Vincenzo Brachetta

PhD Student in Metallurgy and Materials


What is your research background and current field of research?

My research background is in computational solid mechanics, which studies complex physical-mathematical problems through numerical approximation. In the past, I have worked on numerical simulations for variational fracture mechanics, mathematically described as a free-discontinuity problem and solved numerically by minimising the total energy functional using the finite element method. I am currently working on thermo-mechanical problems for calculating residual stresses in additive manufacturing of a titanium alloy, with the long-term aim to save natural and economical resources. Indeed, the ultimate goal of every engineer should be to contribute to the improvement of well-being, health and safety, whilst preserving the natural environment and resources for future generations, and only by solving society’s complex problems can this goal be achieved.

Which BEAR services have been most helpful to you in your research?

The high-performance computing technology offered by BlueBEAR was instrumental in solving a mathematical problem for which no analytical solution is known. In particular, it allowed me to explore numerically the impact of processing conditions on the stress state and microstructural transformation of a material when subjected to a laser heat source. To perform the calculations, I extensively used SIMULIA/Abaqus via the job scheduler Slurm Workload Manager running in the GNU/Linux operating system, whilst the Research Data Store proved indispensable for efficient, reliable, safe and secure storage of results data. There is no doubt that this type of research would have been impossible with conventional technologies.

How widespread do you think BEAR services are known in your School and how do you plan to spread the word?

Material science is witnessing a major shift from purely experimental to computational techniques and this will certainly require more numerical skills from the next generation of scientists. However, since this leap requires interdisciplinary expertise, the consequence may be that the powerful numerical capabilities of the BlueBEAR supercomputer will be underestimated and its potential only minimally utilised, as is presumably happening now. Therefore, my plan is to support all new researchers who are keen to approach computational studies, through the direct promotion of services and with seminars or individual meetings. In addition, I will be glad to encourage anyone from any discipline who wants to take full advantage of high-performance computing to analyse data with innovative methods for positive social impact.

How can researchers in your school/college contact you?

Anyone interested in supplementing their studies with numerical methods can contact me on my university e-mail account or on LinkedIn. Beyond my area of study, since I strongly believe in interdisciplinary research, I am willing to collaborate with any researcher, including those from other disciplines such as the humanities. I will be more than happy to explore the fantastic capabilities of BEAR services in innovative ways.

What's an interesting fact about you?

 I started learning assembly language independently when I was in high school.