From Fundamental Research to Application

The Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (IVW) is a nonprofit research institution of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK). It researches fundamentals for future applications of composite materials, which are of great importance for the mobility of the future, the fields of energy, climate and environment, production technology as well as for health care. New materials, construction methods and manufacturing processes are investigated and - after the basic understanding has been developed - tailor-made for the respective requirements.

The focus is on the entire process chain, from basic materials to characterization and simulation, from construction methods and production technology to component testing and recycling. New ideas and innovative concepts are not only an essential part of the research and further development of the institute, but also lead to spin-offs. Newly acquired knowledge is transferred, above all into science, but also into teaching, the interested public and industrial applications.

As a member of the Leibniz Association, the institute receives institutional grants in accordance with the AV-WGL for the joint financial support of institutions by the federal and state governments (federal share 50%, share of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the entirety of the states 50%).



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    2500 tons Press for Research

    Ceremonial commissioning of the Thermoplastic Composites Technology Center "TTC" at Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH

    On May 31, 2022, the new Technology Center Thermoplastic Composites "TTC" was ceremonially put into operation at the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (IVW) by Science Minister Clemens Hoch. The centerpiece of the technology center is a new large forming press.

    Minister Hoch was impressed by the new technical equipment at IVW: "Excellent research requires excellent research infrastructure. I am pleased that the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, together with the European Union, has been able to help realize the Thermoplastic Composites Technology Center here at IVW. It is a further step towards strengthening the science location Kaiserslautern and materials science in Rhineland-Palatinate. In the development of new materials, construction methods and manufacturing processes lies great potential for engineering sciences and a key to solving numerous societal challenges."

    On the occasion of the ceremony, the scientific director of IVW, Professor Breuer, said, "With the commissioning of the 2500 t press from Langzauner, which was specially tailored to research needs, component developments can now also be carried out on a 1:1 scale. This will enable us to produce ultralight and multifunctional structures, which are important for combating climate change and for hydrogen technology, among other things."

    With around 160 employees, IVW Kaiserslautern has already been successful in research and technology transfer for more than 30 years. The fiber composite market is growing at double-digit rates, as this class of materials contributes to greater environmental compatibility, weight and energy savings, increased passenger safety in means of transport and the avoidance of harmful CO2 emissions for many applications. For this reason, fiber composite technologies from the aerospace industry, e.g. from Ariane or Airbus, are also increasingly being used in automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, the energy sector and also in medical technology.

    However, the fiber composites used today are mostly produced with plastics that cannot be remelted, cannot be welded and can only be recycled with very high energy input. In addition, the materials used to date are hardly suitable for the production of very large quantities due to long cycle times. For future applications, therefore, better environmentally compatible thermoplastic fiber composites must be developed that can be economically processed into complex components in very short cycle times. They must also be formable and weldable, and at the end of their service life it must be possible to reuse them as materials for their original purpose.

    The concept developed by IVW for the expansion of scientific competencies and the provision of innovative technologies for science and industry in the form of new, cost-effective starting materials, improved component designs and innovative manufacturing technology has been supported over the past 4 years with funding from the European Regional Development Fund "ERDF" and with funding from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate totaling € 10 million. Numerous spin-offs have already emerged from IVW. The latest spin-off project deals with advanced fiber composite technology for the storage and transport of hydrogen.

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    Further development of hydrogen technology through fiber composite

    State Secretary Dr. Alt presents IVW with grant of €2.9 million

    Hydrogen technology is one of the greatest hopes in the fight against climate change, for example on the way to sustainable mobility. The Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe (IVW) in Kaiserslautern, which is one of Germany's leading research institutes in the field of innovative materials, is making essential contributions to the success of this technology with its research work. As part of its latest research project in this field, the institute is receiving funding from the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) totaling €2.9 million for the future development of novel pressure vessels made of innovative thermoplastic fiber composites for the storage and transport of hydrogen.
    State Secretary Dr. Denis Alt from the Ministry of Science and Health in Rhineland-Palatinate, said at the presentation of the grant: "The state government promotes hydrogen technology out of conviction. It is a key technology for reducing CO2 emissions: The further development of hydrogen storage technology through the use of fiber composites as part of  IVW project represents an important step on the road to climate neutrality in the areas of transport and industry. At the same time, this project will provide important impetus for science and industry in Rhineland-Palatinate and nationwide. This shows once again how important and powerful IVW's research is not only for the region, but for our society."
    Professor Ulf Breuer, Scientific Director of the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe added: "With the funds from this grant project, we will not only be able to develop advanced structures for hydrogen storage and transport, but consequently also invest in the necessary equipment and testing facilities that will enable efficient design and manufacturing. This will take us, our partners and our industrial customers quite decisive steps forward."
    Current hydrogen storage systems made of metal are too heavy for future mobile applications, and the lightweight solutions available to date are not sufficiently capable of large-scale production. For this reason, the basic knowledge and suitable infrastructure for efficient, large-scale production of hydrogen storage and transport systems based on particularly environmentally friendly and recyclable thermoplastic fiber composites will be developed in the future at IVW as part of the project "Infrastructure development for thermoplastic fiber composite pressure vessels for hydrogen storage and transport (TPC-H2-Storage)".

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