running projects

AiF-Nr. 22233 BR | EFDS Nr. IGF-17/17

project period: 01.04.2022 – 31.03.2024

research institution

Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme (IKTS), Dresden


For several years, electromobility has been a topic that the automotive industry, the German government and the EU have been addressing and have formulated very ambitious goals. Current developments in electromobility, driven in particular by the automotive industry, require the development and production of reliable and durable batteries. To meet future demand, new, scalable process technologies for optimized semi-finished products and raw materials (e.g. active material powder) must be available in addition to production facilities for complete battery systems. Against this background, it is clear that manufacturers of coating equipment, service providers/contract coaters and suppliers of raw materials can participate precisely at the beginning of the battery production value chain. One problem with the current state of the art for lithium ion batteries is the use of active materials containing cobalt. Although cobalt can be partially extracted from recycling processes, open-pit mining of cobalt ores in the Democratic Republic of Congo is still the main resource in the extraction of this metal. For this reason, a major goal in this project is to develop a technology that avoids or greatly minimizes the use of cobalt or other critical raw materials, thereby contributing to sustainable technology development. The project will therefore use the Co-free high-voltage material LiNi0.5Mn1.5O4 as well as a high-nickel NCM with a low Co content (10%). The project aims to develop and evaluate coatings on active materials that will significantly facilitate and advance the use of Co-free or Co-low active materials. The main objectives of the project are to increase the energy density and service life of the batteries and to prevent degradation of the electrolyte by means of a suitable coating of the active material.

AiF-Nr. 22449 N | EFDS-Nr. IGF-19/14

project period: 01.08.2022 – 31.01.2025

research institution

Darmstadt University of Technology, State Materials Testing Institute Darmstadt
Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für Oberflächentechnik


Austenitic steels are used in particular in the food industry, medical technology and chemical industry
plant construction for the purpose of increased wear protection. Wear resistance is dominated by the thickness of the hard S phase formed during plasma nitriding. The steel used and the material structure significantly influence the thickness of the S-phase and the corrosion behavior under otherwise identical treatment conditions. Therefore, maintaining the corrosion resistance of plasma-nitrided steels remains problematic to this day and cannot be reproducibly guaranteed.
The aim is to determine parameters for a plasma nitriding treatment individually optimized for the material and material condition of austenitic steels
in order to achieve the target values to be achieved in terms of wear protection in a process-safe manner and at the same time to maintain corrosion resistance.
The intended results hold the following innovation potential:

  • – Scientific and technical basis for the selection of treatment parameters during plasma nitriding
  • – Identification of limit values and parameter windows to ensure reproducible treatment results
  • – Economic advantages due to the material-adapted optimization of the treatment parameters as well as the reduction of damage or complaints
  • – Ecological advantages by ensuring or increasing the service life of components
  • – Gain in confidence through improved advice and product quality for reproducible achievement of the required corrosion and wear protection

Thus, the benefits and significance of the project are very high, especially for SMEs. The potential user group concerns the economic sectors 24 (metal production and processing); 28 (mechanical engineering), 29 (manufacture of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts), 30 (other vehicle construction) as well as 20 (manufacture of chemical products) and 21 (manufacture of pharmaceutical products).

AiF-Nr.22641 N | EFDS-Nr. IGF-20/10

project period: 01.10.2022 – 31.03.2025

research institution

Darmstadt University of Technology, State Materials Testing Institute Darmstadt


The aim of the proposed project is to extend the property profiles of functionally optimized ternary PVD hard nitride coatings to include the function of effective corrosion protection. The concept of
alloying Mg-Gd to TiN developed by the applicant research institution
and the knowledge achieved about the influencing factors for ensuring wear and corrosion protection are to be transferred to typical ternary
coating systems (e.g. TiAlN, CrAlN, TiCN) in this project in order to make these coatings suitable for
use under corrosive conditions.
The results targeted in the project hold the following benefits for kmU:
1. opening up new industrial fields of application for corrosion-optimized PVD coatings under simultaneous corrosive and tribological stress.
2. improvement of environmental and health protection through the possibility of substituting corrosion-optimized ternary PVD hard nitride coatings for the electroplated coatings or electroless nickel previously used in corrosive environments.
3. economic advantages, since corrosion-optimized ternary PVD hard nitride coatings can achieve a higher added value
compared to conventional PVD coating systems at similar coating costs due to the improved properties.
4. increasing sustainability, optimal utilization of shifts and reduced maintenance costs
through “predictive maintenance” concepts.
Coating equipment manufacturers, coating companies, and
users from virtually all manufacturing industries are often classified as SMEs. With the targeted project results, new business areas and
applications can be opened up through the use of corrosion-optimized ternary PVD hard nitride coatings by removing existing obstacles or safety concerns in the use of PVD coatings for components subject to corrosive stress.

