'Improving tool behaviour can optimise forming processes undergoing severe thermomechanical solicitations which are used to obtain high performance components. FGM are particularly appropriate for developing high performance tools since they allow this optimization through a graded variation of their properties. This project aims to develop a new generation of FGM with: •Functionally graded thermal conductivity and wear resistance for hot stamping, forging and casting dies to enable controlled cooling in different regions of the die. In hot stamping it will allow obtaining microstructurally tailored components, with an improved performance and crash performance with optimized weight for safety related automotive components. In die casting it is expected to increase tool life and improve the mechanical properties of the casting. •Improved fracture toughness and wear resistance for cold forming through a gradual variation of the hard particles content. It will be done by an optimization of the properties of the microstructural constituents, i.e. hard particles and the metallic matrix, separately. •FGM with surfaces tailored to have high load bearing capability as a substrate for hard coatings. These aims will be achieved by: •Microstructural design considering the thermomechanical requirements acting on tools, obtained from simulation of the heat transfer and stresses acting on each microstructural constituent. •Investigation into the relationship between the properties of the microstructural constituents and the macroscopic mechanical behaviour. A detailed investigation on the properties, size, morphology and surface modification of the hard particles will be made. •Thermomechanical laboratory tests to screen the developed materials. Materials will be characterised in terms of thermal conductivity, thermal fatigue, fracture and fatigue resistance and wear behaviour. Process related experiments, including NDT will be carried out for upscaling to industrial use'