09-14 FunGlass group shot

[Image above] Researchers and mentors at the Centre for Functional and Surface Functionalized Glass. Credit: FunGlass

The recently released special issue of Journal of Applied Glass Science (IJAGS) focuses on research being performed at the Centre for Functional and Surface Functionalized Glass. The creation and purpose of FunGlass, the nickname for the center, is an interesting story of regional cooperation among academia, industry, and government.

Based at the Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín in the Slovak Republic, FunGlass’s mission is to become an international center for basic and applied research and training in glass science and engineering. Building upon the Joint Glass Centre (VILA) in Trenčín, FunGlass links VILA with four world-renowned universities in a mentoring model.

Not only do students at FunGlass receive mentoring from the cooperating researchers, but the professors receive coaching from their international colleagues to hone their expertise and build their networks. As the authors of the Special Issue Editorial stated, “leading scientists from three ‘old’ EU countries—Germany, Italy, and Spain—became mentors and teachers of the teams in Trenčín, transferring their know-how, but also friendship to their Slovak colleagues.”

Trenčín, VILA, and now FunGlass are located near major Slovak glass producers such as RONA a.s., Vetropack a.s., John Manville Slovkaia, and Knauf Insulation, with many more in the neighboring Czech Republic. These manufacturers will benefit along with others in the European Union from training and applied research activities offered through FunGlass. Substantial funding is provided by the EU Horizon 2020 program and the government of the Slovak Government.

The major research areas at FunGlass include cutting-edge glass application areas such as biomaterials and functional (e.g., luminescent glasses). The departments involved with FunGlass are listed below, along with the lead researcher and mentor.

  • Department of Biomaterials, Martin Michálek with Aldo R. Boccaccini at Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany.
  • Department of Coatings, Amirhossein Pakseresht with Alicia Durán from the Institute of Ceramic and Glass, Spanish National Research Council, Spain.
  • Department of Functional Materials, led by José Velázquez-García with Lothar Wondraczek at Otto Schott Institute of Materials Research, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany.
  • Department of Glass Processing, Jozef Kraxner with Enrico Bernardo from the Università degli Studi di Padova, Italy.
  • Joint Glass Centre (VILA) is headed by the FunGlass director, Dušan Galusek.
  • Central laboratories are led by Dagmar Galusková.

The FunGlass special issue of IJAGS contains fifteen articles detailing some of the research performed at FunGlass. Topics include fluorescence and luminescence of glasses and glass-ceramics, processing aimed for high performance structures and properties, modeling studies, reuse of waste materials, and bioactive and historic glasses. Many of these articles are open access and can be read by anyone with an internet connection without subscription or paywall.

Please read the International Journal of Applied Glass Science: Special Issue Editorial for further details.