Material characterization of glass, plastic and metal

Industrial progress is not possible without the development of materials science, but has the functional potential of materials been fully exploited? One example is the impressive evolution of glass: from its original use in windows and for vessels, it has been developed into a versatile material that is indispensable in applications such as camera systems and for fiber optic communications. Of course, the range of applications is still expanding. For more than two decades, we at the Fraunhofer IPT have been researching the properties of materials such as glass, plastics and metals using material characterization.

The quality, durability, and thermal-mechanical properties of components can be optimized through the targeted use of individually selected materials. Adapted machining of the material can also extend the service life of tools and machines and increase the efficiency of machining processes.

Material characterization results improve knowledge of the material

Using state-of-the-art equipment as well as self-developed material testing methods, we are capable of analyzing the thermomechanical, relaxation-dependent, tribological, fracture mechanical and optical properties of the materials. Our goal with material characterization is to continually deepen our understanding of the processing of different materials and to expand our knowledge of their potential uses.  

Optimizing the process chain with evaluations and analyses of material properties

The results of the analyses from the measurements flow into our further research and development work. We offer our customers and partners the opportunity to analyze manufacturing errors and defects on the basis of material characterizations and to develop optimization proposals for process chains.

Our offer at a glance

With our facilities and equipment, we can test various properties of the materials used and predict the behavior during forming very precisely.

Friction and wear at elevated temperature

  • Coefficient of friction and wear
  • Glass adhesion

Thermal-mechanical material properties

  • E-Modulus & Poisson Ratio
  • Heat capacity
  • Thermal conductivity

Thermal contact conductance and resistance

  • Heat transfer

Relaxation behavior

  • Creep and stress relaxation in the glass transition
  • Structural relaxation in the glass transition
  • Coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) in the glassy and liquid state

Photoelastic properties

  • Birefringence
  • Measurement of residual stress

Glass breakage

  • Fracture toughness and stress intensity factor
  • Slow crack growth

Materials and their applications


Glass is the classic material for precise optical imaging in cameras and head-up displays (HUD) and serves as an optical component for the light path in fast-axis collimators. However, glass is also used for structural design, for example in the cover for chips or as a connector for optical fibers. At Fraunhofer IPT, we are investigating how complex molded parts can be made from glass by replication and have extensive know-how in the industrial use of various glass pressing processes.


Injection-molded plastic lenses are a cheaper alternative to glass, for example for cell phone cameras or LED lighting. Adhesives made of plastics that cure under UV light or heating are often used to assemble such lenses. At Fraunhofer IPT, we have detailed information on the chemical behavior of the adhesives and the final dimensional accuracy of various plastic materials and can help you select the right materials for your series production.


Tools for precision molding of glass or injection molding of plastic are in most cases made of metal, concretely cermet and steel, which is exposed to high process temperatures in these manufacturing processes. By examining the material properties of the tools and the formed component, we are able to design the correct shape of the tools and place the shape deviation of the formed component within the specification. Furthermore, the desired tool shape with high accuracy and surface quality can only be achieved if the material properties of the metal are known.

Publications of the Fraunhofer IPT on this topic

Publication Type
2022 Simulation of the Refractive Index Variation and Validation of the Form Deviation in Precisely Molded Chalcogenide Glass Lenses (IRG 26) Considering the Stress and Structure Relaxation
Jiang, Cheng; Marin Tovar, Carlos; Staasmeyer, Jan-Helge; Friedrichs, Marcel; Grunwald, Tim; Bergs, Thomas
Journal Article
2022 Modeling nonequilibrium thermoviscoelastic material behaviors of glass in nonisothermal glass molding
Vu, Anh Tuan; Avila Hernandez, Rocio; Grunwald, Tim; Bergs, Thomas
Journal Article
2020 Modeling of thermo-viscoelastic material behavior of glass over a wide temperature range in glass compression molding
Vu, Anh Tuan; Vu, Anh Ngoc; Grunwald, Tim; Bergs, Thomas
Journal Article
2019 Experimental investigation of contact heat transfer coefficients in nonisothermal glass molding by infrared thermography
Vu, Anh Tuan; Vu, Anh Ngoc; Liu, Gang; Grunwald, Tim; Dambon, Olaf; Klocke, Fritz; Bergs, Thomas
Journal Article
2017 Birefringence measurement for validation of simulation of precision glass molding process
Pallicity, Tarkes Dora; Vu, Anh Tuan; Ramesh, Krishnamurthi; Mahajan, Puneet; Liu, Gang; Dambon, Olaf
Journal Article
Diese Liste ist ein Auszug aus der Publikationsplattform Fraunhofer-Publica

This list has been generated from the publication platform Fraunhofer-Publica
Eigenschaften von Werkstoffen bestimmen durch Materialcharakterisierung