Microstructure assessment

© Fraunhofer IWM

Microstructures are responsible for the properties of raw materials and therefore for the properties of the resulting components which are produced. Microstructures are adjusted using different manufacturing steps. In use, they can change both positively and negatively. We uncover the relationships between the microstructure and the raw materials’ properties and use this information to gain optimized material properties - for example with regard to mechanical properties, long-term behavior, life expectancy, abrasive properties, corrosion properties, etc.). By using computer simulations, we can predict microstructures and assess them with regard to the reliability, safety and lifetime of components. Building on this, we develop concepts to design components and optimize manufacturing processes.

What we offer

  • We measure and analyze the material's microstructures and determine the structural properties. To do so, we use:
    • Microscopy (optical, scanning electron microscope)
    • Hardness measurement (core hardness, hardness profiles, hardness mapping)
    • Measuring of the local crystallographic texture (e.g. locally by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), macroscopically  by or X-ray diffraction (XRD))
    • Quantitative structure determination (optical, ESBD, XRD)
    • Glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES) to measure the chemical composition
    • X-ray and partly destructive residual stress analyses
  • We model and prepare predictions on the raw material’s microstructure
    • Thermodynamic and thermodynamic-kinetic calculations (implemented in software such as Thermocalc and Matcalc) to simulate microstructures and derive predictions on the long-term evaluation of the material’s microstructure
  • We assess the raw material’s microstructure with regard to
    • Corrosion
    • Stress corrosion cracking
    • Strength properties
    • Deformability
    • Functionality of abrasion and corrosion protective coatings
    • Heat treatment
    • Process-caused strain hardening
    • Security of weld joins
    • Surface quality after component processing or coating
    • Failure mechanisms and interaction between crack growth and microstructure
    • Hydrogen influences (diffusion behavior, fatigue, brittleness)

to top

Reasons to work with us

  • “Anomalies” in product, test operations or in use (e.g. reductions in strength, crack formation, corrosion, surface defects)
  • Cases of damage
  • Ensuring standards compliance or specifications for raw materials and components
  • The clarification of property changes in operations due to external influences (thermal, mechanical, chemical or coupled)
  • Questions of quality assurance when converting production processes
  • Assessing new raw materials regarding manufacturability, corrosion, long-term stability, strength and size accuracy
  • Targeted generation of favorable properties in manufacturing
  • Need for input data for raw material simulations
  • Need for quantitative evaluations of raw materials (e.g. pore proportion, phase proportion, structure morphology, texture and compositional gradients)
  • Information on quantitative microstructure property relationships.

to top


  • Basis for decisions regarding the use (replacement) of raw materials
  • Optimization approaches to increase the performance of the raw materials used (e.g. by pre-treatment, heat treatment, coating, etc.)
  • Procedure to improve manufacturing steps (welding, surface treatment, heat treatment)
  • Suggestions for component optimization
  • Causes for damage and damage appraisals

We complete our projects as needed in the form of studies, appraisals, reports or workshops.

to top

Why it’s worth getting in touch with us

  • The wealth of experience possessed by our employees allows them to efficiently and effectively work out analysis and research results, which provides our clients a reliable basis to make well-informed decisions
  • Our competence with raw material microstructures, damage mechanisms in raw materials and components and residual stress allows us to holistically consider problems and leads to sustainable solutions
  • Our instrumentation allows for investigations in a wide variety of raw materials (ceramics, metals, layers, composites)
  • At the institute, we have a large pool of experts in a wide variety of specialist areas of raw material science. This leads to quick and efficient solutions for our clients
  • Our range of equipment and facilities allows us to carry out an efficient, customer needs-based combination of measurement and analysis procedures
  • We have our own sample production and can handle large components.

to top



  • Janarthanam, H.; Sommer, S.; Carl, E.- R.; Preußner, J.; Huberth, F., Numerical prediction of damage in punching process using shear modified Gurson model, in Proc. of 4th European Steel Technology and Application Days; Stahlinstitut VDEh, Düsseldorf (2019) 11 Seiten
  • Beckmann, C.; Kennerknecht, T.; Preußner, J.; Farajian, M.; Luke, M.; Hohe, J., Micromechanical investigation and numerical simulation of fatigue crack formation in welded joints, Engineering Fracture Mechanics 198 (2018) 142-157 Link

to top