Welcome to Lightweight Engineering

Within the scope of the Excellence Initiative and in cooperation with KIT and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Lightweight Engineering was founded at the Institute of Vehicle Systems Technology on January 1, 2009.

The focus of our research activities is on technologies for reducing the weight of vehicles. In this respect, lightweight construction is positioned as a cross-sectional topic and offers an interdisciplinary approach to reducing vehicle mass. Lightweight with fiber-reinforced polymers and hybrid material systems is the main focus of research at the institute. In addition to new lightweight technologies, simulation and design methods are developed to virtually optimize product development processes. Research in the field of lightweight technology is closely linked to the Polymer Engineering Department of the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal and the KIT Institute for Applied Materials, Materials Science KIT-IAM-WK.

If you are interested in the wide-ranging field of lightweight with its various forms of methods (simulation, design), materials (resins, fiber reinforcements, joining elements, hybrids) and technologies for production and integration of lightweight components, then we look forward to welcoming you at our institute.



Fiber composite processes

To develop large-scale, lightweight and high-performance fibre composites and hybrid components, it is essential to combine competencies from the fields of methods, materials and production. Our institute develops simulation methods and integrated virtual process chains to describe the manufacturing process of fibre reinforced composites.

Process simulation

Can my component be manufactured? We develop simulation methods for complex fibre composite manufacturing processes to ensure manufacturability even before expensive tools are produced. In addition, we use the results of such process simulations in a continuous CAE chain for subsequent structural simulations.

Structural simulation

Will my component hold?  We perform structural analyses for discontinuously and continuously reinforced components as well as hybrid material composites using cross-scale methods. We investigate anisotropic damage, damping behavior and the influence of manufacturing effects.

CAE chain and Optimization

Every component is only as good as its semi-finished product and so is every simulation only as good as its input. We do research how we can interconnect individual simulations to form a continuous virtual process chain and then optimise component and process holistically, e.g. with the help of AI.

Lectures of the Lightweight Construction Department

You can find more information about the lectures of the Lightweight Construction Department here:

To the courses
Exam review of lightweight construction I and lightweight construction II on 09.04.2024

The date for the Lightweight Construction I and Lightweight Construction II exam review has been set. You can find all other important information at:

Studies and teaching
SAMPE Germany Innovation Award and SAMPE Europe "Best PhD" Award

October 2023: Every year, SAMPE Europe awards a prize for the best doctoral thesis in the field of fibre composites and we are delighted that Clemens Zimmerling has won the prize!

To press release
ESAFORM PhD Prize 2023 for Industrial Research

April 2023: This year, ESAFORM honours the dissertation of Dr Clemens from KIT-FAST with the Lionel Fourment ESAFORM Phd Prize for Industrial Research 2022. We are delighted that Clemens' work has been recognised!

To press release
Dr Willy Höfler Prize of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering

July 2023: The KIT Faculty of Mechanical Engineering awards Lukas Hof and Jan Paul Wank the Dr.-Ing. Willy-Höfler Prize for their Master's theses.

To press release