Business unit Process and material assessment
Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM
We help our clients to select and substitute materials, to assess and optimize individual manufacturing processes and to characterize the strength and performance of monolithic materials, composite materials and components. The work in this business unit is focused on experimental investigations and simulations related to material microstructures, to alterations of material properties due to manufacturing processes for example, forming, thermal joining processes or to the assessment of endurance limits under operational conditions. Our researchers propose solutions for microstructural design, means to influence residual stress states, optimizing manufacturing processes and operational conditions.
Range of services
- Microstructure and damage analyses, expert opinions.
- Virtual material design for composite materials with polymer, ceramic and metal matrices as well as for embedded PZT actuators and sensors.
- Experimental and numerical characterization and evaluation of strength, fatigue and crack propagation behavior of (composite) materials and components under operational conditions.
- Simulation and identification of residual stresses, distortions, microstructure and hydrogen diffusion during welding and heat treatment.
- Simulation and identification of microstructures, texture and damage development during forming processes.
- Determination of thermophysical data and thermal/thermomechanical conversion diagrams.
- Hydrogen content measurements, determination of diffusion coefficients for metals, also under the influence of mechanical stress.
- Increase in surface layer strength in brittle materials via mechanical treatment.
The evaluation of fatigue behavior in metal structures and the analysis of deformation and failure behavior in fiber reinforced composites and hybrid lightweight components are becoming increasingly important. We have many years of experience in the development of testing methods suitable for specific materials and operating conditions. Finite element material simulations for welding and heat treatment are used to simulate and experimentally verify the microstructure, distortions, residual stress states and effects due to hydrogen embrittlement in order to prevent cold cracking. Non-damaging forming processes used on metals that are difficult to form can be improved thanks to our microstructure-based simulation of the changes in microstructure and damage during these processes. Manufacturers and users of brittle materials can work with our unique surface layer strain hardening process. We can provide clients with publically appointed, certified experts to assess cases of damage.
High resolution light and optoelectronic processes, nano indentations, X-ray diffraction for phase, texture and residual stress analyses as well as flexible testing facilities for static and fatigue strength tests are all on stand-by. We apply standard methods and also develop and use testing methods that are tailored to meet the special needs of (composite) materials. Various heat treatment conditions are characterized using our thermomechanical welding simulation equipment. Our pool of equipment is complemented by our analysis facilities for example to determine thermophysical material data, diffusible hydrogen contents and diffusion coefficients. We use various commercial programs to carry out finite element analyses and have complemented the software with our own developments.