Mechanics, Structures and Materials (MSSMat) - UMR CNRS 8579

Research fields

Mechanical behavior of structures at very different scales - ranging from kilometers (seismic engineering) to nanometers (reinforced carbon nanotube composites) - based on strong multidisciplinarity competencies and a balanced approach between experimentation and supercomputing.
The research activity is focused on the microstructure / properties relationships and realized in various complementary fields. It is applied to metals, geomaterials, reinforced polymers, and biomaterials or biological tissues. The studies are carried out on different scales, analyzing nanoscale to bulk macroscopic samples. The methodology is based on a strong interactive coupling between experiments, modeling and numerical simulations.

Two main scientific themes are considered:


  • Materials processing and optimization:

Nanotubes, living cells, micro- and nano-hybrid reinforced composites, metal alloys, biomaterials, soil behavior
Optimization of mechanical, physical, electrical, thermal properties

  • Prediction and simulation of materials behavior under severe in-use conditions:

Behavior identification during monotonous and cyclic loading
Time and environment influence
Damage, fracture, fatigue
using common approaches:

  • Experiments – numerical simulation coupling:

Characterization and measurement at small local scale (3D imaging…)
Materials parameter identification under thermomechanical loadings, using field measurements
Complex mechanical test analyses based on mechanical modeling

  • Heterogeneous materials modeling at different scale levels:

Quantification of the relationships between microstructure and properties
Identification of the optimal microstructures to reach optimal final properties


The research in this field aims at developing numerical models and methods for the simulation of the mechanical behavior of materials and structures. The models developed range from the atomic scale, with ab initio finite elements to determine the mechanical properties of materials based on a simplified Schrödinger equation, to the kilometer scale for seismic computations to identify site effects in cities.

The scientific competencies center around two main points:

  • Develop advanced models for specific media:

Geomaterials considering their multi-physics characteristics
Random media and wave propagation for seismic engineering
Entangled media for the behavior of cables and textiles

  • Elaborate efficient and tuned numerical methods:

ab initio finite elements
Field parameter identification through inverse approach
Space-time adaptive finite elements
Model coupling and multi-scale methods

The synergies between the SIN and SIM teams build on:

  • Elaboration of models from experimental identification
  • Validation and calibration of simulations from experiments
  • Interpretation and control of experimental exploration using simulations

The effort to provide efficient applications results in a strong involvement of the laboratory in the CentraleSupélec High Performance Calculation cluster to promote the use of high performance computing and parallelism.





  • Characterization and Multi-scale Modeling of Materials (CM3)

This research topic aims at characterizing and accounting for phenomena at very different scales as well as their complex interactions, with applications as polycrystalline materials and braided cables. It is a transverse theme within the laboratory, which creates synergy of varied expertise and allows the joint use of rich experimental means and original numerical tools.

As a response to many current scientific locks, the C3M axis aims at breeding original projects in the field of multi-scale sciences, with a view at the Horizon 2020 stakes and in synergy with the other two axes of the laboratory.



  • Dynamics, Waves and Hazard (DynOdAs)

The main objective of this theme is the numerical modeling of the dynamic behavior of soils, structures and materials, particularly related to the phenomena of wave propagation.
It is built in particular on multi-scale dynamical numerical models and probabilistic models and simulations. It relies heavily on HPC simulations for wave propagation.




  • Multiphysics and Interfaces (MPI)

This theme aims at improving the macroscopic mechanical and physical properties of materials, including porous and/or living materials, based on experimental and numerical analyses at the nano-scale.

Several domains are studied:
- Porous media: poro-mechanical, anti- pollution barrier, clogging, capillarity, infiltration...
- Cell culture within a dual porosity bioreactor
- Vapor-phase chemical deposition for the elaboration of nano-/micro-reinforcements
- Elaboration and characterization of high performance composites
- Quantitative electronic microscopy coupling observations and chemical analyses
- Development of multi-physics numerical tools for high performance computing.





  • Microscopy
    SEM with EDS and EBSD , FIB -SEM , TEM JEOL120 and TEM TITAN, AFM.
  • Mechanical tests
    Traction-torsion and traction-compression machines (monotonous and fatigue, -200/1200°C, Helium quenching, quasi-statical up to 1m/s), nano-indentor, micro-machines for in situ tests in SEM and RX, tests on mono micro-fibers.
  • Physical measures
    X-ray diffraction (textures and internal stresses), thermal measures, (di)electrical measures, DMA, porosimetry.
  • Elaboration
    Nanotubes produced by CVD, in situ diagnostics, production of composites, cell culture.
  • High Performance Calculation
    Access to ECP cluster (parallel cluster with over 1000 cores).


  • rss

Director Hachmi BEN DHIA Phone : +33 (0)1 41 13 11 15 Email :


Many universities and laboratories in France including CNRS, CEA, etc.
Abroad : Technische Universität Wien (AUSTRIA), Université de Louvain and Université libre de Bruxelles (BELGIUM), Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (BRASIL), Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal and University of British Columbia (CANADA), Institute of metal research Shenyang/Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Physics/Chinese Academy of Science, Northwest University, Beijing University of Science & Technology and Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (CHINA), Universidad de los Andes (COLOMBIA), Czech Technical University in Prague (CZECH REPUBLIC), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (GREECE), Università Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria (ITALY), Saitama University (JAPAN), Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa and Universidade do Minho (PORTUGAL), Perm State Pedagogical University (RUSSIA), BarcelonaTech (SPAIN)Tishreen University in Latakia (SYRIA), Faculty of Sciences of Bizerta (TUNISIA), Institute for Computational Engineering and Science (TX University), Ames Lab (Iowa State University,IA), University of Illinois (Urbana-Champain, IL), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Nasa-Caltech, Pasadena, CA) and Columbia University (New York, NY) (U.S.A.), Universidad Central de Venezuela (VENEZUELA).



Key Figures

  • Faculty researchers and researchers: 19
  • Doctoral students: 39
  • Visiting researchers and postdocs: 8
  • Administrative and technical staff: 18
  • Publications in international refereed journals (source: Web of Science): 34
  • Value of research contracts signed (in addition to chairs): €1,045,875