Applied Research

As a general rule, the mere insight that natural systems present excellent technical solutions does not automatically allow for transfer into engineering. For this, knowledge from basic research must be extended systematically.

It is necessary to purposefully conduct applied research, which does not yet lead to marketable products but which is the precondition for all substantial innovations. Therefore, we infer from our basic research activities with potential for technology transfer in the following areas: 

Lightweight design principles
The characteristics of the manifold diatom structures are intensively investigated in the field of functional morphology. Besides their excellent features as stable light weight constructions, we examine additional functions, such as permeability and acoustic properties. The emerging insights are systematically developed for usability in the lightweight construction process ELiSE.

Material research
Reseach on micro- and nanostructures of diatom silica, its proertis as composite materials and their transfer to technical products is presently being researched in projects. We aim at using the insights thus gained to develop innovative composite material and to be able to combine it with complex lightweight geometries.

3D - Automation (generative algorithms)
Complex geometries can be generated by methods such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D reconstruction of laser confocal microscopic data, or by mathematical operations. We use all these methods, in addition, we are presently working on the development of algorithms that are orientated at the structure principles of diatoms. This allows for the generation of manifold but mechanically well-engineered first models.

The possibility to produce highly complex geometries considerably improves the performance for stable lightweight constructions. We therefore develop approaches to how the ELiSE process can effectively be used in relation with production methods like Additive Manufacturing.

Biodiversity research
It is our aim to integrate essential interactions between plankton species within polar and temperate marine ecosystems into models and thus to be able to better predict how plankton ecosystems react to altered environmental conditions.

In nature, manifold optimization processes take place continuously and simultaneously. Therefore, valuable results emerge from the examination of evolutionary processes, which can also significantly improve the technical optimization process .