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The Department of Materials Test Engineering (WPT) at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of TU Dortmund University has been headed by Prof. Dr. Frank Walther since the establishment in December 2010.

With the help of modern measurement and inspection processes, supported by optimized analysis and evaluation techniques, Materials Test Engineering provides the data base for construction and production as well as for virtual development of reliable high performance products for different industries. Materials Test Engineering is used as decision guidance for material selection, quality control, component monitoring and damage analysis. This is facilitated by determining the chemical composition, analysing microstructural properties with light, electron beams and X-rays, determining material properties and characteristic values by means of destructive and non-destructive testing methods as well as developing methods for material modelling and calculation. Apart from suitable qualification of materials and optimization of industrial production processes, activities concerning structural health monitoring – for continuous monitoring of structural integrity of highly stressed component systems – as well as approaches for precise calculation of remaining fatigue life are gaining in importance.

Research and teaching deal with basic- and application-oriented topics in the field of destructive and non-destructive materials and components testing. Diverse measurement and test techniques are applied to characterize process-structure-property-relationships, evaluate deformation behaviour and fatigue damage progresses and calculate remaining fatigue life of mainly metal- and polymer-based construction materials, joinings and components. Thereby the microstructural and mechanism-based characterization of the behaviour from Low-Cycle-Fatigue- (LCF-) to Very-High-Cycle-Fatigue- (VHCF-) range is a key subject. The key qualifications and major fields of activity are presented in Fig. 1.

The main modules of the investigation strategy (Fig. 2) are the analysis of materials and microstructures, the application of process- and product-optimized measurement techniques for material, joining and component characterization as well as the modelling of properties and the calculation of lifetime. It should be noted that the microstructure “as fingerprint” affects the mechanical properties. The exact assessment of the influence of production, environmental and service conditions on basic material parameters targets optimized property profiles and enhanced functional safety of components.

The worked on topics range from scientific fundamental research to applied (bilateral) development and analysis services for industrial companies.

  WPT-Profil   Research Strategy  
  Fig. 1: Key Qualifications   Fig. 2: Investigation Strategy  


The scientific and industrial research projects deal with investigations concerning steels, light metals, composites and additive manufactured materials (Fig. 3).


Research groups

Fig. 3: Research groups


Solution approaches for interdisciplinary main research fields are developed in group-wide competence fields Structural Analysis, Measurement and Test Engineering, Biomaterials and Modelling and Simulation (Fig. 4).


Competence fields

Fig. 4: Competence fields