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Research

Brown University’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Center’s research thrust is on Mechanics of Materials.  The Center builds upon the infrastructure for research and outreach previously established at Brown to form a powerful entity for advancing the frontiers of materials science and for sharing the fundamental knowledge and excitement stemming from the research work.

The central role of mechanics in the national effort on the science and engineering of materials is clear.  Mechanics issues abound across the full scope of advanced and emerging materials, often exploited in combinations with mismatched mechanical, electrical and thermal properties.  Sufficiently strong, tough and durable lightweight and high-temperature structural materials are a direct route to energy efficiency.  In electronics, the defects that degrade devices are nucleated by high stresses, and the control of stress during device fabrication is a major issue.  Yet, stress can drive the formation of useful structures such as quantum dots.  There are a host of biological phenomena wherein stress is a primary driving force.  Mechanics is thus an integral part of the invention, design and representation of material behavior across the full spectrum of functional systems. Furthermore, the mechanical behavior of materials is among the branches of materials science that are most dependent on multi-scale phenomena due to the hierarchy of interactions among physical features at different scales.  The Center serves a unique national role by fostering the research of an internationally-recognized faculty that is continually pushing forward the boundaries of mechanics of materials.

The Center will has three main research thrusts, structured as two IRGs and a Seed.  The exceptional degree of collaboration and synergy among a large group of faculty with disciplinary expertise in materials, solid mechanics, physics, electrical engineering, and biology is a hallmark of the Brown MRSEC.  These thrusts are also distinguished by the integration of careful experiments and novel theory/modeling on critical problems in the field.

IRG 1: Stress in Thin Films and Small Scale Structures
IRG 1 emphasizes the mechanics of thin film and small-scale structures, focusing on the energetics and stability of nanostructured materials and the evolution of stress during film growth and other non-equilibrium processes.

IRG 2: Multiscale Mechanics of Complex
IRG 2 emphasizes the multiscale mechanics of complex microstructures, focusing on the prediction and mechanisms of deformation, fracture and fatigue of micron-scale multiphase materials and ultra-fine grain materials. 

Seed image

SEED - Micromechanics of Cell Adhesion
The Seed project extends our established expertise in quantitative mechanics to the problem of adhesion in biological systems.  This work represents a natural outgrowth of our mechanics base into a class of biological phenomena that are critical to life in animals and in which the effects of stress and deformation are paramount. 

 

SEED - Mechanics of Energy Storage Materials

The goal of this new MRSEC seed project is to elucidate the fundamental interaction between solid mechanics and electrochemistry in advanced energy storage devices such as lithium ion batteries (LIB). Our current attention is focused on silicon, which is expected to be the anode material in the next generation of higher energy density LIB.

 

NRI Supplement - Direct-write synthesis of graphene devices