Mechanical Properties and Materials for Extreme Conditions
Structural materials play an essential role in many applications, from airplane fuselage to car chassis to computer and cell phone cases. Advanced applications often call for materials that are stronger and lighter, as illustrated by the current development in carbon composites and magnesium-base alloys. Furthermore, materials often operate in harsh environments and they need to maintain their high performance in those environments. Turbine blades in jet engines, for instance, operate close to their melting point in an oxidative environment; structural and cladding materials in nuclear reactors are subjected to radiation and corrosion; electrodes in fuel cells and advanced batteries are subjected to large electrochemical forces and mechanical stresses.
MatSE faculty at Illinois are combining experiments, numerical simulations and modeling to improve existing materials and to develop new materials that will meet the requirements of these demanding applications. Interestingly, these harsh environments provide also opportunities to develop materials that are self-healing and self-adaptive.