3D printing has opened up a completely new range of possibilities. One example is the production of novel turbine buckets. However, the 3D printing process often induces internal stress in the components which can in the worst case lead to cracks. Now a research team has succeeded in using neutrons from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) research neutron source reactor for non-destructive detection of this internal stress – a key achievement for the improvement of the production processes.
Carbon fibre is an indispensable component of high-tech materials in many industries. Scientists at the University of Bayreuth are now seeking to research and develop a new generation of carbon fibre. The material is to be characterised by increased strength, remain stable even at temperatures of more than 400 degrees Celsius, and thus enable an even broader range of technological application. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the project from May 2021 for the next three years to the tune of more than € 600,000.
Cooling is a long-standing technological challenge. Standard cooling cycle based on vapor compression exploits expensive helium gas to reach temperatures near absolute zero. Adiabatic demagnetization known since nearly a century could be a viable alternative if compact and durable paramagnetic materials were available. A team of researchers from the University of Augsburg used their recent experience in creating quantum-disordered magnetic states to design a promising new material for adiabatic demagnetization cooling.
The plasticisers contained in many everyday objects can impair important brain functions in humans. Biologists from the University of Bayreuth warn of this danger in an article in "Communications Biology". Their study shows that even small amounts of the plasticisers bisphenol A and bisphenol S disrupt the transmission of signals between nerve cells in the brains of fish. The researchers consider it very likely that similar interference can also occur in the brains of adult humans. They therefore call for the rapid development of alternative plasticisers that do not pose a risk to the central nervous system.
The long-term storage of energy generated from the sun and wind power is of central importance for the transition to green energy. Flow batteries (redox flow batteries) have already proven to be a form of energy storage with great economic and ecological potential. A new research project by Prof. Dr. Birgit Weber at the University of Bayreuth will now work towards optimising this type of battery. The goal is to significantly increase the efficiency and storage capacity of environmentally-friendly, iron-based flow batteries. The project is being supported for one and a half years with funds from the Volkswagen Foundation’s "Experiment!" programme amounting to approximately € 120,000.
An international research team has made progress towards improved materials for quantum sensor technology. Medicine, navigation and IT could benefit from this in the future.
When a rocket is launched, the weld seams on the enormous fuel tanks must withstand immense forces. To produce joints with the necessary strength, a process known as “friction stir welding” is used. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are working to make this process more efficient. They are using positrons generated by the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) to precisely localize “atomic holes” in the material.
Sustainable catalysts that can contribute to global Energiewende (phase-out of fossil and nuclear fuel) have been an established research topic at the University of Bayreuth for many years. Recently, Dr. Eranezhuth Wasan Awin from India has been strengthening interdisciplinary research work in this field. At the invitation of the Bayreuth Humboldt Centre, the young scientist is working on the development of metal modified nanocomposite fibres by electrospinning. As catalysts, the fibres stand to enable the production of "green" hydrogen from renewable raw materials as well as its storage.
Rare earth elements are the gold of the 21st century: rare and highly prized all over the world. Most known and economically viable sources of rare earths are located in China, where more than 80 percent of them are refined. This has resulted in a near monopoly situation, with China dominating international trade, particularly in heavy rare earths. Geologists and materials scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered a new way of finding new and previously unknown deposits of rare earths, or rare earth metals, worldwide.
Prof. Dr. Anna Schenk, Junior Professor for Colloidal Systems at the University of Bayreuth, receives one of this year's Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes. The award worth € 20,000, is the most important prize for young scientists in Germany. A jury appointed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) selected the Bayreuth physical chemist from 150 proposals submitted. A total of 10 researchers will be honoured with a Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize this year. The award ceremony is planned for 4 May 2021 as a virtual event.