Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures

Top-level research for international visibility and performance

Welcome to Germany's first and only Federal Cluster of Excellence in the field of lightweight structures. Lightweight construction is a key technology of the future. Wherever masses have to be moved, the optimization of weight is a main focus in order to save raw materials and energy. Thus, it is the aim of the Cluster's research to merge basic technologies suitable for mass-production, comprising plastic, metal, textile and Smart Systems for the development of resource-efficient products and production processes. More than 100 researchers and technicians from a total of six interacting research domains are currently working on the implementation of this project, which is funded by the DFG with 31 million Euros in the period 1st November 2012 to 31st October 2017.


Appointment to Associated Professor

On 26th May 2015, PD Dr.-Ing. habil. Daisy Nestler, Head of Department at the Professorship of Composite Materials and Head of the action field IRD A of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE, was appointed to associate professor. The rector of the TU Chemnitz, Prof. Arnold van Zyl, acknowledged thereby her merits in the field of composites and composite materials as well as her outstanding commitment in teaching. With over 120 publications, Prof. Nestler has made scientific contributions to metal, ceramic and polymer matrix composites and composite materials.

Prof. Nestler studied Materials Engineering and Materials Science at the TU BA Freiberg and the TU Chemnitz and received her doctorate degree (Dr.-Ing.) in the field of CVD-Boriding of Steels in 1988. She has been a research assistant and Head of the Department for Composite Materials / Material Composites at the Professorship of Composite Materials at the Institute of Materials Science and Materials Technology of the TU Chemnitz since 1st October 2006. In 2012 she successfully completed her habilitation on the topic of “Contribution to the Subject of Composites – Material Compounds - Status quo and Research Approaches”. Her habilitation sets the basis for a methodological and organisational realignment of composites. Prof. Nestler developed new systematisation, structuring and overviews. Assignments of established and new technologies contribute to the stability of the terminology “Hybrid Construction” and “Hybrid Composite”. It also outlines areas of activity of future research and development projects that lead to material concepts and current key topics of metal, ceramic and polymer matrix composites and hybrid composites. The hybrid composites are worth highlighting as a potential supporting pillar of future developments in lightweight construction, taking a key role in the large-scale, cost-efficient and resource-conserving production.

Prof. Nestler is also a TP applicant in the SFB 692 “HALS” and the group leader of the working group “Aluminum Matrix Composites”. She has submitted numerous DFG and joint applications and plays a leading role at the Professorship of Composite Materials due to her expertise.

Prof. Nestler will continue to contribute with all her strength not only in the central research topics of the TU Chemnitz and research on the multi-functional  performance of large-scale lightweight structures, but also to act as an elected Senator of the non-professorial teaching staff.

Weitere Einträge zu: IRD A
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Award for Outstanding New Measurement Method

Having his or her own work acknowledged by a group of experts represents a very special distinction for every scientist. Maik Trautmann from the Professorship of Composite Materials of the TU Chemnitz experienced this honour. At the 20th Symposium for Composites and Material Compounds in Vienna, he was awarded the prize for the best poster presentation. Trautmann is a research assistant at the Federal Cluster of Excellence “Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures” (MERGE) in action field A.

An expert jury selected Trautmann's work on an innovative new measurement method of the surface roughness of circular reinforcing fibres from 47 poster contributions and honoured it with the 1st prize. The method presented in the poster is based on a digital analysis in the micrometre range on the basis of fibre cross-sections captured through electron microscopy. In this way, various reinforcing fibre geometries and the influence of fibre pretreatment processes and coatings can be compared with high accuracy. At the meeting, Trautmann also presented results on novel hybrid sandwich structures consisting of an aluminum foam core with cover layers of thermoplastic hybrid laminates (CAPAAL).

A total of eight employees of the Cluster of Excellence MERGE attended the three-day symposium and presented their research on multifunctional hybrid lightweight structures. All contributions are published in the conference transcript at

(Author: Dr. Thomas Grund)


Weitere Einträge zu: AwardSymposium for Composites and Material Compounds
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New Team Assistance for MERGE

Mrs. Ricarda Künzel-Ripp has been supporting the Cluster of Excellence MERGE as the new team assistant since 1st July, 2015. She is a trained bilingual secretary and a management assistant for office communication. Besides being an assistant in the service sector, she worked, among other things, as a clerk for real estate financing.

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Charisma Far Beyond the Region

On July 3rd, 2015 the Excellence Council of the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE - Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Structures met at the Technische Universität Chemnitz. The Council makes recommendations and statements regarding MERGE’s strategic development at the political level, taking into account local, state, federal and European policy aspects. Furthermore, the members contribute with their competence, their long-standing and outstanding experience in their fields and their charisma to strengthen and promote the national and international visibility of MERGE.

