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Fraunhofer LBF honors Heinz Werner Lowak and André Bignonnet with Ernst-Gassner-Award

27.10.2006 - (idw) Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

This year's Ernst-Gassner-Award presented by the Fraunhofer LBF honors the work of Dr. Heinz Werner Lowak (Otto Fuchs KG) and Dr. André Bignonnet (formerly PSA, Consulting). According to the international jury, the two scientists have in an exceptional manner combined "scientific performance and international work in the field of structural durability, as well as its practical implementation, in the spirit of Ernst Gassner ". The prize was officially awarded on September 28, 2006 by Professor Cetin Morris Sonsino, Deputy Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF, during the conference on "Calculations and Simulation in Vehicle Manufacturing", held by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) in Würzburg, Germany. Put simply, the method developed by Ernst Gassner (1908 - 1988) in the 1930s allows a considerable optimization of structural durability and thus of the life and quality of a product. Only in this way is it possible to realize high-performance lightweight products that are subject to variable amplitude loadings during service. His pioneering work, his early experiments in structural durability as well as the practical widening of cross-sectional science are the reasons for his strong, international reputation among the scientific community, that still holds today. He influenced the entire German, European and American aviation and automotive industries as well as their suppliers. Nowadays, knowledge of structural durability under consideration of variable amplitude loadings is applied across the disciplines mainly in the automobile, railway, and aviation industries, as well as in medical technology, optics and engineering.

"True to the name of our co-founder, Ernst Gassner, we honor the exceptional work of engineers that further promotes the significance of structural durability in both theory and practice", emphasized Cetin Morris Sonsino in his speech. All safety components in vehicle manufacture, such as airplane wings or chassis and parts of automobiles or wheelsets of railway vehicles, can be designed based on structural durability concepts established by Ernst Gassner. In scientific terms, it describes the property of a product that allows it to withstand safe and in full function quasistatic, dynamic and cyclic loads within its predetermined service life, taking into consideration all possible environmental conditions.

The Laboratory for Structural Durability founded by Gassner among others in 1938 in Darmstadt is now called the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF. The name resulted from the development of the chair for materials science at Darmstadt University of Technology into the newly founded department of shape strength. In 1962 the LBF joined the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, where it is now considered one of the most traditional institutes within this largest European society for applied research. The close links between the LBF, as the institute is known among engineers at home and abroad, and the Darmstadt TU continue: Professor Holger Hanselka, head of the institute since 2001, is also head of the department of system reliability and machine acoustics (SzM) at Darmstadt TU, where he adds adaptronics and system reliability to the field of structural durability.

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