mtp - research - materials

Research Group, Materials

Student working in the laboratory

Research focus

Engineering materials and surfaces – manufacturing, properties and components.

Specifically focused on:

  • Fundamental understanding of materials properties on multi-scale level (from nano to macro), both modelling and experiments.

  • Applied nanotechnology: developing of new materials and nanostructered surfaces, as well as methodologies for multi-physical characterisation of material properties.

  • Manufacturing and testing components and solutions: modelling and utilizing material properties in design, optimization of production methods and processes.

  • Develop smart solutions for Integrity Management: advanced condition monitoring combined with modelling.

Competence Groups

The activities in the Research Group Materials are split into five different Competence groups:

  • Composites and polymers

  • Corrosion, corrosion protection and hydrogen embrittlement

  • Fracture and fatigueiv

  • Nanomechanical modelling and testing

  • Tribology and surface technology.

Composites and polymers

Composite and polymer materials are being used more and more, both in general and in the off-shore industry.  We focus on long-term properties, damage mechanisms, condition monitoring and connections between different materials.Norway’s long coast and the large oil and gas industry mean that it is natural to focus on offshore applications for composites.  Examples are flexible pipes, risers, anchoring systems, pressure containers and maritime vehicles.  The materials group is also active in renewable energy and works on offshore wind energy, pressure containers for hydrogen and light-weight design of transport solutions.

PhD Candidates doing some work in the laboratory
PhD Candidates doing some work in the laboratory

We focus especially on:

  • practical methods for calculating properties of composite laminates and wound products
  • connections between different materials: bolt connections and glued connections
  • long-term properties of polymers and composites in demanding environments
  • materials for insulation and buoyancy in deep sea

We value the interaction between numerical calculations (FEA) and experimental testing.  Good knowledge of FEA is an important factor for the job prospects of our students.  Our research results contribute to development of design standards, methods for choice of materials, and introduction of new components.

Corrosion, corrosion protection and hydrogen embrittlement

Due to the fact that the maritime industry, fish farming and oil & gas industry in Norway are faced with very challenging environment for materials, corrosion and corrosion protection has been an important research area during the last 20 years. 

Special focus on:

  • Corrosion properties of corrosion resistant alloys in marine environment (including seawater and marine atmosphere) – including effect of welding/heat treatment.
  • Development of test methods
  • Development/modification of coatings (organic/metallic) for atmospheric conditions and exposure to fluids including quantification of properties.
  • Development of condition monitoring systems
  • Hydrogen embrittlement of metals including development of test methods, quantification of properties and modelling
Student doing some research in the laboratory
Student doing some research in the laboratory

The group has had a main focus on development and use of modern and new test techniques to be able to achieve a better basic understanding of selected corrosion phenomena and hydrogen embrittlement.  One member of the group has developed a method for in-situ examining the effect of hydrogen on nano level.  This method has been well recognized internationally and has been implemented by several research groups today.  See also under Nanomechanical modelling and testing.

Fracture mechanics and fatigue

Reseearch on material fatigue has focussed on application of theoretical and empirical models for evaluating the fatigue of technical components made from steel, cast iron, and aluminium alloys.  The main research area has been the influence of material failure and growth of resulting (small) fractures, together with probabilistic models for fatigue analysis. Some of the research results have led to the founding of companies.

Student work in the Fatigue laboratory
Student work in the Fatigue laboratory

The research on fracture mechanics focusses on pipelines and offshore constructions.  The challenges in industry in recent years have shown a need for a strain based design of pipelines and use of materials at low temperatures, down to -60°C.  There is a growing need derive rules for safe use of materials under arctic conditions.

Nanomechanical modelling and testing

We have built up a well-equipped nanomechanical laboratory with ESEM, AFM, Nanoindenter, and Picoindeter.  We have also access to a FIB at NTNU NanoLab. The tests involve steel, iron, and biological materials in order to investigate the mechanical properties of materials down to the nano level.  The tests include in-situ hydrogen loading for investigating the effect of hydrogen embrittlement.  We also perform large-scale numerical atomistic simulations at the NTNU supercomputer “Vilje”, and combine results from modelling with nanomechanical testing.

Exploring at nano level
Exploring at nano level

Tribology and surface technology

The research in tribology and surface technology focuses on several disciplines within tribology:

  • tribocorrosion: abrasion-corrosion and erosion-corrosion
  • tribological problems related to dry and lubricated systems
  • tribology modelling
  • fundamental nano-tribology
  • in-situe tribology
  • lubrication
Student working in the Tribology lab
Student working in the Tribology lab

The main goal of the research in surface technology is to offer solutions for degradation of materials. Degradations usually starts on the surface, with corrosion, wear, or fatigue.  With surface engineering, the goal is to improve the life time of materials.  In addition, we take in to account functionality, in order to combine multifunctional surfaces.  In this area, the group is constantly developing new solutions for wear and corrosion-related problems. Some of the molecular-dynamics and nano-level work can be seen as fundamental research.  However, also here the main focus is to answer questions related to applied topics.


Head of Research Group

Nuria Espallargas

permanent employees materialer

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