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Lead Instructor(s)
Jun 21 - 25, 2021
Registration Deadline
Live Virtual
Course Length
5 Days
Course Fee
3.0 CEUs
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Master state-of-the-art computational methods—including predictive atom-by-atom modeling—that are revolutionizing the way materials are designed, optimized, and leveraged. In this dynamic five-day course, you’ll delve into innovative applications for polymers, metals, and ceramics, as well as composites and sustainable construction materials, as you explore a variety of computational tools, ranging from multiscale modeling to machine learning to artificial intelligence. 

Course Overview

This course may be taken individually or as part of the Professional Certificate Program in Design & Manufacturing or the Professional Certificate Program in Innovation & Technology.

Computational methods including AI is revolutionizing the materials design world. Today, an engineer or scientist can simply enter the desired properties into a program and the system will manufacture a microstructure that matches the specifications.  Algorithms predict which chemical building blocks can be combined to create advanced materials with superior functions — from ultra-strong, lightweight materials used in the automotive, construction and aerospace industries, to biomaterials used in implants and biomedical devices with the ability to self heal and regenerate. 

This course covers the science, technology, and state-of-the-art computing methods being used to fabricate innovative materials from the molecular scale upwards, as well as advanced manufacturing methods, such as additive manufacturing. Through lectures and hands-on labs, participants will learn how to construct, in a bottom-up manner, atomically-precise products through the use of molecular design, predictive modeling, and manufacturing, allowing the fabrication of a vast array of advanced, innovative designs for a wide-range of applications. 

You'll explore: 

  • Cutting-edge computational tools that range from multi-scale modeling to the use of machine learning and AI 
  • How to use the tools to predict mechanical properties such as strength, toughness, deformability, and elasticity, as well as optical, thermal, and electronic properties
  • How superior material properties in nature and biology can be mimicked in bio-inspired materials 
  • The synthesis of computationally-designed hierarchical composites using 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing techniques, followed by subsequent mechanical testing

Participant Takeaways

  • Practical problem-solving computational tools paired with a detailed discussion of experimental techniques to probe, understand, and design the ultimate structure of materials—from atoms upwards
  • How to use the tools to predict mechanical properties such as strength, toughness, deformability, and elasticity, as well as optical, thermal, and electronic properties
  • How to use multiscale tools in energy recovery and sustainable materials and structures
  • Demonstrate the synthesis of computationally-designed hierarchical composites using 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing techniques, followed by subsequent mechanical testing. Includes validation of computational predictions, focused on fracture toughness and strength
  • Critically evaluate and apply the use of computational tools in materials design (synthesis and testing) – molecular mechanics, nanotechnology, multiscale and hierarchical materials, and emerging materials technologies
  • The fundamentals and codes to perform state-of-the-art techniques, such as molecular dynamics, molecular mechanics, and coarse-graining, used to cover a range of length- and time-scales

Who Should Attend

This course will be of interest to scientists, engineers, managers, and policy makers working in the areas of materials design, development, manufacturing, or testing, who are interested in understanding how to optimize a material’s structure and performance. It should appeal to anyone working in materials or in an industry that builds on a material interaction platform (such as pharmaceuticals, regenerative medicine, energy, or civil engineering materials such as concrete) and who is interested in understanding how to optimize a material’s structure and performance. The focus on mechanical properties will include domains such as biomaterials and implants, adhesives, construction materials, and structural materials for the aero-astro, manufacturing, and automotive industries. There are no prerequisites for the course.


A computer with internet access is required for this live virtual course. Software used will include web-based tools. Tablets are not ideal for the computing activities performed in this course (but may be used with a mouse and keyboard attached).

Program Outline

This course runs 9:00am - 5:00 pm each day except for Friday, when it ends at 1:00pm. There is a networking reception in the evening of the first day.

