In traditional design and manufacturing of planes, ships, vehicles, and other engineered structures, every part or individual component is typically constructed from a single material. This “one part-one material” constraint can lead to vulnerabilities when highly engineered components experience different local forces or environments during service. Material selection in these situations is usually a compromise. Material will be optimal for a particular location but leaves other physical regions of a part exposed to potential failure or requires a critical material to be carried throughout an entire part when it may only be needed in a specific location.
The DARPA Multiobjective Engineering and Testing of ALloy Structures (METALS) program will develop foundational technologies to include material as an explicit, continuous variable in structural design optimization by leveraging recent advances in material testing and materials informatics. Specifically, the program will focus on two areas: New material test capabilities and novel material-integrated design optimization techniques.
image from DARPA