The Center for Computational Materials Design (CCMD), a collaborative effort between The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and the Georgia Institute of Technology (GT) established in 2005, is a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). The CCMD fosters long-term partnerships with industry and government laboratories to develop the emerging technology of materials design. In Summer 2010, the CCMD was awarded a Phase II, five years of additional funding.
Materials design is a new paradigm in which the usual route of selecting existing materials for applications is replaced by concurrent design of material and application. This means that the material is part of the system, with its own design degrees of freedom. Additional ramifications of this technology include accelerated insertion of new materials, virtual manufacturing/processing, enhanced capabilities of existing materials, and capabilities to tailor multifunctional materials for specific applications.
There are intimate linkages between the emerging role of modeling and simulation in new materials development and insertion into products and manufacturing. In fact, the National Science and Technology Council's Materials Genome Initiative for Global Competitiveness issued by the Executive Office of the President of the United States in June 2011 emphasizes the critical role of coupling computational materials design with manufacturing to usher in a new era of competitive advantage.
Founded in Fall 2005, the CCMD has been funded by the NSF as a joint venture between PSU and GT. The rationale for the PSU-GT team is the set of complementary strengths of computational thermodynamics and kinetics, related databases, and phase field modeling (PSU), and computational/experimental structure-property relationships, microstructure characterization, representation and systems-based materials design strategies (GT). Materials systems being addressed include Ti, Ni, Al and Mg alloys, as well as steels, ceramic/oxides, and polymers.
The CCMD aims to be the premier collaborative entity in computational materials design among U.S. universities, industries and government laboratories. We explore methods for development of materials property databases and extend systems engineering design methods to design materials with the optimal functionality for each application. The CCMD offers a venue for bringing together state-of-the-art computational materials science modeling with the latest approaches in managing uncertainty and conducting robust systems design based on targeted sets of goals. For example, we focus on developing tools and methods to support the coupled design of materials and components, delivering form and function simultaneously. Numerous novel spin-off concepts naturally arise, such as meeting required multi-functionality of materials that offer new competitive strategies in the marketplace rather than the conventional route of selecting existing materials in design. The vision also compels scientific exploration of methods for multiscale simulation and design of materials with various length (and time) scales associated with hierarchical microstructure. The mission of the CCMD is to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers with a broad, industrially relevant perspective on engineering research and practice, preparing them to contribute to materials design.
The CCMD serves three constituencies:
Catalyzed by an investment from the NSF that provides support for administrative infrastructure and Center development, CCMD research activities are primarily supported by Center members through annual dues. Both PSU and GT provide reduction to only 10% overhead on CCMD projects funded by member dues, providing enormous leveraging of funds relative to standard university grants with 50% or higher overhead. Research topics are initiated , and projects are mentored by members. Projects are largely of pre-competitive nature, offering unique opportunity for companies and research laboratories to collaborate in developing foundational technologies and enabling members to interact with all Center projects. The CCMD focuses on the development of (1) novel modeling and simulation tools and methods to support materials design, with emphasis on materials property databases and multiscale modeling from atomistic scales upward, and (2) novel methods for simulation-supported, decision-based design of materials. Products of this enterprise that can add value to member organizations include:
Research Themes of the CCMD cover Computational Simulation, Mechanical Modeling, and Materials Design as show in the figure below. These themes are strategically selected to emphasize multiscale, multifunctional robust materials design. One of the areas of emphasis in Phase II of the CCMD (2010-2015) is to bridge the gap that exists between first-principles predictions and higher scale properties to enhance predictive capabilities.