Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chemnitz city and TU Chemnitz

Today, the group travelled to Chemnitz city, about an hour drive from Dresden. There, we toured the city of Chemnitz, as well as the Technische Universität Chemnitz.
Today, the group travelled to Chemnitz city, about an hour drive from Dresden. There, we toured the city of Chemnitz, as well as the Technische Universität Chemnitz. Chemnitz was part of East Germany after WWII, and was known during this period as Karl-Marx-Stadt. Being among the cities largely destroyed after WWII, the new socialist government attempted to re-build the city, but much of the older architecture was left neglected for many years, and soviet-style concrete apartment complexes now dominate much of the landscape. After the reunification of Germany, the city was given its original name again, and much of the city was again rebuilt.

Chemnitz is unique among the cities of former East Germany, as much of the city was rebuilt in the 90s. While many cities had to be rebuilt after WWII, Chemnitz was the only city whose center was reconstructed after the reunification. As a result, the architecture of Chemnitz is uniquely modern, and very few of the older buildings have been preserved. Among unique historical elements of Chemnitz, the "Red Tower", was once part of a wall that protected the city. A line in the walking paths marks where this wall once stood.

At the Technische Universität Chemnitz we were greeted by the Chancellor. He welcomed us and gave us an overview of the university and how it was originally created to help drive industry in Germany. At TU Chemnitz, we visited the MERGE Technology Center which dealt with energy efficient production systems. In order to be more energy efficient in the automobile industry, the researchers were creating lighter materials while trying to preserve strength. They did this by using a plastic polymer and combing it with glass wire. The glass wire would be mixed in with the heated polymer in a certain direction to create a stronger but light material. They showed how the parts were made and how the injection molds worked to produce the parts.

Next we visited a center that worked with human factors in technology and production efficiency. The lab researched how to efficiently allow humans to safely collaborate with robots in the workplace. The technology was effectively demonstrated through virtual reality that explained how the sensors and algorithms given to the robot allowed it to know where humans were at all times.

Finally we visited the Center of Microelectronics, which was solely involved with smart micro systems and materials. The researchers here showed us how they were using carbon nano tubes to create extremely small, well controlled devices with a multitude of applications. We were also introduced to the idea of printing circuits with semi conductive ink.


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