Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize 2024

Simulation methods – time-saving ways to model complex processes

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The winners of the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for the “MESHFREE simulation tool”: Dr. Jörg Kuhnert and Dr. Isabel Michel.

©  Photo: Fraunhofer / Piotr Banczerowski

Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize winners 2024:

A team around Dr. Jörg Kuhnert and Dr. Isabel Michel
(Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM)


From the automotive sector to production, simulations and digital twins are crucial to many companies. But certain applications pose challenges for conventional software. Highly dynamic processes such as those involved in hydroplaning, Pelton turbines, or machining of metal are often not reproduced satisfactorily. The team headed by Dr. Jörg Kuhnert and his colleague Dr. Isabel Michel at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM has devised a solution that closes these gaps: the mesh-free simulation tool MESHFREE.

The software combines the generalized finite difference method (GFDM), which it uses to solve the conservation equations of mass, momentum and energy, with efficient algorithms for solving linear systems of equations — a feature found nowhere else in the world. The cloud of numerical points that is used can adapt flexibly to moving geometries. This eliminates the need for laborious subsequent corrections in the computational mesh.

MESHFREE is an extremely successful response to a number of issues in industry, addressing the urgent need for simulation solutions. Medium-sized and large companies alike are now using the technology for issues that conventional models are unable to address adequately.

The jury highlights “the continuous development of the technology and adaptation to various industrially relevant issues” as “exemplary.”

Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize

Since 1978, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has awarded the annual Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize to its employees for outstanding scientific achievements in developing solutions for application-related problems.

The criteria for being awarded the research prize include the innovative nature of the scientific methodological approach, the advancement of knowledge, and the transfer of the research findings into practical applications.

This year, three Joseph von Fraunhofer Prizes will be awarded, each worth 50,000 euros. The winners will also receive a silver pin with the profile of Joseph von Fraunhofer.