Functional Design and Material Development

Fraunhofer IFAM has particular expertise in the development and processing of metallic and polymer materials. Based on their experience with these classes of materials, the researchers develop new functional materials. They define the functionalities to be integrated and can develop the entire manufacturing process in line with customer requirements. Last but not least, materials, material composites and designs can be digitally modeled, simulated and tested for the intended use.

Sintered and composite materials


Alloys, composites, material composites and structural materials with the required property profiles can be produced by mixing powders. The combination of properties can often be directly derived and realized by powder composites, taking into account the thermodynamic boundary conditions. Thus, properties such as hardness, toughness, Young's modulus, wear and thermal expansion can be adapted to the requirements. It is also possible to vary the density from continuous porosity to complete density in a component. During sintering, the component made of shaped powder acquires its final properties.

Polymeric materials


Additional functions can be integrated via the polymeric material. For example, the adhesive enables vibration damping, electrical insulation or corrosion protection. Depending on the molecular structure, a material composite can be endowed with shape memory properties or stimulus responsiveness, or used as a solid-state electrolyte in batteries.

Functional materials


The development of functional materials focuses on improving or enhancing material properties and the processing of the materials. The functional materials can be integrated directly into the component during the manufacturing process or applied to surfaces. They give the component additional or completely new properties, such as electrical or sensory functions. Nanoscale materials, but also magnetocaloric materials and composites come to mind.

Metal foams, cellular metallic materials and composite foams


With the focus on mass savings, novel lightweight materials such as cellular metallic materials have been developed in recent years. In addition to a drastic mass and thus material saving, cellular metallic materials can be used to realize application-specific properties that are determined in particular by the material and the cell structure, such as sound absorption, heat insulation, energy absorption, mechanical damping, mass and energy transport or catalytic effects.

Material and design simulation


In addition to experimental simulation, researchers master digital and numerical or stochastic approaches to predict the properties of materials and material composites. These methods can pursue quality assurance goals, but also to narrow down different options in material and design development through numerical simulation.