Materials have decisively shaped the social and economic development of mankind throughout the ages. Smart materials and material systems with new functionalities and improved performance while at the same time using as few resources as possible and having a low environmental impact during production, as well as good disintegration and recyclability at the end of their service life, are designated as key technologies by the EU.
In the competence area "Smart Materials", an in-depth understanding of the internal structure and associated properties of materials and material systems in the essential material classes (metals and their alloys, intermetallic materials, ceramic materials, polymer materials, semiconductor materials and materials of electronics, composite and multi-material materials) is gained. Scientific breakthroughs have been made in understanding structure-property relationships at all size scales and hierarchical levels, in integrating multiple functions into components, in miniaturising systems and in understanding the physicochemical behaviour of interfaces and surfaces. Examples of internationally acclaimed successes of the University of Leoben in materials research are manifested, for example, in the awarding of three ERC grants and honours through the multiple awarding of the Houska Prize.
- Metallic construction materials for novel steels for automotive and tool applications
- Intermetallic materials and refractory metals for high-temperature applications and for medical technology
- Functional materials with a special focus on new concepts for materials in energy engineering to increase the efficiency of alternative energy technologies and to advance new techniques for energy conversion and storage
- Materials for microelectronics, flexible electronics and for communications (5G technology)
- Development of polymers and reactive resins for additive manufacturing, biogenic plastics and compounds
- Energy efficiency in the processing of composites and elastomers
- Development of concepts for the lifetime prediction of plastics, the design of materials for lightweight construction and hybrid structures and the recycling of plastics (Circular Economy)
- Sustainable materials design including available raw materials and recyclability
- Virtual Materials Design