The CapTech Materials & Structures (Materials CapTech in short) main objective is to support the European armed forces on current and future challenges within these areas of research, in close collaboration with the other EDA CapTechs and other international institutions (e.g. European Commission, European Space Agency (ESA)) and organisations (e.g. NATO).
The CapTech Materials & Structures covers underpinning technologies on structures and materials. Although there is no generally accepted definition of engineering materials, the Materials CapTech has selected the following material categories as being relevant:
- Signature materials (to deny the enemy detection and identification);
- Energy (specifically batteries, more generally energy harvesting);
- Replacement (to substitute for obsolete/no longer available materials) [Note: previously called obsolescence];
- Structural materials;
- Blue sky (emerging materials too immature to naturally place into other categories);
- Manufacturing technology;
- Non-destructive testing;
- In-service performance;
- REACH compliance;
- Surface treatments;
- Protection (armour).
The work of Materials CapTech is generally in the range of starting TRL 2 to 4, but higher TRL levels are also considered, and the ambition for the TRL could go up to 8 in specific cases. CapTech Materials & Structures projects aim to develop technology on materials and structures, production processes, test procedures and solutions that are applicable in one or more of the four defined key areas. The work of the CapTech is technology-pushed, but also capability-driven, mainly by the CDP (Capability Development Plan), and the CDP Priorities valid at a moment in time.
The need for detailed knowledge about materials, provided by Materials CapTech, is relevant for several of the “system” CapTechs. Vice versa, knowledge of system performance and capability requirements is crucial for Materials CapTech to identify future needs and requirements. There is, hence, a close relationship between Materials CapTech and the other CapTechs.