Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)

In recent years, the integration of different simulation methods and experimental techniques for faster and more targeted material development has gained importance worldwide. This so-called Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) has already been widely used in the development of new metallic materials, but is rarely used in the field of ceramic materials. However, the key concepts of the ICME approach can be applied to ceramics without restriction. The focus is on elucidating the relationships between processing and (micro)structure (relationship 1), structure and properties (relationship 2), and properties and performance (relationship 3) of materials and the components made from them. This information is used for the targeted development of new products.

ICME Methods at Fraunhofer-Center HTL
ICME Methods
© © Olson, G.B.: Computational design of hierachically structured materials, Science 277 (1997), 1237-1242.
The three relationships "manufacturing + structure", "structure + properties" and "properties + operation behavior" are essential for targeted material development.

The HTL already has developed essential components for integrated, computer-aided material development (publication: Integrated Computational Ceramics Engineering). Concepts for multiscale simulation are available for all three of the aforementioned relationships. To investigate how the production process influences the structure (relationship 1), models are used on different scales: on the microscale, for example, the microstructure development during sintering is simulated depending on process parameters such as the temperature-time curve. Insights are derived from this about the conditions for achieving maximum homogeneity of the ceramics (publications: Modeling Inherently Homogeneous Sintering Processes and Simulation of Sintering). On the macroscale, FE models are available for debinding (publication: Optimization of Debinding Using Experiment-Based Computational Concepts) and sintering, based strictly on precise in-situ measurement data from the thermal processes. With these models, the respective thermal process is optimized on the computer so that the components achieve the desired final shape and density reliably and without cracks with minimal time and energy expenditure.

A microstructure-property simulation specifically developed for ceramics (publication: Using a novel microstructure generator to calculate macroscopic properties of multi-phase non-oxide ceramics in comparison to experiments) is available for relationship 2. It is suitable not only for pure ceramics but also for predicting the material properties of metal-ceramic composites (MMC) and ceramic fiber composites (CMC) (publication: 3D modelling of ceramic composites).

Regarding relationship 3, the computer-aided assessment of application properties, at the HTL, measured structures of surface or volume defects are evaluated using FE analyses for their impact on the probability of fracture.

Faster Material Development with ICME
ICME variants
© Fraunhofer-Center HTL
ICME variants: from the idea to the product

The integration of multiscale simulation, systematic evaluation of databases, experimental procedures, and as needed, further methods based on the ICME concept provides the opportunity to advance material development significantly faster and with more targeted success compared to classical approaches. Even the coordinated and interconnected use of just a few components of the ICME concept can significantly improve the efficiency of material and component design tasks. Therefore, the HTL also offers "streamlined" variants of ICME for customer-specific product development.

Service Offering:

  • Planning and execution of developments using the ICME (Integrated Computational Materials Engineering) approach
  • Faster material, component, and process design through the use of ICME tools

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Material Design

At Fraunhofer Center HTL, the development of new materials is always focused on the planned application of the customer. The required component properties lead to a specific set of thermal, mechanical, electrical, and chemical properties that must be met during material design.


Topology Optimization

Nowadays, computer-aided material and component development (ICME) also includes material and energy efficiency as a central criterion for the production and use of components. Modern methods of topology optimization make it possible to develop ceramic and metallic components with minimal mass and heat capacity for specific application.


AI Algorithms

At Fraunhofer Center HTL, numerous AI algorithms are used for material and process development. The HTL has powerful hardware and the ability to provide input data through various measurement methods and databases to validate models.


Model Validation

An important concern in ICME is the determination of predictive uncertainty, which requires careful validation of the computer models used. At Fraunhofer Center HTL, methods for experimental validation of computer simulations and for determining predictive uncertainty are being developed.


Effects of Defects

At Fraunhofer Center HTL, methods are being developed to quantitatively assess the effects of material defects on the reliability of components.

Current Project

In DiMaWert, a methodology is to be established which will radically reduce the development times for new types of thermal processes. In addition to thermal processes, DiMaWert also aims at material and component development, which is also to be accelerated considerably with ICME and AI methods.