Exploring the Future of ICME
To say that Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) has arrived may be the greatest understatement of the material science field. Still, it’s an emerging approach and one that academia and industry are chasing in order to keep up.
There is a growing realization in professional societies, national laboratories, industry, and academic institutions that ICME is meteorically advancing materials science and engineering.
Here’s another understatement: it’s clear that the future of ICME is promising.
The Future of ICME and Its DevelopmentA radical cultural shift is in midstream that is paving the way for the widespread adoption of ICME as a key discipline.
Commercial software products are now available to deploy user-developed subroutines for describing material property and behavior. The open framework of these commercial software packages permits customization without requiring extensive coding.
In addition, the continued development of computer hardware has led to better performance and greater computational capacity.
Identifying gaps within the current knowledge base and then formulating theory and models to fill in these gaps is vital for the future of ICME. Moreover, the experimental validation of theories and models developed is essential for the increased adoption of ICME.
Education and ResearchEarly exposure to the subject is necessary for attracting science and technology students. Academic institutions worldwide are now establishing ICME platforms using models, high-performance computing hardware, databases, and software packages.
A standardized format that is well-documented and open has also been designed and implemented to facilitate information-exchange. Theoretical computation results from ICME simulations and their experimental validations are being published in international journals more often, and studies are on the rise.
For ICME to truly flourish, stakeholders must focus on optimal teaching methods of materials science and engineering. Teaching the classical approach toward materials science is no longer enough. This approach focuses on cause-and-effect relationships and the quantitative predictions of materials properties and behavior. There are now opportunities to apply ICME methodologies to new technologies such as additive manufacturing, where you can take advantage of the fast cooling rates of the process and enable novel microstructures.
Historic methods of materials design rely on time consuming and costly trial and error methods of manufacturing and testing many different compositions, but ICME allows metallurgists to design higher performing materials more quickly and efficiently with less testing.
“There is a growing interest and need to train future engineers in this field from both an industry and academia perspective,” said Dr. Gregory Olson, QuesTek Co-Founder, Thermo-Calc Professor of the Practice at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and former Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University.
Feasibility of ICMEThe feasibility is in the application and results: physics-based models and software packages are and will continue to be deployed to simulate the physical properties of advanced alloys and materials.
With increased focus on ICME in engineering and science curricula, greater funding, spreading public awareness, and enhanced coordination, the future of ICME looks promising indeed.