What we do
We develop ideas from their genesis to their application in real situations that are related to problems with materials and processing technologies proposed by our customers, R&D institutions and companies which deserve our special attention. Our actions begin at conception, going through research and development to the prototype and final application. Throughout the process we use methods of product development, generating products and innovative processes, improving production efficiency and providing tailored solutions to meet the needs of our customers.
To fulfil these collaborations, we design and develop national and European R&D projects, as well as technology transfer and demonstration activities, for partners and customers in diverse areas of materials. At the same time, we provide consultancy to companies in the field of materials, using our know-how and an extensive infrastructure of testing equipment. The specialised training that we cover in technical and scientific areas is one of the capabilities that we foster in industrial sectors according to the needs of our business partners.
LED&MAT is accredited by the Instituto Português Acreditação (IPAC), according to the normative reference NP EN ISO / IEC 17025: 2018, for a diverse set of tests, which can be found in the Accreditation Technical Annex
LED&MAT is organized into the following units:
- Laboratory testing unit
- Granular materials characterisation unit ? UGRAN
- Surface modification unit ? UMS
- Biocompatibility studies unit ? CYTOUNIT
- Material processing unit
- Powder technologies unit
Our collaboration with the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Coimbra (DEM) through its Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Processes (CEMMPRE), as well as other departments in the UC and other universities, complemented by our participation in clusters and national centres of development, are factors that contribute to the generation of ideas and innovation in our applied R&D activities and the assurance of the scientific and technological quality of everything we do.
Fields of activity
LED&MAT is a laboratory specialised in the development, implementation, production and characterisation of thin coatings produced by cathodic sputtering for modifiying the surfaces of materials.
Tribology: wear resistance and low friction coefficient – solutions for the reduction and minimisation of the coefficient of friction and wear of materials to prevent the degradation of contact surfaces in the automotive, moulds, health, pharmaceutical and metal-mechanic sectors;Low friction coatings for improving energy efficiency and the capacity for self-lubrication or modifiying the ability to interact with other fluids;Hard coatings for high and low temperature applications;Coatings for protection against oxidation and corrosion in particularly aggressive environments and/or as thermal and insulating barriers;Coatings for applications in sensors;Coatings for decorative areas – solutions for producing coatings for specific colours associated with the ability to resist wear;Coatings for antimicrobial surfaces for devices, fibers and fabrics in the medical field.
Materials for Energy - Development of Insulation Materials
The application of thin coatings on multiple types of components can bring great improvements in their functionality, quality and performance, especially when subjected to demanding environments, and also contributes to improved energy efficiency.
In partnership with industry, we develop protective coatings and functional surfaces for areas of application in the field of engineering, in sectors such as tools and moulds, transportation, energy, decoration, medical technology, aerospace, textiles and agriculture.
Type of use and coatings:
The development of insulation materials for energy efficiency is one of the LED&MAT research areas. For this purpose the insulation materials researchers can work together with cross-disciplinary units, i.e. the granular materials, microfabrication and characterisation units. Mineral and glass wool, polymeric foams (PU, EPS, etc.), thermal insulation enhanced clay bricks, glass foams, perlite, etc.
The research of this group can be divided into 3 main topics:
Traditional thermal/acoustic insulation materials
Advanced insulation materials
Aerogel, xerogel and cryogel insulation (SiO2, cellulose, clay)
Phase change materials: Mainly organic ones, also involving the development of PCMs from renewable resources and encapsulation technologies
Vacuum insulation panels with multiple core systems (fumed silica, aerogel, fibre and other alternative materials)
Natural fibre insulation
Nanofibres by electrospinning
Micro fabrication (by additive/subtractive technologies, near-net shape techniques with ceramic/metal alloys)
The innovative technologies in the area of miniaturisation of components and devices in advanced materials occupy the interests of researchers in this sector of LED&MAT. Collaboration with business partners facilitates the development of ideas and projects around additive technologies and final shape parts production technologies. Electro-spinningRapid prototyping by machining of different materials3D printingPowder injection moulding of metallic and ceramic materials (PIM)Extrusion of fibres with additives
Recovery of inorganic waste
For this purpose, we develop feedstocks, composites and multimaterial structures, using:
The existence of multiple processing technologies and material characterisation tests allow LED&MAT to work on the development of waste recovery processes and/or by-products from various sectors of activity, contributing to their increased value as raw materials through recycling processes, reuse and incorporation into integrated solutions at an industrial scale. These activities encompass materials as diverse as those from the ceramic, food, paper/wood fibres and metal-mechanics industries.
Technology Consulting in processes and materials
The consultancy services provided to the industrial sector to conduct quality improvement activities, increased productive efficiency and to solve problems related to industrial materials form the basis of the partnership between LED&MAT and their clients.
Testing for characterisation of physical, chemical and tribological properties of materials
Incorporating the existing know-how among the lab and its collaboration partners to perform real-time activities and to provide solutions tailored to the needs of its customers, LED&MAT examines diverse situations related to the production processes and the characteristics of the materials/products.
LED&MAT is equipped with a wide range of technical resources which allows it to offer its partners the capacity for complete characterisation of multiple properties in a wide range of materials and products. Some of the aspects that can be analysed in the different existing units include physical, chemical, structural, functional, thermal and tribological properties.
In this field, LED&MAT has implemented a quality system according to ISO 17025 guidelines, and is presently in the process of being recognised as an accredited entity by this standard for some of the laboratory implemented techniques.