AiF-Nr. 21708 BR | EFDS-Nr. IGF-19/04

project period: 01.03.2021 – 28.02.2023

Research institutions:
Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP
Fraunhofer-Institut für für Mikrostruktur von Werkstoffen und Systemen IMWS

Ultra-thin glasses (UTG) with thicknesses of less than 100 μm are lightweight, flexible and dimensionally stable, have a low
surface roughness and a high thermal and mechanical load capacity. Compared to organic flexible
materials, they have no permeability for water and oxygen. With the launch of foldable displays
UTG have recently entered mass production, but so far only in selected high-priced products.
To establish UTG as a flexible substrate material and alternative to polymer films, stable and reliable
production processes are developed. With these, mechanical failure of the UTG during the process so far leads to
to random, time-consuming and cost-intensive production downtimes. Therefore, in order to reduce the reject rate, in
This project project provides fundamental findings on the mechanical behaviour of UTG during the
functionalisation can be obtained. This is of particular relevance, as the mechanical properties are affected by
Separation, coating and handling/transport of the UTG change during the process. These project objectives are
the main focus
1. determination of the initial strength of the UTG, especially edge strengthe Kantenfestigkeit
2. investigation of the influence of selected coating and separation processes on the mechanical properties
of the UTG, especially on edge strength and fatigue behaviour
3. correlation and evaluation of the results for two applications: Transparent electrode and
Anti-reflective coating system
The strength parameters obtained can be used directly for the dimensioning and design of plants in the entire
value chain of UTG processing are used, especially by the SMEs involved in the PbA. Furthermore
Based on the knowledge gained about the mechanical behaviour of UTG, companies will be able to
to open up new fields of application for UTG and to develop innovative products in a short time.

AiF-Nr. 21807 N | EFDS-Nr. IGF-17/10

project period: 01.05.2021 – 31.10.2023

Research institutions:
Darmstadt University of Technology, State Materials Testing Institute Darmstadt

Within the planned research project, fatigue loading will be investigated over the entire surface with a view to the adhesion properties of functional coatings. For this purpose, application-relevant PVD coating systems (DLC, t aC, a C:H:Me) are to be selected in consultation with industry and samples or component sections are to be coated or made available. The necessary fatigue loading is to be generated by acoustic cavitation using ultrasonic coupled transducers (sonotrodes). The ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials) standard ASTM G32-16 provides a general test specification for tests on the ultrasonic coupling transducer, which is to be modified and further developed in the project. The test parameters (frequency, amplitude, test duration, medium, etc.) are varied with the aid of high-speed camera recordings in order to be able to evaluate the resulting stress in relation to the input variables in a spatially resolved manner. Based on the results, a comprehensive evaluation of the two-dimensional adhesion properties of the coatings relevant to the application as well as the suitability of the ultrasonic coupling oscillator method should be possible. The targeted parameter variations and the evaluation of the resulting interactions due to the changed stress combination form the basis of the qualifying further development of the cavitation investigation. The influence of the microstructure (e.g. columnar, amorphous structures, multilayer layers), as well as the possible developing crack growth within the coating are in the focus of the mechanistic description. The sonotrodes of the
Ultrasonic coupler oscillators will also be adapted to specifically affect cavitation to allow testing on simply contoured and curved functional surfaces for possible prenormative research.

AiF-Nr. 22645 BG | EFDS-Nr. IGF-18/04

project period: 01.10.2022 – 30.09.2024

Research institutions
Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Umformtechnik IWU, Chemnitz
Fraunhofer-Institut für Schicht und Oberflächentechnik IST, Braunschweig


Very high temperatures of 750 up to 1250 °C are required for forming high-strength Ti(Al) alloys, which severely limits the choice of suitable tool materials. An additional limitation occurs due to the adhesion tendency of titanium and titanium aluminides, which cause problems during forming. The “bonding” can cause damage to the components and the tool. In addition, material wear is promoted by the tendency to adhesion. Adhesions or residues from the previous forming process act as abrasive particles during the subsequent forming process, causing the components and tools to wear as a result of the high forces. The focus of this research proposal is the development of tool coatings for the isothermal forming of Ti(Al) alloys. Suitable tribological investigations and forming model tests are used to investigate, evaluate, further develop and optimize the tribological behavior of the surface layer after plasma boron and diffusion alloying of high-temperature molybdenum-based materials such as titanium-zirconium-molybdenum, molybdenum-hafnium-carbon or zirconium-hafnium-molybdenum compared with Ti(Al) alloys. The manufacturers of Ti(Al) alloys, manufacturers of special materials for tools, toolmakers specializing in the processing of special materials and manufacturers of special lubricants are closely associated with this topic. Tool coatings and diffusion treatments for high-temperature forming are absolutely new territory for coating companies and contract treaters. Since the expected results can be transferred to the wear protection of other machine elements and tools subject to high thermal loads, there is also great interest from this side. Overall, the aim is to serve a highly specialized market for high-end products with a high SME share and very good growth prospects.