Standardized test procedure for quality controls on sandwich components subject to high loads

Sandwich structures enabling lightweight construction, such as those used in the aircraft industry, in rotor blades at wind power plants or lightweight vehi-cles, consist of fixed top layers which are separated by an extremely light-weight core material. Mechanically they are very resilient and at the same time extremely light. However, if the rigid connection between the top layer and the core is damaged by improper loading, in extreme cases this can lead to the failure of the component. The Fraunhofer Institute for the Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS has developed a standardized test procedure based on its findings about the microstructure of such components using in-situ X-ray tomography to examine fracture toughness, so as to reliably predict the load limits of such sandwich structures and prevent damage.

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Innovative high-performance thermoplastics for efficient use in the mass production of lightweight structural designs.

For lightweight design applications, either very expensive carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites (CFRP) with very good mechanical properties or less cost-intensive glass fiber-reinforced plastics (GFRP), whose properties are not as good, are used at the present time. This poses a major challenge, especially for safety-related structural components used in the mass production of automobiles, since economical semi-finished products as well as optimal mechanical performance are required in such applications. For this reason, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS is conducting research in a joint project with the DOMO Engineering Plastics GmbH (DOMO EP) on new thermoplastic semi-finished fiber composites that meet both of these requirements.

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Groundbreaking Ceremony at Pilot Plant Centre in Schkopau

From monomers to tailor-made components: with this spectrum, the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Centre for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ in Schkopau offers a unique portfolio for the plastics industry throughout Europe. The research facility will now be expanded with funds from the European Union, the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. For 10 million euros, around 1,000 square meters of additional usable space will be created and equipped with state-of-the-art machines. The Pilot Plant Center is thus ideally equipped for applications related to lightweight construction, digital component development and production processes in plastics processing, which are optimized for Industry 4.0.

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Optimized synthetic thermoplastics for 3D printing

The Fraunhofer IMWS and Brightlands Materials Center want to optimize fiber-reinforced thermoplastics to make them suited for 3D printing.

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Sandwich panels with honeycomb core

Fraunhofer IMWS and ThermHex are working on the development of production and processing methods suitable for series production of organic sheet sandwich semi-finished products.

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Polymer Applications

Qualität Check Kunststoff
© Fraunhofer IMWS
Matthias Zscheyge, Peter Michel and Ivonne Jahn (from left) test UD tapes.

We work on issues regarding polymer processing and optimization of polymer materials. The aim of our work is to achieve improved energy and resource efficiency by using the materials and processes developed by us on an industrial scale. Our clients in the field of mobility applications, i.e. cars, aircraft and rail vehicles, profit from our work just as much as companies in the plastics or polymer industry and in mechanical engineering.

We supply solutions, for example, for thermoplastic-based lightweight construction, tyre applications or the use of bio-based polymers in high-volume production. We consider the entire value-adding chain, from the microstructure of the material through to the tailormade component. We develop on a small scale and, among other things, in the Fraunhofer Pilot Plant Center for Polymer Synthesis and Processing PAZ we have plants up to industrial scale and can carry out prototype mould validation.

Our know-how includes:

Raw material selection
Microstructure design
Processing technology
Characterization of material properties on a laboratory, test centre and pilot plant scale
Analysis of component properties, including predicting their behavior in use
Modelling and simulation
Process development