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How strong are materials?

Project HoSAM
Research Area Materials Science
Principal Investigator(s) Mikko Alava
  • Aalto University, Department of Applied Physics, -, Finland
  • National Research Council (CNR), Italy


The design and choice of materials that need strength depends on understanding how this property depends on the size of the object or specimen, and how it varies from sample to sample. The research on these issues combines various viewpoints from engineering mechanics, the statistics of extremes, and modern statistical physics. The statistical distribution obeyed by strength depends on the microscopic properties of the material, and on the large-scale features like how the load is applied. In the HoSAM project, we utilize the simulation of simple yet comprehensive fracture models to study the sample size-dependent scaling of material strength. Necessary ingredients include the variation of the microscopic material characteristics – the disorder that gives rise to the stochastic nature of the problem – and the study of the effect of defects or micro-cracks. By the application of the Deisa resources, we may extend such simulations over a substantial range of sample sizes and to acquire reliable data of the properties of the probability distributions describing strength, in all such cases.

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