THE CNEP OR THE CONTROL OF THE AGEING OF THE ” POLYMER MATERIALS “
The use of synthetic organic materials develops obviously in all the human activities. At first used in the field of the textile industry and of the packaging under the name of “plastics”, these materials become more and more developed and they invade every sectors of industrial, agricultural, medical, sports and cultural activity, and we qualify them then as ” polymer materials “.
In the industrial domain, the Region Auvergne, which transforms more than 14 % of the national volume of these materials, shows a noticed dynamism.
The use of the polymer materials can be severely limited by a premature loss of their properties during their use, and quite particularly, during their outdoor use. These problems of ageing are handled, even today, by essentially empirical methods developed from the 50s. But, in these methods, substitutes itself little by little an approach based on the basic research, at first developed in the Laboratory of Photochemistry of the University Blaise Pascal and the graduate school of Chemistry of Clermont-Ferrand, then by the National Center of Evaluation of Photoprotection ( CNEP).
Fonded in 1986, after 15 years of fundamental activity of the Laboratory of Photochemistry, the CNEP is a subsidiary of the University Blaise Pascal settled on the campus of Cézeaux of Clermont Ferrand.
The CNEP handles at present, a year, more than 600 original industrial problems, in the spontaneous request of regional, national and international industrial companies.
To look for the reasons of a failure of a polymer material, to remedy it, to plan the durability of a new material, to improve the stability or to program spontaneous damages, such are the objectives of the CNEP.
The development of the CNEP goes hand in hand with a more and more pressing request of long-term quality in the sectors of transport (and, in particular, in the automotive sector), motorway equipments, sports equipments, power industries, industries of the plasticulture and the building industries and more recently aeronauics and biomedical.
The Laboratory of Photochemistry – CNEP double structure, who associates closely basic research and applied research, and who is surrounded by 40 industrial groups of European size and French public institutions, members of the CNEP, turns out to be original at the world level.
The approach of the durability which is recommended was moreover concretized by the fact that the main producer of devices of artificial ageing to the world, the ATLAS -AMETEK company (Frankfurt, Chicago) is involved since 2000 in the production and the marketing of SEPAP 12.24 developped by the researchers of the campus of Cézeaux. In addition a new device (SEPAP MHE (Medium and High Energy) made in collaboration between ATLAS/CNEP/RENAULT/PSA/POLYONE will be commercialized beginning of 2015 with two level of accelerated photoageing.
The expertise of the CNEP, in the field of the analysis of micro-quantities of organic materials and in the field of the ageing of these materials, also aroused the interest of the cultural circles since almost 15 years. The CNEP thus handles problems of synthetic and natural organic materials used for the elaboration, the restoration and the preventive preservation of works of art, with the corresponding cultural sites of activity (retauration service of the Museums of France, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Centre Pompidou, Natural History Museums and Museums of Civilization, Centers of restorers, private restorers and contemporary artists.