Researchers are working with industries to solve unique problems in product design and manufacturing. Specific projects include the use of Finite Element Analysis methods to determine stress distributions in various components and the determination of dynamic strains in mechanical systems. Finite element models also are under development for prediction of plasticity-induced fatigue crack closure during crack growth. The primary focus of this research is toward applications involving aging aircraft. Different means of introducing beneficial compressive residual stresses in spur gears are also being explored.
Important to the use of materials in engineering design is an understanding of their mechanical behavior as influenced by the operational environment or fabrication processing conditions. A variety of testing and microstructural characterization techniques are used to establish a fundamental understanding of how materials respond to a variety of operational conditions including extreme environments. This understanding of material behavior helps in the development, validation, and verification of various physics based models. One example of material usage in extreme operating environments is the development and selection of polymeric composite materials for use in high pressure, cryogenic storage of fuels such as liquid hydrogen or liquefied natural gas. Metals are also subjected to extreme environments in various solid state processing operations such as metal stamping or friction stir welding. Friction stir welding represents a state-of-the-art, solid state joining technology that is currently replacing classic fusion welding in many applications.
Materials Science is one of the research focus areas at MSU. Collaboration with other departments and disciplines is facilitated through the BCoE College sponsored Materials Working Group. Students with an interest in Materials Science can earn a Materials Certificate in addition to their primary field of study. More information about the Materials Working Group and Materials Certificate can be found at the Materials Working Group web page.