Metallic and Ceramic Materials

We develop solutions for obtaining advanced light materials and functional surfaces which can withstand demanding mechanical and environmental requirements

Experience

At Eurecat we specialise in the characterisation of metallic and ceramic materials for optimising industrial processes and designing components. We apply standout methodologies which deliver significant advantages to industry.

We have the capabilities for predicting the behaviour of materials in service and in industrial forming and manufacturing operations, optimising component design and manufacturing processes and designing robust production processes that guarantee the quality and reliability of the components manufactured.

We have the infrastructures and equipment needed to conduct formability studies and assess mechanical, chemical, microstructural, tribological and thermal properties of materials and coatings.

Eurecat also has a long track record in designing and performing specific bespoke tests on products and components, replicating industrial operating conditions in the laboratory environment.

Our experience in coordinating, managing and implementing R&D and innovation projects in collaboration with industrial and academic partners enhances our ability to address interdisciplinary challenges and achieve innovative results.

In addition to advanced technological services in all kinds of materials, our experience enables us to advise on the development and transformation processes of high value added metallic and ceramic materials.

Mechanical behaviour, fatigue and fracture of materials

  • Advanced mechanical characterisation

    • Parameters relevant for cold and hot sheet forming
    • Mechanical properties of metallic, polymeric and compound materials (from low to high temperature and from micro to macro scale)
    • Mechanical, adhesive and mixed bonds
  • Formability studies

  • Implementation of online inspection techniques and non-destructive testing

  • Fatigue and fracture behaviour of metallic alloys, ceramic materials and polymers

  • Developing specific tests to predict in-service performance using fracture mechanics

  • Laboratory and in-service characterisation (instrumentation) of components subject to mechanical forces

  • Assessing fracture toughness of sheet metals

    • To address cracking events using proprietary methodology based on essential work of fracture
  • Determining fatigue behaviour  in a few hours using advanced tests

New processes for advanced materials

  • Studies of metallic material forming processes

    • Under laboratory conditions (plasto-dilatometry); conceptual and process window analysis
  • Processing studies using thermomechanical means at the pilot plant level

  • Metal sheet thermomechanical forming

    • Hot stamping of boron steels, aluminium alloys and stainless steels
  • Heat treatment study

    • Determination of CCT and TTT diagrams; solubilisation and artificial ageing studies; relaxation under strain
  • Analysis of severe plastic deformation processes by experimentation and finite element simulation

  • Customised metallic powder characterisation and production by centrifugal atomisation

  • 3D printing of metals with laser beam powder bed fusion (PBF-LB) technology

Light alloys

  • Selection of the most suitable alloys and optimisation of heat treatment for light alloy processing processes

    • Casting, stamping, forging, extrusion, etc.
  • Designing and developing bespoke aluminium alloys with high recycled aluminium content

    • Analysis of the effect of impurities, micro-addition of elements to minimise the effect of impurities, casting of parts by High-Pressure Die Casting (HPDC), Permanent Mould Casting (PMC) and sand casting, microstructural and mechanical characterisation
  • Ultrasonic metal treatment applications

    • Degassing and cleaning of liquid metal in HPDC. Dispersion of ceramic particles and nanoparticles in metal
  • Sensorisation of die casting equipment and moulds and development of mechanisms which adapt to process variations

  • Analysis of damage mechanisms and search for solutions to extend the service life of forming tools

    • Moulds for HPDC, printing tooling, extrusion dies, etc.
  • Innovation in die casting processes, including vacuum-assisted injection

Corrosion and deterioration

  • Assessment of the effect of the aggressive medium on the aesthetic and functional properties of the materials

  • Assessment of the resistance to deterioration of ceramic and polymeric materials in different aggressive conditions

  • Hydrogen embrittlement, stress corrosion cracking and corrosion fatigue in structural components and tribocorrosion

  • On-site identification of corrosion and surface deterioration mechanisms. Assessment of progress in corrosion and failure prediction

  • Quantification of the critical hydrogen content that affects mechanical properties through TDA

  • Corrosion mechanism study using potentiometric techniques

  • Assessment of paint protection according to ISO 12944.

