Innovative Materials

Advanced materials have been key enablers of technological progress over thousands of years, lending entire ages their name. The accelerated demand for both, load-bearing and functional materials in key sectors such as energy, sustainability, construction, health, communication, infrastructure, safety and transportation is resulting in predicted production growth rates of up to 200 per cent until 2050 for many material classes. This requires not only to better understand the fundamental relationships between synthesis, manufacturing, basic mechanisms, microstructure and properties but also to discover novel materials that meet both, advanced application challenges under harsh environments.

Along these topics we work on key fields of highest relevance for society and manufacturing. Examples relate to the following fields:

- Energy (e.g., materials for a hydrogen-propelled industry, hydrogen-tolerant structural alloys, catalysis materials, high temperature alloys, semiconducting materials for photovoltaics and photo-electrochemistry, fuel cell components, materials for direct solar-thermic components)

- Mobility (e.g., ductile magnesium, steels and magnets for light weight electrical and hybrid vehicles)

- Infrastructure (e.g., high strength and corrosion-resistant alloys for infrastructures, such as wind turbines and chemical infrastructures)

- Medicine & health (e.g., biomedical tribology, compliant implant alloys)

- Safety (e.g., high toughness alloys, cryogenic alloys, coatings and thin film materials, hydrogen tolerant materials).

