Functional Materials

Innovations are increasingly taking place at process level. Nano-modified high-performance materials make plastics more robust, metals lighter and energy storage systems more efficient.

In doing so, conventional materials are modified with nano-scale fillers, such as graphene, nanotubes and silver nano wires. These fillers are synthesized, functionalized, dispersed and applied according to individual customer requirements in our laboratories at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA.

The department has a reactor park, dispersion testing facility as well as a range of pilot application systems. These are used for conventional printing processes and additive manufacturing technologies, such as fused deposition modeling (FDM).

The department is a pioneer in application-orientated material and process research. Today it is recognized as one of the largest research groups active in the field of functional materials. Thanks to its high level of integration, research issues are solved quickly and comprehensively, enabling results to be transferred efficiently to product and process innovations.


Formulation and Functionalization

The "Formulation and Functionalization" group develops customer-specific material composites and devises manufacturing and modification technologies for new materials.


Dispersion Technology

Within the scope of development projects, the group “Dispersion Technology” conducts research on the selection of the right matrix materials, additives, stabilizers and processes.


Application Technology

Within the scope of R&D projects, the group “Application of multi-functional layers” develops individual printing and coating solutions for resource-efficient and cost-effective production processes.


Electrode Manufacturing

Fraunhofer IPA conducts research on the manufacture and optimization of energy storage systems. The process steps for fabricating batteries and supercapacitors in the form of a battery production plant are available. Laboratory processes can be flexibly upscaled to industrial quantities.


Bonding - Sealing - Contacting: Failure Analysis

The Department of Functional Materials offers comprehensive testing procedures and methods for joining materials - both at the development stage and in the event of failure.


Microcapsule-based systems

Microcapsules can be integrated into various coating systems to enable functions such as self-repairing or corrosion protection. Our expertise is focused on the formulation and processing of these microcapsule materials.

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Dispersing Technology Center

With its comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach, the center covers the entire process chain of dispersion technology, from the development of basic scientific principles right through to industrial applications.


Particle Technology Center

The application center deals with relevant topics in the particle manufacture and processing with the corresponding work safety measures, as well as energy and resource efficiency and environmental protection.


EAP - Electroactive Polymers

The research work aims at developing an industrial production technology for environmentally stable and robust electroactive polymers (EAP).  We use scalable and cost-efficient printing and coating processes to achieve reproducible performance characteristics and tailor EAPs to specific applications.


Licensing technology

Smart Steel Technology

Carbon-based corrosion protection technology developed by Fraunhofer IPA as a long-term alternative to zinc-based concepts.


Technology seeks users

Smart Pipe

Thousands of kilometres of pipelines with partly very dangerous substances conveyed under high pressure are currently still completely unmonitored. A sensor kit with energy-autonomous sensors and a connected cloud database enable the cost-effective retrofitting of sensors for condition monitoring.