Ultrascalable Modelling of Advanced Materials with Complex Architectures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Materials


Technological advances in power generation and transport systems are currently materials limited. Ideal materials are not available for use in the increasingly extreme environments (high temperatures, high thermal fluxes, pressures, irradiation damage, fatigue etc) these novel designs require. Many of the current suggested solutions to these problems are composites. However, the combination of two or more physically distinct phases with different constituent material properties to form a single material is fraught with fabrication and modelling difficulties.There is considerable interest in the reliable prediction of the bulk properties of composite materials based on the properties of the constituent materials and the microstructural morphology as this clearly enables novel materials to be designed with specified requirements (e.g. toughness, stiffness). Coupled with rapid prototyping and greater control of composite fabrication processes, this could deliver a new generation of high performance materials. High resolution imaging in 3-D such as x-ray microtomography (XMT), the materials science equivalent of medical CAT scans, can now probe at the sub-micron scale and coupled with numerical solvers could in principle provide turnkey solutions for modelling physical processes. However there are two main technical hurdles to the adoption of image based analysis: (1) robustly and accurately converting the 3-D data into computational meshes suitable for solvers; and (2) the size of computational problem required to study domains at suitable resolutions and size to bridge the micro to macro length scales such that the volumes modelled are representative of the bulk of the material. Both of these problems will be addressed within the project by combining and further developing state of the art techniques developed by the applicants for solving large scale problems (novel iterative solvers) and for meshing from 3-D images.In order to provide corroboration for the solution techniques to be developed and implemented, two problems with which some of the applicants have experience and which typify a very broad range of industrially and biologically important structures will be considered: ceramic matrix composites and open-celled foams. Both structural and thermal properties will be explored. These materials are exemplars as they represent two different challenges to the computational approach: the composite has a multiphase complex architecture; the foam undergoes very large strain deformation followed by element contact and strain localisation. These challenges are common to a wide range of materials.This ambitious project addresses three intimately linked problems that require the combination of skills contained within the team whose solutions will have far reaching application in computing, and materials engineering, namely: predicting behaviour of materials with complex architectures; parallel simulation of problems with large strains and contacts; and efficient algorithms for remeshing deformable media.


10 25 50
Description Developed methodology for modelling challenging materials and structures
Exploitation Route Use of open source software to model a wide range of systems
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description Development of methodology for modelling challenging materials and structures. This has been used in a wide range of fields from archaeology to nuclear fusion.
First Year Of Impact 2007
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Transport
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Description Direct grant
Amount € 150,000 (EUR)
Funding ID ESTEC20741/07/NL/EM 
Organisation European Space Agency 
Sector Public
Country France
Start 03/2007 
End 03/2009
Description Direct grant
Amount £83,000 (GBP)
Organisation Culham Centre for Fusion Energy 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2012 
End 09/2016
Description Direct grant
Amount £78,000 (GBP)
Organisation Culham Centre for Fusion Energy 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2009 
End 09/2013
Description Sortware development grant
Amount £54,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2010 
End 03/2011
Title ParaFEM 
Description Ultrascalable FE solver 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2007 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact Use in applications from geotechnics to nuclear systems