Component Safety and Lightweight Construction

Our work here is centered on the assessment of a component’s safety and its fitness for purpose in terms of safety-relevant demands under operational loads. The applications range from proving the safety of power station components to confirming the fault tolerances of aerospace components, the life expectancy analysis of components in power stations and vehicles subjected to thermomechanical loads to crash analyses of vehicle components. The focus is on the operational behavior of modern materials as well as joins and hybrid constructions.

The focus of our work lies on further developing fracture mechanical assessment concepts, taking into account the load situation that is relevant to each component and the distribution of material properties and scale/size of the defect. Development work is also carried out on mechanism-based material models for a wide range of applications with which to describe the deformation and failure behavior of components under thermal and mechanical loads. Crash analysis increasingly involves determining the influence of the manufacturing process on the failure behavior of vehicle structures. For completely new material properties we design synthetic meso- and metamaterials, producing them in small samples.

A comprehensive range of testing equipment is available with which to characterize the different materials and components at the relevant temperatures and load speeds. For the investigation of mechanical material properties in small dimensions, for example edge properties, we are continuously developing our experimental technique regarding extremely small volume samples. The experimental results serve as a basis for the development and verification of material models and failure concepts, which can then mathematically describe component behavior.

What we offer


  • Development of assessment concepts for power station and machine components
  • Fracture mechanical safety analyses, assessment of fault tolerance and working load calculations for highly stressed safety-related components
  • Characterization of materials and components under relevant load conditions - from static to thermomechanical to abrupt, dynamic loads
  • Life expectancy models for high temperature components in vehicles and power stations
  • Life expectancy assessment for welds
  • Crash simulations of automobile components with customized material models
  • Assessment of welds and hybrid joins under crash conditions
  • Characterization and modeling of polymers and adhesive bonds under crash conditions
  • Determination of local meso and micromechanical properties and life expectancy
  • Design and production of synthetic meso- and metamaterials with unique properties

Fraunhofer IWM video series: Evaluation of deformation and failure behavior of materials and components to improve safety and reliability

Dr. Michael Luke

Global and local material behavior of fiber reinforced plastics

Material deformation, damage and crack formation


Crash Safety and Damage Mechanics


We develop and implement material and failure models and utilize them in crash and process simulations. We also use special testing techniques (e.g. local strain measurements, torsion and biaxial tensile ...

Composite Materials


We investigate the relationship between the structure and properties of composite materials with polymer, ceramic and metal matrices, in order to assess their operational behavior. Our testing concepts account ...

Meso- and Micromechanics


Applying self-developed test set-ups and experimental mechanics, we are capable of determining the material properties of samples with at least one dimension in the microscale. The testing of micro-parts is ... 

Fatigue and Fracture Mechanics


Load-bearing components and structures in all industrial sectors such as automotive, vehicle, railway, aerospace, steel and bridge constructions are exposed...