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EU project on lightweight materials of the future gets off to a virtual start

Digital kick-off marks beginning of the EU project CENTAUR aimed at developing innovative materials for high-temperature applications in the aerospace and automotive industries at Chemnitz University of Technology

On 10 September 2020, the EU project “CENTAUR - Ceramics with sensing capabilities for high temperature applications” entered into its first phase via videoconference. The project, which is coordinated from Chemnitz University of Technology, aims to produce functionalised, innovative materials for use in areas of high stress, such as aerospace and automotive applications. “Despite the corona-related restrictions, we will work on this project with joint forces across borders,” assures Prof. Dr. Daisy Nestler, head of the Endowed Chair for Textile Plastic Composites and Hybrid Compounds at Chemnitz University of Technology and coordinator of the project.

The project was submitted to M-ERA.Net, an EU network for the support and coordination of EU research programmes and related funding in the field of materials science and engineering. As a result of the interdisciplinary cooperation in the Cluster of Excellence MERGE at Chemnitz University of Technology and the active participation in the European Lightweight Cluster Alliance (ELCA), the project idea for the development of functionalised ceramics for high-temperature applications was initiated by the Endowed Chair “Textile Plastic Composites and Hybrid Compounds”, a research area of the Department of Lightweight Structures and Polymer Technology (SLK) at Chemnitz University of Technology under the direction of Prof. Dr. Kroll, together with the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology LIST and the Technical University of Liberec. Also involved in the project is the the Professorship of Measurement and Sensor Technology (MST) at Chemnitz University of Technology, headed by Prof. Dr. Olfa Kanoun. The Research Centre STEX (Systems and Technologies for Textile Structures) of the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Chemnitz supports the project with its expertise in additive manufacturing.

Background: Project “CENTAUR”

The aim of the project is to develop the lightweight construction material of the future. This material will not only have a particularly low weight, but also be break-proof, thermal shock and corrosion resistant. For this purpose, a family of functional materials with improved thermomechanical and physical properties and a lower density, which also enables the integration of sensor functions, is to be created on the basis of so-called functionalised fibre-reinforced ceramic-matrix composites (CMCs). The material is to be produced using an adapted 3D printing process, in which the reinforcing fibres can be laid out in a load-adapted manner. In this way, novel, complex components that meet high stress requirements can be produced in a cost- and resource-efficient manufacturing process. At the same time, various methods to ensure their stability at high temperatures are being investigated, as the components are to be used in high-temperature applications up to 1,350 degrees Celsius. In addition, integrated sensor functions will be created in a high-temperature operating range, which will enable structural health monitoring of the material, for example. The properties of the new material will be validated during the project by characterising at least two functional prototypes for the aerospace and automotive industries. The three independent EU evaluators attested the project ambitious goals with a breakthrough level of innovation and a quantum leap in the processing of functionalised ceramic-matrix composites. The research project will conclude in June 2023.

The project is supported by the Luxembourg National Re-search Fund (FNR) and the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TAČR). This measure is part-financed by tax revenue on the basis of the budget approved by the members of the Saxon state parliament.

Homepage of the project:

Additional information is available from Prof. Dr. Daisy Nestler, phone +49 371 531-36546, e-mail

 (Authors: Silke Grosch, Eva Laurie / Translation: Eva Laurie)

Mario Steinebach

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