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DFG CRC/Transregio 39 PT-PIESA
SP B03

Integration of piezoceramic modules in aluminium castings using high pressure die casting – Technology development and numerical process simulation

C. Körner
  1. Aims
  2. Results
  3. Methods
  4. Publications
  5. Contact


The subproject B03 is developing large-scale production applicable technologies for the integration of piezoceramic actor-sensor modules into aluminium high pressure die castings. Essential parts of the research include:

  • Development of a large scale applicable production/casting technology
  • Optimal positioning and efficiency of the integrated sensor-actor modules
  • High pressure compound casting (HPCC) using ultrathin Zn-layers for enhanced mechanical properties
  • Dynamic fixing system for minimal insert volume







Fig. 1: Illustration of piezoceramic module and active casting.



Challenges within the process

  • Efficient positioning distant to the neutral axis of the casting necessary
  • Inhomogeneous infiltration of flexible support systems (expanded metal)
  • Catastrophic damage to the module is possible
  • Very small process window for compound developement and sound insert positioning

Hybrid fixing system

  • Performance enhancemet by eccentric positioning
  • No module damage
  • High process reliability
  • Reduced interface casting/insert

Fig. 2: Details for hybrid fixing system: Theoretical design – module variation – components within the active casting.


Functional Zn-compound layer

  • Activation of surface for metallic bonding necessary
  • Al-Al-compound via zincate mechanism
  • Analysis for layer development systems and casting process window
  • Heat treatment for optimal interface properties

Fig. 3: Finished casting in the precast condition including an ultrathin zinc layer coated via zincate treatment.


Fig. 4: Microprobe image of Al-Al-compound segment in the ascast and heat-treated condition.


Integration behaviour

  • Evaluation of the form filling behaviour in respect to the position of the insert
  • Vertical /centric positioning enables homogeneous infiltration
  • Identical form filling behaviour for expanded metal and sheet based support systems


Fig. 5: Simulation results of the integration behaviour with different positions of the insert.


Residual stresses and thermal distortion

  • Numerical 3D-simulations enables prediction of stresses and distortion based on casting parameters

Fig. 6: Numerical 3D-calculation of the residual stresses based on casting parameters.


Verification of thermaly induced distortion

  • Results from contact profile method in good accordance with numeric simulation

Fig. 7: Verification of thermally induced distortion: (left) for LTCC/PZT Modules. (right) PI-Modules



  • Linear relation considering eccentricity and lever arm
  • Reduction of efficiency with increasing casting thickness

Fig. 8: Actuatoric behaviour of the active castings using displacement measurements. Enhanced functionality is observed for thinner castings and higher eccentric position of the piezoceramic module.



  • Technology transfer of „hybrid fixing system“ to complex shaped castings
  • Position of piezoceramic module of great importance
  • Damping of sound level up to 85 % for the first natural frequency

Fig. 9: Theoretical setup and active damping measurements for the first natural frequency (≈ 980 Hz) of the demonstrator casting “bell”.



Process development
  • Tool Technology
  • Dynamic fixing, in-situ support structure
  • Process parameters: vPlunger, TTool, etc.
  • Challenges: Process window evaluation for dynamic fixing system

Fig. 10: Schematic design (left) and concept (right) for dynamic fixing systems. Top: dynamic pins with substitute expandable metal parts. Bottom: Dynamic tool parts stabilize the module during casting – in-situ generated support structure.

Coating technology
  • < 1 µm: Zincate coating
  • ≥ 1 µm: Electroplating
  • Coating thickness, morphology, modifications during/after casting

Fig. 11: Parametric study for zincate coating and different sheet alloys.

  • Intermediate Zn-layer: REM, EDX, light microscope, Mikroprobe, WDX, shear testing
  • Positioning: Microsection, CT, x-ray analysis, ultrasonic microscope
  • Functionality: Impedance analysis, Scanning vibrometer, deflection measurement
  • Thermal distortion: Num. modelling, Perthometer, Microglider


Fig. 12: Microprobe and light microscope images of Al-Al-compound casting.









Fig. 13: x-ray images of demonstrator casting “bell”.



Reviewed Publications

[Kla12] Klassen A, Rübner M, Ilg J, Rupitsch SJ, Lerch R, Singer RF, Körner C (2012)
Influence of the fabrication process on the functionality of piezoceramic patch transducers embedded in aluminum die castings. Smart Mater Struct 21:115014(11pp)
[Köp14] Köpf J, Rübner M, Klassen A, Singer RF, Körner C (2014)
Thermo-mechanical loads on piezoceramic modules integrated in high pressure die castings. Int Foundry Res 2014(1)
[Rüb11a] Rübner M, Günzl M, Körner C, Singer RF (2011)
Aluminium-aluminium compound fabrication by high pressure die casting. Mater Sci Eng A 528(22-23):7024-7029
[Sch13a] Schwankl M, Kellner R, Singer RF, Körner C (2013)
The influence of sandblasting on the morphology of electroless deposited zinclayers on aluminum sheets. Appl Surf Sci 283:202-208
[Sch13b] Schwankl M, Rübner M, Singer RF, Körner C (2013)
Integration of PZT-Ceramic Modules using Hybrid Structures in High Pressure Die Casting. Proc Mater Sci 2:166-172
[Suc12] Suchaneck G, Eydam A, Rübner R, Schwankl M, Gerlach G (2012)
A Simple Thermal Wave Method for the Evaluation of the Polarization State of Embedded Piezoceramics. Ceram Int 39(1):S587-S590
[Sch13c] Schwankl M, Rübner M, Flössel M, Gebhardt S, Michaelis A, Singer R F, Körner C (2013)
Active functionality of piezoceramic modules integrated in aluminum high pressure die castings. Sens Actuators A, doi:10.1016/j.sna.2013.12.016
[Kör14] Körner C, Schwankl M, Himmler D (2014)
Aluminum-Aluminum compound castings by electroless deposited zinc layers. Mater Process Technol, doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2013.12.014

Other Publications

[Kla11] Klassen A, Rübner M, Ilg J, Rupitsch SJ, Lerch R, Körner C, Singer RF (2011)
Integration of piezoceramic sensors and actuators into structural components via high pressure die casting. In: Proc CRC/Transregio 39. Chemnitz, Germany, pp 45-50
[Rüb11b] Rübner M, Klassen A, Körner C, Singer R F, Ilg J, Rupitsch S J, Lerch R (2011)
Dünnwandige Aluminiumdruckgussteile mit integrierten piezokeramischen Sensoren und Aktoren - Fertigung und Charakterisierung. In: 18. Symp Verbundwerkst Werkstoffverb, Chemnitz, S 277-282
[Rüb13] Rübner M (2013)
Verfahrenstechnische und werkstoffkundliche Grundlagen zur vollständigen Integration aktiver Komponenten in Druckgussbauteile. Dissertation, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg
[Sch13d] Schwankl M, Flössel M, Köpf J, Körner C, Gebhardt S, Singer RF, Michaelis A (2013)
Integration of piezoceramic components in aluminum high pressure die castings. In: Proc CRC/Transregio 39. Nuremberg, Germany, pp 33-37


Project Manager:

Prof. Dr.-Ing- habil. Carolin Körner
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Institut für Werkstoffwissenschaften
Lehrstuhl Werkstoffkunde und Technologie der Metalle
Martensstraße 5
91058 Erlangen

Phone: +49 9131 27528


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