First DFG Research Training Group at DFI: “MatCom – ComMat”

2020-10-01 |

For the first time, DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut (DFI) is involved in a Research Training Group (Graduiertenkolleg) of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Under the title “MatCom-ComMat: Materials Compounds from Composite Materials for Applications in Extreme Conditions”, the DFI research group High Temperature Materials is investigating new material systems over an initial funding period of 4.5 years. Project partners are the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Technical University of Darmstadt (TUD).

The official starting date of the DFG research training group was 1 April 2020. Due to the Corona pandemic, the kick-off meeting only took place on 14/15 September in Bad Herrenalb. It served for presenting the results collected so far and for co-ordinating further collaborative research.

The goal is to develop novel material systems which allow increasing the operating temperature of combustion engines and processes to over 1300°C. This increase also raises the efficiency of combustion engines, which leads to a significant reduction of fuel consumption and of exhaust emissions.

This development is of outstanding significance particularly in view of the CO2 reduction necessary to fight global climate change. In spite of technological development of renewable energy resources, fossil fuels such as oil and gas will keep playing a key role in global energy supply also in the future. In addition, CO2-neutral synthetic fuels based on hydrocarbons (solar fuels) will become more important in the future.

The materials used for components of combustion engines play a key role in this development. Currently used materials are nickel-based alloys (superalloys) with zirconium oxide-based (YSZ) thermal barrier coatings. Their operating temperatures are limited to 1200°C.

The novel approach of the research training group is the combination of metallic/intermetallic composite materials based on refractory metals as substrate with polymer-derived ceramic nanocomposites as thermal barrier coatings. Only the combination of these two material systems yields their high potential of application. The composite materials made of alloys offer excellent micro-stability and creep resistance at ultrahigh temperatures, whereas the polymer-derived ceramics exhibit outstanding high-temperature stability and low intrinsic heat conductivity.

The research group High Temperature Materials is involved with two sub-projects in the frame of the research training group: In one sub-project the oxidation behaviour of the ceramic coatings is investigated, in the second sub-project the hot corrosion of refractory metals-based substrates is researched. This offers the opportunity for the research group to apply their long-standing expertise in the area of high temperature corrosion under extreme environmental conditions (such as oxidation, erosion, or hot corrosion) which occur in combustion engines. KIT is primarily focused on developing intermetallic substrate materials, while TUD investigates the synthesis of the ceramic coating materials.

Research training groups have the primary purpose of promoting young academics: “We are delighted to be able to make a significant contribution to the science and business location Germany by qualifying PhD students in the frame of this topically focused research programme”, comments Associate Prof. Dr. Mathias Galetz, member of the executive board of DFI and head of the research group High Temperature Materials. “Thus DFI stresses its important role in training young scientists”, Galetz continues. Currently DFI is training over 30 PhD students and post-docs within its ongoing research activities.

Further information can be found on the GRK website

Photo credits: © DECHEMA-Forschungsinstitut (DFI)

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