Multi-scale analysis of materials
The development and application of methodologies for the experimental morphological and structural characterisation of materials in multiple scales, starting at the nano/micro level and reaching the macroscopic level. It includes consideration of the modelling itself and numerical simulation of the behaviour of a material based on integrating the physical phenomena associated with each one of the characterised scales.
There is special emphasis on the following:
- Multiscale modelling applied to the prediction of effective functional and transport properties (viscosity, permeability, mechanical properties, electrical properties and thermal properties) based on analytical and computational homogenisation methods.
- Experimental analysis of the multiscale heterogeneous structure using microscopy techniques and bulk methods.
- Development of models based on multiscale mesoscopic methods for flow simulation in a deformable, multiscale porous media.
- Development of generalised rheometric mathematical models.
Applied to projects oriented at:
- The prediction of effective multi-domain properties (permeability, non-linear elasticity, mechanical failure, electrical conductivity, thermal expansion, etc.) based on the structural details of the material and/or on the direct reconstruction of its morphology or a statistical description of the same.
- Research on how the processing of a material influences its resulting morphology, at a micro and/or nano level (fibre orientation, dispersion of particles, etc.).
- The integration of the two preceding approaches in the generation of knowledge on process-product integration with respect to optimising the use of a certain material.
- The definition of the necessary structure at the micro/nano level in order to achieve the effective target properties (size and concentration of particles, percolation thresholds, etc.).
In addition, and due to the especially close relationship regarding the use of multiscale mesoscopic methods for simulating complex flows, a complementary objective has been introduced in this line, which is to extend the use of advanced simulation tools for studying material transformation processes other than those included in the most common process analysis packages in industry. Therefore:
- Multiple numerical tools are being used (implicit MEF, explicit MEF, CEL, CFD, SPH, etc.) for simulating transformation processes that are not covered by specific commercial codes or for those that pose analyses at levels of detail that are beyond those codes.
- Specific commercial codes are likewise used (Moldex, PAM-RTM, etc.), thereby taking advantage of synergies and creating a critical mass oriented at the advanced analysis of processes in general.
- As stated, special emphasis is placed on research applied to multiscale mesoscopic methods for simulating complex flows, thereby creating differentiated R&D capacities for the analysis of viscoelastic flows and polydisperse flows, with the possibility of being extended to fluid-structure interaction problems.
- Experimental techniques are applied to characterisation of the behaviour of a material in the state it is in during transformation (rheology, curing kinetics, permeability, etc.).
The application of this complementary line of work is basically focused on technical polymers, adhesives and dispersions, although it's objective is the generation and integration of highly specialised capacities in diverse numerical techniques for handling problems that are very non-linear and that have dynamic effects. Covering other types of processes is also possible: metal shaping, composites curing, etc.
- A set of equipment called a "Nanomaterials Laboratory".
- A set of equipment called a "Materials Characterisation Laboratory".
- A set of computational simulation equipment.
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