New research center at ITM
Starting this year, Center for Mechanics and Materials Design (MMD) will bring together Solid Mechanics and Materials Science and Engineering. The center belongs to ITM but operates at both the ITM school and the SCI school.
Hello Annika Borgenstam, Director of MMD, why are you starting this new center?
”A collaboration platform for solid mechanics and materials science has long been lacking. At KTH there are strong groupings in both disciplines and the center will become a hub to bring them together. The idea is that the materials side can gain insight into the needs on the mechanics side, which in turn will gain insight into the materials side.”
Why is this important?
”It all started with requests from companies for improved education in mechanical metallurgy. The need has increased as research and industrial processes become more and more complex, and the industry is many times looking for engineers who have knowledge of both solid mechanics and materials. We will be able to educate PhDs and engineers with the required combinations of skills.”
”There is also an advantage in bringing together different actors with an interest in this area. We are building a knowledge platform that can be used by the industry. The center will facilitate exchanges between the projects, which means that the companies get added value.”
What will you focus on, in the short and long term?
”In the short term, we want to start a number of projects. In the slightly longer term, we want the center to grow, both at KTH and within Sweden. We want to look at the possibility of government funding and to seek external projects. In the longer term, we hope to be able to take over some activities from the Hero-m 2i center, which will end in two years.”
What are the challenges?
”The challenge may be the different languages. In a way, this is about what scale you look at. Materials science focuses on microstructures, what happens inside the materials down to the micro and nano levels. In solid mechanics the focus is on the mechanical properties of the material coupled to constructions.”
”The goal is to be able to think about the whole process – from the atomic level to component. But we are not there yet, there is a gap. We need better material models that can be used to describe the mechanical properties of the materials. And that requires ways to communicate.”
What will the collaboration look like more in detail?
”We have been a bit rigid and built in a certain project structure in the center. In order for projects to be carried out within MMD, a supervisor from each discipline and a topic that concerns both are required. Furthermore, a certain meeting structure is included. In order to achieve collaboration, people need to meet each other.”
Text: Alexandra von Kern