Bitzek aims to describe the interactions between cracks and material defects, and investigate the factors influencing breakage and destruction.
While his childhood friends built things, Erik was always more intrigued by how and why things break. Prof. Dr. Erik Bitzek has consistently followed this passion for materials, their structures, and their breaking points. This Ludwigsburg Native never minded if his observations were drawn from stones in his mineral collection, his favorite chocolate, or steel. After studying physics in Stuttgart, Bitzek started his doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research (now MPI for Intelligent Systems), turning this vocation into a profession. Now he has received a coveted ERC consolidator scholarship worth two million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) - to explore even more intensively why things break apart. With his latest research project 'microKIc - Microscopic origins of fracture toughness' at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Bitzek aims to describe the interactions between cracks and material defects, and investigate the factors influencing breakage and destruction.
"We do not know enough about the breaking processes in metals, in intermetallic compounds, or in semiconductors, to make theoretical predictions about the breaking strength of these materials," explains Bitzek. However, it is so important to understand these processes precisely - it is a matter of life and death! For example - in the construction and transport business, for the construction of components and machines, or the design of reactor pressure vessels - resistance to the spread of cracks is an essential property of the materials used, such as steel.
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