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Taking the Leap into Industrial Application

The junior research group "FiberCer" wants to develop environmentally friendly production technologies for fibre ceramics for innovative lightweight products

Ceramics and carbon fibre in one and the same product? Merging these two very different materials is the objective of one of the newest junior research groups of Chemnitz University of Technology: "FiberCer" is to investigate fibre ceramics and their possible applications on an interdisciplinary level. The project wants to create lightweight components with an increased life span and high damage tolerance manufactured in a resource efficient process based on injection moulding, i.e. highly automated and on a large scale. The Institute of Lightweight Structures and the Professorships of Polymer Chemistry, Composites and Material Compounds, Machine Tools as well as Management Accounting and Controlling at Chemnitz University of Technology contribute to the research process from the first steps of developing the polymer via ceramisation up to the final ecological and economical evaluation. Initialised by Prof. Daisy Nestler, Head of the Endowed Chair Textile Plastic Composites, the project will be funded by the European Social Fund ESF from 1 August 2017 through 31 July 2020.

"Chemnitz has one unique selling proposition in comparison to other locations, namely the ability to work in an interdisciplinary way", Prof. Matthias Putz of the Professorship of Machine Tools pointed out, assessing the framework of the project during the kick-off meeting of the research group on 03 August. "At the same time that's the demand the junior researchers face and need to live up to," Putz continued. It's their scientific careers that are to be promoted within FiberCer, i.e. through PhD theses, publications, seminars and workshops. "Follow-up projects are definitely possible and actually desired", said Jonas Stiller, Head of the junior research group. Prof. Lothar Kroll, Head of the Department of Lightweight Structures and Polymer Technology, can already see a way of integrating the project into the Federal Cluster of Excellence MERGE: "The topic definitely has a lot of potential. In dealing with such a level of interdisciplinarity it's nevertheless all about the people working together", said Kroll motivatingly during the kick-off meeting.

Yet, the six chosen junior researchers will not only cooperate on a University level, but also with regional enterprises. It is an integral part of the project to promote the traditional industrial region of Saxony and help SMEs gain a unique selling proposition on the market. Up until now, eleven companies and associations have shown interest in cooperating by handing in a letter of intent. Prof. Daisy Nestler, the project's initiator, has a vision of establishing a "competence centre of fibre ceramics" in Chemnitz, aggegrating scientific know-how and creating a win-win situation: "The University benefits from spin-offs and contacts to the region's industry, the regional enterprises improve their position on the market and the junior researchers can make progress on a personal and scientific level. And it is about these young scientists after all. Within FiberCer they can learn about the one balancing act every good scientist is facing, i.e. taking the leap from the safe base of scientific research into industrial application."

For more details on the project and the scientists involved (in German), please visit: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/FiberCer

You may also contact Prof. Daisy Nester, Head of the Endowed Chair Textile Plastic Composites, Phone 0371 531-36546, E-mail daisy.nestler@mb.tu-chemnitz.de or Jonas Stiller, Head of FiberCer, Phone 0371 531-35354, E-mail jonas.stiller@mb.tu-chemnitz.de

(Authors: Jana Mischke & Diana Ruder)

Mario Steinebach
10.08.2017

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