  • Corrosion testing

    • Cyclic according to ASTM, ISO, VDA, DBL, Renault, VW, in neutral salt spray, acetic acid salt spray and cupro acetic salt spray according to ISO 9227, ASTMB B117, DIN 50021
    • In constant humidity according to ISO 6270
    • Bespoke according to the exposure environment (-20º C-60ºC) and mechanical stress. Environment simulations: tropical, dry, desert, etc.
  • Atmospheric corrosion resistance tests according to ISO 9223, ISO 9225 for the determination of the corrosivity of the environment. Exposure in real environments.

  • Assessment of corrosion failure mechanisms in industrial components and products in service: cutting tools for the food industry, pipes, carbonated beverage cans, etc.

  • Selection of protective materials and systems

Tribology

  • Metallic, ceramic materials and lubricants wear and friction

  • On-site inspection of surface damage in industrial components

  • Wear mechanisms in forming tools: characterisation of the main failure mechanisms and assessment of alternatives with improved performance

  • Designing lab tests to assess wear resistance

  • Advanced surface characterisation by scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM), X-ray diffraction spectroscopy (EDX) and high angular resolution electron backscatter diffraction (HR-EBSD), confocal and focus variation microscopy.

  • Micro-mechanical characterisation: instrumented indentation, contact fatigue, micro-traction, scratch resistance tests

  • Numerical control machining tests and analysis of the properties of machined surfaces. Assessment of alternatives for zero-defect manufacturing.

  • Lubricant tests: Stribeck curves, effect on the tools and the end product

Surface technology

  • Development of PVD and CVD functional coatings on metals, plastics and ceramics

  • Development of functional surface treatments through ion implementation

  • Development of coatings for multiple applications

    • Hard and low-friction coatings for tribomechanical applications
    • For protection against corrosion and anti-fouling
    • For biomedical applications, for renewable energies: fuel cells, solar thermal, etc.
    • Coatings as an alternative to electrolytic chromium plating
    • Decorative coatings
  • Advanced characterisation of coatings and surfaces

Outstanding projects

SALEMA

Replacement of critical raw materials in aluminium alloys for electric vehicles.

FlexCrash

Flexible and hybrid manufacturing technology drawing on high-strength aluminium alloys to produce adaptive crash-tolerant vehicle structures.

HELIX

New bonding and fastening devices which can withstand high stresses applied in aggressive environmental conditions typical of large wind turbines in a marine environment.

FormPlate

Innovation in materials, design and manufacture of high performance and durable bipolar PEM fuel cell plates.

Multimedia

Atompowder

FormPlanet

Fatigue4Light

Assajos de tenacitat de fractura

FormPlanet Open Innovation Test Bed

A joint research unit to unlock competitiveness in the sheet metal industry

FormPlanet provides joint access to the metal characterisation services of European research organisations with a robust R&D track record in the metal forming industry.

We bring industry new experimental characterisation and modelling methodologies to enhance the characterisation of sheet metal properties, estimate the final properties of manufactured parts and anticipate defect formation at an early design stage, thus preventing production losses and simplifying quality inspection processes.

Metallic and Ceramic Materials team

Montse Vilaseca eurecat

Montse Vilaseca

Director of Eurecat’s Metallic and Ceramic Materials Unit

PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technologies at the University of Zaragoza (2005) for her work on improving the selectivity of gas sensors by using microporous ceramic materials as adsorbents and molecular filters. She has been head of the Metallic and Ceramic Materials Unit since 2019 after leading the Tribology research line, also in the same unit, for 12 years. She had previously worked in the automotive industry for three years in coatings development.

Latest news

Testing new 3D printing processes for high-performance steels

The Eurecat technology centre is coordinating the European NewAIMS project which is to develop strategies and technologies to obtain cost-effective high-performance steel through metal 3D printing with a process which will integrate additive manufacturing with a custom-designed steel alloy. “NewAIMS seeks to combine a well-tailored steel chemical composition and a non-conventional [...]