A Review of Computational Modeling Techniques in Study and Design of Shape Memory Ceramics

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Shape memory ceramics are a unique family of shape memory materials with a wide variety of applications, such as ultra-high energy dissipation and high-temperature actuation. Along with significant progress in the experimental study of zirconia-based shape memory ceramics in recent years, computational simulations have exhibited powerful capabilities in revealing nano/microstructure-dependent deformation and failure mechanisms in these materials. In this work, we review the recent progress in understanding the phase transformation behavior in shape memory ceramics, focusing on computational modeling of zirconia-based ceramics. Electronic structure calculations have provided new data on the phase stability and surface properties of shape memory ceramics. At the nanometer length scale, molecular dynamics simulations have captured fundamental information about martensitic phase transformation and the effects of grain boundaries and defects on mechanical response of bi- and polycrystalline zirconia-based ceramics. At the micrometer length scale, advanced phase-field models have shown the ability to predict morphological evolution of microstructures and the corresponding mechanical responses in good agreement with experimental observations. Despite the recent multiscale computational advancements, further developments are required to establish processing-structure-property-performance relations that will lead to reliable and practical strategies for designing zirconia-based (or other) ceramics with improved and sustained shape memory responses. This article critically reviews current computational modeling techniques and provides an outlook for the study and design of the next generation of shape memory ceramics.