Fight Ageing and Fatigue!

In Germany and worldwide, we are experiencing a steadily increasing ageing of the metal and composite infrastructure, which manifests itself already as an infrastructure crisis. - In Hamburg, the beautiful K√∂hlbrand Bridge, built in 1974 (!), exhibits ageing and fatigue and is under consideration to be demolished.   

The objective of the research agenda of our institute is to detect, understand and quantify ageing across length scales. We either establish methods to detect and quantify ageing at an early stage or to avoid ageing though developing metal hybrids and metal joints which are capable to withstand ageing. Beside the fundamental science involved, the practical intent of our research is to increase the lifecycle of the metal infrastructure by a multifold. The outcome is expected to be of use and interest across industries.

The Institute of Metal and Composite Structures conducts research in  three fields in order to find solutions to fight infrastructure aeging: 

1.    Ageing- and fatigue resistant metal nano-. micro- and macro composites: Development of technologies to produce metal structural members which show only very reduced ageing and fatigue. Our focus is particularly on 3D-Printing, Macro-, micro, and nanostrucutured metals, joining of metal composites. The research spans length scales from nano to macro.

2.  Structural Health Monitoring: Development of detection methods which reliably sense micro damage (damage precursors) long before it becomes visible by the human eye. Damage precursors can be used to establish life cycle assessments based on physics principles. The research is highly interdisciplinary and interconnects structural engineering, material science and signal processing.

3.  Resilience under Extreme Loading: Extreme loading Events may happen during the lifetime of a structure and may reduce the structure's Lifetime, hence, contribute to ageing of a structure. Within this Research Focus, our team explores on the precise quantification of deterioration at extreme loading including the loss of structural capacity, defect initiation and propagation, measures to prevent defects and the assessment of remaining lifetime of the structure.     

This research is partly funded by: