The degradation and damage mechanisms of new materials and of multi-material mixes have not yet been sufficiently investigated. The variety of their use and the range in application conditions of the fabricated components also result in further need of research, especially for combined loading conditions. Examples are crack initiation under high temperature loading and multiaxial dynamic mechanic loading or fatigue loading in corrosive media. On the one hand, characteristic material property data are partially missing, on the other hand, research often focused on only one type of loading.

The field of activity degradation of materials therefore includes mechanisms of time or temperature dependent changes of original properties (degradation) due to thermal, physical and/or chemical aging and particularly of their combination. This may result (similarly as mechanical, biological adn/or tribological loading, which is not induced by aging) in material damage in terms of e.g. fatigue, corrosion, wear, creep, disintegration and possibly failure of systems, structures and components. We focus here on metals, ceramics polymers and their composites.

The field of activity was built on existing research activities at BAM, which however considered mostly only individual aspects of degradation and damage. New projects investigate more complex scenarios of higher practical relevance.

The following topics are currently studied in detail:

  • Degradation mechanisms under combined (multiscale) loadings – engineering materials under service relevant conditions, e.g. mechanical (also combined static – cyclic) loadings, corrosive, tribological, biological, ..., temperature loading including determination of characteristic material properties
  • Development of suitable modeling and simulation methods to describe the behavior under combined loadings and of time dependent processes
  • Development of suitable combined electrochemical, analytical and microscopic methods to investigate the mechanisms