Materials Surfaces: Durability, Functionality, Appearance and Perception

Materials Surfaces: Durability, Functionality, Appearance and Perception


Materials interact with their surrounding through their surfaces. Surfaces determine how a structure looks like. Interaction of materials with living matter depends on surface properties. Degradation of materials starts via surface processes. The durability of materials surfaces is crucial for the production of sustainable structures. How users perceive a material is crucial for commercial success of products.

Central elements here are the relation between fundamental properties and macroscopic systems performance. Often, there is only a limited understanding of the full causes and effects. Modern computational tools help underpinning this understanding. We will connect academic aspects with industrial problems.

Atomic details. Graphics
Atomic details are important for macroscopic appearance of a materials. However, degradation processes lead to changes in appearance over time, and affect the integrity of structures.


Relevant competence

This village is suitable for anyone and benefits from a large complementarity of participants’ background subject, and interest is more important than solid background. For students with a background or interest in subjects such as materials science, physics, chemical engineering, computer science, architecture and design, psychology, product design, biology, media studies and many others, it will be possible to use  and extend their subject-specific knowledge in interdisciplinary projects.

Project choice will depend on which competences a team will have.


About the village

Humans interact with materials through materials surfaces. The environment interacts with materials (and virtually any object) through the materials surface. Macroscopic properties, such as degradation resistance, optical appearance or haptic appearance depend a lot on complex details of the surface of a given material. In this village, we will explore in a truly interdisciplinary fashion the complex relationship between macroscopic properties and details on all length scales – down to atomic details.

Projects in this village will make use of the special knowledge of the village members in their field of specialization, throughout the complete course catalogue of a university. Projects are initiated and developed by the students. Projects can be developed in contact with researchers from different academic or industrial environments. Possibilities include but are by no means limited to visualizing failure mechanisms, interactions of materials with life, or developing understanding of what drives perception of a material.

The mission of the village is to have some kind of product at the end, which will be available for students, researchers or the general public, on a very specific topic related to materials surfaces.

As this is a new village, participants can participate actively in developing structure, topics, culture and scope of the village.

Intra-group communication is possible both in Norwegian and in English.

Schematic cross section. Graphics

Materials surfaces. Graphics


Fakta om landsbyen - TMT4850

Course code: TMT4852
Village: Materials Surfaces: Durability, Functionality, Appearance and Perception
Type: Semester-based
Language: English
Village supervisor: Andreas Erbe
Contact information:
Semester: Spring 2021

Important information about EiT

Important information about EiT:

  • The focus on teamwork skills and group processes is the unique feature of Experts in Teamwork (EiT)
  • EiTs teaching methods depend on the contribution and presence of every participant throughout the semester. For this reason, attendance is compulsory on every village day.
  • In contrast to many courses, the first few days are especially important in EiT. During this period, get to know each other and discuss what each individual can contribute. You will also draw up the compulsory cooperation agreement and start preparing a shared research question.
  • For additional information about Experts in Teamwork, see page for students