Department of Materials Science and Engineering (WW)

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Profile and Perspectives

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (WW) in Erlangen currently has eight chairs and 18 professorships and thus represents the largest university institute of its kind for materials science in Germany. Approximately one third of all materials scientists educated in Germany over the past decades gained their qualification from the University of Erlangen. The specialist department offers students the opportunity to study and conduct research into all types of materials, with equal attention given to traditional construction materials as well as modern functional materials, covering both the natural sciences and the engineering aspects of the broad field of Materials Sciences and Engineering.

Exceptional opportunities for technology transfer as well as for interdisciplinary research activities into the application of materials are further provided by collaborative partnerships with Neue Materialien Fürth GmbH and the Central Institute of Advanced Materials and Processes in Fürth. The particular strength of the Erlangen Department of Materials Sciences was highlighted in the successful 2007 bid for an Erlangen Cluster of Excellence in ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’‘, an award approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the National Science Council. All seven chairs in Materials Science and Engineering are involved in this initiative in varying forms, and a new Centre for Nanoanalytics and Electron Microscopy (CENEM) will be developed as part of this project. This Cluster of Excellence is the only material sciences cluster in Germany that is currently receiving national funding.

Research Focus

Research within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering covers the length and breadth of the field. The Department is unique in that there is a subject chair representing each of the most important classes of material, and that research includes both natural sciences as well as engineering approaches to materials engineering.

Main topics of research:

General Material Properties

This research into the correlations between the structure of materials and the resulting properties with a focus on the mechanical properties of materials. It also investigates the properties of materials at high temperatures and the production and properties of nanostructured materials.

Materials Science and Metals Technology

This type of research explores the process and materials development of high temperature and lightweight materials as well as of ultrahard layers such as turbine blades, metal foams and crystalline diamond layers, for example.

Glass and Ceramics

The process and materials development of glass and ceramics is the focus of attention in research into new production processes for ceramics, glass and bonding materials; potential fields of application include the automobile industry, microelectronics, medicine, environmental and energy technologies.

Corrosion and Surface Technology

Surface modification is used to tailor the functionality of surfaces for use in specific technological applications. Corrosion protection investigates the corrosion processes of lightweight materials and implant materials, for example.

Polymer Materials

This research is primarily modification and characterisation, and involves the development of technical applications, such as electronic components from organic materials, foams, antimicrobial polymers. It is also concerned with the identification of rheological properties, in particular under elongation, and the fluid mechanics of polymer melts.

Electronics and Energy Technology Materials

This area of research explores key topics such as the production and characterisation of materials for energy production and storage, compound semiconductors, organic semiconductors and conductors, as well as inorganic nanoparticles, and phosphors for X-ray storage and light conversion.

Biomaterials

Medical materials research is a core element of modern materials development. Examples of their application include artificial hip joints, supports for dental implants, cartilage and bone replacement materials, biocompatible substrates for the regeneration of heart tissue, nanostructured scaffolds for tissue engineering, as well as biodegradable drug delivery vehicles. Notable areas of expertise shared across all subjects chairs are the study of and research into lightweight, high temperature and biologically inspired materials, and materials in medicine.

Materials Simulation

This area of research focuses on modelling and simulation of mechanical and transport properties of a broad range of materials - from nanocomposites, micro-and nanowires to biomaterials and hazards related to materials failure in geosystems. These modelling and simulation approaches are strongly influenced by concepts and ideas derived from statistical physics/complex systems theory which help to deal with the properties of real materials where structural disorder, defects and randomness are always present -- and may give rise to a rich variety of emergent phenomena.

Contact

If you have further questions on the research activities of the Department Material Science and Engineering please contact the Head of the Research Liaison Office of the Department:

Dr. rer. nat. Alexandra Haase
Martensstrasse 5, 91058 Erlangen, GERMANY
Telephone: +49 (0) 9131 85-20940
alexandra.haase@ww.uni-erlangen.de