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About the Micromechanics Research Group

The Cambridge Center for Micromechanics was opened in March 1996, and is based at Cambridge University Engineering Department (CUED). It is an inter-disciplinary research centre between Engineering, Applied MathematicsMaterials Science and Physics.

The Centre comprises a team of approximately 20 research staff, including distinguished international visitors. Financial support comes from Cambridge University, EPSRC, European and US funding agencies and from industrial sponsorship

The Centre brings together researchers interested in predicting the macroscopic mechanical behavior of materials at all length scales from an understanding of microstructure. This involves the application of mechanics to identifiable small-scale structures and the use of analytical and numerical methods to compute the macroscopic response.  Approaches include fracture mechanics, effective property theory and composites theory.

This science-based approach enables us to predict the behavior of new materials without the need for slow and routine experimentation. Optimum microstructures can be forecast rather than found by trial and error.

The research topics are selected to be of fundamental long-term interest and of industrial relevance.  The Objectives are to work as an interdisciplinary group on specific problems in micromechanics in order to improve existing materials and to develop new ones. Frequent consultation with industry ensures the relevance of the work. And to stimulate closer interaction with industry and the best international researchers.

 Current Research Themes

  • Mechanics of lattice materials and foam (including nanofoams), including modelling of the foaming process
  • Cell mechanics
  • Size effects in plasticity
  • Three Dimensional (3D) composites
  • Mechanics of adhesive joints
  • Fracture in an extreme environment
  • Distributed cracking of ceramics

In each case, design guidelines for the optimisation of microstructure, process route and end application of the material are developed. For example, one approach is to incorporate constitutive laws for deformation and failure into a finite element package for subsequent widespread engineering use.

 

International Links

  • Major US groups at Harvard, MIT, Brown, UCSB, UVA and NIST
  • European research centres, including Intitut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, France; Technical University Eindhoven, The Netherlands; KTH, Sweden; DTU, Denmark.