A Short Interview with Head of Department Konrad Steiner

Konrad Steiner joint the Fraunhofer ITWM in 1996 and has been head of the department »Flow and Material Simulation« since 1999.

What Does Your Area Deal With and What Constitutes Its Research Work?

We design and implement method and software solutions for the development, production and improvement of innovative, sustainable materials, including so-called programmable materials. In doing so, we develop industrially suitable multiscale and multiphysics methods and company-specific software solutions. Our simulation tools use the latest research results such as model reduction methods, automatic parameter identification and machine learning to increase efficiency.

What Potential Does Your Unit’s Research Have for a Better Future?

The digitization of material development - from manufacturing to life cycle assessment and recycling - is accelerating the development of innovative, sustainable materials. This is demonstrated by our new projects on material substitution through bio-based and biohybrid textiles, foams and composites in lightweight construction, efficient and alternative battery concepts for electromobility, or even self-cleaning particulate filters.

Where Do You See Your Department in Five Years?

Our method and software development aims to ensure that in five years' time our customers will be able to accompany the design of their sustainable products and the associated process development digitally from end to end, i.e. that so-called digital twins are available down to the material level. These enable rapid testing of variants and innovations without having to produce real prototypes. Digital twins can also be used to quantitatively evaluate raw material and energy balances. In this way, we support sustainability and conserve resources.

Which Three Keywords Describe Your Department Best?

  • multi-scale
  • efficient
  • robust