Processing of Composites Group
Composite materials form an excellent basis for implementing lightweight solutions and can thus contribute to the conservation of resources. The sensible use of composite materials therefore represents a key to the future-oriented and sustainable development of our society. This is the vision to which the staff of the Institute are committed and to which they want to make valuable contributions through their personal commitment.
Our mission is to develop processing technologies for the production of polymer-based fibre composites. In doing so, we focus on the development, automation and simulation of the respective processes. We see ourselves as an important building block within the University of Leoben and the Department of Polymer Technology, in order to be able to cover the entire scientific development chain from raw materials to the finished component. Building on the solid basic education of students at the University of Leoben, comprehensive knowledge on the subject of processing composite materials is to be imparted in teaching. Through scientific cooperation in the national and international environment and close collaboration with industrial partners, an interdisciplinary working environment with a high degree of practical relevance is to be created, which enables the rapid implementation of the latest scientific findings in application.
Univ-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Schledjewski†
Ralf Schledjewski, born in 1964, studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH) until 1990. From 1990 to 1996 he was a research assistant in the materials science department of the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH and received his doctorate in mechanical and process engineering from the University of Kaiserslautern in 1995. In 1996, he moved to Wolff Walsrode AG, where he was responsible for the development of technical films. From 2000 to 2010 he was group leader and deputy head of department in the Processing Technology Department at Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH.
On 1 October 2010, he founded the Processing of Composites Group at Montanuniversität Leoben, which was newly created with his appointment. He also headed the Christian Doppler Laboratory for High Efficiency Composite Processing from 1 April 2013 to 30 March 2020 and was Editor-in-Chief of the journal "Advanced Manufacturing: Polymer & Composites Science" since June 2015.
In June 2023, Ralf Schledjewski passed away far too early, suddenly and unexpectedly.
assoz.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.mont. Ewald Fauster
Ewald Fauster was born in Graz in 1979 and studied mechanical engineering at Montanuniversität Leoben until 2002 with a particular focus on automation and optical measurement technology. From 2003 to 2005, he was employed as junior scientist at the Polymer Competence Center Leoben (PCCL) und received his doctorate 2008 at Montanuniversität Leoben. From 2005 to 2008, he worked at the Hot Vision Research GmbH as technical employee. After the take-over by vatron GmbH in 2008, he acted as project leader in the development of optical measurement and test facilities for the steel production and processing industry until January 2011.
In February 2011, he rejoined Montanuniversität Leoben in the newly founded Processing of Composites Group. As a university assistant, he was primarily engaged with setting up laboratory infrastructure as well as with the development of testrigs relevant for studying process related mechanisms. After signing a qualification agreement in 2013, he scientifically worked as assistant professor on the characterization of permeability and compressibility of fibrous reinforcing materials. In this period, he joined the Center for Composite Materials (CCM) at the University of Delaware (US) as a guest scientist from November 2014 to May 2015. In 2018, he habilitated in polymer processing and was taken over by Montanuniversität Leoben as associate professor.
After the sudden passing of Ralf Schledjewski, he was interimistically put in charge of the research group starting with August 2023.
For the optimised use of composites, a comprehensive understanding of materials on the one hand and detailed knowledge of the diverse processing technologies on the other hand are required. As part of the training, we would like to provide our students with such a universal understanding of the complex interplay of material, processing methods and application.
Practice and theses
In addition to the theoretical content taught in the lectures, the practical relevance is to be established in particular by means of internships and integrated courses. Teaching at the department is also enriched by the involvement of students in current research projects. We also offer our students the opportunity to further deepen their acquired knowledge in a special field of composite materials processing by writing a bachelor's, diploma or doctoral thesis.
Research and development in the field of composites processing is dedicated to the following focal points:
- Process development
- Interaction process / structure / property
- Process modelling and simulation
- Process optimisation
- Process automation
- Cost-effectiveness evaluations
Extensive laboratory equipment provides us with the necessary working facilities.
The chair follows the approach of holistic process development.
All aspects influencing the process and the process result are brought together in an interdisciplinary way. The entire range of process technologies that are suitable for the production of continuous and defined fibre-reinforced components will be considered. The known processes will be examined with regard to possible further development. In addition, approaches for new process technologies are to be developed and, if suitable, consistently brought to industrialisation.
Prozessmodellierung und -simulation
Eine große Herausforderung ist die Vorhersagefähigkeit sowohl hinsichtlich Materialverhalten, insbesondere aber auch in Bezug auf das Verarbeitungsverhalten. Neben der Verwendung von kommerziellen Simulationstools wird am Lehrstuhl intensiv an einer aktiven Weiterentwicklung der Prozesssimulation gearbeitet. Ein wichtiges Element ist dabei die Modellbildung.
Process / Structure / Property
Composite materials have a strong interaction between the material structure and the resulting component properties. The material structure is determined by the manufacturing process to a much greater extent than with other materials. The actual composite material is usually only created during the manufacturing process. It is therefore extremely important to have precise knowledge of the interaction between process, structure and property, which is one of the primary goals of the work at the Chair.
Prozessoptimierung wird am Lehrstuhl im wesentlichen auf Basis eines tiefgehenden Verständnisses der Prozess / Struktur / Eigenschaft-Wechselwirkungen betrieben. Die Prozesssimulation leistet dabei eine wertvolle Unterstützung. Die Möglichkeiten der Prozessautomation, insbesondere auch in Bezug auf höhere Genauigkeit und bessere Reproduzierbarkeit werden dabei genauso in Betracht gezogen wie Wirtschaftlichkeitsaspekte.
Processes are only interesting for industrial applications if they deliver a product with a good price-performance ratio as a result. The consideration of economic efficiency during process development is therefore of great importance. Even more important, however, is the ability to predict the resulting process and thus component costs in order to be able to make a process decision at an early stage of development.