The Department Materials, Mechanics, Management & Design (3MD) focuses on design, management, mechanics and materials principles of civil infrastructures and buildings. These structures are analysed by means of a multi-scale approach that governs the entire lifecycle from development, design, testing, building, maintenance and operation to reuse or recycling.
The Department is structured into three sections: Materials and Environment (M&E), including the micro-mechanical laboratory (Microlab), Applied Mechanics (AM) and Integral Design and Management (IDM), the core disciplines of which focus on three scales, namely the material scale, structural scale, and system scale, respectively.
Furthermore, four connecting themes have been defined: (i) design from the materials scale to systems scale, (ii) sustainability including circular approaches, (iii) digitalization, and (iv) resilience. By analysing the four connecting themes by means of a multi-scale approach, a coherent research programme can be established for the Department. Advanced and integrated use of data, experiments and simulations characterises the research programme, which has a broad scope and takes a deep, multi-scale approach.
3MD strategically aims to:
- optimise the resilience of buildings and infrastructures to increased loading, natural hazards, and anthropogenic threats;
- improve the sustainability of buildings and infrastructures by producing comprehensive solutions to reduce negative environmental impact;
- advance the transition to renewable energy systems from a materials, mechanics, management and design perspective;
- foster a technological transition by developing innovative, smart materials, novel construction technologies, advanced computational techniques, and design principles to create safer buildings and infrastructures with increased performance and functionality.
Having societal impact is key for the department. Therefore, the research is focusing on societal themes climate change, energy transition, and resource depletion.
3MD has currently four labs: the Microlab for materials research, the Masonry lab for full-scale experimental research on masonry structures, the Digital Construction lab (additive manufacturing, novel parametric design methods, robotics, VR/AR/XR techniques etc.), and the Delft Artificial Intelligence Lab for virtual material testing. The Department also works in close connection with the other department in structural engineering Engineering Structures (ES).
More information about the sections can be found by clicking the names below.
Structures' true colours shining through with sensor material
Solid progress in sustainable concrete
Its hardness and solidity make concrete a much-used building material. One of the most important ingredients of concrete is cement. Unfortunately, cement production comes with high levels of harmful CO2 emissions. That is why TU Delft researcher Guang Ye is looking for alternative binders such as pulverised household and building waste to reduce the impact on the environment. Ye and his team of colleagues and students intend to develop the most sustainable concrete in the world.
Knit to find the perfect fit
The bearing structure of a building made out of knitted material? Mariana Popescu, Assistant Professor of Parametric Structural Design and Digital Fabrication shows that unusual building structures can be created more efficiently and more sustainably using 3D knitted textiles. She hopes her innovative approach will inspire new generations of designers and engineers to think outside the box.
Thick as a brick? How small cracks can cause big problems
Will those cracked walls hold up? Is it safe to walk on that quay? To find the answer to these questions assistant professor of mechanics of masonry Rita Esposito studies brick masonry, often using actual pieces of damaged houses and centuries-old bridges.
Floating homes for the Philippines
City dwellers in the Philippines are dealing with the consequences of frequent flooding on a daily basis. This is why Phd and Global fellow Pieter Ham has been working on the construction of sustainable, modular floating homes in the Philippines since graduation. Now the pilot home is ready and the first family to test it out has moved in.
The most used material in the world
In his hand lays a small grey object, probably no longer than 10 centimeters. It is made of tiny triangle cross-sections and smells like recently casted concrete. This concrete microstructure was made by 3D printing. Yading Xu’s eyes light up when he talks about why he researches 3D-printing techniques for concrete construction. “Concrete is one of the most used material in the world, that is why it is so fascinating to me.”
Building affordable homes using local biowaste materials
People in rural India traditionally live in so-called ‘mud houses’, houses made of a blend of clay, sand and silt. This material is not water-resistant, and over time, rain causes the walls to crumble. Residents have to replaster their walls after each rainy season. There is currently no affordable alternative. However, with his TU Delft Global Research Fellowship, civil engineer Kulshreshtha hopes to see this change.
The strength of glass
Glass breaks, doesn’t it? It’s wonderfully suited to creating light effects and a sense of spaciousness. But can it be used in a load-bearing capacity, for instance in walls, bridges and pillars? The answer is yes: under pressure glass becomes incredibly tough. TU Delft’s Stevin II laboratory is home to one of the few teams in the world doing research into the suitability of glass as a building material. Here PhDs and professors are finding ways to make glass in construction strong and safe without compromising on transparency.
A cement free concrete canoe
A drum roll sounds in the Stevin II laboratory. 20 students and researchers in blue lab coats and safety shoes are gathered around a 6 meter long canoe mould. They have 15 minutes to properly distribute the mixture in the mould, tamp it down and do the finishing. ‘Faster!’ shouts researcher Marija Nedeljković and the rhythm of the patting hands accelerates.
Self-healing of Concrete by Bacterial Mineral Precipitation
Repairing cracks in concrete structures is a time consuming, costly but necessary business. TU Delft is researching how the self-healing capacity of concrete structures can be improved by using calcite-precipitating bacteria and what conditions are necessary for these bacteria to thrive.