The future of materials science and engineering: How to participate and get the most out of the digital transformation

Chris Eberl


The digital transformation in materials science & engineering will lead to a profound change in how data, information and knowledge can be shared as well as represented. In the near future, data, information and knowledge will be available through structured knowledge graphs, allowing to use materials data as well as apps (data analytics, simulations, AI-modelling) in a seamless fashion. Collaborations within and across disciplines will be just a click away and semantic interfaces will allow us to establish complex data workflows which will be fed automatically by data from experiments and simulation tools as well as from open data repositories. Altogether, the changes will enable us to accelerate scientific discovery, which gives us and the coming generations a chance to solve the pressing challenges concerning climate change, resource scarcity and give us a realistic chance to implement a circular economy.

In the first part of this talk, the goals and realistic possibilities of ongoing initiatives will be introduced. The role of the Nationale Forschungdaten Infrastruktur NFDI, and specifically the NFDI-MatWerk, as well as the BMBF MaterialDigital initiative shall be introduced and discussed.

In the second part, an introduction to practical examples from within the Fraunhofer IWM will be used to show various aspects of digitalization and their use and how it might be implemented:

  • The selection and technical implementation of necessary database(s),
  • Digitization of manual and (partially) automated processes in metallography,
  • Structuring of a continuous data space through material ontology-based knowledge graphs,
  • Use of artificial intelligence models for automated identification and representation of complex microstructures as input to material models, and
  • Fusion and interpretation of data from metallography, mechanical properties experiments, and simulations.

Based on these examples, the opportunities and ToDos in establishing a common MSE data space will be discussed. Furthermore, the impact of these changes shall be discussed concerning future proposals, especially for longer lasting collaborative projects as well as proposals for the Excellence Initiative.

About Chris Eberl

Chris Eberl is head of Micromechanics and Mechanics of Materials at the University of Freiburg and deputy institute director at the Fraunhofer IWM in Freiburg, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Stuttgard (Germany), where he studied aluminum thin films. After a research stay at Johns-Hopkins University he led the “Microreliability” at the IAM-WBM at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (2007 to 2012) and the group “Meso- and Micromechanics” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM (2012 to 2018).

In his research on characterization of deformation and degradation mechanisms in materials he focuses on nano and microstructural materials and components as well as the complex mechanical properties of biomaterials. In order to improve the physical understanding of scaling and size effects of the active mechanisms in these materials, his group is developing methods for mechanical characterization and reliability evaluation with the aim to make modern high-tech materials usable in a sustainable and reliable way.

At the conference

Predicting effects of advanced materials by computational modeling

Date & time
10 November 2023, 9:00

Chris Eberl

Fraunhofer IWM, Freiburg (Germany) & University of Freiburg, Micromechanics and Mechanics of Materials, Freiburg (Germany)

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