In the area of metallic and intermetallic sintered and composite materials for functional and structural applications, Fraunhofer IFAM possesses in-depth understanding of structure-property relationships and how to optimize these for specific applications. The complete powder-metallurgical technology chain from powder preparation and characterization through to various shaping and thermal treatment methods is covered. This is now being further expanded by methods such as rapid solidification of metallic melts (melt spinning and extraction) and special sintering processes (e. g. spark plasma sintering) as well as innovative oven analysis.
Fraunhofer IFAM has comprehensive knowledge of alloys and processes for manufacturing light metal components, in particular made of aluminum, for weight reduction in car manufacture. Regarding metallic composites, the focus is on materials development for thermal management of electronics, friction materials and sliding materials for high tribological loads, and special materials for mechanical and corrosive stresses at high temperature (> 800°C). The manufacture and testing of functional materials for energy storage and conversion is of growing importance. Key areas here are new and, in particular, nano-structured materials for hydrogen generation and storage, for heat storage, for efficient thermoelectric generators, and for supercapacitors.
Cellular metallic and lightweight materials are another key development area. Prudent selection of materials and a wide range of customizable cell and pore structures allow a wide spectrum of application-specific properties and material savings to be realized. For example, highly porous metallic materials such as fiber-metallurgical materials, hollow sphere structures, open-cell metallic foams, 3D screen-printed structures, 3D wire structures, and porous metal papers can be used for applications such as noise absorption, heat insulation, energy absorption, mechanical damping, and material and energy transport as well as for achieving catalytic effects.