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Materials at the Mesoscale

Los Alamos’s bold proposal to understand and control material properties
December 12, 2015
Materials at the Mesoscale

Between the atomic and macro scales lies a gap in our knowledge of materials known as the mesoscale.

A gap remains in the understanding of mesoscale properties and responses, especially in extreme temperature, pressure, strain, chemical, electromagnetic, and radiation environments. That understanding is necessary to simulate a material’s behavior with sufficient validity to allow for its certification.

Two Los Alamos scientists are contributing to a body of knowledge that, once integrated into the science and technology culture, is likely to revolutionize how we discover, develop, and apply new materials. Cindy Bolme studies “dynamically induced material transitions,” or, informally, “what happens when you hit a material really hard.” Amy Clarke studies how different material properties, such as yield strength and crystallographic texture, emerge not only from the material’s composition, but also from the conditions in which it is originally made. Both scientists, and many others, hope to continue their work in a new, high-tech research complex proposed to be built at Los Alamos National Laboratory.