Pressemitteilung 108/21 - 28.10.2021

Developing ceramic composites ecologically

The "CU EcoCeramic" research project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with 700,000 euros

The Institute for Materials Resource Management of the University of Augsburg investigates ecological and economic optimization potentials of fibre reinforced ceramic composite structures (CMC) from the manufacturing to the recycling processes.

"CU EcoCeramic" deals with the ecological and economic evaluation of fibre reinforced and ceramic composite structures. These modern materials combine a ceramic matrix with various fibres and have excellent mechanical performance and high temperature resistance. According to Dr. Andrea Thorenz from the Resource Lab, "this means that CMCs have the potential to increasingly replace conventional materials in the aerospace and process industry and the automotive sector, as they save weight and increase service life. This characteristic contrasts with the highly energy-intensive and more expensive manufacturing processes of CMCs, which must be further optimized both economically and ecologically".
 

Environmental scientist Andrea Thorenz and materials scientist Dietmar Koch in front of a process furnace to produce fibre reinforced ceramics, which records all relevant data necessary for the ecological and economic evaluation of the manufacturing process. Photo: Materials Engineering, University of Augsburg © University of Augsburg

The aim is to overcome existing barriers to CMC's use and close the material recycling loop. Furthermore, the research objective is to consolidate and expand the acceptance of CMC in society, business, and politics. In doing so, a reliable and transparent representation of the current and future ecological and economic footprint of CMC help a wide range of German medium-sized companies to use this class of material in the future as an "enabler" for necessary technological solutions in such a way that they can contribute to the Paris climate targets for 2050.

CMC's manufacture, processing, and use for new applications are predominantly carried out by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany. High material costs combined with a lack of knowledge about eco-efficiency and sustainability lead to a reluctance to use CMC, hindering innovation. While large companies are increasingly preparing their Life Cycle Assessments and employing specially trained staff, SMEs are often unable to keep up. The results achieved in this research project thus enable SMEs in the long term to sell their products on the market quickly and in an ecologically and economically sensible way. The pioneering international role of local companies is therefore strengthened and expanded.

The transfer of results occurs through training events, discussion rounds, working groups, project forums, and conference contributions and publications. "The project results are processed in an App, which accesses the calculation models and an associated guide. This makes it possible for SMEs to evaluate their process chains according to individual weighting and make well-founded decisions on the use of CMC," says materials scientist Prof. Dr. Dietmar Koch. Furthermore, he adds: "This is an exciting milestone: in this project, the manufacturing of CMC is accompanied by sustainable evaluation of the whole life cycle of CMC components for the first time in Germany."

The University's Chair of Materials Engineering and the Resource Lab are working on this project with the Institute of Acoustics and Building Physics of the University of Stuttgart and the research cluster of the Composites United e. V. (CU). The CU is one of the world's largest fibre-based multi-material construction networks. The research project is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with 700,000 euros and is supported by 25 companies on the project advisory board.

Scientific Contact Persons

Akademische Rätin, Leitung Resource Lab
Institute of Materials Resource Management
Head of Chair
Materials Engineering

Media Contact

Michael Hallermayer
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