In this project we study - together with the department of Prof. Neugebauer and Dr. Sandlöbes at RWTH Aachen - the underlying mechanisms that are responsible for the improved room-temperature ductility in Mg–Y alloys compared to pure Mg. more
Scandium-containing aluminium alloys are currently attracting interest as candidates for high-performance aerospace structural materials due to their outstanding combination of strength, ductility and corrosion resistance. Strengthening is achieved by precipitation of Al3Sc-particles upon ageing heat treatment. more
In this project we conduct together with Dr. Sandlöbes at RWTH Aachen and the department of Prof. Neugebauer ab initio calculations for designing new Mg – Li alloys. Ab initio calculations can accurately predict basic structural, mechanical, and functional properties using only the atomic composition as a basis. more
In this project, we investigate the phase transformation and twinning mechanisms in a typical interstitial high-entropy alloy (iHEA) via in-situ and interrupted in-situ tensile testing ... more
In this project, we employ a metastability-engineering strategy to design bulk high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with multiple compositionally equivalent high-entropy phases. more
In this project we study a new strategy for the theory-guided bottom up design of beta-Ti alloys for biomedical applications using a quantum mechanical approach in conjunction with experiments. Parameter-free density functional theory calculations are used to provide theoretical guidance in selecting and optimizing Ti-based alloys... more
We have studied a nanocrystalline AlCrCuFeNiZn high-entropy alloy synthesized by ball milling followed by hot compaction at 600°C for 15 min at 650 MPa. X-ray diffraction reveals that the mechanically alloyed powder consists of a solid-solution body-centered cubic (bcc) matrix containing 12 vol.% face-centered cubic (fcc) phase. After hot compaction, it consists of 60 vol.% bcc and 40 vol.% fcc. Composition analysis by atom probe tomography shows that the material is not a homogeneous fcc–bcc solid solution more
Within the EU project „ADVANCE - Sophisticated experiments and optimisation to advance an existing CALPHAD database for next generation TiAl alloys” MPIE is collaborating with Thermocalc-Software AB, Stockholm, Montanuniversität Leoben and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. At MPIE the focus lies on the production and heat treatments of model alloys. By analysing them through metallography, X-ray diffraction, electron probe microanalysis and differential thermal analysis, the necessary data are obtained. Colleagues in Leoben perform atom probe tomography and transmission electron microscopy and in Geesthacht in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction is carried out. All obtained data are optimised at the company Thermocalc and checked for consistency before they are implemented into the database. more
Because of their excellent corrosion resistance, high wear resistance and comparable low density, Fe–Al-based alloys are an interesting alternative for replacing stainless steels and possibly even Ni-base superalloys. Recent progress in increasing strength at high temperatures has evoked interest by industries to evaluate possibilities to employ Fe–Al-based alloys for various applications. These activities have matured to a point that industrial processing of parts is now investigated in more detail by considering economic aspects. more
In this project we pursue recent developments in the field of austenitic steels with up to 18% reduced mass density. The alloys are based on the Fe-Mn-Al-C system. more
In this project nanoprecipitates are designed via elastic misfit stabilization in Fe–Mn maraging steels by combining transmission electron microscopy (TEM) correlated atom probe tomography (APT) with ab initio simulations. Guided by these predictions, the Al content of the alloys is systematically varied... more
In this project, we aim to design novel NiCoCr-based medium entropy alloys (MEAs) and further enhance their mechanical properties by tuning the multiscale heterogeneous composite structures. This is being achieved by alloying of varying elements in the NiCoCr matrix and appropriate thermal-mechanical processing. more
A wide range of steels is nowadays used in Additive Manufacturing (AM). The different matrix microstructure components and phases such as austenite, ferrite, and martensite as well as the various precipitation phases such as intermetallic precipitates and carbides generally equip steels with a huge variability in microstructure and properties. more
This project studies the mechanical properties and microstructural evolution of a transformation-induced plasticity (TRIP)-assisted interstitial high-entropy alloy (iHEA) with a nominal composition of Fe49.5Mn30Co10Cr10C0.5 (at. %) at cryogenic temperature (77 K). We aim to understand the hardening behavior of the iHEA at 77 K, and hence guide the future design of advanced HEA for cryogenic applications. more
In this project, we aim at significantly enhancing the strength-ductility combination of quinary high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with five principal elements by simultaneously introducing interstitial C/N and the transformation induced plasticity (TRIP) effect. Thus, a new class of alloys, namely, interstitially alloyed TRIP-assisted quinary (five-component) HEAs is being developed. more
In this project, we aim to enhance the mechanical properties of an equiatomic CoCrNi medium-entropy alloy (MEA) by interstitial alloying. Carbon and nitrogen with varying contents have been added into the face-centred cubic structured CoCrNi MEA. more
In this project, we aim to achieve an atomic scale understanding about the structure and phase transformation process in the dual-phase high-entropy alloys (HEAs) with transformation induced plasticity (TRIP) effect. Aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques are being applied ... more
In a set of projects we study the field of strong and ductile non-equiatomic high-entropy alloys (HEAs). more
Self reporting materials “communicate” damage of the material via changes of properties that can be measured in service as a consequence of chemical changes on the atomic length scale and/or phase transformations. Harnessing this would provide invaluable functionality for damage assessment and control and would constitute a major leap forward as the “health” of any material component exposed to mechanical loads could be monitored in service. more
Interstitial alloying can improve the mechanical properties of high-entropy alloys (HEAs). In some cases, the interstitial-alloying impact is very different from those in conventional alloys. We investigate the effect of interstitial alloying in the CrMnFeCoNi HEA, particularly focusing on the solution energies and the impact on the stacking fault energy, based on first-principles calculations. Our results clarity, e.g., that the interstitial solution energy in HEAs is no longer a single value but shows a substantial distribution due to the dependence on local chemical environments. more
Local lattice distortion is one of the core effects in complex concentrated alloys (CCAs). It has been expected that the strength CCAs can be improved by inducing larger local lattice distortions. In collaboration with experimentalists, we demonstrated that VCoNi has larger local lattice distortions and indeed has much better strength than the prototypical CrCoNi CCA has. more
In order to explore the possibility of using high entropy alloys (HEAs) for functional applications such as magnetic refrigeration it is necessary to have an in-depth understanding of their magnetic properties. The main goal of this project is to understand and improve the magnetic properties (e.g., saturation magnetization, Curie temperature etc.) in different medium and HEAs. more
Magnetic properties of magnetocaloric materials is of utmost importance for their functional applications. In this project, we study the magnetic properties of different materials with the final goal to discover new magnetocaloric materials more suited for practical applications. more
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