Materials Characterisation 2011

Fifth International Conference on Computational Methods and Experiments in Materials Characterisation


13 - 15 June 2011
Kos, Greece


MatCharacter11The fifth International Conference on Computational Methods and Experiments in Materials Characterization took place on the Greek island of Kos, organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology, represented by Professor Carlos A. Brebbia; the University of New Mexico, represented by Professor Andrea Mammoli and the Glasgow Caledonian University, represented by Dr Agnieska Klemm.  The conference was supported by the International Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements.

The meeting is driven by the increasing demand for high-quality products for both industry and consumers, which has resulted in rapid developments in materials science and engineering.  In principle, materials science involves relating the molecular properties and the relative performance of a material to its micro-structural feature through characterization.  The major determinants of the structure of a material, and hence its properties are its constituent chemical elements and the way a material has been processed into its final form.

Over the years, a variety of experimental techniques have been developed for characterizing the physical and chemical properties of materials.  Unfortunately, due to a number of simplifying assumptions and limitations on the use of individual materials, it is not often possible to describe in a qualitative, reliable way the micro-structural features of many materials.  Consideration of different experimental methods as well as computer simulation are essential to achieve a thorough comprehensive analysis.  Simulation can contribute to the understanding of the phenomena and provide a good basis for the development of durable materials and components which can withstand ambient and extreme environmental conditions.

The way forward in material characterization is to develop new experimental techniques or apply existing methodologies, adapted from other related disciplines.  A very wide range of materials, starting with metals through polymers, semiconductors to composites necessitates a whole spectrum of experimental techniques and numerical methods, which are specific for material types.  Some of these well-established methodologies could potentially find applications in new fields.  In this context a multidisciplinary approach in material characterization and the exchange of original ideas is indispensable.

The aim of the conference was to facilitate such interdisciplinary interaction within the research community.

 Opening Addresses

Professor Carlos Brebbia
The meeting was opened by Professor Carlos A Brebbia, who explained the importance of the conference programme to the knowledge transfer objectives of WIT.  Professor Brebbia explained the importance of conferences such as this to fulfil the objectives of his institute, which can be summarized as the dissemination of knowledge.  This is achieved not only by carrying out research work for different parties and organisations, but also by organising a large number of courses, seminars and conferences.  The publishing arm of the Institute – WIT Press – disseminates worldwide the papers published at the conferences as well as other literature.  It now publishes four international Journals and runs an eLibrary containing close to 25,000 papers, presented as WIT conferences since 1993. Most of these papers are now Open Access and hence widely distributed throughout the community.  The same applies to the Journals.

WIT Press material is published in both paper and digital formats, with the latter being more important day by day.

WIT research is renown throughout the world, having originated the Boundary Element Method, a powerful technique for problems that require accurate solutions.  This technique is now applied to the solution of many practical problems, in particular, offshore structures, electromagnetic problems and fracture mechanics; all of them fields in which the work of the Institute has gained wide recognition.

Professor Andrea Mammoli
Professor Brebbia concluded his remarks by wishing the delegates a very successful conference and inviting them to visit the New Forest campus of the Wessex Institute to better appreciate the work carried out by WIT.

Professor Andrea Mammoli then welcomed the delegates in the name of the University of New Mexico.  He explained that in one way or another, his Institution has collaborated with WIT for a very long time.  The idea of this conference itself originated years ago at one of the Institute conferences also held in Greece, on the beautiful island of Lemnos.

Professor Mammoli is now Director of the Energy Institute of his University.  The centre deals with a wide variety of engineering sciences and in particular distributed energy systems which are essential components of the intelligent grid of the future.  The function of the Institute includes workforce training in Emerging Energy Systems.

 Special Session on Cementitious Materials

The conference programme included a special session organised by Dr Agnieska Klemm, co-chair of the meeting, on the topic of ‘Micro and nano characterisation of cementitious materials’ which comprised the following invited presentations;

Materials_conf‘Application of positron annihilation lifetime spectroscopy to nano-characterisation of polymer-modified mortars’
by Agnieska Klemm, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

‘Multi-technique investigation of calcium hydroxide crystals at the concrete surface’
by Eleonore Gueit, Mimes Paris Tech – CEMEF, France

‘Characterization of the influence of the casting mould on the surface properties of concrete and on the adhesion of a protective coating’
by Matthieu Horgnies, Lafarge Centre de Recherche, France

Of special interest was another presentation by Dr Christos Chamis of NASA Glenn Research Centres in Cleveland, USA on ‘A multi-factor interaction model for damage initiation and progression’ which presented a model for complex coupled interactions which can accurately predict metal matrix composite fatigue data and the individual properties of a steel alloy.

 Social Occasions

The conference presented many interesting opportunities for interaction between the delegates, not only in the formal sessions but through a series of social occasions, including the lunches organised by WIT, a welcoming cocktail, the conference dinner and a very popular excursion at the end of the conference (which is described in detail below).  The conference dinner took place in the best restaurant in town, offering an excellent dinner of Greek dishes and wines.  The main course consisted of excellent fillet mignon from the island, followed by typical sweets and after dinner drinks and coffee.  At the end of the meal, Professor Brebbia gave a present to each of the participants to remind them of the occasion and their visit to the beautiful island of Kos.

 Special Excursion to the Asklepion

Materials_tripA special excursion was organised at the end of the conference which included a guided tour of the Asklepicion, the most famous and important archaeological site on the island.  It was the centre of Hippocrates Medical School, in which he practiced medicine.  The remains of the old sanatorium demonstrate the importance of site, with its extensive gardens for the patients, affluent temples and baths.  It is in a beautiful and peaceful location.  From there the group proceeded to visit the most important vineyards of the island where excellent wines are produced.  The delegates were able to taste some outstanding Sauvignons and Cabernets in addition to others prepared with Greek grapes.  Following that the bus took the group to St. Stefanios where they went by boat to a small, secluded beach.  There the delegates were offered a barbeque and the possibility of swimming in the sea.  The excursion gave them the opportunity of further interaction in the right environment and offered another view of the beautiful island of Kos.

 Publication of Papers

The proceedings of Materials Characterization V, 432pp (Print ISBN: 978-1-84564-538-0; Online ISSN: 1746-4471) are available in paper and digital format from WIT Press priced at £186/US$372/€260. Orders can be placed on the WIT Press web site at or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., telephone: +44 (0) 238 029 3223 or fax: +44 (0) 238 029 2853.

Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 72 of WIT Transactions on Engineering Sciences (Online ISSN: 1746-4471). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at