Multiscale Characterization of Materials and Processes

Goal and Vision

Progress in the development of new materials and processing methods can only come from a thorough understanding of microstructure evolution, either during processing or during service operation. Since the microstructural features that determine the material behaviour usually span several length scales (for instance, from the macroscopic defect distribution to the nanometer scale precipitates in the case of metallic alloys), this understanding can only come from advanced 4D characterisation techniques, capable of determining the evolution of the 3-dimensional microstructure over time at different length scales (hence the name 4D). This is precisely the objective of this programme, i.e., to understand microstructure/defect evolution in advanced materials during processing and service using advanced characterisation techniques.


Main research lines

  • X-Ray Tomography (XCT) and Diffraction (XRD).
  • FIB-FEGSEM, including 3D-EDS, 3D-EDS and 3D-EBSD.
  • TEM, including 3D-STEM and 3D-EDS.
  • Correlative tomography studies, i.e., combining insights from different techniques.
  • Mechanical testing across several length scales: tension, compression, fatigue, creep, etc in the scanning electron microscope and X-ray tomography scanner. Properties and deformation mechanisms of small volumes by nanomechanical testing in the scanning and transmission electron microscopes: properties of metallic phases, interfaces, nanoparticles, carbon based nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, …).
  • Elevated temperature nanomechanical testing.
  • 4D characterisation of forming processes by X-ray tomography: Infiltration and resin flow in composites. Solidification of metallic alloys.