Material qualification for new electric drive systems


© Fraunhofer IWM
Schematic representation of an additively manufactured electric motor with hydrogen cooling to achieve a high power-to-weight ratio.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWK) has funded the joint project "Development of Additive Processes and Fiber Composite-Metal Hybrid Designs for Use in Cryogenic Environments — AdHyBau" as part of the first call of the sixth civil aviation research program. For this purpose, SIEMENS AG, MT Aerospace AG, KIT's Institute of Technical Physics ITEP, and TU Dresden's Institute of Lightweight Construction and Plastics Technology are developing new additive processes and construction methods together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM. Additive manufacturing processes will, for example, make it possible to implement new designs for integrated cooling systems and adapted coil structures that promise to increase the power density of electric motors.

In this context, Fraunhofer IWM is responsible for material qualification and model-based lifetime predictions of additive materials under hydrogen atmosphere and at cryogenic temperature. While the modeling of materials and the design of components for high-temperature applications have been part of Fraunhofer IWM's day-to-day research for many years, especially when the influence of hydrogen is considered, new test rigs need to be set up and testing strategies must be developed for materials qualification at low temperatures. The aim is to use additively manufactured materials under the aforementioned environmental conditions in conjunction with the partners in order to develop efficient, environmentally friendly and low-noise drive systems so as to help shape the mobility of the future.