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In the injection molding process, plastic can be manufactured into almost any shape. It is used for example in the production of bumpers or belt mounts. The short-fiber reinforced thermoplastics make it possible to produce particularly lightweight, highly resilient components of complex form. The problem, as University of Saarland reports, is that the industry cannot yet exploit this potential. To date, too little is known about the mechanisms of composites materials.

In his German-French doctoral thesis, awarded the Wilfried Ensinger Prize, Marc Schöneich developed a method with which manufacturers can now model the components of the plastic-fiber mixture precisely for their particular application. Moreover, they can simulate the later material properties and customize them as needed. This should make the manufacturing process cheaper and the product better. In short, Schöneich’s model makes the interactions between the materials and the boundary layer, the interphase, predictable. The model is transferable to any combination of materials, he says. “The industry can use it to make composite materials lighter or more efficient.”

The Wilfried Ensinger Prize is awarded annually for the development and description of engineering plastics for innovative applications. The 5,000 euro prize is funded by the Wilfried & Martha Ensinger Foundation .