Computational Mechanics

The Solid Mechanics Research Group at the University of Bristol has world-class expertise in advanced computational techniques to simulate the structural integrity of metallic and crystalline materials at both macroscopic and microscale levels. We focus on understanfing the mechanical properties as a function of material composition and the process-structure-property relationships. We specialize in continuum models based on the finite element method, including the crystal plasticity finite element method, continuum dislocation dynamics and transport for the microscale deformation; phase field method and cellular automata for microstructure prediction; cohesive zone model, Gurson-Tvergaard-Needleman model and phase field fracture for crack nucleation and propagation; thermal fluid flow simulations for additive manufacturing and welding.

The reliability and accuracy of our models is assessed through comparison with cutting-edge characterization techniques, including High-Resolution Electron BackScatter Diffraction, Digital Image Correlation, and synchrotron X-ray diffraction and tomography.

A wide spectrum of materials has been analyzed and parametrized, ranging from metals such as austenitic stainless steels, low alloy ferritic steels; nickel, titanium and copper alloys; uranium and tungsten; minerals such as graphite and silicon carbide; to molecular crystals such as RDX and HMX.

We have fostered numerous collaborations with universities worldwide, research institutions, and we have offered solutions to industry stakeholders. We have expertise in a range of commercial and open-source software for computational mechanics and multiphysics calculations, such as MOOSE Framework, Abaqus, OpenFOAM, MFront, where we have actively contributed code. We are main developer of the DAMASK crystal plasticity package, the c_pfor_am code for additive manufacturing simulation and the Oxford_CP crystal plasticity code.

Notably, our computational methods have found practical applications in the nuclear industry, both for fission and fusion. They have been instrumental in the virtual assessment of mechanical components made of stainless steel and ferritic steel, thus reducing conservativism and allowing for the extension of nuclear power plant lifetimes. In the field of additively manufactured stainless steel, our research has been used for concurrently optimizing residual stress, topology, and preventing hot cracking through shape-dependent tuning of laser parameters.

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