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
In the polymer molecular engineering field, light is used as one method to design polymer aggregate structures, and light is then used (confocal laser scanning microscopes, light scattering, laser interferometers, etc.) to measure and analyze these structures. The results obtained from this analysis are then fed back to the next level of experimentation for the design of micron-level specific bicontinuous structures. We design and develop highly functional polymer materials by using the specific polymer aggregates created as templates, and introducing carbon nanotubes or other nano fillers. We also work on dynamic structural analytical methods, such as the use of ultrasonic waves, to analyze the characteristics of emulsified materials that do not allow light to pass through. In theory, vibration propagating ultrasonic waves can contain large amounts of information depending on the propagation method, and so we perform research on applications with complex materials, such as metal-polymer composites and foaming materials. Polymers have long molecule chains, and for this reason, do not usually form complete crystalline structures. Substances generally known as crystalline polymers are based on these incomplete crystals and are usually complex structures with multiple layers.
For this reason, polymer solids form a variety of higher order structures with all kinds of physical and chemical properties, and are useful in a number of different fields. In this field, we perform experiments with electron microscopes, X-ray analysis, optical microscopes, light scattering, infrared absorption, electrical measurement, physical measurement, thermal analysis and computer simulation to research and systematically understand the relationship between polymer solid structures and their physical properties.
Furthermore, we also perform pure scientific research to better understand from a physics perspective the processes as a liquid material (solution) becomes a solid.
Polymer Mechanics laboratory Textile Engineering Design laboratory
The aim of this research is to understand the interrelationships between the physico-chemical properties, specifically the rheological (mechanical) properties, and the internal structures of a wide range of polymer-based soft materials such as elastomers, gels, polymer blends and polymer composites. We investigate a wide range of polymeric soft material mechanical behavior using our own 2-axis elongation devices, as well as develop methods to observe and analyze internal 3D structures with the use of microscopy, and X-ray CT method. Furthermore, we also conduct research into the various stimulus-response properties of liquid crystal-elastomer hybrid materials, and the electric wave absorption and electrical conductivity properties of polymer composites, to provide guidance for the creation of new functional materials and for the improvement of existing material properties. We conduct research on the electrorheological effect (ER); that is, the mechanical behavior of fluids responding to an external electrical field, mainly focused on nano-particle dispersions and liquid crystals.
We investigate the development of new ER fluids, understand the mechanisms involved, and then develop applications for the control elements of these fluids.
Related to this research, we also investigate the dispersion, aggregation and control of various characteristics for nanoparticles, nanofiber composites and thin film composites, and also perform research on the structure and mechanical properties of carbon fiber, aramid fiber and other relatively light and strong fibrous materials. Our research is currently focused on finding ways to develop new, highly durable and high strength fibers.
Condensed Matter Physics laboratory Atomic and Molecular Science laboratory
A “property” means the characteristic of something, and condensed matter physics is the field that conducts research into the fundamentals of properties from a physical perspective. This laboratory works with polymers, liquid crystals, lipid membranes, proteins and other soft matter, and focuses on state changes such as glass transition, phase transition and denaturation. The objective of this fundamental research is to identify the real characteristics of the phenomena and to understand how they occur. A true understanding will not directly lead to the development of materials with specific functionality, but is critical in overcoming obstacles faced during the development of these materials. The knowledge and approaches learned during the fundamental research stage can be applied to a wide range of fields in the future. Atomic collisions have been occurring since the dawn of the universe, and have led to the appearance of atoms, molecules, matter, and eventually, life. In this research we use quantum beams to study what occurs during these atomic collisions over a wide energy range. Through this research we aim to uncover the origins of the universe and the natural realm, while also performing education and research on the development of materials that mimic nature, and surface modification and its application to analyzing surface and interface structures. Some of our current research themes are:
① Analysis of surface and interface structures using the interaction between quantum beams and solids;
② Nanoscale solid surface modification and creation of new materials using quantum beams;
③ Collision dynamics using quantum beams; and
④ Atomic spectrometry using quantum beams.
Ceramic Physics laboratory Chemical Reactions in High Temperatures laboratory
Research in this laboratory consists of three different groups (bio-medicine, dielectrics, and semiconductor materials). The bio-medical materials group mainly evaluates the quality of artificial joints and analyzes the impact that deterioration at implant has on the artificial joint components. The dielectrics and semiconductor groups analyze the microstructure of functional materials in the electronics industry in order to develop higher function and more reliable electronic components. These groups utilize the latest technology devices, such as Raman or cathodoluminescent spectrophotometric analyzers, that enable them to analyze materials down at the nanoscale level.
There is a wide range of people at various different levels of their research, from undergraduate through to doctorate and post-doctorate, helping to create a vibrant and active research environment.
There are a number of overseas students from Europe and Asia who all approach challenges in different ways, helping to drive Japan’s internationalization.
In this field, we perform experimental and computational chemical research on the design, synthesis and evaluation of inorganic materials, mainly focused on ceramics.
In the first of these areas we investigate the influence of the firing environment on the characteristics of the ceramic, attempt to create lighter weight ceramics by investigating the electrical and optical properties of ceramics heated in a variety of different environments, and create light-weight ceramics from recycled materials. In the latter of these fields we use electronic structure calculation methodologies based on quantum theory to analyze fuel cell electrode reactions, and perform band structure calculations in order to make hydrogen from water with sunlight using visible light reactive photocatalysts. We also investigate the mechanisms of chemical reactions that occur in nano-spaces, such as in carbon nanotubes, zeolite or other materials with nano-sized pores.