# Not Happy with Your Material’s Properties? Make Your Own

Math2Market lets you mix particles, fibers, predict properties for voxel-scale manufacture of your unique material.

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Custom-made material, art, or both? The mayor of Kaiserslautern, Germany (home to Math2Market) is reported to have a similar visual on his wall. The microscopic cube is full of randomly oriented fibers of different size and shape. The surrounding material’s visibility has been turned off so particles can be seen. Zoom in to see the bigger particles have a texture, manufacturable by voxel-level additive manufacturing, such as HP’s PageWide technology. GeoDict offers many parameters that will shape, orient and place fibers in the matrix. Material properties of all parts are known, and material properties of the entire amalgam are calculated by the program with push-button ease.

A part’s design starts with a choice of materials, often hastily made from a short list of the tried and true, or commonly available materials with familiar properties. The assumption is that no new materials have been created since you last did this, and even though these established materials may not quite possess the exact properties you need, you have learned to live with them and adapted to them.

Computer Aided Material Design – CAMD

A growing class of material design software changes all that, giving you the ability to mix and match ingredients to create a unique material. Why buy a suit off the rack and tolerate the bad fit when you can have a tailored custom-made suit? But making your own material is to then wonder how it might behave in the field. You have no published material properties that you can look up so you can’t tell how it will bend or break, for example.

Computer aided material design (CAMD, at the risk of coining a new acronym) has been showing up as multi-scale modeling and simulation. Multiscale refers to the ability to work on two scales: microscopic and macroscopic. In the microscopic scale, fibers and particles of all different shapes and sizes, for which individual material properties are known, are shown as discrete shapes. The software will assume a dispersion of these ingredients over a macroscopic scale and calculate material properties of a large sample, or all the parts as a whole. The macroscopic material properties could serve as input to finite element models. Modeling and simulation of materials like this reduces the need of physically mixing and preparing samples and subjecting them to lab tests.

In addition to computer aided material design software, custom materials need another enabler. In order for the material to be created in one step, it will have to be printed one voxel at a time with a 3D printer that can dispense the different particles or fibers, such as HP 3D printers with PageWide technology.

Math2Market

We found Math2Market on exhibit at a NAFEMS event (CAASE18) during happy hour. Dr. Ilonna Glatt, doesn’t seem to mind having to put down her glass of wine to tell us about the company, its product GeoDict (a combination of geometry and prediction), and why they chose to come to Cleveland. It may have been the first time the German company displayed their wares in the U.S. The “math” in the company’s name comes from the Fraunhofer Institute of Industrial Mathematics, from which it spun out of in 2012.

Also at the show were MultiMechanics with their MultiMech, also a multiscale simulator and Altair with their Multiscale Designer. Not at the show, but in the same class of software, was MSC, which purchased Digimat and AlphaSTAR with MCQ for composites.

But nobody has the full breadth of solutions as Math2Market, says Dr. Glatt. Indeed, the list of applications for Math2Market runs long: short/long fiber composites, nonwoven and woven fabrics, laminates sandwich structures, flow and filter simulation.

Math2Market models the material at the microscale, showing a portion in a cube. Properties of each part, whether fiber or particle or surrounding matrix are available from a material database. The program then estimates the properties of the whole cube, as representative of the whole, a homogenization done to derive material properties of the new material. GeoDict is useful from the nano scale (1 nanometer =10-9 meter) to 1 meter. When particles approach the size of molecules, molecular forces have to be accounted for and are outside the scope of the program.

Material properties derived include structural (Young’s modulus, for example), as well as thermal, electrical and even fluid properties, such as porosity and diffusivity (how fast fluid will flow or soak through your material, important for designing the microscopic structure for sieves and filter).

GeoDict can model particles and fibers in a wide variety of composite materials such as woven fabrics like cloth and non-woven fabric like paper and felt, both of which are composed of randomly arranged long fibers.

GeoDict can do some forensics, such as read in CT scans of a 3D-printed metal part, to detect voids. However, that is not its primary purpose. Dr. Glatt concedes that other products like Synopsys’ Simpleware, built specifically for reading in 3D layer scan, is more suited to the task.

GeoDict for composite materials. Carbon fiber composites, popular with aerospace, are being increasingly used in automotive and other transportation, sporting goods and more. However, simulation of non-homogenous, non-isotropic material is difficult, relying on complex and cumbersome software as well as testing of samples. GeoDict determines behavior on a microscale (the cube) to ascertain the properties of the total composite.

A lithium-ion cathode model for a battery designed with the GrainGeo module by Math2Market. GrainGeo creates a 3D model of ceramics, sintered materials, grain packings or powders, starting from user-defined parameters like grain size distribution, pore size distribution and grain shapes so you can get an idea of the material before it is created and CT-scanned. (Image courtesy of Math2Market.)

GeoDict has specific versions for the following applications: composites, gas and soot filtration, liquid filtration, “digital rock.”

Geodict is available for a trial period for free. Pricing depends on what modules are licensed. Users should try the different modules to determine which ones they need, then work with Math2Market to determine a price. A typical application may cost about \$30K/year.

Math2Market is located in Kaiserslautern, Germany (near Frankfurt).