Polymer Engineering

Competence in polymer technology and composite materials

Material and process innovations provide the impetus for the development of advanced products. Long-standing experience in material and process development makes our institute a competent partner for application-oriented research and development in polymer and composite material technology - from the initial idea and the concept development through to the manufacture of prototypes.

We develop materials, processes and methods for our customers in the automotive, aerospace, construction, packaging, toy and leisure industries. In addition to individual topics from and along the value chain, we also provide solutions for long-term social challenges, in particular sustainable mobility, the circular economy, hybrid lightweight construction and the digitalization of process chains.

Our research approach is based on the following strategic topics: Sustainability, flexible manufacturing technologies, artificial intelligence, lightweight construction and material innovation

Research areas in the Polymer Engineering Department


Material development and compounding technologies

The development of formulations for thermoplastic compounds as well as the material specific adaptation and the development of their manufacturing processes are the focus of our work.


Foam technologies

Foamed materials are increasingly used for transport packaging, heat insulation of buildings and also in particular in the automotive sector. The development of new foamed materials aims to optimize these products in terms of temperature resistance, energy absorption or recyclability.


Additive manufacturing

The additive manufacturing of composites offers the advantages of design freedom, flexibility and product customization. It consequently has significant potential for novel industrial applications.


Injection and compression molding

The injection and compression molding group specializes in the development of processes and methods for flowable material systems that are suitable for large-scale production. In addition to standard injection and compression molding processes, the main focus lies on single-stage, resource- and energy-efficient direct processes as well as customized local continuous-fiber reinforcements and functionalized mono-material systems.


Structural composites

The structural composites group is concerned with the development and optimization of materials and processes for the manufacture of high-performance lightweight structures. The highest strengths in components can be achieved through the targeted use of continuous fibers.


Microwave and plasma technology

The Fraunhofer ICT's competences in the area of microwave and plasma technology go far beyond simple processing technologies. They include the development of production units and measurement technology, accompanied by numerical simulation of the electromagnetic field and the resultant heating or plasma formation.


Material characterization and failure analysis

In our testing laboratory we can conduct comprehensive investigations into polymer materials along the entire processing chain. We generate material data for structure and process simulation and in the event of failure we offer a systematic analysis of its cause.


Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Composites Research at the University of Western Ontario (FIP-Composites@Western)


Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Composites Research at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (FIP-Composites@UNIST)


Hand in hand to new lightweight solutions

Research in the field of lightweight construction technology is closely interlinked with the institutes of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

The guideline here is the holistic consideration of methods, materials and production - MWP approach.

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Circular Plastics Economy CCPE

Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Programmable Materials CPM