Participants will be exposed to theoretical, applied and hands-on experimental concepts and systematically learn the basic methods in the emerging field of computational materials science and how it is used to understand, design and manufacture new materials and structures, following a “materiomics” approach. This will allow participants to understand and apply this new technology in the context of their specific material applications in a range of disciplines. The focus on materials design for new functional properties impacts numerous high-impact applications, to “make nano big” (upscaling of nanotechnology to real-world applications). These include, but not limited to, materials designed for structural applications, electronics and biomedical areas, with increased flexibility, resilience and durability and fracture resistance, and the exploration of unconventional source feedstocks for materials fabrication (e.g. biomass derived, or additives to conventional sources).

The goal of this new approach is to construct, in a bottom-up manner, atomically-precise products through the use of molecular design and manufacturing, allowing the fabrication a vast array of designs.

Applied case studies include hierarchical composites, carbon nanotube/graphene and polymer-based nanomaterials, including “on-demand” protein-based biomaterials. Through hands-on examples, participants learn how the merger of traditional notions of “material” and “structure” enables an expanded design space in which new material properties can be achieved by simply rearranging a material’s basic elements, rather than introducing new ones. The systems perspective to materials design introduced in this course opens new paths towards understanding, designing, and predicting complex materials behavior for the development of “ultimate materials” that combine the best of all basic elements and that amplify the properties of the building blocks in a synergistic manner. The course introduces the “universality-diversity-paradigm” that was developed at MIT, to facilitate new material properties from unconventional sources. The course will also discuss the application of new creative approaches towards design, including translation from materials to the arts and music, and how this opens the door to unconventional discovery modes to drive innovation.

Detailed lecture notes and movies/animations will be provided with numerous examples and references to the literature sources, articles, and weblinks. The program includes a detailed discussion of manufacturing techniques including 3D printing (including a broad survey of additive manufacturing techniques), self-assembly, microfluidics, and other emerging technologies. The instructor will distribute and analyze material samples designed based on multiscale simulations and manufactured using 3D printing and other techniques. The program includes morning lectures (9 am-12:30pm), afternoon labs and teamwork (1:30-4:30 pm). A reception will be held on Monday and ample opportunities to meet with the instructor and to network with other participants, including group teamwork and case studies, will be provided. Participants will have an opportunity to present their areas of interest, if they are interested (not required, optional for those who choose to participate).

The program is based on textbooks and articles written by the instructor, including:

  • [1] M.J. Buehler, Atomistic Modeling of Materials Failure, Springer, 2008
  • [2] S.W. Cranford, M.J. Buehler, Biomateriomics, Springer, 2012
  • Various articles and review papers of recent work, which will be annotated and discussed clearly and in detail during the short course

Links & Resources




"I can't think of an area where this course didn't exceed my expectations and I would almost love to take it again."
"The content is very relevant. The examples very chosen and explained. Professor Buehler is a gifted teacher. The labs were very lively and enabling to set the theoretical material in the mind. A great course."
"An intoxicatingly comprehensive course. It will take weeks to unpack, savor, and apply the techniques taught."
"I also really appreciated the detail that Dr. Buehler went into on each slide. He documented on the slides the key points that he discussed during his lecture."
"Markus Buehler is extremely knowledgeable, and was able to address questions from a very varied audience."

The type of content you will learn in this course, whether it's a foundational understanding of the subject, the hottest trends and developments in the field, or suggested practical applications for industry.

Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools - 40%|Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends - 40%|Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world - 20%
Delivery Methods

How the course is taught, from traditional classroom lectures and riveting discussions to group projects to engaging and interactive simulations and exercises with your peers.

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format - 70%|Discussion or Groupwork: Participatory learning - 15%|Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations - 15%

What level of expertise and familiarity the material in this course assumes you have. The greater the amount of introductory material taught in the course, the less you will need to be familiar with when you attend.

Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience - 80%|Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field - 15%|Advanced: In-depth explorations at the graduate level - 5%