Faculty of Engineering

Research Highlights

The world's second-largest simulation of a pulverized coal flame was carried out at the Chair of Fluid Dynamics. With a total of 1.7 billion grid points, this set new benchmarks for the level of detail and accuracy of pollutant prediction. PsiPhi, the Chair’s massively parallel code, and over sixteen thousand cores of the SuperMUC supercomputer at the computer centre in Munich were used.

Prof. Christof Schulz, head of the Chair of Reactive Fluids, became chief editor of the journal “Progress in Energy and Combustion Science” together with Prof. Hai Wang of Stanford University. This journal has a 5-year journal impact factor of 23.6 and has thus become one of the key publications in the area of energy research.

The DFG Research Unit 2284 “Model-Based Scalable Gas Phase Synthesis of Complex Nano Particles” commenced its work. Eight of the research group’s subprojects are located in the various chairs of the Institute of Combustion and Gas Dynamics (IVG), one of which is a joint project with the affiliated institute IUTA. A further subproject in Nanostructure Technology forms a link with the Electrical Engineering and Information Technology department.

The DFG Research Unit 1993 has been successfully conducting research work into “Multi-functional Conversion of Chemical Species and Energy” for three years. Prof. Burak Atakan from the Chair of Thermodynamics is coordinator of this research unit, whose second project phase was approved in 2016. In collaboration between KIT and UDE, the potential of fuel-rich engine combustion for the simultaneous production of useful chemicals such as hydrogen or ethylene, as well as heat and work, are being investigated. So far, investigations show that a combined concept such as this may represent a good alternative when compared to separate processes of material and energy conversion.

Flexible energy conversion is also an important theme in plant design. The Chair of Environmental Process Engineering and Plant Design is conducting work in this area in a series of application-oriented projects. For example, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is supporting the “Steam Powerplant Partner” project focused on transforming existing fossil-fired power plants into highly flexible units which support the integration of renewable energies. The EU is also supporting the project “MefCO2”, in which processes for the synthesis of methanol from carbon dioxide capture are developed using energy surpluses. Industry partners such as E.ON, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Siemens AG Energy and RWE Power testify to the strategically unique location of the UDE in Germany’s “energy centre”.

The Chair of General Business Administration and International Automotive Management is investigating strategic management at a time when technology, production and the use of the car are undergoing fundamental change. The Chair is coordinating the project “Service Innovations of Independent Multibrand Dealers in Transition to Holistic Electromobile Solution Providers” (DEAL). The research also involves two chairs of the Mercator School of Management. The project “Structuring the Benefit Promise of Innovative Services for Improved Customer Benefits” also extends across departmental boundaries in the form of a cooperative arrangement between the Chair and the IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies at the UDE. However, a car needs to be more than just useful – it also needs to look good. The Chair is therefore continuing its work in the Designstudio NRW together with the Folkwang University of Arts and in the project “Designing the Interior of a Car-Sharing Vehicle”, which is supported by the NRW Ministry of Economics.

In 2016, the Chairs of Mechatronics and Transport and Logistics started the project “Lightweight shelf storage and retrieval machines based on cable robot technology from NRW (LEAN)”. Compared to convetional self storage and retrieval this follows a radical new approach in which the storage and retrieval equipment is guided in front of the shelf by a system of tensioned cables. The cables are coiled and uncoiled by means of a coordinated control consisting of several winches, allowing the precise positioning of the payload in the high-level rack. This avoids the wasteful acceleration and braking of the large mass of conventional storage and retrieval equipment. A weight reduction of approximately 90%, significant energy savings and increased performance are possible. In LEAN, a consortium of companies and research institutes based in NRW is developing components and subsystems in order to provide the most efficient shelf retrieval and storage systems in the future. Total funding of 2.4 million euros has been provided for the project.

In several exciting DFG projects, the Chair of Thermal Process Engineering is advancing the science behind the separation process of adsorption, which is frequently used for cleaning gases. In collaboration with the Chair of Thermodynamics, the “Development of New Types of Adsorbent Agents based on Activated Carbon by Means of CVI Infiltration of Ceramic Materials” is examined and work within the Priority Programme 1570 is focused on the “Development of Micro/macroporous Spherical Adsorbent Agents for the Adsorption of Different Anaesthetic Inhalation Agents”. The “Investigations into Cryogenic Adsorption of Short-chain Hydrocarbon in the Temperature Range Between -80°C and 0°C” extends the application of this versatile procedure.

The Chair of Ship Technology, Ocean Engineering and Transport Systems” (ISMT) also commenced a series of projects supported by the DFG and with a focus on basic research. For example, these projects examine procedures for the calculation of cross-sectional stress on a ship’s structure, models for prediction of erosion due to cavitation and the influences of phase changes and viscosity and density ratio on the potentially dangerous sloshing in partially-filled tanks.

One of the main areas of research of the Chair of Engineering Design and Plastics Machinery is the model creation and simulation of plastics processing. The aim is to achieve a consistent, realistic and computer-supported reproduction of this process. This will then offer the possibility of the virtual optimisation of components as an alternative to time consuming and costly experimental testing. In order to continue this successful research in a consistent manner, scientific findings gained are currently being transferred into practice together with industry partners as part of the DFG knowledge transfer project “Analysis and Optimisation of Film Cooling in Industrially Operated High-Performance Blown-Film Facilities Using Integrative Process Models”.

A research area in the Chair of Dynamics and Control is real-time diagnosis and forecasting procedures for the condition of technical systems. Specific examples of application in the Chair are rubbing wear experiments, lithium batteries, and wind turbines. It has been possible to publish two articles on this theme within a short space of time in the journal “Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews” with an impact factor of 6.7 in each case. The articles focused on new research questions regarding automation technology for complex wind turbines.