When I look back to my professional life so far, I could say that modelling is the theme and activity that brings people from different fields together. How come? The modeller himself or herself naturally needs a benchmark case for the numerical model. It might be that the input values are only available by the researchers working with experiments and in some cases by the people from an industry with a specific target application. And what about the modellers that encompass multi-disciplinary optimizations in their work - for them, target criteria are needed and the people from companies or design research are the best collaborators to provide those. Furthermore, a modeller should quite often meet a mathematician or a physicist.
The above social connections, that a modelling activity needs to have, make the academic work ambiguous and on the other hand exciting. When trying to understand how a modelling case sits in a bigger picture, there is always an opportunity to meet new people and still expand the view to the case at hand. For FibreNet, and research of fibrous composites in general, modelling is a great tool to study the length scale gaps in the current knowledge. For example, the micro-scale behavior and the interfacial effects between filaments and matrix are still topics that need in-depth work. How exactly the behavior of interfaces translates to the behavior of bundles and plies? How this translation in detail works - in terms of damage onset, damage propagation, multi-site crack nucleation, and 3D fracture criteria? Moreover, the moisture diffusion and related degradation models are important for all the composites with natural fibres. Even when the fundamental phenomena are known, the experimental validation and qualification of models or larger simulations on the filament length scale are very difficult. How to determine the diffusion coefficient along the single-fibre interface? How to determine these parameters in 3D for anisotropic fibres? Luckily, we have the best consortium to work on these tasks - FibreNet - thus, all of us. Let's not wait only for next workshop but connect each other and researchers outside as well!
The idea to have 'common' conferences for the FibreNet people is actually a good plan to increase the visibilty and interconnections to other projects and similar expert networks. In addition to long-lived conferences of the field(s), we also want to look into other ITN:s and their seminars and conferences. Let's welcome fibre and polymer researchers and modellers of composites of different length scales or of multi-scale to interact with us!
Mikko Kanerva, Assistant Professor
Polymer Science Engineering, Tampere University