Metallic and hybrid materials are investigated aiming at lowering production costs and weight of components for aerospace and transport applications and, moreover, to increase functionality and performance. The research activities focus on the development, characterization and assessment of light-weight and high-temperature alloys. Besides experimental methods, also modelling and simulation tools are being employed with particular emphasis on multiscalar and multidimensional methods. The methodology ranges from in-situ synchrotron imaging and diffraction techniques with sub-micron resolution to structure-mechanical experiments on meter-sized specimens mimicking airframe structures.
In terms of Materials Design the research activities encompass (i) additive manufacturing of alloys by means of powder bed based methods such as Selective Laser Melting, (ii) surface preparation and interface characterization for hybrid engineering materials, and (iii) development of new titanium and aluminum alloys and their processing strategies for transportation.
In the framework of additive manufacturing of alloys primarily using laser-based powder bed technologies, specific processing routes of “conventional” alloys are developed as well as novel alloys designed tailored to the unique metallurgical conditions of additive manufacturing. Among the materials considered are titanium alloys and titanium aluminides commonly employed in aerospace applications.
The research activities dedicated to surfaces and interfaces address adhesive joining technologies as well as welding and soldering for hybrid engineering materials and structures. Surface pretreatments are being developed for bonding thermoplastic or thermoset materials such as fiber-reinforced-polymers to metals, which is a prerequisite e.g. for fiber-metal-laminates. Bonding, degradation (aging) and failure mechanisms are being studied in detail to derive the fundamentals to systematically develop surface pretreatment technologies for new material combinations. Further activities in this area are dedicated to polymer-polymer joining as well as interfaces in brazing joints.
The alloy and process developments target on the one hand new processing routes for alloy production (e.g. molten-salt electrolysis for custom or conventional Ti-Al-V alloys) and on the other the processing strategies and characterization of new titanium and aluminum alloys for aerospace and ground-based transport.