Current Projects

  • Project duration: July 1, 2020 - December 1, 2023
  • Partner: LEC GmbH, Chair for Structural and Functional Ceramics, INNIO Jenbacher GmbH & Co OG

The conventional materials for spark plugs electrodes, which are used in large gas engines, are now reaching their limits in terms of their resilience. The aim of the project is to identify possible ceramic materials that will serve as a replacement for conventional metal electrodes. In a first step, possible damage mechanisms are identified through damage analyzes on failed spark plugs or electrodes. Extensive literature studies are intended to find suitable ceramic materials that can be used as electrode materials. The use of these materials is intended to increase the wear resistance as well as the mechanical and thermophysical (i.e. thermal shock resistance) properties of the electrodes and consequently the service life of the spark plugs. The damage analyzes and the determination of the mechanical and thermal properties are carried out at the Chair of Structural and Functional Ceramics. Prototypes are made with the selected materials at INNIO Jenbacher. Experimental investigations on the spark plug test bench and use in the engine are carried out at LEC in Graz. The project is being led by LEC GmbH, which is the leading research facility in the field of combustion technologies for large engines in Austria.



Dr. Walter Harrer, Email: walter.harrer(at), Tel.: +43 3842 402 4110

Duration: 2020-2023

Project partner: 

  • Lithoz GmbH, A-1060 Vienna,
  • Montanuniversität Leoben, Chair for Structural and Functional Ceramics, A-8700 Leoben,
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems, D-01277 Dresden,
  • ANFOTEC Antriebstechnologie GmbH, D-59964 Medebach,
  • GRAMM UG, D-93053 Regensburg,


With a new cooperative research project on the characterization of additively manufactured ceramics, the Chair for Structural and Functional Ceramics at the University of Leoben will intensify its activities in connection with this new manufacturing technology.

Ceramic products manufactured using stereolithography can be found in many industrial and biomedical applications: Ceramic filters for (bio) chemical analysis, bioresorbable implants or structural ceramic components are just a few examples. A prerequisite for the success of additive manufacturing (AM) of ceramic materials is high quality and reliability of the printed components. A reliable and robust process characterization is essential for the further maturation of this technology and important to increase confidence in this still new manufacturing process.

As shown in a previous project "addmanu" (, in contrast to conventionally manufactured components, the strength of additively manufactured components depends on the direction of the layer structure due to surface effects.

In order to provide suitable data for the evaluation and construction of components, a process-accompanying control of the printed products must be available. In the CharAM project, a consortium of research institutions, AM process developers, designers and measurement technology specialists will be concerned with developing a methodology for strength measurement for stereolithographically manufactured ceramic components that describes the properties of real AM components.

A test method for AM ceramics is to be developed which

  • enables measuring of the technology-specific influences on strength meaningfully and easily on a large numbers of samples and
  • uses specimens that not only have the technology-specific characteristics to be examined (orientation dependency, surface structures), but can also be manufactured quickly and in a resource-conserving manner using the possibilities of additive manufacturing.

A round robin test should clarify whether the method is reproducible and easy to carry out. This makes it possible to evaluate which further steps are necessary before a possible standardization. To evaluate the tests, software tools are to be developed which enable that all the calculations necessary for using the measured values ​​for component design can be carried out quickly and easily.

The newly acquired strength information can be used to derive design guidelines for stereolithographic ceramic components. These guidelines can be used to make adjustments to the component design, for example by reducing the wall thickness or hollowing out solid elements. This process should be carried out and evaluated using a cranial or jaw implant as an example.


Ass. Prof. Dr. Tanja Lube, Email: tanja.lube(at), Tel.: +43 3842 402 4111

Funding of the Austrian project partners by the Federal Ministry for Digitization and Economic Location in the program COIN/IraSME and the German project partners by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in the ZIM program.

For more information please visit the project homepage (click on the logo)