21st Thuringian Materials Day at the TU Ilmenau successfully concluded

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Prof. Florian Puch, Head of the Plastics Technology Group and organizer of the 2
Prof. Florian Puch, Head of the Plastics Technology Group and organizer of the 21st Thuringian Materials Day
Today (14.03.2023), the 21st Thuringian Materials Day came to a successful close at TU Ilmenau. Under the motto "Materials for the circular economy and energy transition", 130 representatives from industry and science came together to exchange the latest findings on sustainable materials and recyclable products. For this purpose, TU Ilmenau, Thuringian Cluster Management and Tridelta Campus had organized lectures, exhibitions and numerous opportunities for exchange and networking.

Materials play a central role for a sustainable future. Innovative materials that are processed in production processes and end up in final products are the order of the day. They should combine several properties and still be robust: lighter, stronger, more flexible - from the energy to the automotive sector, manufacturers are working with ever more efficient materials.

Industry and science are therefore focusing on the development of sustainable materials and recyclable products. Vehicle manufacturing and the mobility sector are receiving completely new lightweight materials, and improved materials are enabling more efficient solutions for energy generation and storage in the regenerative energy supply sector. In this context, the entire manufacturing process of a product is geared toward sustainability, i.e. in such a way that the possibilities of future generations are not restricted: Raw materials are used efficiently and effectively, products are more durable, waste and emissions are avoided as far as possible, and material cycles are designed in such a way that used or waste materials are recycled into production.


The 21st Thuringian Materials Day at TU Ilmenau presented the latest findings on sustainable materials and recyclable products - including three keynote speeches: Christian Hopmann, head of the Institute for Plastics Processing in Industry and Trade at the RWTH Aachen, reported on the current status and future of the plastics circular economy; Ingolf Voigt of the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems explained the importance of materials for the energy transition; and Thomas Heinze of the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and Dr. Frank Wendler of the Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastics Research presented cellulose as a basis for bio-based, environmentally friendly and recyclable materials.

In addition to the lectures, there was an industrial exhibition where, for example, the company KHW Kunststoffund Holzverarbeitungswerk GmbH presented a 100 percent biologically manufactured reusable cup, and a poster exhibition with more than 30 compactly presented current research results. The three outstanding posters were awarded prize money of 500 euros. The program committee awarded Lucie Steinmüller for her contribution to the production of green hydrogen and Marius Grad for his work on increasing the service life of implants. The audience award went to Marcus Glaser for his poster on metal-plastic hybrid materials.


For the first time a workshop on the circular economy was offered to young men and women at the Thuringia Materials Day. 20 interested students from grades 10 to 13 were given an insight into the plastics recycling industry through presentations, discussions and hands-on experiments. Among other things, they learned how plastics are identified, sorted, prepared and processed during recycling. The TU Ilmenau thus interested the young people in studying and pursuing a career in materials research or industry.