Practical Learning: In-Depth Understanding of Material Fatigue in Science and Industry

The first round of the fatigue training course at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS) in Dresden, Germany, was a complete success, providing participants from a variety of scientific and industrial backgrounds with a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of material fatigue.

From 15 to 18 March 2024, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology (IWS) in Dresden hosted the “Ermüdungsverhalten metallischer Werkstoffe” (Fatigue Behavior of Metallic Materials) training course for the first time since 2019. Under the new leadership of Prof. Martina Zimmermann and building on the proven content of her predecessor Prof. Hans Jürgen Christ, the program was expanded to include current topics. These include the modeling of micromechanical fatigue damage and the fatigue behavior of composite materials.

The eleven participants from various fields of science and industry took advantage of the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of the phenomenon of material fatigue.

Material fatigue occurs when metallic materials are subjected to repeated mechanical stresses that cause progressive and localized damage. This damage can occur at loads well below the classical strength parameters. Understanding these processes is critical to the design of reliable structures and plays a central role in damage analysis. The importance of early detection of fatigue fractures, which can occur suddenly and without warning if left undetected, has been emphasized.

The training program offered a mix of theoretical lectures and practical laboratory testing. The theoretical content covered important technical terms and concepts of material fatigue, including crack initiation and growth, and the influence of temperature on fatigue behavior. Of particular value were the hands-on experiments, where participants were able to perform methods such as fatigue life determination and fracture surface analysis, supplemented by modern techniques such as 3D reconstruction in the scanning electron microscope (SEM). This combination of theory and practice allowed participants to directly apply what they had learned and gain insight into experimental testing.

Prof. Zimmermann's lectures covered a wide range of topics, from the fundamentals of crack formation to the application of fracture mechanics to specific components. These were complemented by guest lectures from renowned experts such as Prof. Hans Jürgen Maier from the Leibniz University of Hannover, Dr. Ilja Koch from the Institute of Lightweight Engineering and Polymer Technology (TU Dresden), and Dr. Sonnweber-Ribic from the Advanced Engineering Department of Robert Bosch GmbH. In addition, participants were provided with extensive literature references and contacts for further questions.


The training course program of the German Society for Materials Science (DGM) offers you the opportunity for personal development. Use your participation to keep your knowledge and skills up to date and expand them. You can also learn about the latest developments and trends in materials science and technology. Benefit from the practical presentations of the speakers.

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