The research activities of Kaushik Bhattacharya are at the intersection
of Mechanics, Materials Science and Applied Mathematics. Concepts in Mechanics
and recent methods of Mathematics are used to generate ideas for the design,
development, and creation of new materials and the optimization of materials
processing. Virtually every material contains features that are different
at different length scales and undergoes processes at a variety of time
scales. For example, even the simplest piece of metal is typically made
up of many crystallites (grains), which in turn are made up of many atoms.
This complexity is only compounded in sophisticated modern materials.
Macroscopic applied loads and fields affect the microscopic structure;
conversely, the microscopic structure affects the macroscopic behavior.
Therefore, bridging length scales is a key theme, and this is addressed
in a variety of materials and materials systems.
Much recent research has focused on active materials like shape-memory alloys and ferroelectrics. These materials are of inherent interest; furthermore, their characteristic microstructure makes them an ideal system to study development methodologies for multiscale modeling. The research has identified critical criteria in the crystallography that make shape-memory alloys special among martensites and Titanium-Nickel special among shape-memory alloys. Ideas for improvement of the shape-memory effect in other materials through texturing have been proposed. The research has also identified an electromechanical loading path gives rise to large electrostriction in ferroelectric single crystal. A current focus of the research is the application of active materials in microactuation in MEMS application. A new strategy of using thin films of active materials that use inherent microstructural features as structural elements have been identified and demonstrated.
Other areas of research include the growth of thin films, the effective properties and failure of composite materials, the design of hard but tough steels, failure of heterogeneous materials, precipitation hardening, and the development of methods for a unified molecular-continuum description of materials.