Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM

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

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Digitalization at the Fraunhofer IWM


Workflows, data spaces, digital representations

The focus of the Fraunhofer IWM’s work revolves around materials information and materials data. Via the digitalization of materials, we achieve important contributions regarding the inclusion of processing materials into digitally consistent and connected value chains.


Understanding and influencing the effects and uses of hydrogen on materials

Latest Fraunhofer IWM research news and reports


Online Workshop on November 24 - 25, 2021: AI for better lifetime predictions

(04.11.2021) Online Workshop: AI, digitalization and materials modeling for better lifetime predictions
In materials and component research, artificial intelligence methodologies will lead to massive upheavals in the coming years. The processes of material development, material processing, lifetime prediction and material characterization will change significantly.  


Localized growth of silicon crystals: Fraunhofer IWM presents the »Triboepitaxy« concept

(05.10.2021) Four scientists from Freiburg have succeeded for the first time to simulate the localized growth of silicon crystals using shear-induced amorphization and recrystallization.  In the future, experts could use this concept to tailor crystalline silicon structures for nanotechnology applications.


AI Methods for Fatigue Behavior Assessment and Component Lifetime Prediction (online workshop)

(05.10.2021) In materials and component research, artificial intelligence methodologies will lead to massive upheavals in the coming years. The processes of material development, material processing, lifetime prediction and material characterization will...


Storing hydrogen safely: Fraunhofer IWM evaluates materials for tubular storage systems

(28.09.2021) Hydrogen has an important role to play in the energy transition. Science and industry are currently working on storage and transport systems for hydrogen. The basis for this is to precisely describe and assess the behavior of metallic materials, especially steels, when they are in contact with hydrogen...


Interaction between DLC coatings and ZDDP lubricant: it all depends on the right hardness!

(17.08.2021) In combustion engines, in plain bearings and in aerospace: diamond-like carbon coatings (DLC) reduce friction and wear in frictional contacts. In most cases, the lubricants used in bearings and engines contain the additive zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP), which in turn protects steel surfaces against wear. Unfortunately, it can attack...


Materials Science and Engineering institutions collaborate on implementing a distributed research data infrastructure

(02.07.2021) In a collaborative effort to tackle the enormous challenge of building a common National Research Data Infrastructure NFDI, entire research areas across Germany are working together in...


International Seminar Series on Programmable Materials

(05.05.2021) The Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Programmable Materials CPM proudly presents the International Seminar Series on Programmable Materials in Summer 2021. You can dive into the world of programmable materials and learn about the design space, different material classes, functions that can be programmend, fabrication methods and so on.


Industry Commons Marketplaces FW

(29.04.2021) Digital Marketplaces are multisided collaborative and trading platforms that facilitate materials innovation. OntoCommons aims to establish a cooperation with all the relevant stakeholders for data documentation and interoperability in industrial domains. This workshop aims to kick-start the communication between OntoCommons and the digital marketplaces.


Final Project Report MaterialDigital Baden-Württemberg

(24.11.2020) The greatest potential of digitalization in companies in which materials play a prominent role lies in the cross-process linking of materials data. This promises to shorten component development times, faster optimization of complex manufacturing processes and more reliable plant operation. The problem is the very heterogeneous nature of materials data, which makes ...


Almost no evidence of brittleness

(27.07.2020) Regeneratively produced hydrogen is an ideal energy carrier, which will be used in future applications as fuel cells and in cars; it will supplement natural gas as an energy source. But atomic hydrogen often induces brittle behavior in metals at high temperatures. Lukas Gröner of the Fraunhofer IWM, MikroTribologie Centrum µTC, has now developed a robust coating that effectively protects steel from the penetration of hydrogen.


Puzzle about passivation of low-friction, hard carbon coatings solved

(09.06.20) Diamond and diamond-like carbon (DLC) are used as extremely durable surface coatings in frictional contacts – from aerospace components to razors. They reduce friction and wear in bearings and valves by means of so-called passivation layers, which prevent other materials from bonding to the coating. Until now, it was unclear how these passivation layers should be designed to achieve minimal friction...


Characterizing and designing lubricants on the computer

(03.04.2020) Lubricated shafts, bearings and gears only run »like clockwork« when the components slide on a perfect lubricating film, generating as little friction, wear and energy loss as possible. To achieve this, engineers need to know the behavior of the lubricant film in the so-called tribo-contact, which is difficult to measure experimentally...