This area is involves experimental, and numerical activities dedicated to the development of theoretical models for the prediction and characterization of damage mechanisms induced by cracks or crack-like defects. Undergoing research activities include topics related with stress corrosion cracking and multiple crack propagation in steels, decohesion models in polymers, fiber-matrix debonding composites, and cracking of microheterogenous materials.
Work in this area aims to the development of technological tools for the prediction of fatigue damage. Variables under analysis range from microstructural to macroscopic, including the effects of notches and other geometrical discontinuities, residual stresses, load history and welding process.
Research activities in this area are dedicated to the design and construction of a scaled Mannesmann rotary piercing mill. The scaled prototype is used to analyze tribological mechanisms acting in the perforation mandrel during the seamless pipe forming. The experimental work is complemented with numerical simulations.
Numerical modeling constitutes a key tool for most of the research activities of the group. Within this framework, both commercial and in-house developed FEM and BEM codes are used. At the same research activities are carried out in the theoretical aspects of the BEM and mesh less methods and structural shape optimization.
Research Projects in Cooperation
The group participates of the following international projects:
Project CAPES/SECYT 48/03 “Numerical modeling of damage micromechanisms in composite materials”, with the Universities Federal de Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)
Project ALFA II-0235-A “ELBENet – Europe Latin America Boundary Element Network”
Project PICT 12-12528 “Modelado y diseño computacional de materials microheterogéneos”
and has signed research cooperation agreements or works in close collaboration with:
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Nagoya, Japan
Research Subjects: 1-Advanced Materials from Thermosetting Polymers Objectives: The development of advanced materials based on thermosetting
polymers, obtained by polymerization induced phase separation or by dispersion
of nano-reinforcements or a combination of particles and fibers. Different
materials currently studied are: thermal-reversible light scattering films,
amphiphilic networks, thermosetting polymers toughened by a dispersion of
thermoplastic polymers, nano-reinforcements or a combination of natural fibers
1.- Thermal reversible light scattering films based on dispersions of organic crystals, liquid crystals, or their solutions in polystyrene, in an epoxy matrix.
2.- Amphiphilic networks.
3.- Poly(isobutylene) as a modifier of acrylic networks.
4.- Vinylester resins modified by dispersion of a thermoplastic polymer: effect
of the composition and curing conditions on the morphology and properties of the
5.- Polymeric precursors from tannin and vegetable oils renewable resources.
6.- Unsaturated polyester resins modified with functionalized silica particles
or dispersions of natural fibers and particles.
7.- Fluorinated Polymer Networks.
2- Thermoplastic Polymers Objective: The development of new characterization methods and the modelling of molecular structures and morphologies present in thermoplastic blends and alloys. Experimental measurements and termodynamic, kinetics and difussion models are used to determine and predict molecular morphologies in reactive and non reactive blends.
Current Projects :
1.- Characterization of semicrystalline copolymer blends.
2.- Mechanical properties of polymer blends and alloys.
3-Composite Polymeric Materials Objectives: To determine the relationship between structure, processing conditions and final properties of the composite materials. The effect of the interface/interphase modification of the incorporated particles or fibers on the final properties is also studied using mechanical (short beam tests, bending tests, compression) and dynamic-mechanical tests.
1.- Nanocomposites based on phenolic resins characterization and adhesion to metals.
2.- Structural composites based on thermoset and gloss fibers (water absorption, dielectric and mechanical properties, and processing).
3.- Composites based on biodegradable polymers (crystalization, thermal and biodegradation, mechanical properties)
4.- Composites made from polymeric matrices (synthetic and natural) and vegetable fibers or particles (wood flour, sisal, jute, bagasse)
5.- Heterogeneous phase separation: Effect of the addition of fibers into a matrix thermoplastic/thermoset).
6.- Study of composite processing: Pultrusion and RTM.
7.- Dynamical mechanical analysis of composite materials.
8.- Micro and Nano composites based on polyurethanes and cellulose.
4- Polymer Engineering: Deformation and Fracture of Polymeric Materials:
Objectives: The determination of thermoviscoelastic and ultimate mechanical properties of polymers and composites.
1.- Structural characterization of polymeric materials to be used in the manufacture and lining of pipes and containers to contain and distribute gas, petroleum and its derivatives. Short and long term performance.
3.-Deformation, fracture, yield and michromechanisms of failure in novel polymeric blends (HDPE/PET,
PP/Engage), and nanoclay based nanocomposites of HDPE and Nylon. Simulation and experimental work.
4.- Polymer processing: moulding design.
5-Biomedical Polymers Objetives : Reprocessing study of polymeric biomedical devices. Identification of specific device material parameters affected by the selected sterilization protocol. Formulation of surgical cements with improved long term performance. Synthesis of polymeric systems required for hard tissue engineering products. Development of polymeric membranes for therapeutic applications.
Current Projects :
1.- Reprocessing of PVC catheters and canules applied in cardiovascular area
2.- Development of acrylic-based bone cement formulations with other copolymers and antibiotics. Mechanical properties of composite surgical cements