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  • Mechanical Ventilation:

    New strategies could save thousands of lives

    3D-Neutron tomography of a rat lung. (Image: Robert Metzke, Burkhard Schillinger, TU München)

    According to current estimates, over 100,000 patients in Europe receive intensive medical care for acute pulmonary failure each year. Where patients require mechanical ventilation over several days, the survival rate falls below 50 percent. Even if they do survive, many patients are left with severe lung damage and suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. Doctors face a dilemma here – many details of the way our lungs function remain unknown, making it almost impossible to control ventilation precisely. However, that is now set to change, with scientists from the Technische Universität München (TUM) and the University of Freiburg (both Germany) working on a model that enables ventilation to be adapted to individual needs. Using neutron tomography as the imaging technique, this new approach could save numerous lives.

  • Debate between theorists and engineers resolved:

    Physicists at the TU München prove existence of internal stresses in large compressors

    FRM II in Garching. (Foto: Wenzel Schuermann / TUM)

    Compressor impellers in turbines have to withstand a lot. They not only increase the pressure of vast amounts of gases and liquids, but are themselves subject to extreme centrifugal forces. If a compressor impeller fails due to material fatigue, it can destroy an entire turbine. Subsequently, the ability to calculate the load limits of components is of extreme importance to manufacturers. The results of these calculations, however, also need to be tested in the real world. Physicists at the TU München’s FRM II neutron source have now developed an appropriate test procedure that does just this. The STRESS-SPEC instrument at FRM II enables scientists to detect stresses hidden deep within large components.

  • Just the right touch:

    Producing semiconductors for energy-saving high-performance electronics

    A cylinder of pure neutron-doped silicon. (Picture: W. Schürmann, TU München)

    In the 1880s, an acrimonious dispute broke out between two of America’s foremost inventors: Thomas Alva Edison advocated the use of direct current (DC) for large-scale power supply, whereas George Westinghouse was a leading proponent of alternating current (AC). Westinghouse realized that transporting electricity via high-voltage networks and converting it to a lower voltage at the point of use provided an efficient method of distribution. At that time, this was only possible with alternating current. In the end, Westinghouse prevailed, and today, AC networks are used throughout the world to transport electricity. Nevertheless, energy is always lost whenever electricity is converted. In fact, when it comes to transporting electricity across long distances, high voltage DC is the most efficient option. And it is here that industry specialists are working on new concepts. Thanks to developments in modern power electronics, DC can now be converted to high voltage and back. But this technology requires high-performance components that meet the strictest quality standards. So it is no wonder that the neutron doping services offered at the FRM II neutron source have proven such a success. Nor that the low-defect semiconductor material produced here is in such great demand.

  • Pest resistant maize

    The natural resilience is in the genes

    Maize (Zea mays) is among the most important food and fodder crops worldwide. However diseases and pests cause significant damage to harvests. Geneticists at the Center for Food and Life Sciences Weihenstephan (WZW) of the Technical University of Munich have now discovered a way to fortify maize’s natural defenses. By combining genetic insights with new plant breeding methods maize crop yields can be secured while reducing the need for pesticides.

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Further Information

Contact

Corporate Communications Center
Technical University of Munich
Arcisstr. 21
D-80333 Munich
Tel. +49 89 289 22778
Fax +49 89 289 23388
presse@tum.de

www.tum.de/presse