ERC Starting Grant "FunBlocks"

New structural materials with high strength and temperature resistance are essential to achieve sustainable energy conversion and mobility technologies. The key question is how to find high performance materials that combine high strength with the formability essential for safety.

With the ERC Starting Grant of Professor Sandra Korte-Kerzel, the basic building blocks of complex crystals can now be studied. For the majority of the thousands of intermetallic phases with complex crystal structures, the mechanical properties such as strength or resistance to sudden fracture failure are unknown. Most of these materials are too brittle for technological applications. However, already known exceptions with outstanding combinations of properties indicate that there are other exceptional materials.

Mechanical experiments in the nanometer and micrometer range and high-resolution electron microscopy are used to investigate the missing basic mechanisms and signatures of plastic deformation of complex intermetallic materials. A new approach will be pursued by looking at the basic, smaller building blocks instead of the complex large crystal structures of the intermetallic compounds. In this way, the knowledge of the relationships between crystal structure and properties can be extended beyond the much simpler metal crystals, and a knowledge-based search for new structural materials is possible.


This project receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 852096 FunBlocks).