The physicochemical and mechanical properties of a material are essentially determined by its microstructure. It forms the manufacturing and production chain and to optimally adjust it concerning defined properties, the underlying material thermodynamics and kinetics as well as the constitution must be understood. This applies in particular to multiphase materials and coating systems, as they are used today in a large number of technical applications. These include complex metallic alloys, technical ceramics, or composite materials. The Expert Committee focuses on methods and theories for the elucidation of stable and metastable phase diagrams and microstructures. Experimental-analytical methods, modelling, and simulation results are used to address fundamental and application-oriented issues in the field.
For efficient elucidation of the material constitution (heterogeneous equilibria, phase diagrams), experimental-analytical methods are ideally combined with thermodynamic-kinetic calculations. The stable and often also metastable equilibrium structures of modern structural and functional materials can be derived from the results. Experimental core methods such as thermal analysis, electron microscopy with chemical microdomain analysis, and X-ray imaging are used to elucidate the phase diagrams. The thermodynamic properties of individual phases and materials can be determined, for example, by calorimetry and Knudsen effusion mass spectrometry. Diffusion pair studies and tracer experiments are used to elucidate material kinetics.
The results of these analytical methods are input variables for the creation of thermodynamic models and of computer databases that enable calculations using the CALPHAD method (computer coupling of phase diagrams and thermochemistry). In combination with e.g. "sharp interface" calculations and phase-field simulations, the time-saving and application-relevant microstructure and property optimization of modern materials is supported. This also accelerates the achievement of the goals of "Integrated Computational Materials Engineering" (ICME). The DGM Expert Committee discusses the listed topics and also cooperates closely with the "Alloy Phase Diagram International Commission" (APDIC), the "Scientific Group Thermodata Europe" (SGTE), and the "Materials Science International Team" (MSIT). Symposia at international conferences as well as summer schools and workshops for further education are organized regularly.