Composites and architected materials

A material-by-design approach

The research on this subject is driven through a material-by-design approach relying on the formulation of a set of requirements in terms of performances and constraints, based on which the best material solution is sought. In most cases, only new combinations of materials with new topologies, sizes, hierarchy of microstructure and internal stress distributions can meet the requirements, motivating the development of composites, hybrids and architectured solutions.

Generation of new innovative systems

For the processing, assembly techniques involving adhesive bonding, friction stir welding, diffusion bonding or interlocking, and casting are combined with new thermomechanical methods such as accumulative roll bonding or friction stir processing, coating deposition, macroscopic lithography techniques, foaming, resin transfer moulding (in collaboration with the IMCN institute), squeeze casting, additive manufacturing and sintering. This allows the generation of new innovative systems, several protected by patents. These systems are characterized and tested using the panoply of methods available in the institute or at UCLouvain in general. The modeling heavily relies on multiscale multiphysics approaches. Integrated modeling chaining the processing steps and operation under various applied thermal, mechanical or electrical loading has been pursued for some of the systems.

The most significant achievements over the last 10 years

involve architectured material solutions for energy recovery using thermoelectric or magnetocaloric effects and for electromagnetic shielding combined with high thermal-mechanical performances (in collaboration with colleagues from the IMCN and ICTEAM institutes), the understanding, modeling and optimization of the friction stir welding technique, the mechanical performances of composites for aeronautic applications through properly accounting for the epoxy resin behavior, the development of super ductile flexible electronics systems, the multiscale modeling of adhesive bonding and the processing of a variety of innovative metal matrix composites by squeeze casting or friction stir processing.

IMAP is actively involved in the research center for “Architectured and Composites Materials”, ARCOMAT, with colleagues of iMMC and other institutes. The funding comes from both fundamental and applied public research sources, as well as directly from industry.