Tracking material property changes in production and in use

Integrated Computational Materials Engineering ICME

A computer-aided link between materials science, product development and manufacturing processes, the aim of ICME is to generate the best possible component performance, efficient development processes and cost-effective manufacturing processes.

ICME (Integrated Computational Materials Engineering) can be defined as the integration of materials information, captured in computational tools, with engineering product performance analysis and manufacturing-process simulation.


  • Can shorten the materials development cycle, resulting in significant development time cost savings;
  • Overcomes existing design constraints and technology limitations by promoting the efficient exploration of new materials as well as variants of existing materials;
  • Improves component performance by the development of customized properties and functions;
  • Produces higher manufacturing yield and cost-effectiveness by computer-aided process optimization;
  • Promotes the development of new or modification of existing manufacturing processes, which are optimized on a project by project basis;
  • Empowers advances in situations where validation cannot be accomplished by means of experimentation or requires unrealistic experimental time frames
  • Allows for accurate prediction of component life;
  • Permits materials to be “design solutions” rather than merely choices from a static menu

ICME creates consistent links between the manufacturing and operational mechanisms that are relevant to component function which take place within materials on different scales of time and size. This means that changes in material properties can be tested according to a strict set of criteria, tracked and described in numbers through the entire synthesis process and subsequently during the component’s use. This provides a basis for determining and eliminating weaknesses in the manufacturing processes and during the product’s lifecycle.

ICME has been designed for:

  • Modeling and Simulation of microstructural evolution
  • Virtual identification of material data and the development of suitable material models
  • Virtual prediction and real achievement of component properties such as the absence of cracks, contour accuracy, lifecycle or crash strength
  • Optimization of tools and processing steps to enhance the manufacturing yield

ICME@Fraunhofer IWM

Methodologically and scientifically, ICME is at the core of our self-conception at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM: it incorporates materials modeling, process and component simulations, material characterization and process optimization in an integrative manner.

Specialists at the Fraunhofer IWM assess materials and components in terms of their mechanical and functional suitability. The key lies in the close links between the experimental investigation of the behavior of a material and the theoretical modeling of properties and processes on the atomic, microstructural and macroscopic level.

Crucially, significant improvements and innovations in functionality, reliability, operational life or cost-effectiveness only become possible by adopting the “integrated” view that forms the basis of ICME. For example, since the reaction of a material or component to loads involves a variety of different mechanisms, by utilizing ICME to link information from different scales and by tracking changes in material properties along several processing stages, experts at the Fraunhofer IWM are able to quantitatively describe the relationships between processing steps, material microstructures, material properties and component behavior.

Specifically, Fraunhofer IWM projects deal with processing simulations, fiber-reinforced plastics processing, the atomistic material design of substitute materials, a virtual testing laboratory for new high-temperature materials and the development of correlative microstructure investigation methods. The results are validated in prototype components – which are essential for the industrial acceptance of the ICME approach.

to top