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  Almost 1 200 participants from all Member States took part in the first
  BRITE Technological Days which have been taking place in Brussels this
  week. The number was far more than expected, reflecting the high level of
  interest in BRITE shown by European indsutrialists. It has provided a
  major forum where existing and potential partners in BRITE were able to
  exchange information and experiences, and where the first results of some
  25 projects were presented in public.
  Opening the BRITE Technological Days, Vice-President Karl-Heinz Narjes
  stressed the importance of BRITE for encouraging the use of new
  technologies in the "sunshine" industries (motor vehicles, chemicals,
  aeronautics, textiles, plastics, furniture, food and drink, etc.). These
  sectors still make a major contribution to the Community's combined DGD,
  and account for 25 % of Community employment.
  BRITE (Basic Research in Industrial Technologies for Europe) has only been
  running since 1985, and yet it has already been sucessful in creating a
  climate of close cooperation in industrial technology, and has thus
  contributed to the development of a genuine common market in the
  Community.
  Vice-President Karl-Heinz Narjes also announced that plans were being made
  for the successor programme (BRITE 2) which should be ready for a Council
  decision in the second half of 1988. It is expected that BRITE 2 will have
  a budget of up to 340 million ECU, which is more than twice the amount to
  be spent in the current programme.
  Industrial design and manufacturing techniques can no longer be separated
  from the development and application of new materials. Consequently BRITE
  2 will be planned in collaboration with the next EURAM programme on
  advanced materials. Taken together, there is the prospect of a coordinated
  successor programme covering industrial technologies and advanced
  materials with a budget of 500 million ECU.
  Some examples of research results emerging from BRITE
  Around 150 projects are currently financed by the Community on a 50:50
  cost share basis with industry. About 100 of these have now been running
  for two years and are now beginning to yield concrete results. The
  Commission has already given details of some of the earliest results in
  its press release of 24 September 1987 (IP(87) 389). During the BRITE
  TECHNOLOGICAL DAYS, results emerging from many more were presented. The
  following is a sample :
  New methods to detect faults in reinforced concrete structures
  With the widespread use of reinforced concrete in a variety of building
  structures (e.g. motorway bridges), it has become necessary to develop
  techniques which give plenty of advance warning of incipient structural
  failure. A project with partners in West Germany, Belgium and Ireland has
  developed a method which involves embedding optical fibre sensors in the
  concrete while it is being pre-stressed. The data provided by these
  sensors is analysed by computer in order to obtain "early warning" of
  faults.
  The project has also developed techniques for bridges which already exist,
  especially those built during the last forty years and which now need
  careful inspection : the first involves the use of an "exiter" to send
  vibrations down the bridge. Damage to the concrete causes decreased
  stiffness and increased energy losses. Electronic sensors pick up the
  vibrations and a computer analyses the data to determine fault location.
  Computers have also been used to analyse the sounds emitted by concrete
  structures in order to detect damage.
  Development of new high-temperature composite materials
  In the aerospace industry, among others, there is a need for special
  materials which can withstand high temperatures (250-300 o C) and which
  have good mechanical properties (strong, lightweight, resistant to micro-
  cracking, etc.).
  Composite materials made by "curing" woven fabrics impegrated with epoxy
  resins (polymers) have become established as high performance structural
  materials ; and of the high-temperature resins PMR-15, polymide has been
  the frontrunner. But there are several drawbacks to polymide-based
  composites : micro-cracking, high curing temperature, toxicity and
  brittleness.
  Four BRITE partners in West Germany and the UK have developed a new
  polyimide matrix resin with similar high-temperature properties to
  conventional PMR-15, but with significant improvements : less
  susceptibility to micro-cracking, less toxic, tougher, and low temperature
  processability.
  Biocompatible polymers
  Partners in the UK and Belgium have developed new bio-compatible and
  blood-compatible polymers which can be used to make a wide range of
  medical    equipment : artificial hearts, valves and blood vessels ; blood
  containers ; ophtalmic devices and urinary catheters.
  This is done by coating the surfaces of ordinary polymers with chemical
  compounds (e.g. phosphorylcholine) whith mimic the outer surface of red
  blood cell membranes, (which are biocompatible by definition). This stops
  the artificial material from absorbing proteins, and from causing blood to
  clot.
  These polymers have also been used to coat contact lenses to reduce the
  level of protein deposites on the surfaces (the characteristic "cloudy"
  effect often seen on lenses). This prevent vision impairment, discourages
  bacterial growth and makes the lens comfortable to wear for longer periods
  of time.
  Accelerated ageing of plastics using laser
  Plastic components used both indoors and outdoors are subject to ageing.
  Sunlight, temperature, oxygen, water, pollutant gases, mechanical stress
  and biological agents acting alone or in combination can cause the failure
  of certain plastics. Since the required lifetime of many plastic
  components often exceeds 10 years, there is a continuing need for
  accelerated ageing tests on the ever increasing number of new plastics and
  formulations.
  Presently, available artificial ageing equipments provide typical
  acceleration rates of only 2:1 to 5:1. But, the partners in this project
  (F,I,D,UK) have developed a laser technique which has increased
  acceleration rates up to 1 500:1 compared to existing techniques, and 300
  000 : 1 compared to natural ageing. A variety of plastic and paints are
  now being tested in different conditions for applications in the car and
  telecommunications industries.
  Adhesive Bonding Technology for car manufacture and other engineering
  applications
  This project has developed the basic technology necessary to introduce
  adhesive bonding in vehicle construction and the mechanical engineering
  industries.
  Adhesive bonding enables stiff joints which, when subjected to applied
  loads, produce stresses in the components which are lower than for joints
  made by other joining techniques. There is potential weight saving in
  materials, but the application of this technology have been until now
  largely limited to aircraft construction.
  The project has involved the computer selection of the latest adhesives
  and their incorporation into bonding joint design procedure. Basic
  configurations have been established so as to produce methods for the
  design of joints, including the surface pretreatment process and adhesive
  application techniques. This will be followed by assessment of the
  manufacturing technologies, component assembly methods quality control,
  and in-service testing. Partners in France and the UK.
   
   

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