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The Materials Technology and Fatigue Strength Laboratory (LWB) of Kempten University of Applied Sciences (Germany) is involved in numerous research projects in the field of casting technology. Focus areas are the automotive and energy sectors, together with plant engineering. As well as contract testing (tensile, hardness and notch impact tests, metallurgical analyses etc.), the emphasis is on the characterisation of experimental casting alloys, together with the development of new test methods.

In recent years design and certification guidelines (FKM, Germanischer Lloyd etc.) have made fracture mechanics test certificates increasingly necessary, particularly where safety-related components are concerned. In some fields, particularly wind energy and automotive suppliers, fracture mechanics testing (e.g. to ASTM E1820) does not yet reflect the state of technology in the foundry industry.

Ffollowing commissioning of aType HB 100 servo-hydraulic testing system with CTOD sensor in December 2015, the LWB is now in a position to carry out fracture mechanics analyses on cast iron alloys and assess their fracture behavior accordingly. The principle application for this is in the development of a cerium mischmetal-free material which is particularly tough at low temperatures, under the auspices of a composites research project entitled ‘Guss Tough’ (‘Cast Tough’). The system is also used for validation of a test method to determine the J integral on the basis of instrumented Charpy impact tests; this is being developed in close collaboration with Zwick.