Since the beginning of industrial production, the demand for light and strong materials has steadily increased. The rapid technological development has simultaneously led to today’s light materials and associated production processes. Today light materials are common in almost all technical applications of human life. The current means of transport would be inconceivable without light materials. As the three most important metallic light materials aluminum and magnesium as well as titanium, including their alloys, provide excellent impact resistance, good wear and heat resistance and high life cycle fatigue along with moderate material and processing costs and excellent recyclability. However, alternative structural materials, such as high strength fiber-reinforced polymers, which increasingly penetrate into transportation applications, have led to new challenges for light metals, like the ability to be combined with polymers in hybrid materials, but also to improve the individual alloy properties significantly. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach that combines material science and production technology with design and dimensioning. Taking up these aspects, the 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on “Light MaterialsScience and Technology” (LightMAT2017, https://lightmat2017.dgm.de) gave a comprehensive overview of latest developments and progress of the three most important light metals and their alloys. From September 8th to 10th, 2017, more than 200 experts from science and industry met in Bremen, Germany, to present and discuss their recent research. Twelve selected papers are published in this special section “Light Materials - Science and Technology” to share recent advances and achievements in the emerging research field with broader scientific and industrial communities. The papers cover various aspects such as microstructure development, hybrid materials, advanced materials processing and disruptive technologies such as additive manufacturing. As conference chairs it was a pleasure for us to have welcomed colleagues from all over the world. We hope that both the conference and the selected papers will contribute to further progress in light materials research, and we are already looking forward to continuing the discussions at the 3rd LightMAT2019 (https://lightmat2019.dgm.de), that will be held from November 5th to 7th, 2019, in Manchester, UK.
Axel von Hehl - Leibniz Institute for Materials Engineering, IWT University of Bremen
Jürgen Hirsch - Hydro Aluminium Rolled Products GmbH
Karl Ulrich Kainer - Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Centre for Materials and Coastal Research
Christoph Leyens - Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology
Advanced engineering Materials Volume 21, Issue 4 Special Section: Light Materials – Science and Technology