ARRS will (co-)fund 7 research projects of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

date: 07.10.2020

category: Sporočila za javnost


In September, the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) published the results of the call for (co-)funding of research projects for 2020. In the field of technology, ARRS will (co-)fund seven research projects of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, which are the most numerous of all faculties in this field. Among the selected projects are four basic, two applied and one basic project by junior doctors. These are projects in the fields of power engineering (Prof. Dr. Tomaž Katrašnik), mechanics (Assist. Prof. Dr. Miha Brojan), production technologies (Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tomaž Pepelnjak, Prof. Ddr. Janez Žerovnik), process engineering (Assist. Prof. Dr. Matevž Zupančič, Prof. Dr. Andrej Kitanovski) and construction (Prof. Dr. Mitjan Kalin).

We congratulate all holders of the selected projects and wish them a successful work.




Prof. Dr. Mitjan Kalin: Construction of tribological surfaces with advanced metal additive manufacturing- TriboADAM  

The TriboADAM project addresses a critical aspect of AM (Additive Manufacturing): how the machining affects AM integrity of component surfaces and, most critically, how we can achieve desired surface properties in terms of tribological properties to increase AM potential for engineering component production. Since almost every engineering component is in contact in the application phase, friction becomes important and the need to achieve optimal tribological surfaces is crucial. The objectives of this project include material and metrological analysis of the effects of AM parameters on surface integrity, mechanical and physicochemical properties of surfaces, and microstructure of components; a thorough understanding of tribological behavior on a nano-micro scale; an industrially relevant set of surface standardization data relating to AM parameters; and design of predictable tribological contact surfaces corresponding to the required friction, wear, lubrication and durability functionalities. Only by knowing the critical limits within which AM can be controlled will we be able to adjust surfaces to respond best to tribological function, such as lubrication options that meet performance requirements. TriboADAM is an industry-supported project, namely SiEVA. SiEVA and TINT are planning an interdisciplinary research program that will not only lead to the achievement of technical goals, but will also have a societal impact with benefits in terms of reducing pollution and saving energy and resources.

Kalin eng.

Image of SLM AM metal component    


Prof. Dr. Tomaž Katrašnik: Advanced multi-scale modelling of NMC cathode materials for enhanced next-generation energy storage systems

Batteries are one of the key enablers for achieving environmental goals. The main objective of the project AdvanceD multI-Scale modelling of NMC caThode materIals for eNhanCed nextgeneraTION (DISTINCTION) is extension of the knowledge horizon in the area of multi-scale modelling of the family of layered NMC cathode materials. This main objective is clearly reflected in four specific objectives of the project:
1. Accurately predicting material properties on the atomistic scale,
2. Developing innovative scale bridging methods,
3. Advanced tailored experiments for model development and validation,
4. Developing advanced continuum modelling framework that bridges the gap to the recent knowledge on the atomistic scale.  

Innovative beyond state-of-the-art models on multiple scales will enable more accurate virtual analyses of batteries with NMC cathode materials. Predictive models and knowledge generated in the DISTINCTION project will, therefore, contribute to steering development of next generation batteries through:
1) enhanced virtual electrode and cell engineering,
2) contributions in establishing consistent causality across the scales which:
     a) efficiently bridge the gap between recent knowledge on the atomistic scale and the need for higher fidelity models on the engineering level and
     b) provide new insights for material development and electrode engineering through their virtual testing on the cell level.  

The DISTINCTION project is performed in collaboration with the National Institute of Chemistry.

Katrašnik eng.


Prof. Dr. Andrej Kitanovski: MagBoost: Magnetocaloric booster micro-heat pump for district heating system  

Low temperature district heating systems represent an important share of the future heating supply. Such systems utilize waste heat from different systems and the heat from renewable sources. Furthermore, they show a potential to be implemented as a link between various energy sectors. The low temperature level of the district heating network leads to lower heat losses, while enabling wide heat source diversification. However, it is important then to increase the temperature level with the end user. The temperature increase is usually achieved by so-called micro-booster for additional heating. From the energy efficiency point of view it is reasonable for such a booster to be a heat pump. The majority of such heat pumps are based on the so called vapour-compression technology. This technology faces serious obstacles in its future use, since small devices demonstrate low energy efficiency. Moreover, the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants further limits the potentials of vapour-compression. The most promising alternative technology to replace the vapour-compresion in the future is magnetocaloric technology.
The main goal of the research project MagBoost is to develop a magnetocaloric booster micro-heat pump for a low temperature district heating system. The advantage of magnetocaloric technology, in comparison to state-of-the-art vapour-compression technology, is in potentially higher energy efficiency, use of environmentally friendly refrigerants and in silent, vibration-less operation.    



Figure: An example of low temperature district heating system connected to the magnetocaloric booster heat-pump.


Prof. ddr. Janez Žerovnik: Stochastic models for the logistics of production processes

The increasingly individualized and dynamic production in the factories of the future (I 4.0) requires flexible and agile production processes with a high OEE score and the lowest possible level of uncertainty and unreliability of the production process. Optimization problems in real production environments are usually very complex, which requires the use of complex optimization methods.  A special challenge are algorithms for the optimization of problems, which take into account that the situation in production processes and orders is only defined in detail shortly before the start of production. Therefore, it is necessary to find robust optimization solutions that remain usable even when small changes in input data are made. The Factory of the Future will be digitalised and automated. For this reason, we will develop a methodology and optimization algorithms which work in real time before and during the operation of the intelligent factory, and test their usability at the DEMO Centre of the Factory of the Future at Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.



Assist. Prof. Dr. Matevž Zupančič: Enhanced boiling heat transfer utilising advanced hierarchical functionalized surfaces (eHEATs)

The effective heat transfer limits current development of miniature electronic and mechatronic devices. One of the most suitable cooling methods for such devices is by liquid-vapour phase-change, known as boiling or evaporation. Boiling is a part of our everyday life and is utilized for cooling and general heat transfer in many applications on various scales – from boiling water reactors in large nuclear power plants to small heat pipes, which are massively produced and are employed in computers, mobile phones, solar collectors, and space applications. Boiling can be enhanced by through surface modification, which is a part of eHEATs. In this project, we will combine laser texturing and chemical vapour deposition to produce novel hybrid surfaces in order to provide best-in-class boiling performance and gain control over the complex nucleation phenomena. Finally, the effect of the boiling process on long-term stability of boiling surfaces, which is crucial for further development and later implementation into real systems, will be systematically studied using topography and surface chemistry analyses.

zupančič eng.

Other abstracts are in preparation.


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