Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Yu U. Wang


Ferroic materials, as notable members of smart materials, have been widely used in applications that perform sensing, actuation and control. The macroscopic property change of ferroic materials may become remarkably large during ferroic phase transition, leading to the fact that the macroscopic properties can be tuned by carefully applying a suitable external field (electric, magnetic, stress). To obtain an enhancement in physical and/or mechanical properties, different kinds of ferroic composites have been fabricated. The properties of a ferroic composite are determined not only by the properties and relative amounts of the constituent phases, but also by the microstructure of individual phase such as the phase connectivity, phase size, shape and spatial arrangement.

This dissertation mainly focuses on the computational study of microstructure – property – mechanism relations in two representative ferroic composites, i.e., two-phase particulate magnetoelectric (ME) composite and polymer matrix ferroelectric composite. The former is a great example of ferroic composite exhibiting a new property and functionality that neither of the constituent phases possesses individually. The latter well represents the kind of ferroic composites having property combinations that are better than the existing materials.

Phase field modeling was employed as the computing tool, and the required models for ferroic composites were developed based on existing models for monolithic materials. Extensive computational simulations were performed to investigate the microstructure-property relations and the underlying mechanism in ferroic composites. In particulate, it is found that for ME composite 0-3 connectivity (isolated magnetostrictive phase) is necessary to exhibit ME effect, and small but finite electrical conductivity of isolated magnetic phase can beneficially enhance ME effect. It is revealed that longitudinal and transverse ME coefficients of isotropic 0-3 particulate composites can be effectively tailored by controlling magnetic domain structures without resort to anisotropic two-phase microstructures. Simulations also show that the macroscopic properties of the ferroelectricpolymer composites critically depend on the ferroelectric phase connectivity while are not sensitive to the sizes and internal grain structures of the ceramic particles. Texturing is found critical to exploit the paraelectric«ferroelectric phase transition and nonlinear polarization behavior in paraelectric polycrystal and its polymer matrix composite. Additionally, a Diffuse Interface Field model was developed to simulate packing and motion in liquid phase which is promising for studying the fabrication of particulatepolymer composites.