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uni'wissen 02-2015_ENG

Stefan Hiermaier is developing and testing materials for use in cars and airplanes Light, Safe, Sustainable by Nicolas Scherger “We are preparing in advance for what can happen.” Rails run straight through the 42-meter-long hall. On them is a car, covered with round markings and illuminated with spotlights. Behind the car waits an acceleration sled that runs along the rails, the front of which is fitted with a wall. The hall is empty; all doors are closed. The scientists in the adjacent control center give the starting signal. The sled is catapulted forward by compressed air and smashes at a speed of 30 kilometers per hour into the rear of the car. The test is documented by up to seven high-speed cameras. The images show how the car crum- ples and the markings shift on impact. Scientists at this full-car crash test facility at the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst Mach Institute (EMI), in Erfringen-Kirchen near Freiburg are studying how materials and parts hold up in an accident. The goal is to “develop and test new materials to make cars lighter, safer, and more sustainable to manufacture,” says Prof. Dr. Stefan Hiermaier, Director of the EMI. As professor of sustainable engineering sys- tems, Hiermaier is responsible for coordinating the establishment of the “Department of Sustain- able Systems Engineering” (INATECH) at the University of Freiburg’s Faculty of Engineering. The department is the engineering core of the “Performance Center for Sustainability” of the university and the city’s five Fraunhofer institutes. “I want to test visions for sustainability from the materials side,” says Hiermaier of his research 55 Photo: MO:SES/Fotolia uni wissen 02 2015 uni wissen 022015