Material engineering

  • Calculating Quietness

    Perforated sound absorbers for engines. Figure: Schmidt/MATHEON

    Noise bothers people and can cause illness. Researchers are working to dampen the sound directly at the source, for example through perforated walls in engines. Scientists around junior-group leader Dr. Kersten Schmidt from the Berlin research center MATHEON have now developed mathematical models helping to simulate and optimize sound emitters like this considerably faster and with a lower computational effort than before. The engine manufacturers in the region will also benefit from this.

  • Fraunhofer creates new group for innovation research

    The Center for Virtual Engineering ZVE, Headquarters of the Fraunhofer IAO, founding member of the new group. Photo: Christian Richters, © Fraunhofer IAO, UNStudio, ASPLAN

    Pooling competencies: Fraunhofer cementing its position as a leading player in the German innovation arena

  • Fraunhofer ILT brings Additive Manufacturing to SMEs

    Eye-catcher at this year's LASER World of PHOTONICS was a model of the Ariane 5 rocket which will put the MERLIN satellite into space. A loan from the DLR e.V., Cologne. Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany / Klaus D.Wolf

    From June 26 to 29, the laser community met again at the LASER World of PHOTONICS in Munich. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT was there with more than 50 exhibits from the various fields of applied laser technology and beam-source development: This year the spectrum ranged from diode and fiber lasers to new measurement technology all the way to complete machines for additive processes or even laser systems for space.

  • GSI Scientists Participate in Top 10 Discovery

    Nuclear clock based on a transition in the atomic nucleus of thorium-229. Copyright: Christoph Düllmann, JGU Mainz

    Scientists from GSI are participants in one of the ten most important discoveries of 2016. A publication by a team of researchers led by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) and including scientists and engineers from GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM), and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is among the most important breakthroughs in physics in 2016. The team’s work is featured as one of the “2016 Top Ten Breakthroughs of the Year” announced recently in Physics World — the magazine of the British Institute of Physics.

  • Gum metals pave the way for new applications

    Scanning electron microscopy image showing the different phases in the peculiar gum-type titanium alloy.  Jian Zhang, Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

    Max Planck scientists discover peculiarities in crystal structure of titanium alloy

    Metals which can be bent as gum pave the way for new industrial applications for example in the aerospace industry. These so-called gum metals exist but the mechanism behind this behaviour was still unsettled and thus difficult to be used for applications. Scientists from the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung (MPIE) in Düsseldorf have observed a new phase transformation in a titanium alloy that could further our understanding of exactly this behaviour whereby the term “phase” refers to the crystal structure in which the atoms are arranged.

  • High-speed, environmentally friendly laser structuring for tools used in metal foil manufacture

    Laser structuring of metal foil. Source: Fraunhofer IPT

    Cost efficiency coupled with high productivity without any adverse impact on the environment: As part of the EU “PoLaRoll” Project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT is collaborating with the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT and with partners from industry to develop a module capable of direct laser micro-structuring in a roll-to-roll process. The aim is to produce a sieve-like metal foil which will be used to protect glass facades from the effects of the sun: their special geometry will lower the impact of solar radiation, thereby reducing the amount of energy required in order to cool and ventilate the building.

  • Improving heating-based components with foam

    Open-cell metal foam can be used in heat exchangers, convectors and coolers.   © Fraunhofer IFAM Dresden

    The energy efficiency of heat exchangers, convectors and cooling elements can be improved even further. Open-pore structures made of metal foam, which have good thermal conductivity and a large surface, offer interesting possibilities here. The BINE Projektinfo brochure entitled "Metal foam – a material for heat engineering" (11/2016) presents the development work for these materials. The aim is to optimise the manufacturing process, reduce costs and test the materials on test rigs. The material properties of the different alloys will be recorded in a database.

  • International high-tech companies present their innovations together with IVAM in California

    22 times bending press This part is 10mm long with 22 bending pieces, the accuracy within ±0.03mm. By preparing 7sets of bending die in-house, our highly skilled engineer makes 30 pieces in a week.  NISINO SEIKI CO., LTD.

    For the fourth time, the IVAM Microtechnology Network is going to present a joint booth at the medical exhibition MD&M West 2017 in California from February 7-9, 2017.
    The IVAM joint booth will be branded as “Micro Nanotech“ area and can be found in hall C. 13 international exhibitors will showcase technologies and products that constantly make medical technology products safer, cheaper and more reliable.

