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Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing IZFP


The Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing (IZFP) was founded in 1972 under the lead of the Fraunhofer Association (FhG) and had the mission to perform research and development for non-destructive testing in the context of nuclear safety. Since then, Fraunhofer IZFP dealt with more than 50 projects on that topic. In a series of national funded projects, the suitability of electromagnetic techniques has been demonstrated for the characterization of the hydrogen-induced embrittlement in austenitic and ferritic/bainitic materials. Other projects are focused on material characterization and defect detection in austenitic and welded components by means of ultrasonic-based methods. Additionally the non-destructive characterization of non-metallic materials (polymers and glass-ceramics) and components (solid-oxide fuel cell) is a significant topic of other research projects, where electromagnetic (terahertz), thermographic and ultrasonic-based methods are applied and further developed.
Nowadays, Fraunhofer IZFP is involved in developing techniques and building devices for industrial inspection and in helping companies to assure quality and safety standards used in different business units, such as energy/plants, automotive, railway, semi-finished products and infrastructure/construction. Fraunhofer IZFP is the only European research institution offering the entire range of non-destructive testing and evaluation technologies:

  • Electromagnetics (terahertz waves, microwaves, micromagnetics, eddy current, flux leakage)

  • Optics (laser, interferometry)

  • Thermography (inductive thermography, etc.)

  • Ultrasound (Phased Array, Full Matrix Capture, EMAT, air borne ultrasound, piezoelectrics)

  • X-Ray (computed tomographie / laminography).

With better security, reliability and lower costs in mind, the focus of the institute‘s application-oriented, industrial-purpose innovations is improving the products quality. Fraunhofer IZFP has competence in a wide range of services including developing and evaluating new, smart inspection procedures, staff training as well as executing on-site inspection and tests.

  • Fraunhofer IZFP uses its competencies in intelligent data acquisition and data analysis based on complex, non-destructive sensor systems,

  • generation of Smart Materials Information by means of intelligent data analytics,

  • and optimization and interrelation of process models over the entire product life cycle to strive for optimized safety, efficiency and quality of industrial products.

Moreover, Fraunhofer IZFP research activities focus on developing innovative methods, cognitive, auto-adaptive sensor technologies and building intelligent devices for laboratory material characterisation until industrial inspection of in-service components.

Main activities on fuel cells, electrolysers and hydrogen

Main competences and lines of research

Cognitive Sensors for:

  • Early detection of component failure and to pre-indicate upcoming failure event or alert at the event of a failure event indicating which kind of failure occurred

  • Continuous monitoring and optimization of manufacturing process as well as during operation of hydrogen storage and transport infrastructure (pipes, mobile and stationary tanks)

  • Monitoring and optimization of manufacturing process of fuel cells as well as for condition and function monitoring during operation of fuel cells

  •  Fast detection of defects in glasssoldered fuel cell assemblies by active infrared thermography and ultrasonics

  • Detection of hydrogen-induced embrittlement in metalic components

  • Detection of hydrogen absorption in titanium and steel using micromagnetic methods

  • Characterization of hydrogen embrittlement in martensitic or bainitic steels using magnetic methods

  • Characterization of hydrogen embrittlement in ferritic steels by using acoustics and eddy currents

  • Early detection of hydrogen-induced stress corrosion cracking (HISCC) in ferritic steels by means of magnetic methods

  • Fault detection in CFC components after accident scenarios (Integrity assessment of mobile pressurized H2 tanks, etc.)

  • Predictive maintenance of safety-relevant processes and structured

Relevant national/European projects ongoing or concluded,

  • Non-destructive detection of material embrittlement caused by helium and hydrogen on components of nuclear power plants as well as on transport and storage containers, Funding agency: Federal Ministry of Economy and Energy, Society for Reactor Safety (GRS) – finalized

  • Development of a NDT laboratory demonstrator for the 100% testing of the glass solder joint / composite of flat cells for the stack-structure of fuel cells, Funding agency: Federal Ministry of Education and Research - ongoing

Research infrastructures

Short description of the research infrastructures used and pictures of them when available

  • Piezo- and air-coupled US, EMAT, magnetic, thermography based systems at different designs and scales (from laboratory over Prototyps up to Demonstrators)

  • Software and hardware platforms for prototypical implementations of cognitive sensor systems (control, evaluation, processing and optimization)

  • Flexible Accreditation EN17025

  • Assistance tools for optimized monitoring of components and systems (e.g. Handling, Sensor-Tracking, …)