Imagine for a second, that you had the power to simulate atoms and molecules and how they interact with each other to create a material, sounds like it would make material selection pretty easy right?
Unfortunately the technology doesn’t yet exist to model so many individual elements and FEMAP (Finite Element Modelling and Processing) can only do so much; it still requires something to interpret the resultant data.
Now imagine if you were able to teach a computer to look for the “natural laws” that govern the mechanical/chemical/electronic properties of a material based on its alloy (or composite) content.
This idea brings us to machine learning and neural nets which are capable of discovering patterns within current materials, and use those results as “training data” to try and predict the material/chemical/and electronic properties of a yet-to-be tested material.
The length of time it took us to completely comprehend steel-making took us almost a millennia, imagine if we were able to cut that time down to a few days via material simulations and predictive modelling!
It won’t take long before we’re able to build space elevators and room temperature super-conductors when this technology comes of age.