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A new French-Japanese laboratory for the behavior of materials under extreme conditions

31 décembre 2016

In order to strengthen their cooperation in materials science and engineering, the CNRS, the University of Lyon and the University of Tohoku launched, on October 4th 2016, an International Joint Unit (UMI [1]), located in Sendai, in Japan. Called Engineering Science Lyon – Tohoku for Materials and Systems under Extreme Conditions (ELyTMaX), this new laboratory will study the behavior of materials when submitted to extreme and complex strains. One of its goals is to understand their deterioration mechanisms over time, in order to better estimate their lifetime.
_ The research led in the ELyTMaX laboratory (CNRS/University of Lyon, University of Tohoku) deals with the behavior of materials and of the systems they create with other structures when placed under complex and extreme conditions (pressure, temperature, radiation, highly corrosive environment…)

Three research areas are more specifically developed :

  • Analyzing the evolution of materials used in the industry, such as in the Energy or the Transportation industry. In the meantime, the research runs experiments and modellings in a context of extremely high speed of distortion, in order to develop conditioning, protection and scarring strategies dedicated to the surfaces used in the industry ;
  • Studying the microsystems used to convert energy and their resilience to pressure and electric fields. Thanks to multi-scales (molecular, macroscopic…) and thermodynamic approaches, the scientists are studying new materials and energy-converting systems. They focus on understanding how, for instance, the nano-architecture of materials is responsible for the microscopic effects which are being observed. Studying and modelling physical mechanisms allow them to simulate the way they work and to optimize their production beforehand ;
  • Studying the ageing process of the materials used in biomedical applications, for instance in the production of prostheses or bone substitutes. These materials are submitted to particularly important dynamic and mechanical constraints, added to a physiochemical environment which may speed up their ageing process.

    Each of these areas aims at understanding the behavior of materials when submitted to complex strains, right from their production and implementation, in order to estimate their lifetime. The developed projects are rely most of all on the complementarities between the French and the Japanese researchers which vary according to the research area. For instance, the scientists from Lyon benefit from a great expertise on the electrochemical approach of the study of corrosion, while the University of Tohoku excels at analyzing corrosion under extreme conditions. This cooperation allows them to consider a full approach of material science, based on both the development of experimental techniques and the modelling of the physical and physiochemical mechanisms involved.

    The relationship between the research teams from the Universities of Lyon and Tohoku have been lasting for more than 30 years. That is why liaison offices have been created since 2004 in the University of Tohoku and the University of Lyon, along with numerous academic agreements in order to ease the exchange of students and young researchers between the French and the Japanese teams. After the creation of an International Associated Laboratory in 2008, the links between the University of Lyon, the University of Tohoku and the CNRS have been reinforced since 2016 with the creation of this International Joint Unit headed by Kazuhiro Ogawa (University of Tohoku) and by Jean-Yves Cavaillé (INSA Lyon). It is intended for ELyTMaX to play the role of an intermediary between the newly-created Research Federation of Engineering Lyon Saint-Etienne (INGELYSE) and the engineering developed at the University of Tohoku.

    This laboratory is the first International Joint Unit created with a COMUE [2] and the first one approaching the theme of structural materials. Based in Sendai, ELyTMaX is also the first Japanese International Joint Unit located outside Kanto, Tokyo’s region, and the University of Tohoku’s main international structure which considers its cooperation with French researchers as a privileged way to strengthen its collaborations with Europe.

    © INSA-Lyon.
    Corrosion spreading in a coating obtained with “Cold spray”.



    © ELyTMaX.
    Distortion of heterogeneous materials under electromagnetic fields



© ELyTMaX. _ Study of physical mechanisms at work in smart materials.


© Tohoku University.
Dense copper deposit (on 50 to 60mm) obtained with “Cold Spray”. The deposited copper can be used in factories : screw holes, flanges...


[1] This new laboratory was created on January 1st 2016.

[2] It is about the University of Lyon which gathers : the Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, the Lumière Lyon 2 University, the Jean Moulin Lyon 3University, the Jean Monnet Saint-Etienne University , the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Lyon, the Ecole Centrale of Lyon, the INSA Lyon, Sciences Po Lyon, VetAgro Sup, l’ENTPE, l’ENISE and the CNRS.