Since we seem to be introducing ourselves, I guess it is my turn. By way of background, you can check out http://www.eotr-solutions.com/background.html. Richard has asked me to “say something” about where my interest in this area came from. Having worked in polymeric materials all of my professional career, I have spent lots of time trying to make systems and materials that do something that someone has value for. I think I have seen increased understanding of how structure – at all levels – determines functionality, but also come to realise that our ability to make things cost effectively and resource efficiently has lagged behind. I am not sure whether this is the right way to achieve this goal, but cannot see another option to explore at the moment!!
Put another way, for many years now, the materials industry has understood that customers don’t buy specific materials, or even single properties. They buy a combination of properties that satisfy the needs of their initial application. This desire to address a specific set of needs has led to a culture of “designed materials”. Of course, the precise link between requirements and materials and process selection are not as cut and dried as we wanted to believe, but nevertheless the goal of achieving this has been an important driver in linking theory, modelling and simulation, processing and testing. Part of this has been concerned with examining natural solutions to applications needs – and the huge interest in biomimetic structure and materials. There is an interesting distinction between slavish replication of biological materials, and the derivation of the underlying design rules and their application in alternative systems.
Now comes “software control of matter”. This potentially promises a means of applying the developing design rules. It also, by virtue of it implied action at the molecular and supramolecular, suggests that we can produce integrated materials which possess the required basket of properties that any specific applications demands. Again the parallel with nature applies. The DNA based route use by the nature we know is not necessarily the only way to go.
The (pseudo) industrial Mentor
Software Control of Matter Ideas Factory