On February 22, 2021, the international research project METCOMP (“Metastable Solidification of Composites: Novel Peritectic Structures and In-situ composites”) tests will start on the International Space Station ISS with alloy samples from the Department of Metallurgy at the University of Leoben.

Since the end of 2018, Dr. Johann Mogeritsch and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Andreas Ludwig from the Chair of Modeling and Simulation of Metallurgical Processes have been working on the preparation of these experiments. Suitable experimental conditions were determined as part of the METTRANS subproject funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG). Without the influence of gravity, it will now be investigated how microstructures of metals develop under such idealized conditions.

By using an organic model substance, detailed insights into processes that take place during the solidification of metals and thus lead to certain microstructures can be gained for the first time – and without the disruptive influence of gravity. The goal here is to gain an even better understanding of these processes through the altered environmental conditions.

Microstructures show exactly how a metal is built up and significantly determine the properties of the material and the subsequent component. A better understanding can thus lead to advantages in many areas: Products such as cars and airplanes can be specifically designed to be more robust, safer and lighter, thus making a valuable contribution to sustainability.

The detailed METTRANS project description can be found here: https://projekte.ffg.at/projekt/2975601