The materials modeling group, headed by Prof. Erik Bitzek, conducts research into the elementary defects of the crystalline lattice (dislocations, cracks, interfaces, vacancies) and on how the organization and interaction of these defects influence the mechanical properties of metallic materials. The groups activity also includes the modeling of mechanical properties of amorphous systems, like silica and bulk metallic glasses. In all these studies, atomistic simulations and density functional calculations are use to obtain detailed information on defect properties and on the mechanisms that lead to deformation and failure.
The focus of our research is to provide qualitative insights as well as quantitative information on the deformation processes at work at the atomic scale. These findings lead to better understanding and interpretation of experimental results, whilst simultaneously helping in the development of robust and reliable models for the prediction of deformation behavior of materials. Insights from atomistic simulations are used in our group to develop multiscale models like crystal plasticity frameworks with the finite element method (FEM) and the fast Fourier transform (FFT) method. Such models bridge various length scales and facilitate the simulation of complex forming processes.
The group collaborates closely with the Institute of Materials Simulation (WW8) on multiscale modeling, and with the Computer Chemistry Center (CCC) on the density functional calculations. It is also a part of the Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM) and the Central Institute of Scientific Computing (ZISC).
It participates in the Collaborative Research Center SFB/Transregio 103 From Atoms to Turbine Blades, the Priority Programs SPP1594 Topological Engineering of Ultrastrong Glasses and SPP1466 Life ∞ as well as the Graduiertenkolleg 1869 "In-Situ Microscopy with Electrons, X-rays and Scanning Probes", the EU project iSTRESS and in the research network Mechanics of Nano-objects MECANO. Erik Bitzek was furthermore recently awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for his project on the Microscopic Origins of Fracture Toughness (microKIc).