Due to their property profile, fibre-reinforced plastic composites (FRP) have established themselves as materials for a wide range of lightweight and structural applications. Their high specific strength and specific stiffness combined with low density allow stable components and component structures with low weight. In addition to weight reduction, motives such as energy and resource efficiency, as well as the impact on people and the environment, are playing an ever-increasing role in the selection of suitable materials. Reasons for this are, for example, the reduction of CO2 emissions, the fulfilment of legal requirements or the use of domestic, available raw materials. Natural fibre-reinforced plastics (NFRPs), which have increasingly become the focus of materials research in recent years, offer an ideal combination of high material performance and ecological compatibility.
The WOOD Carinthian Competence Center (W3C) deals with research topics and issues concerning these materials. Silicon Labs Austria (SAL) is on its way to becoming an internationally visible research and development centre for intelligent sensor technology, with the aim of decisively shaping excellent research and industrial developments in various areas.
Bundling core competencies
Building on the respective core competences of the three research institutions, a joint focus is now being created on the topic of smart lightweight construction. The three-year project will be supervised by three scientific staff members, one each at the W3C, the CTR and the FH, who will develop basic knowledge for the focus as well as for the respective strategic research of the research institutions within the framework of complementary dissertations. Furthermore, the project is framed by two activities, a business development and a process to promote spin-offs from research initiatives.
The topics of the project, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Smarter Leichtbau 4.0 are:
- Lightweight construction with fibre composites to increase efficiency and improve sustainability for a wide range of applications.
- Further development of fibre materials, especially in the direction of renewable raw materials
- Integration of sensor technology for smart functionality or efficient process control
- Non-destructive material testing and process analysis technology