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30. Jul. 2021

A few weeks ago, a new name was added to the organisational chart of the Leibniz-Institut für Werkstofforientierte Technologien: "Processing of Functional Materials" is the title of the new department, which since then has complemented the research focus of process engineering and is conducting basic research for the next leap in development in the field of additive manufacturing.

The focus is on researching synergetic effects that arise when 3D printing processes are combined with other components, such as ultrasonic vibration or electromagnetism. The aim is to develop general models for such hybrid processes and to make it possible to adjust complex property profiles of materials specifically and on demand.

The linkability of different technologies with 3D printing opens up new possibilities to control the structures of materials and the resulting properties already in the manufacturing process. Therefore, there is great potential in this research, especially for the production of locally anisotropic materials, such as those used for components that are only stressed in one direction. This will also make manufacturing processes more sustainable and economical in the future.

The knowledge gained from processing will be used for applications in energy generation and storage, lightweight construction and medical technology, among others, and thus offer a broad field of interdisciplinary points of contact. Particularly intensive cooperation with overlapping topics of all three main departments of the Institute can be optimally utilised here.

The new head of department is Assoc. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ilya Okulov, associate professor at the Ural Federal University (Russian Federation).

Mr Okulov came to Germany in 2011 to do his doctorate in the group of Prof. Eckert (Leibniz-Institut für Festkörper- und Werkstoffforschung Dresden - IFW). He worked on novel titanium alloys, in-situ metal matrix composites and metallic glasses. After working at the Helmholtz Centre Hereon (Geesthacht) and the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) at Tohoku University (Japan), Ilya Okulov joined the Process Engineering Research Group at the University of Bremen in 2018 to explore the combination of 3D printing and dealloying for the production of novel materials, including 3D printing of permanent magnets. Since 2019, Ilya Okulov has been appointed as an associate professor at Ural Federal University, where he coordinates research activities on 3D printing of magnetic materials conducted jointly with the process engineering research groups at Bremen University (more information here).