The ability to model, predict, and improve the mechanical performance of engineering materials such as polymers, composites, and alloys can have a significant impact on manufacturing, with important economic and societal benefits. As advanced computational algorithms and data science approaches become available, they can be harnessed to disrupt the current approaches to materials modeling, and allow for the design and discovery of new high-strength, high-performance materials for manufacturing. Bringing together multidisciplinary teams of researchers can maximize the impact of these new tools and techniques. This Harnessing the Data Revolution Institutes for Data-Intensive Research in Science and Engineering (HDR-I-DIRSE) award supports the conceptualization of an Institute to develop novel data science methods, address fundamental scientific questions of Materials Engineering and Manufacturing, and build such multidisciplinary teams. The project will apply novel data science methods to advance the analysis of large sets of structural data of composite materials and alloys from the atomic scale to correlate with and predict mechanical properties. The methods are based on machine learning techniques and uncertainty quantification, and will help uncover underlying structural features in the materials that determine the properties and performance. The methods and results will help accelerate the development of ultra-high strength and lightweight carbon-based composites for aerospace applications, and multi-element superalloys for more durable engine parts, by navigating in the large possible design space and providing faster predictions than experiments and traditional simulation methods. The project will also lead to new methods and computational algorithms that will become publicly available. The investigators will train graduate and undergraduate students from various disciplines with a focus on engaging women and minorities in STEM fields, develop short courses that integrate novel Materials Science and Engineering applications and Data Science methods, and foster vertical integration of interdisciplinary research from undergraduate students to senior scientists.

This project aims at building an effective and interpretable learning framework for materials data across scales to solve a major challenge in current data-driven materials design. The combined Materials Science and Data Science approaches will synergistically contribute to the development and use of interpretable and physics-informed data science methodologies to gain new understanding of mechanical properties of polymer composites and alloys, with the potential to be expanded into different property sets and different systems. The PIs will utilize available data efficiently through combination with physical rules and prior knowledge, to develop an interpretable augmented intelligent system to learn principles behind the association of input structures with material properties with uncertainty quantification. The interconnected tasks involve the (1) collection and curation of large amounts of computational and experimental data for polymer/carbon nanotube composites and alloys from open data sources and targeted calculations and experiments, (2) the development of geometric and topological methods incorporating physical principles to generate a better, more sensitive low-dimensional representation of the multidimensional data and characterize the parameter space related to mechanical properties, (3) the development of a Bayesian deep reinforcement learning framework to generate interpretable knowledge graphs that depict the relational knowledge among physical quantities with uncertainty quantification, and (4) the prediction of mechanical properties to reveal design principles to improve materials performance, evaluate and validate the methods, and develop software for dissemination.

This project is part of the National Science Foundation's Harnessing the Data Revolution (HDR) Big Idea activity and is co-funded by the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Advanced CyberInfrastructure (ACI)
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Alexis Lewis
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Columbia University
New York
United States
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