Lightweight Design


‘Lightweight design is a mind-set’ - Heinrich Timm, the intellectual father of the Audi Aluminum Space Frame, hits the nail on the head. Effective lightweight design is a result of identifying and unlocking the full potential on all levels – if lightweight design becomes a superior design objective. Following this maxim, we research on methods that support the entire design process of lightweight systems. We focus on methods for analyzing lightweight-potentials in overall systems, design by multi-material as well as methods for synthesis and structural optimization of isotropic and anisotropic materials.

RF Lightweight Design

Research Focus

  • Identification of lightweight-potentials in overall systems
  • Systems design
  • Structural optimization and simulation
  • Validation


  • Vehicle body
  • Transmission for internal combustion engine and electric vehicle drive trains
  • Structural components in steel and plastic
  • High-voltage storage
  • Air-conditioning unit


  • Static and dynamic calculation using the finite element method
  • Analysis of lightweight design potentials in the overall system
  • Package optimization in high-voltage memory
  • Material Lightweight design in the vehicle transmission
  • Design guidelines for lightweight design of fiber-reinforced composites
  • Structural optimisation
  • Multi-objective optimization


  • Systematic linking of product function with mass, costs and CO2-Impact "Target Weighing"
  • Optimization of systems with topology, shape and parameter optimization
  • Optimization of vehicle transmissions with regard to inertia, installation space and weight
  • Coupled simulation and optimization
  • Optimization of continuous fiber composites for optimal material utilization
  • Consideration of robustness when optimizing long fiber composites
  • Optimization of energy storage systems
  • Bead optimization
  • Integration of production restrictions in optimization methods



  • Finite element method: Abaqus, Nastran, Ansys, Adina,...
  • Multi-body simulation: ADAMS, LMS, Motion, MatLab/Simulink,...
  • Optimization: TOSCA, OptiStruct, Dakota, MatLab,...


  • Experimental set-up for testing the electrical insulation of battery cells connected in series for the evaluation of different cooling fluids for use in the battery module.
  • Test setup for the investigation of different battery cell arrangements in the module with regard to the efficiency of the temperature control.​
  • Computer server "Herculis"
    • 2x Intel Xeon E5-2630v3 @ 2.30 GHz - 20 physical and 40 logical cores (hyperthreading), 512GB main memory
  • Access to the Computing Cluster of the Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC)

Publications within the Research Field

Function-Based Material Selection for Cross-Component Lightweight Design Within the Extended Target Weighing Approach
Revfi, S.; Kaspar, J.; Vielhaber, M.; Albers, A.
2019. Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, 1 (1), 2715–2724. doi:10.1017/dsi.2019.278
Agile Lightweight Design - The Extended Target Weighing Approach in ASD - Agile Systems Design Using Functional Modelling with the C&C2-Approach
Albers, A.; Matthiesen, S.; Revfi, S.; Schönhoff, C.; Grauberger, P.; Heimicke, J.
2019. Proceedings of the Design Society: International Conference on Engineering Design, 1 (1), 2667–2676. doi:10.1017/dsi.2019.273
Function-based benchmarking to identify competitor-based lightweight design potentials
Albers, A.; Revfi, S.; Kraus, F.; Spadinger, M.
2019. Procedia CIRP, 84, 526–531. doi:10.1016/j.procir.2019.04.231
Manufacturing-oriented Bead Patterns for Long Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Structures
Revfi, S.; Spadinger, M.; Albers, A.
2019. NAFEMS World Congress 2019, Québec, CDN, June 17-20, 2019, NAFEMS
Potential of lightweight design of a vehicle transmission by usage of high strength steels
Reichert, U.; Busch, F.; Ott, S.; Bause, K.
2018. VDI-Kongress "Dritev – Getriebe in Fahrzeugen", Bonn, 27. - 28. Juni 2018
Design Guidelines 2.0 to support design process of fibre-reinforced plastics
Butenko, V.; Gladysz, B.; Nicolini, M.; Albers, A.
2017. SAMPE Europe Conference 2017 Stuttgart, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, 14. - 16. November 2017
Extended target weighing approach : Identification of lightweight design potential for new product generations
Albers, A.; Revfi, S.; Spadinger, M.
2017. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17), Vol 4 : Design Methods and Tools, Vancouver, Canada, 21st - 25th August 2017. Ed.: A. Maier, 367–376, The Design Society
Coupling of Computer-aided Methods : Supporting Product Developer during Embodiment Synthesis
Albers, A.; Spadinger, M.; Serf, M.; Reichert, S.; Heldmaier, S.; Schulz, M.
2017. WCSMO 12 : Proceedings of the 12th World Congress on Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimisation, Braunschweig, Germany, 5-9 Juni 2017
Macroscale modeling of long-fiber-reinforced composite parts with varying material properties for robust rib optimization
Troll, D.; Marston, M. P.; Albers, A.
2013. NWC 2013, NAFEMS world congress : SPDM, International Conference Simulation Process & Data Management : 9 - 12 June, Salzburg, Austria, NAFEMS
Design for Energy Efficiency: Structural Optimization Process for Mechanical Parts in Dynamic Systems
Sander, C.; Kellner, M.; Albers, A.
2013. NWC 2013, NAFEMS world congress SPDM, International Conference Simulation Process & Data Management, Salzburg, Austria, 9. - 12. June, 2013, Bernau am Chiemsee NAFEMS Deutschland
Target weighing - A new approach for conceptual lightweight design in early phases of complex systems development
Albers, A.; Wagner, D.; Ruckpaul, A.; Hessenauer, B.; Burkardt, N.; Matthiesen, S.
2013. Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED13) Design For Harmonies, Vol. 5: Design for X, Design to X, Seoul, Korea 19-22.08.2013, 301–310, The Design Society
Approaches for the macroscale curvilinear modeling of composites based on the fiber patch preforming (FPP) technology
Albers, A.; Majic, N.; Troll, D.
2011. Proceedings of the 3rd ECCOMAS Thematic Conference on the Mechanical Response of Composites, Hannover, Germany, September 21-23 2011. Ed.: R. Rolfes, Leibniz Universität

Overview of all IPEK Publications

An overview of all IPEK publications can be found here.