Computational Contact and Interface Mechanics

October 3, 2016 — October 7, 2016


  • Alexander Popp (Technische Universität München, Garching b. München, Germany)
  • Peter Wriggers (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Hannover, Germany)

The main objective of this course is to convey modern techniques and the latest state-of-the-art with regard to the most fundamental aspects of computational contact mechanics. However, since contact can readily be interpreted as a special type of interface problem, it seems advisable not to isolate contact mechanics, but rather to address it in the context of a broader class of problems denoted as computational interface mechanics. Apart from the computational treatment of contact interaction and friction, computational interface mechanics also comprises other related physical phenomena such as wear, fracture and phase boundaries. Put in short terms, computational contact and interface mechanics are concerned with the treatment of complex interface effects at different length scales ranging from atomistic models to micro- and meso-scale models and further to classical continuum models at the macro-scale. The nature of many interface phenomena even requires a multi-scale perspective and associated models to bridge the spectrum of relevant length scales.
Therefore, the aforementioned aim of the course has been expanded towards firstly conveying a clear understanding of the underlying physics of interfaces, and secondly giving a comprehensive insight into the current state-of-the-art and selected cutting-edge research directions in the computational treatment of interface effects. With regard to the first aim, the course will focus on the modeling of friction, wear, lubrication, cohesive interfaces, grain boundaries, phase boundaries, fracture, thermo-mechanics and particulate contact (e.g. granular media). In view of the second objective, the most important computational aspects will be addressed, including discretization techniques for finite deformations, solution algorithms for single- and multi-processor computing environments, multi- scale approaches, discrete element models and multi-physics problems including contact and interface constraints. Among the computational techniques covered in this course are finite element (FEM) and boundary element (BEM) methods, atomistic models, molecular dynamics (MD), discrete element methods (DEM), coupling approaches for multi-scale simulations, and tools for an efficient automated FEM code generation.
Each set of lectures will start from the respective basics of physical modeling and computational techniques, but will then quickly move on to an in-depth treatment of cutting-edge research topics. While some attention to practical applications will of course be given, the main focus of all lectures is to convey sound theoretical formulations with regard to the underlying mathematics and mechanics. The lectures are primarily designed for doctoral students of applied mathematics, mechanics, engineering and physics with a strong interest in the modeling and simulation of complex interface phenomena using high-performance computing environments.
However, they are equally suited for young and senior researchers in the above-mentioned and neighboring fields, who have only little experience with regard to the computational treatment of interface effects and who would like to gain a compact yet comprehensive overview of the field. Last but not least, the course might also be interesting for practicing computational engineers working on high-level industrial applications of contact and interface mechanics.


See also