  • New measurement method for materials subjected to high thermal and mechanical loads

    Cyclical fatigue test at 1000 °C with tactile and optical strain sensor. Foto: Fraunhofer IWM, Fraunhofer IPM

    Materials for light construction and high-temperature applications first have to be qualified before use in order to be able to utilize them to their full potential. The fatigue tests necessary for this purpose can now be performed with a newly developed optical strain measurement system with significantly faster test frequencies without the use of conventional, contacting measurement systems which lead to unwanted damage to test specimens. The versatile process developed by the Fraunhofer IWM and IPM combines the advantages of previous optical and mechanical measuring methods.

  • Reliability of TPedge PV Modules Successfully Tested

    TPedge module with 2 mm thick glass undergoing distributed load test.  ©Fraunhofer ISE

    The TPedge concept reduces the material and production costs of PV modules, since encapsulation foils and the lamination process are no longer needed. At the same time, the aging stability of the PV module increases appreciably. In the project “TPedge,” researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with their partners have developed processes so that the innovative PV modules can be manufactured on an industrial scale.

  • Self-disposing supramolecular materials with a tunable lifetime

    With the peptide-synthesizer Dr. Marta Tena-Solsona produces the building blocks for the gels she investigates. Photo: Uli Benz / TUM

    Materials that assemble themselves and then simply disappear at the end of their lifetime are quite common in nature. Researchers at the Technical University Munich (TUM) have now successfully developed supramolecular materials that disintegrate at a predetermined time – a feature that could be used in numerous applications. Plastic bottles, empty cans, old toys, torn T-shirts and worn-out mobile phones – day for day, mankind produces millions of tons of waste. How can we prevent our planet from stifling in the garbage?

  • Solar cells: Optimised growth and sawing of crystals

    The produced wafers are ready for the next steps on the path to the module.  © SolarWorld GmbH

    The market for photovoltaic systems is highly competitive. In order to achieve higher efficiency and reduce costs, manufacturers are continuously optimising the production processes. The new BINE-Projektinfo brochure "Cheaper production of solar cells" (02/2017) presents two improved production processes. The first makes it possible to produce quasi-monocrystalline silicon with a significantly lower energy requirement and at the same time obtain a very pure, high-quality silicon. The second reduces the material losses when the silicon ingots are sawn into many thin slices (wafers). The new sawing technology will enable more wafers to be obtained from the same amount of silicon.

  • Thermoelectric Cooling Gets Fit for Micro Technology

    Array of micro-thermoelectric devices with a packing density of about 5,000 pieces per square centimeter. The free-standing design reduces thermo-mechanical stress. Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper- und Werkstoffforschung

    Scientists at Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW) have significantly improved the processing of thermoelectric devices so that they become quicker, more reliably and suitable for integration in microchips. This represents a decisive step towards the broad application of thermoelectric components in micro technology. Thermoelectric materials can convert heat into electricity or, vice versa, can be used as environmentally friendly cooling elements. In many processes in everyday life and in industry, energy losses occur in form of waste heat, which can be converted by thermoelectric generators into electrical energy. This also provides an additional power source in these systems.

  • Topological Quantum Chemistry

    Cover of the journal Nature from July 20, 2017. By courtesy of Nature / Illustration by JVG

    An international team of researchers has found a way to determine whether a crystal is a topological insulator — and to predict crystal structures and chemical compositions in which new ones can arise. The results, published July 20 in the journal Nature, show that topological insulators are much more common in nature than currently believed.

    Topological materials, which hold promise for a wide range of technological applications due to their exotic electronic properties, have attracted a great deal of theoretical and experimental interest over the past decade, culminating in the 2016 Nobel Prize in physics. The materials' electronic properties include the ability of current to flow without resistance and to respond in unconventional ways to electric and magnetic fields.

  • World´s Smallest Jet Engine Invented in Stuttgart

    Urea reacts with the enzymes on the inside wall of the nanotube and this biocatalytic reaction propels the tube forward. MPI-IS

    For the second time, Dr. Samuel Sánchez from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart receives the Guinness World Record for the smallest nanotube travelling through fluid like a jet engine. Stuttgart (lb) - Dr. Samuel Sánchez is thrilled, just like last time he received a Guinness World Record for the smallest jet engine ever created. Sánchez is a Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart where he heads the smart nano-bio-devices group. Together with scientist Xing Ma from China, the 37-year-old developed an engine 220 nm in diameter, roughly 200 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.