The institute devotes its research to iron, steel and related materials. In addition to the development of new materials, the institute focuses on the physical and chemical processes and reactions which are of importance for materials production, processing, materials characterisation and properties.
The institute is organized into five departments. Each department is broken down into research groups which are typically managed by group leaders. Each research group has its own specific focus and research activities. However, the groups are complementary within the departments, allowing for a homogeneous departmental profile.
In addition to departmental research, certain research activities are of common interest within the institute. These research areas are highly interdisciplinary and combine the experimental and theoretical expertise available from within the different departments in order to achieve a scientific and technological breakthrough in highly competitive areas of research. Such areas include new steels, iron aluminium based materials, functional layers, surface mechanics and adhesion, microstructure and reactivity, numerical modelling.
The research within the institute is therefore organized vertically in highly specialized departments and research groups and horizontally in central research activities. We believe that this form of organization encourages a high level of individual scientific work within the departmental framework of research groups as well as the development of new materials with complex properties combining e.g. high mechanical strength with high surface functionality. In a typical university setting, research activities such as metallurgy or surface science are carried out in different university departments. In contrast, these research activities are linked through the institutes research structure leading to a more efficient use of the scientific equipment and a homogeneous research profile.
Service groups provide the scientific departments with valuable experimental expertise. These services include the production of materials, chemical analysis of metallic substrates, electron microscopy, metallography, a workshop equipped for the handling of unusually hard and brittle materials, facilities to build scientific equipment and a computer department.
Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH