The main responsibilities of the physical metallurgy division of the Research Institute for Precious Metals and Metal Chemistry (fem) in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany include the development and production, the processing as well as metallurgical testing and characterization of metallic materials for the watch, jewelry, dental and electrical industries. This includes alloys and composite materials, of which structures and microstructures are examined in terms of mechanical, thermal and functional properties. Particular focus lies on the relationship between production, processing and loading of materials and alloys in practical use.
With the two universal testing machines acquired at the end of 2015, fem was able to mechanically characterize metallic materials in strain-controlled test sequences (i.e. stress-relaxation test at temperatures up to 250°C) as well as testing at elevated temperatures (i.e. heat resistance test, creep strength test, determination of high-temperature shape memory properties).
The RetroLine equipped with a temperature chamber allows fem to perform testing in the temperature range of -70 °C up to +200 °C. At higher temperatures up to 1,250 °C in air, the Z100 AllroundLine testing machine with high-temperature furnace and extensometer provides the perfect solution. Testing is performed on precious metal alloys that are newly developed by fem for the jewelry industry, new copper materials for electrical applications, sample material made from additive manufacturing methods, samples from casting of refractory and reactive alloys, as well as newly developed metallic materials samples.
For the BMWI-funded research projects AiF-IGF 17278N and18597N, numerous tensile and relaxation test materials characteristics were collected for the CuNi1.5Si material—a high-strength and high-conductivity, low-alloy copper for the electrical industry. From the materials characteristics that were determined, a material model was created, further developed and refined, which can provide a more accurate prediction of the material or component behavior through simulation.
Important decision-making factors for the research institute for the acquisition of ZwickRoell testing machines were the high precision of the extensometer, the precision control and possibility to freely define test sequences.