Materials science in theoretical and model-based prediction tools
Other sectors Maritime Oil and gas

More active use of modelling of material properties to understand performance may allow for more rapid production processes, more room for design optimization, better integration into design process, and a reduction in late process surprises. In addition, development of micro-sized testing techniques allowing for properties determination from small samples will be needed, especially related to the evaluation of aged assets.

The role of fundamental material science will be vital for the development of many emerging technologies poised to deeply change our lives and industrial processes. Just a few examples include mobile electronic technology; molecular and quantum computing; recovering alternative energy sources; the biotechnology revolution; robotics and automation; 3D/4D printing; and, self-assembling. Meeting these objectives will require greater precision in materials properties, and in the process to arrive at them. This precision will be enabled by an ever-increasing linking of materials modelling and simulations into the design process, which can lead to new design concepts.

The key building block for advanced material technologies will be a more generic approach to materials understanding, along with an effort to translate material knowledge into quantitative properties for stiffness, resistance to plastic deformation and fracture, corrosion, etc. This collaboration between modelling and design has been branded as Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)1.

Further knowledge of materials properties is needed, to assist with asset-life extension, the switch to eco-friendly materials, and increased recycling and repair of assets. A growing shortage of raw materials, the enormous amount of waste that is currently produced, and heavy pollution seen in big cities will be drivers for change, for finding new technical solutions, and new materials.

What lies ahead?

Increased material modelling capacities will reduce time to market for new technologies, as well as allowing the use of more recycled materials during construction. Life cycle material characterization and modelling, with inherently more realistic assessment scenarios, will play a key role in digital solutions to meet Industry 4.0 and to support efficient life-time extensions of equipment, structures and machinery (for example). Some of the industrial trends where such model-based material prediction will emerge are in the growth of solutions for carbon capture, transportation and storage, as well as in the growth of hydrogen as an energy carrier2. The emerging technology in the pipeline industry of combining testing and modelling of material properties will see an increasing impact up to 2030. The same applies for subsea systems and renewable energy generation technology (wind, current, wave and solar energy). The increasing focus on autonomous ships also opens up for rethinking of new design and material solutions.

Traditionally, material properties have been established using experimental testing . While physical testing will continue to play a role, it will be supplemented, and in some instances replaced, by new and emerging material modelling approaches. The quality and complexity of material and simulation models will need to be ensured by a verification, validation and certification schemes not yet covered in today’s regulations and rules.

Main author: Agnes Marie Horn

Editor: Mark Irvine

  1. Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) for Metals: Concepts and Case Studies, Mark F. Horstemeyer, ISBN:9781119018360
  2. Hydrogen in the electricity value chain, Position paper DNV GL 2019
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