Microstructure of Materials

The microstructure of materials is paramount to all the research conducted at the Chair for Materials Science and Engineering. The elements of microstructure (point defects, dislocations, interfaces, ...) determine the properties of materials. We deal with the formation of microstructures in the production of materials. It is essential that we understand why important properties of a material are affected and how these changes come about. We also need to be able to describe how the microstructures of materials change, both during the course of production and during service. Through our research work, we aim to direct attention to important critical elementary processes and to contribute to a clearer understanding of them. In order to achieve this, we work at the appropriate scales of length and time.

Our research work shows that critical elementary processes in complex microstructures must first be understood qualitatively on the basis of well-founded mechanical, thermodynamic/kinetic and microstructural experimental results, before they can be successfully modelled. At the Chair for Materials Science and Engineering we concentrate our efforts into five areas that are highly interconnected: structural materials, functional materials, reactions in and at solids, characterization and modelling. We will introduce these areas briefly below and will show by way of five examples the type of results we attain in each of these five areas. After the presentation of the five research areas, a few higher-level research activities are described which shaped the work conducted at our Chair during the reporting period.