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WEB European Materials & Modelling Ontology: a digital framework for materials sciences

Tuesday (22.09.2020)
11:20 - 11:35 M: Modelling and Simulation 2
Part of:

The European Materials & Modelling Ontology (EMMO) provides materials scientists with a tool designed to capture the richness and complexity of their information and knowledge about materials within a coherent semantic framework. EMMO is based on fundamental concepts of physics as well as analytical philosophy. For example, it makes extensive use of mereotopology to capture the relations of objects to each other, including relating connectedness to some interaction based on physical forces, and utilising mereology to express the hierarchical nature of materials. EMMO puts the ontologist in charge of declaring objects as they see fit for the application rather than as 'universals'. The exception is that EMMO declares that there is a quantum and an elementary level, i.e. a smallest possible 4D spacetime unit and a smallest possible spatial extent, typically given in physics by elementary particles. It is up to the user, however, to declare their relevant elementary level, depending on the application of the ontology. Furthermore, EMMO provides multiple Perspectives, which enables the complexity of materials to be captured. For example, the Reductionistic Perspective enables the ontologist to represent a material as made of a hierarchy of smaller and smaller parts. On the other hand, the participation of a material in a process can be represented via the Holistic Perspective which is useful for example for an observation process such as a measurement on a material, carried out with an instrument and leading to properties. The latter are Signs, typically expressed by symbols (e.g. real numbers and SI Units), which are the result of an observation on a material. A similar concept for the definition of properties is indeed used in ISO 10303 standards.

EMMO is being applied to a range of cases in different projects and examples from the recently started OntoTrans project ( will be given. OntoTrans is developing an EMMO/Artificial Intelligence based approach that connects a materials/manufacturing challenge to relevant information sources and modelling solutions, capable to support optimal materials and process design.

EMMO is the result of a coordinated effort by the European Materials Modelling Council (EMMC) and is now governed within the structures of the recently formed association EMMC ASBL (

Dr. Gerhard Goldbeck
Goldbeck Consulting Ltd
Additional Authors:
  • Prof. Emanuele Ghedini
    University of Bologna
  • Dr. Adham Hashibon
    Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM
  • Dr. Georg J. Schmitz
    ACCESS e.V.
  • Dr. Jesper Friis
    SINTEF Industry