“SFB 986: Tailor-Made Multi-Scale Materials Systems - M3”

Head: Prof. Dr. Gerold Schneider

Homepage SFB 986

The long-term research goal of the Collaborative Research Center “SFB 986: Tailor-Made Multi-Scale Materials Systems - M3” is to develop experimental methods for producing and characterizing multi-scale structured materials with tailor-made mechanical, electrical, and photonic characteristics. It has been approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under the leadership of TUHH in close collaboration with the University of Hamburg and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. Within the SFB 986, 20 project leading scientists work on a cross-disciplinary approach to develop completely new types of materials.

The special innovation potential of the SFB 986 lies in how the materials are assembled: predominantly, from single building blocks of distinct discrete length scales. This hierarchical composition opens up possibilities to exchange building units in a concerted way in order to discretely alter materials properties and, thus, to achieve entirely new materials functions.

In addition to the required experimental methods and based on their results, theoretical materials models are refined. Hence, the SFB 986 not only gains experimental expertise but also a theoretical understanding of how a hierarchical composition determines materials behavior. To this end, theoretical modeling includes atomistic, meso-scale, and continuum models.

For the hierarchical structures, the single building blocks are comprised of polymers, ceramics, metals, and carbon (in form of carbon nanotubes and aerographites). They form core-shell structures or cavities filled with polymers and, in turn, assemble to build up structured and functionalized units from the atom to the macro-scale.

The three project areas of the SFB 986 use different materials systems and vary both the multi-scale structure and the functionalized properties: While project area A focuses mainly on quasi-self-similar structures with multifunctional properties, project area B aims to generate integrated nanostructured multiphase material systems with a structural design that combines strength and functional, especially, electrical, properties. The main emphasis in project area C is on highly ordered hierarchical periodic and aperiodic structures and their photonic properties at high temperatures.

By harnessing the inter-disciplinary potential of the SFB 986, the scientists in the three project areas will develop innovative macroscopic, multi-scale structured materials and components, the properties of which can be changed discontinuously by a controlled exchange of components. If the scientists succeed in implementing this concept, entirely new kinds of materials functions are expected.