Composite Materials

High-tech composite components

Trauma plates made of strongly-filled polylactic acid composite, e.g. for internal fixation of small hand long bones
© Fraunhofer IFAM

Trauma plates made of strongly-filled polylactic acid composite, e.g. for internal fixation of small hand long bones

Interference screws made from PLA, hydroxyapatite and stainless steel
© Fraunhofer IFAM

Interference screws made from PLA, hydroxyapatite and stainless steel

Composite materials are systems made of at least two different materials. The resulting material system has either better or completely different properties compared to the individual materials.

The development, shaping, and application of composite materials are key research areas at Fraunhofer IFAM. We focus in particular on particle and fiber composites with very high filler content. Infiltrated composites, whereby at least two phases penetrate one another, are also the topic of R&D studies.

In addition to material development work, Fraunhofer IFAM is also engaged in the preparation and processing of polymer based composite materials. Key technologies for are mixing, compounding, and solvent-based processes.

One focus in the development of polymer based composites is compounding of thermoplasts with powder particles to achieve enhanced mechanical and functional properties. For example gold particles can be incorporated in a polymer matrix to allow attachment of proteins. Special processes are also developed to achieve particularly high filler contents in biodegradable polymers to tailor mechanical properties, bioactivity and bioresorption.

The processing of composite materials involves various molding processes such as extrusion, injection molding, and compaction. This can be carried out directly or based on powder-form starting materials.