities, and to help and assist industries, enterprises, research institutions and other stakeholders to find solutions to their needs.