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PreCoMet Report Summary

Project ID: 339081
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Switzerland

Mid-Term Report Summary - PRECOMET (Predictive Computational Metallurgy)

The PreCoMet project has made exceptional progress in advancing the forefronts of computational metallurgy. The project is over-turning long-held thinking in the field and/or providing new predictive models to solve problems that have resisted solution for decades. The scope of these advances includes work on lightweight metals of Aluminum and Magnesium, tough Iron-based steels, the new class of materials known as "High Entropy Alloys", and other fcc random alloys. A few major examples are as follows. In Mg we have uncovered the origins of low ductility, associated with an unusual transformation of crucial dislocations inside the Mg crystal; these findings explain observations from 1960 until 2014. We have developed a theory for the strength of random fcc alloys of any composition and complexity, with such a theory having been sought since the 1950's. The model has been applied to accurately predict the strength of "High Entropy Alloys". We have developed a new understanding of the physical response at crack tips in metals, providing a model to replace the Rice model developed in 1990. We have developed a new understanding of the role of solutes on the phenomenon of cross-slip in alloyed fcc metals, which determines how metals strengthen as they deform, and this should rationalize experimental findings over recent decades. We have explained the mechanism by which dilute additions of specially-chosen solutes can delay the undesired natural aging of 6000-series Al alloys by as much as two weeks to one month. We have uncovered the fundamental atomic structure of the fcc-bcc interface that pervades high-strength/high-toughness steels, which has been sought since the 1970's, and have developed the underlying theory to predict the transformation strain achievable during the fcc to bcc transition that is the energy-absorbing process in so-called TRIP steels. These successes are validating the holistic approach of the PreCoMet project, in which the full scope of modeling/simulation/theoretical tools spanning from Quantum Mechanics to Continuum Mechanics is brought to bear, as dictated by the specific problem, on important problems in metallurgy.

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