Exhibition: Intelligent Materials for Research and Application

How does three-dimensional printing work? What processes are there and what role do they play in research and application? These and other questions on the topic of "additive manufacturing" are answered by a permanent exhibition that has been planned for an interested public by the Cluster of Excellence "3D Matter Made to Order", a joint initiative of Heidelberg University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Alongside interactive multimedia and photo exhibits, the exhibition with different thematic sections features various printed structures in the centimetre, millimetre and nanometre range, including some that change their shape under the influence of light. The exhibits can be viewed in the entrance hall of the Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials of Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 225.

In the Cluster of Excellence "3D Matter Made to Order" (3DMM2O), scientists from Heidelberg University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) work on innovative technologies and materials. These are designed to be used for additive manufacturing processes in order to make 3D printing more precise, fast and efficient. Working groups involved in the cluster present current research on these topics as part of the new exhibition. The exhibits with various printed structures include 3D objects made of renewable materials such as olive oil or micro-swimmers, which can move like floating bacteria with the aid of flagella. In addition, there are 3D-printed objects made of novel smart materials, known as shape memory materials. They change shape under the influence of heat or light and can then resume their original state.

The exhibition is rounded off by the audio-visual installation "Cells meet Liszt", which arose in cooperation between the Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials (IMSEAM) and the Department of Musicology of Heidelberg University. Accompanied by piano pieces by composer Franz Liszt, it consists of moving pictures of cells and 3D-printed structures that emerged in the course of research studies by the 3DMM2O Cluster of Excellence. In cooperation with Dr Aldo Leal-Ega˝a from IMSEAM, musicologist Dr Daniel Tiemeyer, director of the "Digital Liszt sources and works catalogue" project, selected excerpts from Liszt’s piano works that perfectly fit the images and animations. In the interplay of image and sound, the project leaders see the emergence of a common "language", bridging natural sciences and humanities by connecting musical and molecular structures.

The 3DMM2O Cluster of Excellence pursues a strongly interdisciplinary approach in connecting the natural and engineering sciences. It focuses on three-dimensional additive manufacturing technologies - from molecular to macroscopic dimensions. The aim is the complete digitisation of 3D manufacturing and materials processing based on methods that are precise, rapid, and efficient. This approach enables the scientists involved in the cluster to transform digital information into functional materials, devices and systems that create the preconditions for innovative applications in the materials sciences and life sciences. In addition to funding as a Cluster of Excellence within the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments, 3DMM2O is also financed by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

The permanent exhibition was designed - in close cooperation with the scientists involved in the individual sections - by the Heidelberg coordinating and spokesperson team of theá3DMM2O cluster, consisting of Christine Selhuber-Unkel, Joachim Wittbrodt, Dr Irene Faip˛ and Jonathan Schmidt. Participating on the KIT side were Jorinne Sturm and Mirjam Weigand from the cluster’s public engagement team in Karlsruhe. The exhibition can be viewed Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm in the entrance hall of the Institute for Molecular Systems Engineering and Advanced Materials, Im Neuenheimer Feld 225. Entry is free of charge.

In July the exhibition will move to premises in the Heidelberg Old Town for four weeks and be open to the public there.

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