The objective of the INTERACTIFS Labex is to create an internationally recognized competence center in the field of interactions at fluid-solid interfaces by relying on transversal research within the Pprime Institute.
Understanding, modeling and controlling the interactions and properties of fluid-solid interfaces, strategic in many fields such as aeronautics (engine efficiency, material behavior), energy (hydrogen confinement) or fire safety, require a multidisciplinary and multi-scale approach (from the nanometer to the scale of the system). The Pprime Institute, with more than 600 people, is the second largest French laboratory in the field of engineering sciences, and brings together on a single site the essential skills in fluid and solid mechanics, thermal, combustion, physics materials, analysis of surfaces which have enabled the creation of a laboratory of excellence on this theme.
The benefits and results of Labex I confirm the international ambition of the project. The first phase made it possible to 1) structure the laboratory’s activities around the “interface” theme, whose originality is based on the dual fluid-solid approach and 2) increase its international influence. About 120 researchers from Pprime, 10 foreign universities (USA, Japan, Sweden, Russia, Netherlands) and French and 75 doctoral students have invested in the project and have contributed to the publication of 150 articles in international newspapers since 2012. The Labex is also a scientific resourcing tool that has consolidated the laboratory’s industrial partnerships and, by leveraging, favored the funding of other projects. A total of 7.5 M € of funding (Europe, Region, ANR, private) including 1.7 M € of industrial contracts were thus obtained within the scope of Labex I.
The extension project (Labex II) revolves around three transversal research themes combining the skills of the different teams of the Pprime Institute: the coupling between materials and specific environmental conditions, the functionalization of surfaces, and the fluids and electrical phenomena at interfaces. These three subjects are based on the perspectives highlighted during Labex I and on the opening towards new prospective projects. In particular, the durability of the interfaces and the control of interactions by passive methods such as modifying surfaces or active by means of an actuator are privileged themes. The Labex II aims to increase the transfer of knowledge to students by setting up a series of courses which will address, at doctoral level, the interfaces and will complement training by research (doctorates and Master’s internships). The organization of technical days, international exchanges and the invitation of recognized researchers will help promote the dissemination of knowledge and international influence. All of these actions will be evaluated by a scientific steering committee which will make recommendations to the steering committee in charge of project management.
The momentum generated during Labex I will thus be reinforced and made permanent by the extension project. Scientific resourcing and the many applications such as the resistance of materials in extreme conditions, the optimization of optical properties or the reduction of friction, the control of flows and transfers will consolidate partnerships with industry, encourage innovation and open new academic collaborations at national and international level. The Pprime Institute will thus strengthen its position as a major player on the theme of fluid-solid interfaces and will increase the visibility and attractiveness of the teaching and research campus where the laboratory is based.