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


Sliding along on water

(01/07/2019) Machine bearings are usually lubricated with various oils. But today large quan-tities of these oils still end up in the environment. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM has developed a method which will in the future make it possible to lubricate slide bearings using water, a much more environ-mentally friendly approach...


Synthetic rubber outperforms natural rubber

(04/05/2019) Natural rubber from rubber trees is a raw material with a limited supply. Synthetically produced rubber, on the other hand, has not yet been able to match the abrasion behavior of the natural product, rendering it unsuitable for truck tires. But now, for the first time, a new type of synthetic rubber has been developed that achieves 30 to 50 percent less abrasion than natural rubber...


Quantum Magnetometers for Industrial Applications

(01/04/2019) On April 1, 2019, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft launches the lighthouse project »Quantum Magnetometry« (QMag): Freiburg’s Fraunhofer institutes IAF, IPM and IWM aim to transfer quantum magentometry from the field of university research to industrial applications. In close cooperation with another three Fraunhofer institutes (IMM, IISB and CAP), the research team develops highly integrated imaging quantum magnetometers with highest spatial resolution and sensitivity.


Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity Elucidated

(01/11/2018) The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants.


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.