- The mission of the MPCF is to:
- conduct nationally leading research with emphasis on structural applications;
- significantly enhance interdisciplinary graduate education; and
- disseminate valuable information through research, publication and presentation, thereby serving as a technical resource for industry and government.
The Mechanical Properties Characterization Facility (MPCF) shall be known as a world-class university laboratory investigating deformation, fracture and fatigue research of various structural materials, with a unique combination of experiments and modeling through the effective union of the disciplines of experimental mechanics, solid mechanics, and materials science and engineering.
MPCF faculty are involved in a wide range of research activities. Principal research thrusts include:
- Fatigue and fracture studies of structural materials in extreme environments including high temperature applications (e.g., jet engines and power plants) and medical devices.
- Development of fatigue, fracture and life prediction methodologies for application to components in the aerospace, power systems, microelectronics, ground vehicles, and medical devices.
- Development of constitutive equations for deformation and damage of structural metals, advanced alloys, metal foams, and composite materials, employing multiscale modeling at the interface of materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, and engineering mechanics.
- Experimental strategies to support Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) and the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI).
Research programs, supported by government and industry, are carried out under the supervision of faculty members drawn from various disciplines and Schools. Over $3M is expended by MPCF faculty in externally sponsored research each year. These projects serve as the basis for theses and dissertations of students seeking M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. In addition to faculty and post-doctoral students, a research engineer and an administrative assistant support MPCF activities.
There are major external opportunities involving mechanical properties research. First, there is a strong demand for M.S. and Ph.D. graduates with a background in mechanical properties of advanced engineering materials. Second, there is high federal priority through the Materials Genome Initiative on accelerating the design of new materials having a combination of properties to meet the extreme conditions of next generation systems as well as the lightweighting of materials for use in mobile applications (e.g., aerospace systems, automobiles and trucks, bio implants). Third, the rapidly developing field of additive manufacturing of structural materials is necessitating the need to identify new protocols for rapidly characterizing the process-structure-property relationships.