Aims and scope

Improving our understanding of the properties of civil engineering and environmental materials is a major issue for sustainable development. Indeed developing sustainable means for waste or CO2 storage, less energy consuming and more sustainable buildings, etc, are among the most critical environmental urgencies. Nevertheless the materials involved have a complex, multi-scale, heterogeneous structure, implying that a huge variety of interactions, chemical and physical processes are concurrently at work, and collectively determine the material’s properties.

The general purpose of Labex MMCD (Modélisation et Expérimentation Multi-Échelle des Matériaux pour la Construction Durable) is to develop advanced fundamental research for the detailed understanding of the physical phenomena governing the properties of construction materials and geomaterials, from their elaboration, through their usage, to their recycling. It relies on the various scientific skills available within the Paris-Est community, including theoretical and numerical modelling from atomistic to structural scales and experimental investigation, involving in particular innovative manufacturing processes and multiscale imaging techniques of materials.

A wide class of materials is considered, including rocks, soils, cement based materials and concrete, natural materials as wood or hemp, polymer or glass based materials, as well as their combination leading to various ranges of composites materials; model materials without direct application might also be considered in view of the detailed understanding of specific physical processes involved in more complex microstructures. Questions regarding the optimal use of traditional or more innovative materials in constructions are also of interest, as well as surface treatments for their functionalization.

Molecular simulations


Deformations in
a mud between 2 cylinders measured by MRI

Bituminous mix imaged by X-Ray microtomography

Segmentation associated with a
microtomography image of a mortar sample and numerically computed local von Mises stress fields


Labex MMCD gathers three laboratories of comparable size, as well as two smaller research groups, building up a community of about 200 researchers covering a rather wide set of scientific expertises.

  • Laboratoire Navier (Ecole des ponts ParisTech / IFSTTAR / CNRS), 60 permanent researchers (total of about 180 people), comprising presently 5 teams: Geotechnique/CERMES, MSA (Architectured materials and structures), ME (Multiscale modelling and experimentation of heterogeneous solid materials), Porous (Mechanics and physics of porous materials), Rheophysics.
  • Laboratoire Modélisation et Simulation Multi-Échelle (MSME, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée / Université Paris-Est Créteil / CNRS), 60 permanent researchers (total of 110 people), grouped into 4 teams: mechanics (MECA), biomechanics, theoretical chemistry (CT), matter and heat transfers (TCM).
  • Institut de Chimie et des Matériaux Paris-Est (ICMPE, Université Paris-Est Créteil / CNRS) with about 60 permanent researchers (total of 150 people), grouped into 5 teams, among which three are involved in the activities of the Labex: Complex polymers systems (SPC), Rare earth metallurgical chemistry (CMTR), Metals and ceramics with controlled microstructures (MCMC)
  • Centre d’Enseignement et de Recherche en Mathématiques et Calcul Scientifique (CERMICS, École des ponts ParisTech). About 7 among the 20 permanent researchers are concerned with the the development of mathematical and numerical methods for materials science and mechanics.
  • The team “Capteurs et Microsystèmes de Mesure” of laboratoire Électronique, Systèmes de Communication et Microsystèmes (CMM/ESYCOM, ESIEE / Université Paris-Est Marne- la-Vallée) is made of 6 permanent researchers (total of 20), specialised in the development of sensors and microfluidics devices. Formerly only associated member, CMM/ESYCOM is full member of the Labex since early 2015.



Labex MMCD is coordinated by Michel Bornert, in charge of the management and scientific strategy.

The scientific animation is organized within four thematic axes:

Roughly speaking, they refer to the typical scales of the phenomena under consideration, ranging from nanometric scales considered in Axis 1, to metric scales of macroscopic structures considered in Axis 4; Axes 2 and 3 refer primarily to intermediate microscopic scales, at which matter might be described as a continuum, Axis 2 being focused on solid type behaviours, while Axis 3 considers fluid-type behaviours, in a large strain regime. Advanced fundamental scientific challenges are addressed within these Axes, through funded projects involving at least two different teams of the Labex, with complementary skills.

In addition, since 2016, a few larger transverse projects have been funded and address more generic questions requiring wider ranges of skills to be addressed. Currently, three transverse projects are being funded.

The main decisions are taken by the Executive Committee, composed of the Labex coordinator, the Axes coordinators and the heads of the five involved laboratories or research groups, which gather as often as necessary (about 3 to 4 times a year).

An External Scientific Board composed of 6 international scientific experts and headed by Henri Van Damme is consulted twice a year on the scientific activities and orientations of the Labex. The “Conseil des Parties“, composed of the Labex coordinator and representatives of the supervisory authorities (Université Paris Est, Ecole des ponts ParisTech, IFSTTAR, ESIEE, UPEM, UPEC, CNRS, ANR) meets once a year.


Labex MMCD has been created in March 2012 and is funded by the “Investment for the Future” program from the french government. The total grant is 6M€ for the period 2012-2019.

About 80% if these funds are devoted to PhD or post-doc grants (see funded projects), 12% served to acquire specific laboratory equipments, 4% are used to sponsor scientific events (international conferences and workshops, co-organised by Labex members) and to invite international scholars, the remaining being devoted to managing costs.


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