Scientists from Bangor and London will use one of the world's largest super-computing networks to aid their research.
Scientists in Bangor will be able to do the work via their PC
The team from Bangor University and University College London (UCL) will test materials via computer simulations without the need for expensive trials.
The resulting material - made of clay and plastic - could then be used during drilling in the oil industry.
The super-computer "grid" lets users access a European network of computers.
The team plans to run extremely large computer simulations, thousands of times larger than previously attempted, to predict the behaviour of a composite material made out of clay and plastic.
"It will allow us to gain previously unseen insight into these fascinating materials, working with a world-leading group at UCL," said Dr Chris Greenwell from the Bangor team.
"It is a very exciting time to be working in this area," he added.
If successful, the new material could be used by the oil industry for stabilizing the drill bit during drilling.
The chance to use the super-computer grid came through the Distributed European Infrastructure for Super-computing Applications (DEISA), a grid of national computing resources from the UK, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and France.