Materials Science

Phosphates-based materials have a number of uses ranging from chemical to agricultural and medical products. In order to enahnce the performance of the exising products and develop new ones, a multidisciplinary approach that combines solid state chemistry, crystallography, solid state physics and materials science, among other disciplines, is required. Understanding the influence of the chemical composition and other parameters on structure, phase composition and optical and mechanical properties of phosphate-based materials is crucial for the design and tailoring of new materials with future technological applications. Some examples of the possible fields of application of phosphate based materials are: i. Medical (material of bone filling, coating of dental implants), ii. Agrochemicals (artificial fertilisers), iii Energy (cathode material for Lithium ion batteries), as well as iv. Nuclear industry (matrix that can host the radioactive elements and fission products), to state a few.

The materials scientists are also concerned with phenomena accruing around the phosphate industry, especially corrosion. This latter is defined according to DIN EN ISO 8044 as the physical interaction between a metal and its environment which results in changes of the metal’ s properties and which may lead to significant functional impairment of the metal, the environment or the technical system of which they form a part. The interaction, as given in the definition, which is electrochemical in nature, demands a deep understanding of the corrosion materials system and the development of solutions for:

  • The corrosion phenomenon: the modification that corrosion causes on the system
  • The corrosion damage: the impairment caused to the system as a result of corrosion
  • The corrosion failure: the corrosion damage that causes a comprehensive loss of functionality of the technical system
  • The corrosion resistance: the ability of a material to sustain operational capabilities in a given corrosion system