The basis of innovative adaptive systems like sensors, actuators, generators and dampers with smart materials lies in the development of functional materials - smart elastomers, piezoelectrics, hybrid polymers, suspensions with controllable rheological properties, functional inorganic materials and particles. Our expertise makes it possible to generate customer-taylored solutions with regard to the required range of properties, processing and costs.
Silicone as a modern high-tech elastomer material plays a special role because it has great potential in combining technically significant properties such as temperature application range, chemical stability, optical transparency, processability and, last but not least, surface quality/haptics. Based on these silicone elastomers, various classes of smart elastomers are being developed, such as dielectric elastomers, conductive elastomers and magnetorheological elastomers that interact with electric and magnetic fields.
Piezoelectric materials can be used as sensors since they provide electric charges when pressure, shear stress or bending is applied. Thin films, printed piezoelectric materials, piezoelectric particles and µ-structured piezomaterials are in focus of actual research. Piezoelectric high-temperature transducers can be adapted to the component material and specimen shape, regarding to the desired operating temperature range and application. Typical temperature ranges are up to about 600 °C.
Inorganic-organic hybrid polymers (ORMOCER®) are developed as optical materials, waveguide materials, dielectrics, passivation, encapsulation and microelectronic thin film encapsulation materials or potting compounds and specially labeled substrates. The materials can also be tuned for special microfluidic applications or to be used as programmable material changing surface properties by external stimuli.
Electro- and magnetorheological fluids can change their rheological properties in electric and magntic fields by some orders of magnitude. They are developed and manufactured with regard to the specific system requirements, characterized with respect to their application-relevant properties and tested in special functional demonstrators.
Functional Inorganic Materials
Many optical and electronic applications can be realized particularly well with inorganic materials. By wet chemical deposition (sol-gel process), especially thin functional layers can be obtained in high quality, which can act as antireflective coatings or as high refractive and optical scattering layers.