The objective of this collaborative research project is to develop a microstructure-mediated design methodology that provides a seamless integration of design optimization, predictive materials modeling, processing and surface engineering, to enable accelerated discovery and development of new materials. Through the synergy of experts in engineering design, mechanics, and materials science, a descriptor-based computational microstructure design framework and a combined theoretical, computational, and experimental approach to design new microstructural systems with tailored system properties. Using emerging nanodielectric polymer systems as a testbed, final proof of concept will reside in design of filler morphology, interphase properties, and chemistry combinations for achieving specific mechanical and dielectric properties for a wide range of engineering applications. The computational microstructure design framework will create a shift from discovery-based materials development to systematic and computer-assisted materials design. This research will also make significant strides in predicting interphase behavior based on interaction of material constituents.
The results of this research could have important societal impact through innovations of new nanodielectric polymers used in electrical transmission and storage systems across a wide range of industries such as utility, energy, consumer electronics, and manufacturing. Since this research provides a general methodology for designing microstructural material systems, the techniques will transcend to broader applications and benefit a wide range of domestic and military applications. To disseminate the results to a broader community, a workshop on "Design of Emerging Microstructural Material Systems" will be organized. Research will be integrated with education and students will have the opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary materials system design projects that offer innovation and leadership experiences.