As highly resilient lightweight materials, fibre-reinforced plastics (FRP) are among the key materials for climate protection and sustainability. They enable considerable savings in energy, materials and emissions in various applications and industries. By now, the use of FRP is no longer limited to small series with many variants or individual pieces. With today‘s production processes, short cycle times in the range of minutes and thus large series can be cost-efficiently realised.

Lightweight Technologies at IKV

In numerous research projects, the IKV develops solutions to improve material design and increase time and cost efficiency in the production of plastic and hybrid components. In this context, it can draw on its own extensive research and combine the advantages of different materials and process technologies in a targeted manner. In this way, innovative solutions are developed time and again that significantly reduce the ecological impact of production, use and recycling at the end of the component’s life of lightweight materials and that are economical at the same time. The numerous challenges of these material classes range from the selection and characterisation of materials to the design of components, precise process modelling, enabling of new materials for established manufacturing processes and material and component testing. In addition to the technical aspects, the focus of research at the IKV is always on the suitability for large-scale production and economic efficiency as well as the sustainability of the processing methods.

Dr.-Ing. Dominik Foerges

Head of department Composites and Polyurethane Technology +49 241 80 23884

T3-Hub: Savings through UD tapes in injectionmoulded standard components

The T3-Hub pursues the aim of substituting or reducing greenhouse gas-intensive plastics in the injection moulding process by the integration of bionic fibre reinforcements of UD tapes. Targeted incorporation of small quantities of tape along the main load paths in an injection moulded component allows for a reduction of wall thickness in the product. Depending on the particular application, it is also possible to use a lower-performing but more climate-friendly base polymer. Since only a small quantity of tape has to be integrated into the component, the potential for savings in terms of plastics consumption and component weight is considerable.

HyInnoTank: Low-maintenance mobile high-pressure storage tanks

As part of the BMBF-funded project, a methodology for instrumenting Type IV pressure vessels with sensor fibres for strain field monitoring is being developed. The sensor technology is permanently embedded in the vessel and allows its structural integrity to be checked in the installed state, which significantly reduces maintenance costs and downtime. Knowing the local strains at different positions of the pressure vessel within the laminate provides information on the material behaviour in different loading scenarios and thus a significant added value for the vessel design. Another project objective is the development of a model for estimating the residual bursting pressure and the remaining service life of pressure vessels after their typical period of use of 15 years based on sensor signal, from which options for the further use of the vessels can be derived.

ReHyComPro: Recyclable fibre-reinforced profiles

The overall objective of this joint project is the development of a recyclable hybrid composite profile system for the production of large-format windows and doors with optimised mechanical and thermal properties and the capability of complete material recycling. Within the BMBF-funded research project, the IKV is investigating the implementation of the coextrusion process for coating an in-situ pultrudate (PulEx). The profiles obtained in this way are to replace plastic-metal composites often used in window construction that are difficult to recycle.

Further projects in Lightweight technologies

  • Establishing an improved understanding of materials and processes for the production of physically foamed multilayer blown films through the identification of interactions between the Material structure and the foam properties
  • Efficiency increase in the set-up and troubleshooting of PUR RIM processes through sensor based process monitoring
  • Development of a novel flexible tool technology for the production of functionalised components in thermoplastic resin transfer moulding
  • Development of a system for predicting the properties of polyurethane foams taking into account the real foam morphology for use in quality assurance
  • Development of a control concept for improved process control in foam extrusion through inline detection and classification of the foam properties
  • Development of recyclable fibre-reinforced plastics through the use of thermoplastic fibres in twin-screw extruders
  • Development and testing of an innovative inline stretch rheometer for process-related material characterisation and productivity increase in foam extrusion
  • Form-LIGHT – Development of quasi-full-surface joined light metal/plastic hybrid materials by means of laser structuring and subsequent functionalisation in hybrid injection moulding
  • Production of graphene and CNT-based polyamide-6-composites using reactive extrusion
  • Increasing process control in pultrusion with highly reactive matrix materials to reduce scrap and downtime using a data-based process monitoring system
  • Plastic metal hybrid welding – Interactions in laser joining of metals to polymers
  • MeKuMed – Material appropriate and cost-effective production of metal/plastic hybrid components for use in medical technology
  • Investigation of the injection box design to increase the productivity, product quality and ressource efficiency of the pultrusion process
  • Investigation of thermoplastic foam injection moulding processes with short plastification and cycle times for thin-walled moulded parts in the packaging segment
  • Process for local active cooling in thermoforming for improved wall thickness distribution of rotationally symmetrical cup components
  • ElastoPIT – Further development of projectile injection technology for the economic production of elastomeric hollow parts
  • Material-specific design of direct screw connections for the economic joining of injection-moulded thermoset parts


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  • High-Speed MatChar – Analysis of the curing behaviour of highly reactive resin systems under near-process conditions
  • DELFIN – Research into alternative materials and manufacturing processes for cost- and weight-reduced pressure vessels made of continuous fibre-reinforced plastics.
  • Development of functionalised, unidirectionally fibre-reinforced semi-finished products for the large-scale production of innovative, highly stressed plastic battery housings for electric vehicles
  • ProSize – Investigation of the influence of hybrid yarn properties on the fibre spraying process and development of process-optimised sizing for glass fibre/thermoplastic hybrid yarns for the material-efficient production of fibre-reinforced thermoplastic lightweight components