Material’s Properties Control

materialspropertiescontrol1It is probably no exaggeration to say that all materials used in the world are “aggregates,” each of which consists of a large number of “component elements.” The properties of aggregates are too diverse and complicated to be predicted from the properties of individual “component elements.” Various functions demonstrated by materials are attributable to these diverse and complicated properties. Therefore, to develop a highly functional material, it is necessary to recognize that some properties do not make their appearance until an “aggregate” is formed. Such properties should be utilized only after this recognition occurs. However, it is impossible to investigate all possible combinations of these “component elements.” Consequently, it is necessary to search for useful properties using a systematic method in which targets are set up. The “Master of Material’s Properties Control” course fulfills this role within the framework of materials development. It can be said that this course takes charge of an extremely important stage where ubstances are transformed into matter that can function as a useable material.
Whether organic or inorganic, the variety of “component elements” which can be combined is very diverse. It is necessary to make a detailed investigation into the properties that can result from these elements being combined into an aggregates. Therefore, the following activities are carried out in this course: Full use is made of advanced experimental techniques such as structural analyses of macromolecular materials by means of electromagnetic waves and ultrasonic waves, structural analyses of inorganic material surfaces by means of quantum beams including swift ion beams, optical measurements of micro-regions under microscopes, precise microstructural analyses, and macromolecular rheology and relaxation phenomena analyses. Furthermore, approaches are based on fundamental scientific methods such as clarification of dynamic processes of materials, creation of theoretical models for self-organization, theoretical analyses based on quantum mechanics, and computer simulations of phenomena including molecular dynamics simulations. Based on the above, education and research involving comprehensive and clear objectives are conducted.

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Laboratory Information

Polymer Molecular Engineering laboratory Fibrous Material Science laboratory
Using light, our laboratory designs polymer aggregate structures and measures and analyzes these structures (with confocal laser scanning microscopy, optical scattering, laser interferometry, and other methods). Based on our results, we conduct experiments to design micron-level specific bicontinuous structures. Using the specific polymer aggregate structure we have obtained as a template, we design and develop highly functional polymer materials by introducing nano fillers, such as carbon nanotubes. Our research also focuses on developing new methods for dynamic structural analysis using ultrasonic waves to analyze the properties of non-light-permeable turbid materials. Vibration propagating ultrasonic waves can theoretically contain abundant information from various propagation methods. Based on this understanding, we also conduct applied research on complex materials, such as metal-polymer composites and foaming materials. Polymer chains are so long that polymer crystals usually have imperfect structures. In general, the so-called crystalline polymers which grow on the foundation of such imperfect crystals exhibit complex and hierarchical structures. Because of this, polymer solids form various higher-order structures giving rise to a wide range of physical and chemical properties. We systematically study the relationship between the structures of polymer solids and their physical properties by utilizing experimental instruments and methods, such as electron microscopes, X-ray analysis, optical microscopes, optical scattering, infrared absorption, electric measurement, mechanical measurement, thermal analysis and computer simulation. We also conduct pure scientific research on such topics as the physical elucidation of the formation process of liquids (solutions) becoming solids.
Polymer Mechanics laboratory Textile Engineering Design laboratory
Our research aims to elucidate the physicochemical properties, mainly rheological (mechanical) properties, of polymeric soft materials, from elastomers, gels, and polymer blends to polymer composites. We seek to understand the correlations between the physicochemical properties and the internal structures of these materials. We investigate the mechanical behavior of polymeric soft materials using various techniques and instruments including a custom-built biaxial tensile tester. We develop microscopic and X-ray CT techniques to observe internal structures three-dimensionally, and methods to analyze the images. Our laboratory also studies various stimulus-response properties of liquid crystal elastomers, and the electric wave absorption and electrical conductivity properties of polymer composites to provide guidance for the creation of new functional materials and the improvement of their properties. Our research is focused on the electrorheological (ER) effect, where the mechanical behavior of fluids responds to an external electrical field, mainly in nano-particle dispersions and liquid crystals. We aim to develop new ER fluids, elucidate the mechanism of the ER effect, and apply the effect to control elements. To this end, we investigate the dispersion and aggregation of nanoparticles, nanofiber composite systems, and thin film composite membranes as well as the control of various properties. We also study the structures and mechanical properties of relatively light and strong fibrous materials, such as carbon fiber and aramid fiber. Currently, we are focused on finding a way to develop new high-strength, highly-fatigue-resistant fiber. Other ongoing research involves the use of a new solvent-free spinning method to create nanofiber and identify its new functions, the development of new plant-derived functional materials, and the elucidation and control of their properties.
Condensed Matter Physics laboratory Atomic and Molecular Science laboratory
Condensed matter physics is a science that studies the properties of substances. In our research, we measure physical quantities, such as heat capacity, permittivity, thermal expansion coefficients and density, when soft matter, such as liquid crystals, lipid membranes, proteins or molecular glass, undergoes a change in its state (phase transition, denaturation, glass transition, etc.). We then examine the change in structure during the state change with X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy to identify the fundamental properties of the state and state changes in soft matter to understand their causes. For use in these research investigations, we have developed various measuring instruments such as an ultra high-sensitivity differential scanning calorimeter (DSC) that can detect minute changes in heat capacity and a simultaneous measurement device for high-sensitivity DSC and X-ray diffraction. Since the birth of the universe, atoms, molecules, substances, and even lives have been born through numerous “atomic collisions”. Our research focuses on the atomic collision process over a wide range of energy using quantum beams. The objective of our research is to understand the origins of the universe and the formation of the phenomena of the natural world as well as to create new substances by mimicking nature. Atomic collisions are also applied to modification and analysis of material surfaces. Ongoing research themes include 1) analysis of surface and interface structures through interactions between quantum beams and solids; 2) nanoscale solid surface modification and creation of new materials utilizing quantum beams; 3) collision dynamics of quantum beams; and 4) atomic spectroscopy with quantum beams.
Ceramic Physics laboratory Chemical Reactions in High Temperatures laboratory
Research in this laboratory is conducted by three different groups who work with biomedical, dielectrics, and semiconductor materials. The biomedical materials group primarily evaluates the quality of artificial joints and analyzes the impact that implant deterioration has on artificial joint components. The dielectric and semiconductor groups analyze microstructure and microresidual strain of functional materials in the electronics industry to develop more reliable electronic components with advanced functions. These groups use the latest technological devices, such as Raman and cathodoluminescent spectrophotometric analyzers, to analyze materials at the nanoscale level. This laboratory consists of undergraduate, doctoral and post-doctoral students, creating a vibrant and active research environment over a range of research levels. Students from Europe and Asia represent a broad spectrum of values, making true internationalization another benefit of this research environment. Our laboratory researches the fabrication of electrical and optical ceramics, their properties, and the production of recycling of ceramics. Through our work on electrical ceramics, we search for the conditions necessary to lower the room-temperature resistivity of the positive temperature coefficient of resistivity (PTCR) materials which are used as overheating detectors and overcurrent protection elements in digital device circuits. We also develop environmentally friendly, lead-free, high-temperature PTCR materials. In research on optical ceramics, we investigate the effects of firing conditions and flux on the luminescence of long persistence phosphors. In research on recycled ceramics, we produce ultra-lightweight ceramics using materials from waste products, such as incinerated ash from sewage sludge and coal ash, with the aim of using them as practical functional materials, such as architectural heat insulating materials and water-retaining tiles.


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