The nation's aging infrastructure requires massive investment. Imagine if engineers could build structures with materials that do not degrade over time. A simulation technique was developed that could help engineers do just that.
The numerical method simulates the molecular aging process in amorphous materials such as concrete and glass. This technique could help researchers not only better understand how materials weaken with age, but also develop materials that maintain their strength indefinitely.
Aging originates at the atomic and molecular levels. Because of this miniscule scale, it is nearly impossible to track microscopic changes over long periods. In the incremental stress-marching technique, the material's molecular structure is subjected to cyclic stress fluctuations, and then the material's response to such perturbations is followed.
This new technique will be applied to explore the relationship between the composition and texture of structural materials and their time-dependent behavior.