Understanding of materials results in major benefits for customers

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Researcher and optics expert Dr Peter Hartmann was awarded the 2013 Schott R&D Prize for developing a model to predict the strength and service life of Zerodur components. The glass-ceramic Zerodur, from Schott, exhibits extremely low thermal expansion which is applied in areas such as astronomy and microlithography. Environmental stresses that exist in these applications, such as temperature changes and static and dynamic stresses, can cause the breakage of micro-cracks in the surface of glass-ceramic materials and component failure. The development of this predictive model has resulted in higher reliability, security, and efficiency for customers and applications.

Dr Hatmann's work proves that the conventional approach for determining the strength of glass and glass-ceramic, known as the ‘two-parameter Weibull distribution'. needs to be enhanced. The method developed by Dr Hartmann provides a minimum strength value for defined surface conditions and enables the calculation of the service life under stress while considering material fatigue under stress. Another advantage is that this model reduces statistical uncertainties and allows for higher mechanical stresses to be applied to Zerodur components than in the past.

‘This work underscores our goal of offering benefits to our customers through our profound understanding of materials,’ explained Schott board member Dr Hans-Joachim Konz.  ‘This is an example of the successful link between science and technical marketing’.