archives : GDR Mecano 2008-2011

Last event |   General Meeting on the Mechanics of Nano-objects
Marseille, November 5-6, 2015

main topics 

scientific committee

scientific project




GDRi CNRS "Mechanics of Nano-Objects"

For 4 years (2008-2011) the CNRS-funded Research network MECANO has been organizing scientific discussions on the issue of mechanical properties in small dimensions. 44 laboratories all over France have participated in scientific meetings, workshops and schools with lively discussions around this rapidly moving field. The MECANO network is a multidisciplinary one, which brings together physicists, mechanical engineers and chemists. The scientific questions raised by the issue of size effects on mechanical properties are many fold: one has – as always in nanoscience -  to question how the basic theories we use at the macro- and meso- scales (plasticity, continuum elasticity, etc) apply at the nanometre scale. But studying mechanical properties of nanosize objects challenges also the experimental tools one needs to use: how to implement reproducible and controllable mechanical loading? How to measure fields (displacement, stress, strain, etc) with the required nano-resolution? Moreover nanoscience is often tackling the limits of continuum theories and thus simulation is an increasingly important tool to evaluate the different scale changes needed (from atoms to nano-objects). Finally most nano-objects are man made and the way they are grown or fabricated greatly influences their properties. Last but not least mechanics at the nanoscale is an important issue in various technologies. This concerns the reliability of the devices but also the enhancement of performances caused by strain: it is rather obvious when dealing with nanoelectronics or nanosystems but it is also important in coatings or in metallurgical alloys (nanoprecipitates are key for enhancing mechanical performances). This is therefore not a surprise that industrial partners (STMicroelectronics, St Gobain, Arcelor Mittal) have wished to join the network.

During the fall of 2010 MECANO’s achievements and prospects have been analysed [rapport]. Clearly the scientific questions raised are not exhausted. Moreover a clear need for formation of young scientists has appeared. On the other hand extending the network beyond French borders appears as an imperious necessity: our foreign colleagues have developed strong and complementary expertises. Moreover a number of MECANO members already have strong collaborations abroad and it would be extremely beneficial to share these partnerships. Such reflections have been submitted to the CNRS committees and the reports they gave have been very positive. This is the reason why we have founded an international CNRS research network focused on “Mechanics of Nano-objects”.

The scientific project has been drafted around 4 main themes:

  1. Mechanics in small dimensions: elasticity, plasticity and fracture

  2. Experimental methods: local fields mapping and mechanical testing

  3. Modelling and simulation: from angstroms to microns

  4. Coupling between growth, stress and composition in nano-objects

These four topics are indeed strongly coupled and offer a convenient way to organize the scientific life of the network.


Coordinator : Olivier Thomas (IM2NP, Aix-Marseille University)
Co-coordinators : Anne Ponchet (CEMES, CNRS, Toulouse) and T. Pardoen (Université Catholique Louvain, Belgium)