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Materials and materials processes: design, modelling and experimental validation

Research project P4/33 (Research action P4)

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Description :

The development and transformation of materials is increasingly supported by numerical simulation models. These models are essentially of an analytical character. They provide a more accurate view of the physical, mechanical, and chemical phenomena involved in various transformation processes. The laboratories of the present IAP network have all contributed to the development and experimental validation of such models, in the framework of bilateral and multilateral partnerships in fields such as surface technology, micromechanics of materials, new forming processes, and thermomechanical processing of metal alloys. Recent experience has shown that, in addition to further development of analytical tools, an increased effort should be made to develop models with a predictive character. In the long run this should enable industry to select compositions and processes more directly and more effectively.

The present emphasis on predictive modelling -modelling for design- does not reduce the importance of a more solid experimental base. Determining parameters for the equations of the models, testing critical conditions, determining applicability limits will remain an essential part of the project.

Sub-project I: Plasma Immersion and Electrochemical Surface Treatment of Materials. Here the main partners are KUL/MTM and LUC. These two labs have complementary surface engineering know-how, respectively in electrochemical coating research and in the development and analysis of plasma treatments (PVD and CVD). The two laboratories share synthesis and characterisation equipment, this having led to symbiotic achievements in the past.

Sub-project II: Micro- and Macroscopic Behaviour of Polycrystalline Materials, Metal Matrix Composites, and Layered Materials. The tasks of KUL/MTM's partners within this sub-project will be materials-related (metals and alloys for RUG, metal-matrix composites for UCL, and layered materials for LUC). The teams will cooperate by exchanging experience with modelling schemes and in using each other's equipment for processing and characterisation. Furthermore, this sub-group will contribute its experience and support to sub-projects I, III, and IV in the area of texture and stress measurements (I and IV) and mechanical and microscopic characterisation (III).

Sub-project III: Modelling of New Production Processes for Structural Materials. This is also a 4-partner sub-project (MTM-VUB-UCL-PMA). It stresses model-supported design of new non-conventional forming techniques: hot working of intermetallic alloys, resin transfer moulding of polymer-based composites, and selective laser sintering of intricate parts. The field of interaction mainly covers modelling techniques, among which reverse modelling, but KUL/MTM also offers its partners expertise in characterisation.

Sub-project IV: Development of Multiphase Metallic Alloys and Modelling of their Thermomechanical Processing. This 3-partner sub-project (RUG-KUL/MTM-UCL) is centered around a new type of steel: low-carbon steel with transformation induced plasticity (TRIP). The long experience of KUL/MTM in the development of materials with strain-induced transformations (shape-memory alloys), that of RUG in steel processing, and that of UCL in multiphase alloys will be pooled in order to design by modelling the optimal compositions and processing schemes for this new family of materials.

In addition to regular organisational meetings where sub-project participants discuss progress in modelling and experimental validation, a yearly plenary meeting is organised at which the progress of all four groups is presented and critically analysed. Moreover, the steering group organises each year a "Graduate School in Materials Science and Engineering", for the entire scientific community associated with the action as well as other interested scientists.

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