Clausthal-Zellerfeld. The TU Clausthal stands for high competence in the field of materials. This became clear at the 1st Lower Saxony Symposium on Materials Technology. Already at the premiere of the conference, which was designed as a series of events, about 140 guests from science and industry took part. The two-day conference was organized by the Clausthal Center for Materials Technology (CZM).
The great economic importance of new materials was highlighted by CZM Board Spokesman Professor Volker Wesling in his welcoming speech: "German companies set an export record in 2014, selling goods worth more than one trillion euros. To a large extent, these are high-tech products, including many novel materials." Clausthal scientists recognized this potential early on, Professor Wesling said. "There have been materials-oriented courses of study in the Upper Harz for more than 100 years." The idea of bringing teaching and research even closer together is behind the Clausthal Center for Materials Engineering, whose research building was inaugurated in December 2013, he said. Master's students can thus get involved in research at an early stage. To the delight of materials expert Wesling, the center, which in addition to basic research is intended to ensure the transfer of knowledge to medium-sized industry, is already experiencing a great deal of international interest. For example, there have already been exchanges with researchers from Kyrgyzstan, India, England and Thailand.
The CZM also has a close relationship with Professor Hans Ferkel. The head of research and development at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, who completed his habilitation at Clausthal Technical University in 2001, gave the opening address. The topic: "New and rediscovered perspectives of steel". To be successful in industry, good material must be process-compatible, Professor Ferkel emphasized right at the beginning. He then presented three areas in which innovative steel materials and concepts could be successful in the future: in lightweight construction, in the field of renewable energies and in transportation infrastructure. For example, steel hybrid materials or a new three-layer steel composite in automotive construction could save up to 20 percent weight in the vehicle body. For onshore wind turbines, the researcher proposes steel instead of concrete for tower construction. The advantage: the spiral-welded tubes are easy to transport and not too expensive. Ferkel could also envisage steel increasingly becoming the main component in infrastructure projects, for example in bridge construction. In addition to an attractive design and given cost-effectiveness, a modular system made of steel would be easy to convert and quickly recyclable.
In addition to metals and alloys, the more than 50 technical presentations at the materials technology symposium, which was also organized by the other Clausthal CZM board members Professor Wolfgang Maus-Friedrichs and Professor Gerhard Ziegmann, covered topics such as plastics, fiber composites, nanomaterials, non-metallic materials and processes. The extensive program was complemented by a scientific poster show and an evening event in the Aula Academica. "We are very satisfied with the response to this premiere event. The symposium has been well received as a new platform for exchange and discussion in the field of materials engineering," said CZM Managing Director Dr. Henning Wiche. In the future, the conference will be held every two years.