FIMECC HYBRIDS programme brings material research and design to a new level by digitalizing materials R&D. The digital design concept takes full advantage of novel hybrid materials and speeds up product design significantly.


A global trend in material research today is to complement material testing with deeper understanding based on characterisation, theory and computational modelling and simulation, as shown in figure below. The merger of different disciplines in developing, optimizing and troubleshooting material solutions is referred to as Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME). Traditionally material development problems have been solved based on case limited experiments (1st level). The computational modelling and simulation, enabled by rapidly increasing computer capacity, the new material modelling tools and the improved micro and nano level characterisation techniques, offers routes to systematic material development by prediction of material performance and optimisation (4th level). The impacts of ICME have internationally been acknowledged via industry use cases as shorter time-to-market of material solutions (by a factor of >2), decrease of the affiliated development costs (on average to 50-60% of trial-and-error approaches by e.g. carrying out virtual testing and trials using a modeling and simulation environment) while retaining and rather improving material properties and performance.

Digitalization brings materials research and design to a new level

In FIMECC HYBRIDS programme novel design tools for discovering, developing and deploying materials in a virtual environment were developed. With the help of the tools material processing parameters can be linked to microstructure, to properties and to material performance enabling optimal component and product design. The ultimate goal is to enable to product specific design of materials, and exploiting detailed models in design of material solutions and solving materials related problems in products. 

Computational material design incorporates three important ingredients as presented below:

  • manufacturing effects on material structure can be investigated and demonstrated
  • manufacturing effects on product performance can be quantified
  • design trials and what if scenarios can be ran for systematic material design and how-to-use the material optimally in specific products

This speeds up product design significantly and leads to better reliability.


The development of new breakthrough material solutions for industrial applications requires a deeper fundamental understanding of material processing, structures, properties and behavior, a systematic approach to material development and tools for material structural optimization and design.

With the help of digitalization the real material performance can be investigated. With the help of this knowledge the material and product properties and performance can be optimized. This results in shorter product design and improved predictability. 


Studies present that the promises, such as decreasing costs affiliated in getting new products to market faster, are reachable via digitalisation. In addition by optimising material and product properties and performance better products with increased reliability and longer lifespan can be introduced to markets. This gives the competitive edge to Finnish industry.

In addition with the help of digitalisation new scenarios and materials can be tested and developed in a cost efficient way. By digitalizing material development companies can systematically drive the solution of problems persisting in developing better materials and products and discovering innovative solutions. This enables the development of totally new breakthrough hybrid materials.


Anssi Laukkanen, VTT 


Valmet Technologies Oy, Metso Automation Oy, Millidyne Oy, Oseir Oy, Abloy Oy, Kuopion Konepaja Oy, Virtasen Koneistamo Oy, Telatek Service Oy, Kokkola LCC Oy, Outotec Oy, SSAB, Outokumpu, VTT, TUT, Aalto University