The Council has a total of nine members: Eberhard Alles, Chancellor of the TU Chemnitz; Frank Kupfer, Chairman of the CDU parliamentary group of the Saxon Parliament; Barbara Ludwig, Mayor of Chemnitz; Dr. Stephan Meyer, member of the Saxon Landtag and the Committee for Science and Higher Education, Culture and the Media; Prof. Dr. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft; Dr. Nikolas Stihl, Chairman of the Advisory Board and Supervisory Board of ANDREAS STIHL AG & Co. KG, Waiblingen, Germany; Prof. Dr. Marek Tukiendorf, Rector of the Technical University of Opole, Poland; Hermann Winkler, member of the European Parliament; and Prof. Arnold van Zyl, Rector of the TU Chemnitz.

The members’ meeting was held on the premises of the Cluster of Excellence on the Reichenhainer Straße campus. Together with Prof. Dr. Andreas Schubert, Vice-Rector for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of the TU, who was invited as a guest to the event, Prof. van Zyl highlighted the structural impact and further development of MERGE. As a central institution of the university, MERGE reinforces the three core competencies of the university. In addition, the Cluster makes contributions to teaching, research and transfer. Through the International Master’s Programme Merge Technologies for Resource Efficiency, students benefit from the research of the cluster and its close links to many regional SMEs and carry out their studies in an interdisciplinary framework. By building a new technology centre, MERGE also contributes to the development of the university’s infrastructure. As early as autumn 2015, the first construction phase should be completed.

Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll, spokesperson and coordinator of the Federal Cluster of Excellence, was also invited to attend the meeting of the Excellence Council as a guest. He informed the members about the current state of research, sustainability, further measures and the strategic orientation of the cluster. The numerous scientific contributions and patents, the establishment of an industrial advisory board with 41 national and international companies were met with great respect. For the work performed at the cluster, MERGE received many words of praise from the Excellence Council members.

A special focus at MERGE lies on the transfer of knowledge. The cluster comprises many SMEs in addition to large enterprises, representing the value chain "from material to lightweight structure". The cluster’s project results serve leading markets of the automotive industry, aerospace, mechanical engineering and microsystems technology. Thus, an important impetus for future sustainable business development is given to the companies involved - especially the Saxon SMEs. Most recently, the Cluster of Excellence was recognized and honoured by Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Minister of Education and Research, as part of the funding measure “Internationalisation of top-level clusters, future projects and similar networks”.

Prof. Dr. Tukiendorf, Rector of the TU Opole (Poland) even attributes the cluster a role model function, so that similar alliances between industry and research have been and can continue to be built at this university. The Mayor of Chemnitz Barbara Ludwig praised the contribution to urban development that is made through connection with such a research project.

Weitere Einträge zu: Excellence Council
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Chemnitz’s top-level research will become more international

Worldwide, Germany is ahead of the USA and Japan, but in second place behind China in exporting research-intensive goods. In order to keep this outstanding position, the Federal Government will strengthen the strategic internationalisation of the top-level research. As part of the funding measure “Internationalisation of top-level clusters, future projects and similar networks”, from now on, eleven projects will be supported by the Federal Ministry of Educa-tion and Research (BMBF) for the international networking of highly innovative regions in Germany with up to four million euros over a period of up to five years. This includes the Federal Cluster of Excellence “Merge Technologies for Multifunctional Lightweight Struc-tures” (MERGE) at the Technische Universität Chemnitz. It is also the only cluster among the 43 clusters of excellence in Germany, whose internationalisation is promoted in this way.

MERGE’s interdisciplinary approach, fulfilling a bridging function between business and sci-ence, represents currently a unique feature in the German Cluster landscape in the field of the key technology “lightweight”. In addition to large enterprises, the cluster also incorporates many SMEs, which complementary reflect the value chain “From material to lightweight structure”. The cluster’s project results serve leading markets of the automotive industry, aero-space, mechanical engineering and microsystems technology. Thus, the companies involved - especially the Saxon SMEs – receive important impetus for their future sustainable business development. “With the internationalisation of our cluster we want to further strengthen the innovation and competitiveness of our industry partners”, says MERGE CEO Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll and adds: “In the border triangle Poland, Czech Republic and Germany, we have al-ready established highly promising collaborations and contacts that shall now be deepened further”.

“Germany should continue to be a world leader in the export of high-tech goods in the future. Therefore, we promote global networking of science and industry. The new initiative will help companies, universities and research institutions, to take part in international innovation pro-cesses and make them more active”, said the Federal Research Minister Wanka. The selected projects were reviewed and recommended for funding by an independent panel of experts chaired by Margret Wintermantel, President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The internationalisation of clusters and networks is part of the new high-tech strate-gy, which the Federal Government uses to turn ideas into innovations and to establish links between science and industry, research and society. At the same time, it is a building block in the Action Plan “International Cooperation” of the BMBF. Thus, future opportunities and tomorrow’s jobs can be created. Besides MERGE, yet another project can be found among the eleven funded clusters and networks from Saxony - the Innovation Network Organic Electronics Saxony (OES). On 30 June, 2015, all the selected projects will be officially awarded by Minister Wanka within the framework of the 3rd International Cluster Confer-ence of the BMBF. Two further rounds of funding are planned.

Weitere Einträge zu: International
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