Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM

Whether you are in business or a public institution, we address your materials related research and development concerns in application-oriented projects – from damage analysis to process development to materials innovations.

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We realize solutions for the optimized use of material properties to improve the reliability, life expectancy and safety of components and develop new materials as well as resource-efficient manufacturing processes.

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Our research concerning material changes in processes and components enables us to develop material models, characterizations and simulation methodologies for our clients.

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Sustainable solutions for the optimized use of material properties and new material functions


The Fraunhofer IWM is a research and development partner for industry and public contracting bodies concerning the topics of component and systems reliability, safety, durability and functionality. The Fraunhofer IWM’s »mechanics of materials« approach is used to identify weaknesses and defects in materials and components, determine their causes and develop solutions that lead to the safer use of components as well as the development of functional materials and resource efficient manufacturing processes.

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Range of services at the Fraunhofer IWM


Solutions to avoid and control defects, crack formation, deformation, fracture, failure, wear and fatigue in materials and components when taxed with mechanical, thermal, chemical or electrical loads

Material characterization, component testing, damage analyses, failure diagnosis and microstructural analysis

Materials modeling, process and component simulation on the atomic, microscopic and/or macroscopic scale

Surface layer assessment, coatings, tribology, functionalization, bio-surface and interfacial analysis

Process and material development

Visit the Fraunhofer IWM Business Unit page that best fits your endeavor. Not sure where to begin? Contact Us and we’ll be happy to help you find the right place to start.

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Latest Fraunhofer IWM research news and reports


Creating digital twins of materials

(12/03/2018) To ensure the digital networking of production systems and the optimization of material-specific requirements, we need to measure, analyze and replicate the changes in material properties in a process in which “digital twins” of materials are created. The materials data space developed by Fraunhofer researchers has laid the groundwork for this process.


Workshop MaterialDigital2019 on May 14th and 15th, 2019

(10/26/2018) For the second MaterialDigital workshop, industry leaders and scientists - convinced that development and production processes can be designed far more efficiently with the help of digital workflows - come together to work on topics such as artificial intelligence, digital representation, data platforms, data formats and high-throughput methods to create digital workflows, material data streams and to increase material intelligence in products and processes. They believe that product life cycle management will be greatly improved via describing material properties and their changes as thoroughly as possible.


MagnetPredictor: predicting the magnetic properties of materials

(09/03/2018) Permanent magnets used in electric cars and wind turbines currently contain rare earth metals. Reducing the amount of these elements in magnets is important, as mining them is harmful both to health and the environment. Researchers have now developed a new machine learning tool to assist in quickly and easily predicting the ferromagnetic crystal properties of novel material compositions.


Video Portrait: Materials Technology as a Driver of Innovation

(06/25/18) Prof. Dr. Peter Gumbsch, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM and Professor at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, along with his teams are conducting research under laboratory conditions under the motto »more economical, more efficient and safer«. Prof. Gumbsch's research supports industrial concepts for autonomous vehicles, resource-saving construction and power plants and designs materials with completely new properties. Prof. Gumbsch's teams develop new measuring methods to understand in detail why a material fails.


Evaluating the risk of "hydrogen embrittlement": new simulation of cold crack formation in high-strength steels

(05/02/2018) High-strength steels play a vital role in the construction of modern vehicles and machines. If these steels are welded during the production of components, mobile hydrogen atoms can cause problems within the material: the atoms accumulate slowly at highly stressed areas of ...


Diamond friction: simulation reveals previously unknown friction mechanisms at the molecular level

(09/01/2017) Diamond coatings help reduce friction and wear on tools, bearings, and seals. Lubricating diamond with water considerably lowers friction. The reasons for this are not yet fully understood. The Fraunhofer Institute...


New innovative process improves the adhesion of diamond to cemented carbide

(07/31/2017) To reduce process costs in industrial parts manufacturing while simultaneously improving quality, the use of diamond-coated, cemented carbide cutting tools has increased. Adhesion of diamond coatings was previously problematic, particularly when processing composite or lightweight materials. Suitable pretreatment is therefore vital...


Fast, non-contact strain measurement method for materials subjected to high thermal and mechanical loads

(07/17/2017) 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 ... 


Fast and versatile: determining materials data for forming process simulations in the Virtual Lab

(07/04/2017) Sheet metal materials are often stressed to their limits during the forming process. Computer simulations are used to test how far it is possible to go in the production stage. However, the simulations are only as exact as the data upon which they’re based. A team at the Fraunhofer ...


Bending sheet glass using lasers and gravity

(05/04/2017) A new technique, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM, makes it possible to bend sheet glass into complex or unconventional shapes with the help of laser beams. This technique opens up a whole new range of potential products for architects and designers. The researchers are taking advantage of a particular attribute glass has of becoming viscous and therefore malleable when exposed to high temperatures. Gravity and precise calculations do the rest ...


Z-Ultra ready to use: new chromium steels for high-temperature applications

(12/21/2016) As the most important industrial construction material, with more than 2,500 grades, steel is highly specialized for diverse applications. Even the smallest changes of the composition can modify the material structure on an atomic scale and improve material properties on the macroscale. The consortium of the EU-project Z-Ultra ...


New microstructural model for long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFTs)

(11/10/2016) The automotive industry uses long fiber reinforced thermoplastics (LFTs) when manufacturing lightweight structural parts such as bumper brackets or door modules. Accurate simulation methods are needed to exploit their maximum lightweight potential. Therefore, the material’s microstructure needs to ...