Lightweight constructions are nowadays considered to be absolute necessities and priorities within the design goals of the automobile industry, electro mobility, machine tools, aerospace and in large wind turbines. The demands for designing constructions and structures, that are light but as well firm, stiff and safe leads to conflicts of interpretation.
The SFB/TR39´s research approach consists in solving these conflicts of interpretation through production technologies for active lightweight structural components. Hence, the SFB/TR39 concentrates on scientific fundamentals of piezo-ceramic´s material integration in high performance components of lightweight structures made from aluminum and fiber compounds, such as vehicles, planes, trains and wind turbines. In addition, the established series technologies, sheet metal forming, die cast aluminum and production of fiber composites will be expanded in order to obtain scientifically validated solutions for the integration of piezo ceramic modules. Through the functional and spatial arrangement of sensors, actuators and energy harvesters, as well as adapter sensor/actuator electronics, active and passive structural components merge into a active structural part.
The results obtained within the first two founding periods of the SFB/TR39 are the fundaments for the interpretation, the semi-finished production process, integration and characterization of adaptive light-weight structural components. For this purpose, a series of concrete solutions were implemented for stable, positive-locking or firmly bonded connection of actuators made of piezo-ceramic within the component. The SFB/TR39 has developed based on scientific knowledge production ready technologies for the structural integration of sensor-actuator modules in complex three-dimensional molded components made of aluminium sheet, die-cast aluminium and fiber composite. The solution approach, which joins the manufacturing and component production of sensor-actuator modules, proved to be forward looking. Thus, completely new possibilities were finally developed for the placement of sensors and actuators in material compounds, which with known methods in the state of the art could not be implemented production-ready. The verification of functionality for structural components with integrated sensors and actuators was provided by demonstrators. This way it was demonstrated, for example, the vibration´s detection and the active reduction of vibration by means of different constructions, regarding the diversity of geometry (radii of curvature), production technique (Forming, high pressure die casting, fiber composite) and range of materials (aluminium, fiber composite) in comparison with typical automobiles’ structural components. In addition to the production process, the SFB/ TR39 expanded significantly the state of the art concerning the in-situ characterization and numeric description of composites made of passive component structures and active modified materials.
The goal for the third founding period is the application range´s significant extension of active light-weight structural components through the improved functionality and suitability of series production. The functionality should be reached by the application of new methods of construction, integration and characterization of piezoelectric converters, as well as the immediate embedding of the electronic and control´s evaluation. The SFB/TR39 rises to the challenge to rise so far the productivity and process safety, so that the immediate transmission of technologies in mass-production applications can be possible. In particular, the transfer projects contribute to this purpose, which take up the main application fields “Active Noise Control”, “Structural Health Monitoring” and “Condition Monitoring” in industrial mass-production applications.