Super-Materials for the Automotive and Aerospace Industries

Composite materials made of steel and ceramics. © TU Bergakademie Freiberg/ IKGB
With special processes to “marry” raw materials, TU Bergakademie Freiberg is enabling the production of highly innovative materials for components subject to high mechanical stresses. The combination of steel and ceramics could save lives in the future – in traffic accidents, for example.

The process has now been patented.Prof. Horst Biermann and Prof. Christos Aneziris from TU Bergakademie Freiberg are pleased with the developments. Together with their team, the two professors have succeeded in producing materials with a particularly high capacity for energy absorption.

“The arrangement of the atoms within the material changes under stress. The distances between the atoms increase, so the material can stretch and expand. This enables it to withstand high levels of loading without failure,” explained Prof. Biermann.

For a solid material to change its volume in such a way is a unique characteristic. This is mainly due to the mixture: the composite materials consist of metals and zirconium dioxide ceramics. The scientists use so-called TRIP steels in the mixture (TRIP: TRansformation Induced Plasticity). In comparison to conventional types of steel, they are particularly stable and, at the same time, formable. They are therefore of particular interest to the automotive industry.

In the patented process, the scientists mix powdered forms of both components with other additives. With the aid of special molding processes, the mixture is then processed into various geometric structures, such as foams, honeycombs, spherical shapes or spaghetti-like bodies. Subsequently, the high strength of the materials is achieved by sintering. The formable masses are baked in a furnace at temperatures below their melting points to produce solid components. A second method of producing such formable masses is to fill special ceramic moulds with molten steel.

In the Collaborative Research Center SFB 799 “TRIP-Matrix-Composites”, scientists from three faculties (the faculties of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering; Materials Science and Technology; and Business Administration and the International Resource Industry) have been working together for nine years on the development of a new family of materials made of steel and ceramics. It was not until May 2016 that the third and last funding period of the research project was approved by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). This funding period will run until 2020. 

For further information, visit:

Contact person: Prof. Horst Biermann, Tel +49 (0)3731 39-3564; Prof. Christos G. Aneziris, Tel +49 (0)3731 39-2505