The fields of materials science and materials technology are fragmented into many areas and sub-disciplines, with groups working on detached research topics ranging from atomic-scale physics to production engineering. The fragmentation is a consequence of research progress and specialisation during the past 50 to 60 years. While specialisation is necessary for maintaining an internationally competitive position, it brings a separation of research topics and education in the different sub-disciplines that may have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of research on new materials, from their discovery to their implementation in technical components.
The research in the broad field of materials at the three Ruhr Universities Bochum, Dortmund, Duisburg-Essen, and their partner institutions covers most of the areas and sub-disciplines of materials science and materials technology. The Materials Chain bundles this expertise with the aim of giving the fields of materials science and materials technology new impetus for a more effective research and education.
The Materials Chain embodies five broad research areas. The synthesis of materials from their first discovery to a sample that may be tested and analysed. Materials science and engineering that is concerned with the optimization of structure, properties and processing of materials. Production and fabrication that integrates a prototype material with existing technology and generates a marketable product.
These three areas form the materials chain from atoms to components.
Experimental characterization and modelling and simulation accompany the materials chain from basic research to applied technology.