The Work Packages (WPs) of the PARASOL network are consistent with the lifecycle of shielding solutions for mobility market. The Doctoral Researchers (DRs) will be trained to work in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural teams, with a new mindset tuned towards defining and including the holistic SSbD approach across the lifecycle of innovative shielding solutions, from a material’s conception to its embedding into on-board enclosures and shielding solutions. For this to occur, each DR will build the missing connections and missing KPIs across the stakeholders and lifecycle steps of the shielding products. They will develop innovative and dedicated tools and techniques and apply them to a set of representative shielding products on-board a train, a plane, a ship and a car. This hands-on training is supplemented with several professional scientific courses and an immersive training course where the DRs can fine-tune their skills for the Jobs of tomorrow[1], while addressing the societal challenges (SCs) of the PARASOL programme.

The solid diversity of industrial cases, covering most of the relevant forms of transport in Europe, at different stages of their lifecycle, will ensure that the network runs smoothly, while strengthening the interactions and the exchange of academic and non-academic resources. From the market perspective, PARASOL covers all 4 key transport systems with rail, shipping, automotive, and aerospace stakeholders.

The consortium is formed by 6 universities, TU/e (NL), UT (NL), KU Leuven (BE), UoY (UK), UPC (ES) andTBU (CZ). Together, these universities have a proven track record in the management of EMI, material engineering, system-safety engineering, and risk management, and are the leaders in their field in Europe. Existing knowledge in sustainability management will be reinforced by connecting the industrial network of PARASOL’s 16 industrial stakeholders across the complete lifecycle of shielding-design solutions.

Figure 4. Map and List of all entities that form the Consortium of PARASOL

A total of 12 individuals DR projects have been defined, which contribute to the WPs. Through their project definition and their common secondments, each DR will have a mix of requirements, design, and system-level verifications. While each DR project has been defined as a stand-alone contribution, several collaboration points have been planned to bring complementary results together and give extra value-added to the project. The inter-relation between each DR project and their corresponding core WPs are described below.

WP1: Innovative shielding-material development, characterization, and assessment

WP1 addresses the development and assessment of innovative shielding materials through their complete lifecycle in line with the SSbD approach. Apart from EM shielding, these materials traditionally protect electronic devices from corrosion and oxidation. Metal is typically the best option for EMC shielding, but it is sometimes not preferred due to its high density, high cost, and susceptibility to environmental degradation. Polymeric materials are lighter and cheaper to manufacture, they can sustain much larger deformations without permanent damage, but they also lack inherent EMC shielding capabilities – and this is where PARASOL will act.

WP1 combines the SSbD approach to the innovation of adding EM-absorbing and reflective properties to polymeric materials. DRs 1 and 2 will develop two different types of innovative shielding materials. Along with their holistic characterization, end-of-life recycling, safety for humans and our environments as well as reusability performances will be considered. DR3 will extend the EM characterization to the missing and challenging low-frequency band where critical new EMI is occurring due to on-board electrical power conversion.

DR1 will develop new sustainable coatings for EM shielding with plastics. The latest advances have shown that cold-spray technology is feasible for coating polymers as well as being sustainable for the environment: low energy consumption and thus CO2 footprint, longer product lifetimes, efficient use of raw (and recycled) materials. Moreover, coatings offer an easier component separation than filled plastics. DR1 will have access to the cold-spray facilities of DYCOMET and the characterization laboratories at DEMto investigate mechanical and thermal strength, aging or resistance to scratching (to name just a few examples). EM performance will be optimized by introducing functional nanoparticles in the cold-spray formulation. DR1 will test the developed technique on a real-life plane enclosure at NLR. DR2 will take up the challenge of developing the first in-situ EM characterization probe.  It aims at investigating the final performance of an installed, on-board material, measure the deviation in the production process and the impact of long-term environmental effects. This new probe will be tested on a set carbon-fibre-filled plastics that she/he will produce together with specialists from DEM. To overcome the intrinsic connection limitations in such fibre composites, synergistic filler combinations will be exploited (e.g., with carbon fillers provided by the industrial Cabot).  Guidelines for the optimization of the reflective and absorbing properties of carbon-fibre filled plastics (over their lifecycle) are lacking. DR3 will complement the characterization of innovative shielding materials in the low-frequency range, where electromagnetic disturbances are very hard to confine by shielding, and proper characterization methods are lacking. In this frequency range, shielding-effectiveness (SE) values depend heavily on the specific source, the source orientation, the distance between source and the shield, etc. DR12 will investigate innovative time-domain characterization technique, and DR11 will develop 3D embedded shielding solutions using layer-by-layer approaches. DR11 will develop 3D embedded shielding solutions using layer-by-layer approaches. It has already been realized that some electromagnetic shielding polymer formulations exhibit printability. However, this technique has not yet been exploited to incorporate embedded shielding solutions that provide local shielding within larger structures. Novel material formulations and modified 3D printing methods (CTIC) will allow to achieve the required trade-off between shielding efficiency and processibility while maintaining sufficient resolution. Electromagnetic propagation modelling will be used to design demonstrator materials with local shielding capability at TU/e. DR12 will take up the challenge of investigating (in-situ) time-domain techniques which would enable a simultaneous link to be made between Electric and Magnetic field. S/he will validate these techniques on Board Ships (THALES) and with Innovative Shielding Material developed at TU/e.

