Description of the challenge (main AIM)

The Grand Challenge of the MecaNano COST Action is to consolidate the existing findings and increase the throughput of the research community to gain a scale-bridging mechanical understanding of how the nanoscale behaviour gives rise to the macroscopic properties of modern nanostructured materials. The MecaNano Action will divide the Grand Challenge into five sub-challenges, as depicted on Fig 1.

Research efficiency and synergies between different fields are impeded by a lack of agreement on the level of granularity to pursue. Granted, it would be a squander of resources to measure or model every single atom of every good understanding of their mechanical behaviour. At the macroscopic scale, aggregate properties (e.g. strength, fracture toughness) perform fairly well at predicting the overall behaviour, at least in homogeneous materials subjected to simple loading. With regard to nanostructured materials, which encompass strongly interacting microscale volumes of different constituents and suffer from size effects, these aggregate parameters break down. There is an acute need to agree on the critical length scale at which mechanical properties can still be robustly defined, i.e. to define a common nanomechanical quantum.

Areas of Expertise Relevant for the Action

  • Materials engineering: Characterization methods of materials for material engineering applications
  • Materials engineering: Mechanical and acoustical properties of condensed matter for materials engineering applications
  • Nano-technology: Nano-materials and nano-structures
  • Nano-technology: Metrology and measurement for nanotechnology applications

Keywords ● micromechanical / nanomechanical testing ● materials science & engineering ● nanocharacterization ● nanomaterials

Specific Objectives

To achieve the main objective, the following specific objectives shall be accomplished:

Research Coordination

  • Share knowledge about the latest developments in micro/nanomechanical testing, micro/nanocharacterization and small-scale simulation.
  • Promote interdisciplinary research approaches, e.g. between nanomechanical testing and nanocharacterization, or between experiments and simulations.
  • Benchmark nanomechanical testing/characterization methods and set priorities for future standardization.
  • Harmonize best practices for open data management.
  • Reach a better holistic understanding of mechanical size effects through interdiscpilinary dialogue.
  • Increase awareness of topic-related conferences, workshops and Action activities.
  • Connect the Action members together, based on their expertise and equipment.
  • Promote the use of machine learning approaches.

Capacity Building

  • Strengthen the cooperations inside the European Research Area (ERA) with interdisciplinary approaches.
  • Connect small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the European Research Area (ERA) with the academic communities.
  • Share knowledge about cutting-edge characterization techniques.
  • Promote access to large characterization facilities.
  • Promote FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) data management principles.
  • Train Young Researchers and Innovators (YRIs) to the highest scientific standards.
  • Promote the inclusion of Young Researchers and Innovators (YRIs) and increase their visibility.
  • Promote career opportunities for female scientists.
  • Promote transnational mobility.