HELM - High-frecuency Electro-Magnetic technologies for advanced processing of ceramic matrix composites and graphite expansion


In order to achieve the goals set in HELM project, the activities planned are organized in four main groups:

  1. Laboratory Research Technology Development
  2. Industrial prototyping and demonstration
  3. Life Cycle Assessment & risk assessment
  4. Dissemination and exploitation
 These activities are aimed at the study, design and development of:
  • Hybrid MW-CVI heating technology for manufacturing of C/SiC and SiC/SiC composites
  • MW heating technology for LSI and graphite Expansion
  • MW/RF heating technology for pyrolysis/PIP process

As well as implementing different modeling strategies to address specific aspects and developing new methodologies for the homogeneous microwave heating of components of ceramic materials, and for the monitoring of the growth process of CMCs and GE.

The project will address the technology upscale of theses methodologies for their application in refractory materials, brake disks, aerospace applications or foams production, among others.Life Cycle Assessment, energy and exergy impacts, and production costs will be evaluated, as well as the elaboration of diagnosis and advisory feedbacks on lab and demo scale developments.

The project will deliver a very innovative type of risk analysis related to both obtaining the desired characteristics of HELM materials and their characterization

Finally, all the partners will be involved in the promotion, diffusion and exploitation of the results obtained in HELM Project.


Advanced ceramic materials, such as non-oxide Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) and Expanded Graphite (EG), represent the latest and most promising solutions for high temperature applications in the manufacturing industry, in the transportation sectors and for new demanding electro-technical applications (such as energy harvesting)

Much opportunities of market growth are foreseen for this type of materials, however their main identified deficiencies need to be overcome, these are: high cost, difficulty of processing and materials reliability.
HELM aims to address these challenges by investigating advanced processing technologies based on high-frequency electromagnetic (EM) fields -microwaves (MW) and radiofrequencies (RF) – for thermal processing/treatment of CMCs and expanded graphite, such as: Polymer Impregnation and Pyrolysis (PIP), Liquid Silicon Infiltration (LSI), Chemical Vapour Infiltration (CVI), and Graphite Exfoliation (GE).
By means of the implementation of these technologies, it would be posible to achieve:
  • 60% reduction in process time, to enhance production throughput and cut down costs;
  • 15-‐20% cost reduction, to increase competitiveness on the market;
  • 50% energy reduction, to improve sustainable production and reduce energy related costs;
  • Achieve new microstructures not accessible by conventional technology;
  • Improved technical performance of the newly produced materials (“sustaining” innovation)
  • Open new markets by lowering price of CMC products, displacing conventional materials from their traditional fields of application and enabling new products to enter (“disruptive” innovation).


CIRCE will be in charge of the coordination of the Work Package related to: The Assessment of the environmental (LCA), energy and exergy impacts, and associated costs to the new developed production processes compared to the conventional ones. The Provision of a diagnosis and advisory feedback over lab and demo scale developments by means of the Thermoeconomic analysis. Therefore, the success and impact of the Project can be measured and valorized and the potential improvements can be identified and implemented, enhancing the impact of HELM Project.

CIRCE will also take part in the study and development of the technologies to improve the manufacturing of the different ceramic materials addressed in this Project. In collaboration with the rest of partners, CIRCE will participate in the risk assessment, dissemination and exploitation of the results achieved.


Logotipo CIRCE a color con recuadro gris sin leyenda