121 Introduction

Thermomechanical behavior as well as physical attributes (and their subsequent characterization) of advanced materials [e.g., superalloys, intermetallics, functionally graded materials, advanced composites (polymer, metal, or ceramic matrix)] are currently the subject of extensive investigation worldwide. The determination of the properties and performance (mechanical, thermal, thermomechanical, physical, environmental, etc.) of these advanced materials is required for a number of reasons: (1) to provide basic characterization for purposes of materials development, quality control, and comparative studies, (2) to provide a research tool for revealing the underlying mechanisms of mechanical performance, and (3) to provide engineering performance prediction data for engineering applications and components design [1]. As prototype and trial products comprised for advanced materials reach the marketplace, the paucity of standards (i.e., test methods, classification systems, unified terminology, and reference materials) for these materials and the lack of design codes and their related databases specific to these materials are limiting factors in commercial diffusion and industrial acceptance [2] of advanced materials.

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