Lightweight design

We choose to go to the moon ...and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard

John F. Kennedy

Lightweights that pack a punch

Radical lightweight design solutions deliver the best possible mass and energy efficiency for production and in the use of products. They play a key role in achieving climate policy goals, in the context of e-mobility for example, as well as delivering sustainable cost-efficient business strategies.

Fraunhofer LBF offers an in-depth understanding of materials, components and systems with regard to production as well as simulation-based design methods for pushing the limits of what is physically possible and harnessing previously untapped lightweight design potential - while ensuring maximum product safety and reliability.

We transform lightweight design into intelligent ultra lightweight design!

Innovative solutions instead of “mass-produced” goods

We support and advise you regarding the feasibility analysis, development, and testing of reliable and innovative lightweight design solutions - from the material level with respect to material development and characterization to structural design and all the way through to system validation.

We show you how to take the potential of your material into account during the simulation-based design by consideration of the production process, the l stresses generated in the component, whether through static, vibrational, crash, creep or aging processes involving multi-axial stress states, media and temperatures, as well as the interactions in the overall system. We research and fully understand the structure-property relationships from the material to the process to the complete system and make them work for you. We focus on both unreinforced and anisotropic fiber-reinforced thermoplastics and thermosets, foams, and elastomers.

Integrative simulation

Particularly in the case of short-fiber-reinforced plastics, we offer customized methods in different levels of complexity for the field of integrative simulation as well as experimental validation by means of test methods that are specially adapted to simulations. We make use of commercial or self-developed software tools for this purpose. The material parameters required for structural and injection molding simulation are determined in the form of validated material maps for application-specific selected constitutive models on a phenomenological or micro-mechanical level. We are happy to support you in the process of designing lightweight structural components made of plastics by determining material parameters under operating stresses and evaluating them as well as by transferring these parameters to the component in a methodical manner.

Additive manufacturing and other innovative manufacturing processes

Together with you, we develop and analyze production processes in the field of thermoplastic composites, taking into account adapted material, bonding and geometric properties, as well as intelligent functional integration, in order to safely utilize lightweight construction potential on a significantly expanded scale for you.

The increased demands for highly specialized products require flexible design freedom, which is made possible by new innovative targeted production processes, such as additive manufacturing. By opting for additive manufacturing, the production process can be freed from its concept-, location- and cost-limiting constraints, thus opening up a hitherto unknown scope for solutions in product design.

We can also advise you on predictive numerical design for these new processes in terms of shape accuracy and load-compliant design.

We evaluate existing solutions for you, investigate any damage that occurs and advise you on how to prevent damage by adapting materials, design and production technology.

We bring you forward in lightweight construction

At Fraunhofer LBF, we operate as a non-university research institute at the interfaces of science, technology and the market with an interdisciplinary focus that combines different areas of expertise in natural sciences, materials sciences, and engineering. This enables us to provide you with reliable, pioneering lightweight products that are superior to competing products, because we understand holistic design and evaluation processes at the material, component and system level.

Take advantage of our decades of experience in in the field of plastic! Use our unique solutions to design innovative products with us. Draw on our independent expertise in the field of integrative simulation of thermoplastic, fiber-reinforced materials to make your simulations more efficient - we know the strengths and weaknesses of existing tools and can support you at various stages of the simulation and development process with solutions that are tailored to your needs. Improve the safety of your products with our unique material characterization capabilities, such as a unique injection molding tool for producing unidirectional fiber orientation.

We move you forward in lightweight construction - with our extensive experience in experimental and polymer-analytical methods, the targeted development of additives and functionalized polymers, and the design and characterization of interfaces.