Fracture across Scales

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Fracture across Scales

Integrating Mechanics, Materials Science, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics

The present RTG (Research Training Group) aims to improve understanding of fracture behaviour in brittle heterogeneous materials by developing simulation methods that are able to capture the multiscale nature of failure. With (i) its rooting in different scientific disciplines, (ii) its focus on the influence of heterogeneity on fracture behaviour at different length and time scales as well as (iii) its integration of highly specialised approaches into a “holistic” concept, the RTG addresses a truly challenging interdisciplinary topic in mechanics of materials.

Although various simulation approaches describing fracture behaviour exist for particular types of materials and specific time and length scales, an integrated and all-encompassing approach that is able to capture fracture processes in different – and in particular heterogeneous – materials at various length and time resolutions is still lacking. Thus, the objective of this interdisciplinary RTG consisting of experts from mechanics, materials science, mathematics, chemistry, and physics is to develop the necessary methodology to investigate the mechanisms underlying brittle fracture and how they are influenced by heterogeneity in various materials.

The insights obtained together with the methodological framework will allow tailoring and optimising materials with regard to fracture behaviour. The RTG covers a representative spectrum of brittle materials and their composites, together with granular and porous materials. We study these at length and time scales relevant to science and engineering, ranging from sub-atomic via atomic and molecular over mesoscale to macroscopic dimensions. Our modelling approaches and simulation tools are based on concepts from quantum mechanics, molecular mechanics, mesoscopic approaches, and continuum mechanics. These are integrated into an overall framework, which represents an important step towards a virtual laboratory eventually complementing and minimising extensive and expensive experimental testing of materials and components.

Within the RTG, young researchers under the supervision of experienced PAs perform cutting-edge research on challenging scientific aspects of fracture. The RTG fosters synergies in research and advanced education and is intended to become a key element in FAU‘s interdisciplinary research areas “New Materials and Processes” and “Modelling–Simulation–Optimisation”

On 14 and 15 October 2021, all members of the GRK 2423 FRASCAL met for the 6th RTG Seminar at the Hotel Riesengebirge in Neuhof an der Zenn. As usual at our biannual RTG seminars, all FRASCAL doctoral researchers, the Post Doc and this time even four of the associated doctoral researchers each gave a talk on their latest research results.

In the 1st FRASCAL Virtual Colloquium, recent studies on fracture and the failure of materials were presented by various guest speakers, including material instability, crack formation and transition, material adhesion and grain boundary evolution.  A wide variety of materials, from brittle to ductile and from crystalline to disordered, were discussed.

Within the framework of this symposium, the principal advisors of the GRK 2423 FRASCAL projects will contribute their own insights into the fracture problem from a higher-level perspective in six presentations and provide a basis for stimulating discussions and interaction with colleagues from around the world.

On June 14, 2021, GRK 2423 FRASCAL, in collaboration with IGK 2495, screened the documentary film "PICTURE A SCIENTIST" followed by a (digital) panel discussion. The film tells of the spirit of optimism among women researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. A biologist, a chemist, and a geologist take the audience on a journey through the experiences of their academic careers - as women in science.