The Mechanics and Materials research area within the Department of Mechanical Engineering focuses on understanding the complex multi-scale behavior of materials used in the oil and gas, mining, railway, defense, health, renewable, aerospace, and space sectors. The program is multi-disciplinary and collaborative, and involves international partners in industry, government, and academia. Materials under consideration within this research area of the Department include light-weight composites, ceramics, and metals, as well as bio-materials, polymers, and rocks. The Department has unique fabrication capabilities, including electrospinning and additive manufacturing, and this provides opportunities to tune the mechanical and electrical properties of materials by modifying the microstructure, grain boundaries, and interfaces. This allows for the development of multi-functional micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMs), coatings, and adhesives.

Material responses are studied in this area, including fatigue to shock loading domains using Instron machines, torsional apparatus, impact penetration devices, and high-rate Kolsky bars . This also includes capabilities to study material behavior at high pressure and temperatures, as well as with ultra-high-speed cameras that can be used to visualize failure and measure deformation speeds (e.g., fractures, shear bands). This information is utilized in computational and theoretical modelling, which is a core research thrust sub-area in the Department, and which uses molecular dynamics, micro-mechanics, and continuum approaches.

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