DRs1, 2, 3 and 11 and 12 are the first contributors to the “Material track”, where data, measurements and samples are shared between all the DRs of PARASOL to ensure a continuity of the work through the WPs. DR1 will characterize her/his coated samples together with DR5 (investigating the shielding of integrated circuits) at DEM. DR2 will join DR9 to measure the in-situ performance of carbon-fiber filled materials in plane structures at EVE. And DR3 and DR10 at UoY will together extend the scope of the low-frequency testing into enclosures. DR3 will also visit THALES with DR7 and DR12 to analyse the impacts of interconnects on-board ships at low frequencies.DR11 and DR12 will simulate the EM properties of Innovative packaging solution at TU/e.

WP2: Design and performances assessment of innovative EMI shielding solutions for safety-critical mobility, in-line with the SSbD approach.

WP2 addresses the specific safety-critical challenges of shielding EMI in future mobility. With the increasing use of higher frequencies in electronic components with ever-smaller footprints, it becomes more difficult to confine EM emissions. This is especially true for systems that comprise very different types of circuits that are close to each other, like in autonomous vehicles implementing high-power frequency drives and very-high-frequency radars. The DRs of WP2 will develop innovative shielding technologies at a different scale of the electronic system: integrated-circuit (IC) level (DR4), printed-circuit-board (PCB) level (DR6) and enclosure level (DR5).

Capacitive touch-based control applications for instance are especially sensitive to harsh EM fields and other parasitic environmental effects like temperature drifts and humidity. DR4 will develop an active shield method to increase the robustness and immunity of these safety-critical applications. The developed shield will be tested at UoY. DR5 will develop and measure time-domain shielding methods applicable to an on-board scenario in enclosures. DR5 will analyze typical shielding scenarios to understand the trade-off between traditional shielding (frequency domain) and waveform control in the time domain. This trade-off will be considered on-board for a series of existing train-based systems at Siemens. DR6 will design a Printed-CircuitBoard-Level Shield and determine its effectiveness using several measurement set-ups. The shielding of IC packages (for automotive applications) with innovative coated material (manufactured by DR1) will be modelled and tested with NXP-NL.

DRs 4, 5 and 6 will use and complete the data and samples available in the “Material track”. They will also directly contribute to the “Safety challenge track” where scenarios, design solutions, simulations and results are shared with all the DRs of PARASOL. The DRs of WP2 are also invited to relate to on-going research within the MSCA ITNs [PETER, PARASOL, SAS, AutoBARGE] (all coordinated by the consortium) focusing on EMI risks and EM safety-critical challenges.  Within PARASOL, DR 4 and 5 will visit together NXP-CZ to investigate possibilities to combine active and waveform-shielding technologies. DR 6 and DR 1 will visit together DEM to characterize coated plastic material (“Material track”).

WP3: Characterization and trade-off for enclosures and interconnects

The DRs of WP3 will assess the coherence of the complete and final on-board shielding solutions. There is an explosion in the availability and variety of innovative EM shielding-design solutions acting on both the structural design and the materials. The structural design should minimise the discontinuity and ensure a proper bonding of enclosures at every seam to ensure a homogeneous conductive surface. New materials (WP1) and innovative shielding solutions (WP2) are combined with bonding techniques such as welding or gaskets. Sometimes even absorbers are added to the cavity enclosures to enhance the performance. DR7 will characterise the (im)proper application of interconnects and the effect of the SE of the whole 3D structure. DR7 will work with samples from SEM and visit Radiotechnika’s facilities to assess the effect of climatic and mechanical changes on performance. DR8 will develop new metrology test-benches to measure shielding effectiveness in terms of actual energy exchange using a cable and its connector. The technique will be used to optimise the shielding of high-voltage cables at Ford GB. Samples of cables are completed by  FERRISTORM (with innovative absorbing coating). DR 9 and DR 10 will both focus on the final enclosure of the vehicle. DR 9 will develop, model, and test Statistical Transmission and Absorption Metrics techniques that allow a risk quantification of the real-world shielding effectiveness. DR 9 will merge this metric (in the laboratories of UT) with the trade-off of DR 10 between reflection and absorption in real-life enclosures. DR 10 will complete this trade-off by optimising cable placements with  FERRISTORM.

DRs 7, 8, 9 and 10 will share their results within the “Performance Track” and will use priority data from the “Material track” and the “Safety challenge track” to ensure continuity in the evaluation of the performance of innovations initiated in WP1 and WP2, over the complete life cycle. DR 10, 7 and 1 (WP1) will visit together JLR, Siemens and Lotus, where they will be given access to (plane, train and car) real-life enclosures to optimise performance by merging their respective findings in terms of innovative materials, interconnects, and overall trade-off.  DR 9 and 2 will visit EVE to combine a risk evaluation at the enclosure level with innovative material properties. DR 7 and 3 will extend the characterisation of interconnects in the low-frequency range on board ships at THALES.