Newswise — June 24, 2011 - Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA) - The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society (TMS), headquartered in Pittsburgh, can offer expert resources to elaborate on the Materials Genome Initiative introduced by President Barack Obama in his launch of the Advance Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh on June 24. This effort is based on integrating the array of materials science and engineering tools necessary to ensure that the United States can be a global competitor the next generation of manufacturing industries. TMS has assumed an international leadership role in supporting the development of this approach and has experts available to provide comment and background on the President’s announcement of the initiative.

A critical element of the Materials Genome Initiative is an emerging discipline that is currently termed Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME). ICME offers a means to save significant time and money in discovering, developing, and producing advanced materials used in the manufacture of technologies and components for energy, national security, transportation, and health care, to name just a few sectors of society. Such results are possible by combining cutting edge modeling, computing, and information technologies with advances in experimental tools. Currently, it takes 10 to 20 years for a new material to be made available for commercial use. Products developed using the ICME approach employed by the Materials Genome Initiative can be ready for market in significantly less time at a fraction of the cost. This tremendous potential of ICME was first identified in a 2008 study by the National Research Council—TMS provided input to and was cited in this study.

Materials have been critical throughout history in advancing technology, from the tools of the Bronze Age to the silicon driving the Information Age. For the last several decades, technological advancement and economic progress have grown more dependent on advanced materials, which now have the potential to emerge as multi-billion dollar industries. By enabling advanced materials to be quickly and cost-effectively developed as potential markets are identified, ICME—and the Materials Genome Initiative—provide the United States manufacturing sector with the means to get a head start in establishing these industries and achieve a globally competitive advantage as they mature.

The challenge in fully realizing these benefits is the “I”—integrated—in ICME. “Scientists and engineers from different disciplines and subdisciplines, with the different models and experiments that they bring to bear, need to be brought together in a truly cohesive way,” said George Spanos, TMS technical director, and one of the nation’s recognized experts in this field. “This will require coordination among the four ‘foundational groups’ required for a successful ICME infrastructure—corporations, government organizations, academia, and professional societies.”

An intent of the Materials Genome Initiative is to consolidate scattered research and development efforts into a more cohesive, flexible, and efficient approach to materials advancement. TMS is likewise working on a number of fronts to overcome barriers to transitioning ICME—an important tool in making this happen—to common practice. As an example, it is organizing the First World Congress on ICME, convening international experts on this topic July 10–14 at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Warren Hunt, TMS Executive Director, is available for comment on the Materials Genome Initiative and its use of ICME to achieve its goals.

About TMS TMS is the professional organization encompassing the entire range of materials science and engineering, from minerals processing and primary metals production to basic research and the advanced applications of materials. Included among its professional and student members are metallurgical and materials engineers, scientists, researchers, educators and administrators from more than 70 countries on six continents.

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