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Center for Multiscale Modeling for Engineering Materials (CM2EM)

Some important intellectual challenges of modern-day science and technology deal with multiscale modeling for engineering materials. These challenges address issues such as fatigue in jet engine and electronic storage components; the design and reliability of microelectrical mechanical systems (MEMS) devices; high-rate-deformation in armor and weaponry; forming high strength and high ductility metallic alloys and metallic glasses for use in structural applications like auto-body parts and sports equipment; and the high-frequency response in earthquake rupture dynamics, among others.

Modern engineering technology manipulates the interaction of various materials at multiple length and time scales. The macro-scale deals with the visible materials we see. A major emphasis of current research deals with smaller levels of interaction within these materials, whether they are on the atomic and molecular scale in nanotechnology or intermediate length scales as in MEMS research and design. If one were to look under a microscope, however, it would become apparent that there are other objects between the micro and macro scales which play an important role. It is the goal of multi-scale modeling of materials to infer the laws that govern the interaction of materials at the finest atomic scale and coarser meso-scale using interdisciplinary tools from continuum mechanics, dynamical systems theory, statistical physics, and the theory of partial differential equations.

Mission and Goals
Formed in February 2008, CM2EM's mission is the quantitative understanding of materials from the smallest to the largest relevant scales, with a special emphasis on emergent behavior in complex materials systems. This requires the development of new theories and simulation tools for engineering and scientific applications that often require multiscale physics. Such applications span a broad spectrum ranging from such examples as stress management in metallic and semiconductor heterostructures, deformation flow and fracture of bulk metallic glasses, the influence of atomic scale grain and phase boundary structures in the macroscopic response of polycrystalline materials, the mechanics of granular materials from the solid to the liquid regimes, and the rheology of soft polymeric materials.

The principal goals of CM2EM include: 1) predicting the properties and performance of existing engineering materials and systems under varied operational conditions; 2) engineering new materials for targeted functionality; 3) serving as a primary hub for materials modeling activity at Carnegie Mellon by providing a common reference, greater visibility, and support to other centers involved primarily with materials development and characterization; and 4) setting up a mechanism for coordinated research and education activity in multiscale materials modeling across Carnegie Mellon.