Global challenges such as sustainable development, climate change, renewable energy, or individual mobility increase the necessity for a much more efficient and sustainable use of our resources.
Programmable materials have the potential to initiate a paradigm shift since they can perform system functions through their internal design. This allows for increased functional integration while simultaneously reducing system complexity. Programmable materials are materials whose inner structure is designed and manufactured in such a way that properties and behavior can be controlled and reversibly changed. Furthermore, locally varying functions can be programmed into such materials.
Fully functional programmable materials require a combination of smart materials, mechanical and optical meta materials, the ability to manufacture architectured materials through e.g. additive manufacturing or sheet metal forming. Last but not least a highly interactive, interdisciplinary application design route is necessary to exploit the full potential.
This opens up possibilities for novel application solutions where essential parts of system functionality are provided by the material itself. The programming ability stems from build in logical elements (e.g. if T > 380 K then E = 10 GPa else E = 1 GPa, with E being the Young’s modulus), materials memory (e.g. bistable mechanical or molecular states) and the ability to process functions (e.g. Poisson number as a function of strain in x-direction: ν = f (εx)). The material response can either be triggered externally or the materials can automatically adapt to changing conditions in a predetermined manner.
The application potential for programmable materials is immense: programmable pore sizes enable self-cleaning membrane filters for water treatment systems, materials with programmable heat transfer ensure energy-efficient heat management in machines or buildings, shape morphing materials can change aerodynamics and programmable friction can be used to intelligently control coupling and positioning systems.
Programmable materials have the potential to initiate a paradigm shift in the design and use of materials by replacing technical systems of many components and materials with a single, locally configured one. The key to this is the programmable design of the internal structure.
The first international and interdisciplinary conference on programmable materials aims to facilitate the paradigm shift for materials science described above. It creates the interdisciplinary scientific platform to accelerate the development, production and application of programmable materials. To this end, the conference brings together scientists critical to the success of programmable materials from the disciplines of materials science, mechanics, optimization, process technology and product development and ensures their productive interaction via suitable formats, which is analogous to the integral approach inherent in programmable materials.
The conference is aimed at scientists and engineers who want to advance programmable materials with multidisciplinary contributions, who want to work on powerful tools for their realization, and who want to contribute to the paradigm shift in materials development.
Thematic priorities can be: the simulation of programmed materials, the optimization and programming of material functions, the development of suitable process technology for modular or hybrid production of programmable materials or the validation of programmable materials by demonstrators and prototypes.
With its mix of presented and submitted lectures, poster sessions and workshops, the conference offers interdisciplinary researchers and developers an ideal forum for networking and exchange regarding all relevant aspects of programmable materials.
Prof. Dr. Peter Gumbsch, Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM
Prof. Dr. Alexander Böker, Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP
Prof. Dr. Christoph Eberl, Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM