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HI ERN participates at “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften 2017“

As a newcomer, the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg participated in its first „Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften“ (long night of science).

This popular event, taking place in Erlangen, Nürnberg and Fürth every two years, brought people of all ages out to the southern FAU Campus in Erlangen to check out our scientific toys and get informed about alternative power sources for their future cars.

The Toyota Mirai is our new company vehicle. Visitors had the opportunity to learn about the underlying technique, special features and practicability of the car. For the reason of better demonstration, we recently applied a decal to the side of the car that makes visible the exact position of the technical components like the fuel cell, batteries and hydrogen tanks inside the car. Employees of the HI ERN could answer a lot of questions that arose during the night concerning how the Mirai works and what it is like to drive it. In the usual engine compartment, there is the electric engine that accelerates the car. It is energized on the one hand by the fuel cell and on the other hand by a small battery which can be charged by the fuel cell during the drive. The fuel cell runs with hydrogen gas which is stored in two tanks in the back of the car. The only emission which is produced during the drive is pure water. For further information, please also see here.

We took the opportunity to investigate some everyday items under our confocal laser microscope and were pleasantly surprised by the results. By combining optical microscopy with a scanning laser probe that can evaluate the surface of the sample we investigated coins, leafs, pieces of chocolate and everything our guests found in their pockets. The picture on the left shows the eagle on top of Brandenburger Tor which is engraved on the back of a 50 cent coin.

Discussions ranging from which piece of paper looks more interesting under the microscope to which energy storage solution is more viable or efficient in a fossil fuel free economy were held. The latter being the more scientific ones. Regardless of the scientific value of paper tissues under a microscope, the interest in our research and feedback from everyone and especially from some junior scientists was incredible, making the long and tiring night worth everyone’s while.

ExhibitionCopyright: F. Speck

Thanks for visiting our booth!

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