The EAM Cluster of Excellence at the ACHEMA

Applications from the miniature world

The Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM) Cluster of Excellence and the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBI) at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg will present new developments in the fields of bioprocess engineering, high-pressure technology, ionic liquids, catalysis, nano-electronics, optics and particle technology at the ACHEMA in Frankfurt on 15 May 2009. The EAM and its integrated graduate school, along with the CBI department, will also provide information on their study and research opportunities in research hall 4.2, stand B6/C7.

The Engineering of Advanced Materials Cluster of Excellence is the only material science cluster involved in researching and developing innovative materials, whose structure is organized hierarchically from the molecular to the macroscopic. Bridging the gap between pure research and its application in engineering requires new approaches to all time and size scales, as well as across disciplinary borders. The cluster will present new developments most notably in the fields of catalysis, optics and nano-electronics.

Bioprocess Engineering: microalgae in photoscreening modules

Cyanobacteria and microalgae appear to be lucrative sources for new forms of bioactive compounds. The field of “Marine Biotechnology” is investigating phototrophic micro-organisms with regard to their antibiotic, antiviral and antioxidant potential for natural products research and pharmaceutical development. The photo-bioreactors, which were developed for studies in growth, product yield and product quality, will be on display at the ACHEMA.

High pressure technology: Physics under high pressure
Thermo-fluid dynamic and physical phenomena under high pressure can be studied using optical measurements. Exhibitions will include in-situ studies on topics ranging from phase change, particle generation and liquid crystals to the visualization of temperature and flow fields under high pressure. The autoclave of an electro-spinning plant will be on display and will demonstrate how nanofibres of 200-500 nanometres in diameter can be produced under high pressure from polymer solutions.

Ionic liquids: How can wood shavings be broken down?
The new substance class of ionic liquids exhibits unique properties such as extremely low vapour pressure, high chemical and thermal stability and conductivity, and a broad electrochemical window. The new substance class also has great potential – for example as a custom-made solvent and lubricant for hydraulic systems, compressors and vacuum technology. At the exhibition there will be a demonstration of how biomass can be broken down to ionic liquids and another of a three-phase system comprising ionic liquids, water and organic liquids.

Catalysis: Lungs are an inspiration for new types of catalysts
Lungs represent a natural model for catalysts which will probably never be achieved through technology. With this example in mind, technical solutions for hierarchically structured porous material systems will be explored in the area of catalyst study. The first promising material combinations are for example, glass/zeolite, ceramics/zeolite, metal/zeolite and foam structures as catalyst carriers. A Berty reactor, used to study the kinetics of catalytic reactions, in particular the analysis of “Supported Ionic Liquid Phase (SILP) catalysts” will also be showcased. As part of this cross-cutting research in the fields of ionic liquids and catalysts, it has been possible to create custom materials by coating solid porous materials with ionic liquids. The custom materials created have defined properties and surfaces, as well as controlled chemical reactivity for catalytic applications.

Nanoelectronics: thin film transistors for flexible circuits
With the help of nanotechnology printing processes, inexpensive electronic devices with advantageous optical and electrical properties can be manufactured. Examples of a thin-film transistor (TFT) and transparent conductive coatings for printed electronics made of nano particles will be displayed. Potential applications include flexible displays, e-papers and RFID tags.

Optics: nanoparticle characterisation of waste gases and photonic crystal fibres
Many cities exceed the limits of fine-particulate air pollution. Legal requirements limit the mass of particles to less than or equal to 10 µm regardless of their composition. Studies show that smaller particles are even more dangerous than bigger particles. In order to evaluate their potential danger, a simultaneous and selective calculation of the mass and the specific surface area of particles is necessary. To this end, a new soot sensor has been developed in Erlangen. With its laser-induced incandescence (LII) measuring technique, spatially and temporally resolved data can be determined directly in waste gases. Furthermore, in contrast to established procedures this technique has a very high sensitivity (<5µg/m³). In this way, future reductions in emissions limits can be reliably detected. Within the Cluster of Excellence, the optics team will illustrate the production of metamaterials, i.e. materials with completely novel characteristics and photonic crystal fibres. These have a wide range of applications. They can, for example, be used as a micro lab in which steps of a reaction can be monitored optically.

Particle technology: tailor-made, standardized microcosm
Particle technology develops methods of particle production and processing based on a molecular understanding of particles, particle surfaces and interface. Procedures for particle formation (top-down and bottom-up) and funtionalisation of particle surfaces will be presented.Optical and electrical properties, for example, can be determined in a targeted manner thanks to these procedures. Exhibits will demonstrate what influence particle surface modification has on adhesive forces between particles and therefore on the flow properties of solids and the stability of nanodispersions. At the exhibit you will find a model of a ferrofluid made from magnetic nanoparticles, which creates impressive 3D structures in the magnetic field. There will also be a demonstration of the operation of fluidised-bed reactors.

Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM) Cluster of Excellence
The EAM at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg is involved in the research and development of new materials, whose structure is organized hierarchically from the molecular to the macroscopic. The EAM Cluster of Excellence was awarded five years of funding, totaling almost 40 million euros, starting in 2007 as part of the German Excellence Initiative. In addition to this, the federal government and the Free State of Bavaria have made considerable contributions. Innovative applications in the fields of nano-electronics, photonics, catalysis and lightweight construction are being developed thanks to new methods of collaboration between seven university departments, extra-mural institutions and the industry.

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBI)
The department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBI) is involved in the transformation of substances through chemical, physical and biological processes. In doing so, product properties should improve and the number and amount of undesired by-products and waste should decrease through the constant optimization of existing methods the implementation of new ones. Thanks to their broad education, chemical and bioengineers can be found in various industrial sectors including the chemical, pharmaceutical, oil and food industry, systems engineering and the automotive industry, and in power engineering and environmental protection.
The chairs of the CBI department are committed to research in the following key areas: chemical reaction engineering, thermal, biological process engineering and interfacial engineering, systems engineering, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. In the field of education, the department teaches Bachelor and Masters courses in “Chemical and Biological Engineering”, “Life Science Engineering” and “Power Engineering”.

For further information for the media:

Dr. Annette Tyrach
Tel. 09131/85-20840

uni | media service | news No. 111/2009 of 11.05.2009

Addition information