Fraunhofer IWM Competencies

Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM

© Fraunhofer IWM

We investigate the operational behavior of materials from a practical and customer-oriented point of view. In order to help you get the most out of the materials and components you use in your project, experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM assess, evaluate, optimize and develop new materials, components and processes. The latest findings in the fields of materials science and materials technology provide the basis for new insights and often quite remarkable models that describe the performance limits of components and systems. Tell us about the ideas, issues, constraints and goals that surround your endeavor and together we transform these into an effective project and can find a customized solution for the challenges you face.

Core competencies

Core competencies are the scientific and technical foundation of the Fraunhofer IWM. They are the 'tools of the trade' that enable our business units to take an interdepartmental approach when dealing with issues related to the mechanics of materials.

Material and component characterization

The key to accurately assessing and improving material reliability, component reliability and ultimately system reliability and service life is to understand the innermost structures of the material(s) in question. We have the skills and have ourselves developed many of the latest methods to investigate how materials and components react to mechanical, thermo-mechanical, dynamical, corrosive,  tribological, structural, chemomechanical and electro-mechanical loads and to identify failure mechanisms for reasons such as crack formation, wear, abrasion, fatigue or any other criteria important to the client. The experts at the Fraunhofer IWM will isolate and identify the necessary material parameters and assess them in correlation to their microstructure and to the structural processes at all levels of magnitude. Component reliability testing includes localized variations in material properties. We describe material structures and model material behavior from the macroscopic level, through the microstructural level right down to the atomic level. When assessing components, we account for failure characteristics and environmental influences.  [more about the Fraunhofer IWM approach to material and component characterization]

Material modeling and simulation

Computer simulations and related simulation software are essential in order to avoid a lengthy (and costly) process of trial-and-error during advanced material and component development as well as in order to depict complex load scenarios. Such simulations are also crucial for predicting the operational behavior of materials and components. The in-house expertise at the Fraunhofer IWM provides the capability to model materials at different levels of scale (multiscale modeling) and to measure model-specific properties (Design of Experiments). We can also describe the deformation, damage, failure and functional behavior of materials.  Our virtual testing laboratory enables us to predict the level of a component’s safety, the various stress points at which a component may fail and service life. Process simulation enables us to improve manufacturing parameters and tools for optimum component properties. The virtual microscope makes it possible to assess and define the functions of new materials.  [more about the Fraunhofer IWM approach to material modeling and simulation]

Tribology and surface design

Exposure to stress and loads during the manufacturing process or while in use often impact the component surfaces. Ultimately, such surfaces also frequently define the functionality of a technical system.   The Fraunhofer IWM has well-founded know-how, methods and procedures (many created by our in-house experts and specialists) at its disposal with which to define the optimum component surfaces with regards to the specific properties required in each case, such as friction coefficient, surface energy and optical impression. Our clarification of surface-related failure mechanisms go hand in hand with both the further development of the most modern determination techniques and the design of completely new analyzation methods for surface characterization. [more about the Fraunhofer IWM approach to Tribology and surface design]

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Fraunhofer IWM competence in solving materials technology issues

Combination of experiments and simulation

We are experts with much experience in the experimental identification, numerical modeling and computer simulation of material behavior under various loads. With this as a basis, we assess materials, components and systems extensively and develop measures that guarantee their functionality, reliability and optimize their ability to carry out their intended purpose.

Computer simulations along every stage of the process chain

We simulate material, component and system behavior in processes. This allows us to trace the development of material properties across multiple manufacturing stages so as to define the best possible component properties and the most economically efficient manufacturing processes. The experts at the Fraunhofer IWM have a firm basis in creating virtual replicas of every aspect of the process chain, which is critical to ensure a successful endeavor.

Multiscale modeling

We develop multiscale models in order to determine material properties on the basis of internal structures. We can then virtually affect the structural development during production and create new virtual material functions and functional mechanisms. To replicate the virtual experimentation in a non-virtual manner (i.e., in the “real world”) would require a lengthy trial and error process that would be time consuming and cost inefficient.

Integral view

We take an integral view of material, component and system development, manufacturing and operation, and identify the relevant parameters so as to analyze their behavior and seek opportunity for new component functions. This lays the foundation for the development of innovative manufacturing techniques, processes, testing concepts and products.

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Mechanics of materials in Freiburg

This flyer provides a compact overview of the services offered by our business units at the Fraunhofer IWM.

Link to brochure.

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