One formidable obstacle standing in the way of progress in multiscale simulation over the past decades is the lack of a concurrent atomistic-continuum methodology that allows waves, heat, and defects to pass through the atomistic-continuum interface. To meet this critical challenge, the classical statistical mechanical theory of transport processes is reformulated so as to unify atomistic and continuum descriptions of balance laws and to recast the mathematical representation of the governing laws to facilitate coarse-scale finite element simulation of discontinuous material behavior. It is anticipated that this research will lead to a new formulation of continuum mechanics that is equivalent to a fully atomistic model at the atomic scale and to classical continuum mechanics at the macroscopic scale, thus naturally leading to a concurrently-coupled atomistic-continuum methodology.
The new methodology promises to expand current atomistic simulation-based predictive capability from sub-micron- to sub-millimeter-sized materials, thereby enabling multiscale analysis of complex materials. It will not only impact the areas of continuum mechanics and multiscale simulation, but also new materials development. The research results will be integrated into existing mechanics courses, and will be used in the classrooms to facilitate understanding of multiscale materials behavior. Computer codes developed will be posted for public use and feedback. The PI will also use a Curie Lecture Series that brings in well-established female scholars to campus as role models for graduate students.