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Chair for Continuum Mechanics

Prof. Thomas Böhlke
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Kaiserstraße 10
Geb. 10.23, 3. OG
76131 Karlsruhe

Postal address:
P.O.Box 6980
76049 Karlsruhe

Mrs. Helga Betsarkis
Fon: (0721) 608-46107
Mrs. Ute Schlumberger-Maas
Fon: (0721) 608-43796
Fax: (0721) 608-44187

Continuum Mechanics in Engineering Mechanics

The Chair for Continuum Mechanics in Engineering Mechanics develops methods for the continuum mechanical modeling and simulation of the materials behavior of applied materials with consideration of the microstructure and special deformation mechanisms. The research comprises both a fundamental and application oriented description of the materials. Methodical emphasis is given to the mathematical modeling within the frame of non-linear continuum mechanics, application of homogenization methods, the scientific numerics (e.g., FEM), and material identification based on experiments.

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Research Emphases

  • FE-based multiscale methods
  • Homogenization of elastic, brittle-elastic, visco-plastic and visco-elastic material properties
  • Mathematical description of microstructures
  • Localization and failure mechanisms

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Studies and Lectures

The teachings of Continuum Mechanics emphasize on basic lectures in Engineering Mechanics I / II as well as on distinct compulsory optional courses and elective courses in the bachelor and master studies. The courses in Engineering Mechanics I / II provide the necessary basic knowledge for modern continuum mechanics and discuss approximation methods in mechanics. During the collateral lab course, the students use actual mathematical software for the dimensioning of components.

The theoretically, respectively numerically oriented lectures of the major focus on actual methods in the research areas of the theories of elasticity and plasticity as well as on micromechanics and numerical mechanics. We, additionally, offer an experimental laboratory course covering basic experiments with modern composites as well as a variety of bachelor and master thesis, many of which with industrial cooperations.

We offer the following lectures:‎

Winter Term

  • Technische Mechanik I
  • Engineering Mechanics I
  • Advanced course of strength of materials (with computational exercises)
  • Mathematical methods in strength of materials
  • Characterization and modeling of microstructure
  • Computational Mechanics I (with computational exercises)
  • Computational homogenization on digital image data
  • Simulation in the product development process
  • Process simulation in material forming
  • Research seminar on continuum mechanics and homogenization methods

Sommer Term

  • Technische Mechanik II
  • Engineering Mechanics II
  • Workshop within the frame of the lecture 'working methods in mechanical engineering"
  • Introduction to the finite element method (with computational exercises)
  • Mathematical methods in structural mechanics
  • Computational Mechanics II (with computational exercises)
  • Nonlinear Continuum Mechanics
  • Digital microstructure chacterization and modeling
  • Experimental methods of mechanics (practical course)
  • Research seminar on continuum mechanics and homogenization methods

The Bachelor-Studies focus on

  • Strength of materials and continuum mechanics

The Master-Studies focus on

  • Mechanics and applied mathematics
  • Theoretical and experimental mechanics


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Research objectives

  • Mechanical and thermomechanical characterization of metallic materials
  • Mechanical and thermoviscoelastic characterization of polymer materials (pure and fiber reinforced composites)
  • Characterization of anisotropic material behavior under multiaxial load
  • Development and validation of numerically efficient multiscale and homogenization methods


Special measurement techniques

- Drying and heating chamber (Binder)
- High-precision weighing device (Kern)
- Desiccator (Sicco)
- Optical strain measurement by means of DIC (Aramis 3D 4M (GOM)) (biaxial testing device),
  (2D excellent, in the third direction inaccurate, since not distinguishable with respect to rigid body motion)

Testing possibilities

  • Electromechanical biaxial testing device with 4 separately controlled testing axes (Zwick)

‎          - Maximal force 150 kN
‎          - Traverse speed 0.0005 to 900mm/min
‎          - Maximum measuring distance of each axis 700mm
‎          - Integral optical strain measurement by means of VideoExtens (Zwick)
‎          - Lokal optical strain measurement by means of DIC (ARAMIS 3D 4M (GOM)‎)

           Analyzed materials:
           Sheet Moulding Compounds (SMC), metallic materials (e.g., dual-phase steel)

  • Dynamic mechanical thermal analysis (DMA), EPLEXOR® 500 N (GABO)
    ‎ - Temperature range: -150 to 500 °C,‎
    ‎ - Strain frequency domain: 0.01-100 Hz‎
    ‎ - max. static load: 1500 N
    ‎ - max. dynamic load: 500 N
     - load cell capacities: 500 N, 1500 N
     - static tension load (Universal Tester)
     - dynamic mechanical tests under tension load:
        - for different temperatures (-150°C to 500°C)
        - for different frequencies (0.01-100 Hz‎)
        - superposition of temperature and frequency loads
    - dynamic mechanical bending tests
    - relaxation and retardation tests (for different temperatures)

      Analyzed materials:
      Polypropylen, Polyamid, unsaturated Polyester-Polyurethan Hybrid Resin
      (each as pure matrix  material and fiber reinforced)
  • Local Computer network linked to vector processors and parallel computers as well as computer clusters of the Scientific Computing Center (SSCK) of  KIT – Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - within the frame of the Supercomputer Competence Center Baden-Württemberg (hkz-bw)


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Service, cooperation and further training


  • Consultation regarding problems of computational mechanics, micromechanics and material modeling
  • Cooperation: International cooperations with industry and research institutes
  • Seminars on methods of homogenization and micromechanics

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