Research Area B

Advanced Mechanics of Multi-scale and Multi-field Problems

By bridging scales, coupling physics and linking domains, advanced mechanics of this type hold the key to nearly all branches of engineering simulation and design.

All materials

Whether solid, liquid or gas, in Research Area B we study materials in all their aggregate states. To describe materials comprehensively, we use, among others, finite element method (FEM) and discrete element method (DEM) methods of numerical mathematics.

We simulate materials with their physical, chemical and – when appropriate – biological properties.


Our overriding goal in Research Area B is to offer inherently practicable solutions. This means that computing only takes place at the smallest scales when this is critical for the topic under investigation.

We use mathematical homogenization techniques to transfer processes from microscale (molecular and particle simulations) to macroscopic scales. To do so, we develop new formulas and simplify and optimize already existing ones. Simulations of large structures, such as a bridge, or processes, such as how a crack forms in a bridge, can then be described better and faster than ever before.

We aim not only to describe existing materials and to learn their load limits, however; using simulations, computer scientists in the future will be able design innovative high-tech materials for use in fields such as

  • Geo- and biomechanics,
  • medicine,
  • environmental protection,
  • construction,
  • mechanical engineering.
  • aviation and


Prominent examples are heavy-duty bridges or light-weight roofs for airports and other large-scale structures.

Our simulations are used in a wide range of applications. These can just as easily mean doing feasibility studies on how to pump environmentally harmful gases deep underground as benefiting the field of medicine by, for example, simulating the human spine together with the surrounding muscles, sinews and ligaments. We are constantly at work opening new perspectives like this in many fields.    

Coordinator Research Area B

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c.

Wolfgang Ehlers

Spokesperson, Executive Director, Coordinator Project Network 4, Coordinator Research Area B