Irish Adhesion, Surface Science and Composites conference

16 July 2012

Attended by over 40 delegates and supported by Henkel Ireland, the University of Limerick (UL) and SCI, IASSCO 2012, the Irish Adhesion, Surface Science and Composites conference took place at the Materials and Surface Science Institute, UL, on 24 May 2012.

Prof Robert Bradley of Oxford University opened the meeting by asking 'What makes things stick?' in terms of surface forces and molecular potentials. David McAuliffe, Joe Mohan and Michael Conroy from the Centre of Adhesion and Adhesives at University College Dublin discussed why adhesives are tough - and tough to work with - addressing limitations of the current state of knowledge in studying toughening mechanisms and characterising composite-adhesive joints.

After coffee, the focus turned to future opportunities for the adhesives, surface science and composites sectors. Dr Brendan Duffy (CREST, Dublin Institute of Technology) outlined opportunities and applications for hybrid sol-gel coatings in the transport industry, and Dr Liam Brown of Enterprise Ireland shared his insights into upcoming European research funding opportunities for these sectors.

Throughout the day, parallel sessions and poster sessions allowed for more in-depth discussion around the topics addressed during the keynote lectures. Speakers addressed several subjects of current interest to the Irish industrial and academic research community, including photocatalytic antimicrobial materials (Dr Suresh Pillai, CREST, DIT), polymer synthesis for sensor applications (Lavinia Astratine, UL), and development, toughening and applications of novel adhesives (Dr David Condron, Henkel; Michael Leonard, UCD; Dr Kali-Babu Katnam, UL; and David Weidt).

Mariana Kok (UL) and Tatiana Stefanov (UCD), pictured, presented posters on insect residue adhesion to aircraft leading edge surfaces and Mechanical and Fracture Characterisation of Rubber-Toughened Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Joints, respectively, which deservedly shared the poster presentation prize sponsored by Henkel Ireland.

Also, the Wesley Cocker award, was presented to Hugh Geaney for his paper 'High density germanium nanowire growth directly from copper foil by self-induced solid seeding', recently published in Chemistry of Materials. Hugh, who is due to complete his PhD studies shortly, is a student in the research group of Dr Kevin Ryan at MSSI. The Wesley Cocker prize is given annually by the SCI All Ireland Group to the best paper or patent on a topic of relevance to industrial chemistry, where the main author is a PhD or BSc student in Ireland, and is a member of the society.

IASSCO 2012 concluded with a lively plenary lecture entitled 'Plastic Aeroplanes vs Flying Tin Cans' during which Dr Terry McGrailof the Irish Centre for Composites Research and Dr Jeremy Robinson, University of Limerick weighed the pros and cons of both composite materials and aluminium alloys in aerospace applications.

Given the success of IASSCO in 2011 and 2012, the SCI All-Ireland and Materials Chemistry groups now intend to run IASSCO as an annual event. The next meeting is planned for Dublin Institute of Technology in summer 2013.

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