Fracture across Scales

Fracture across Scales

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

The proposed RTG (Research Training Group) aims to improve understanding of fracture 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 heterogeneities on fracture 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 cross-disciplinary topic in mechanics of materials.

Although various simulation approaches describing fracture 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, we propose an RTG consisting of interdisciplinary experts from mechanics, materials science, mathematics, chemistry, and physics that will develop the necessary methodology to investigate the mechanisms underlying brittle fracture and how they are influenced by heterogeneities in various materials.

The insights obtained together with the methodological framework will allow tailoring and optimising materials against fracture. The RTG will cover a representative spectrum of brittle materials and their composites, together with granular and porous materials. We will 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 will be integrated into an overall framework, which will represent 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 will perform cutting-edge research on challenging scientific aspects of fracture. The RTG will foster 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”