Self-cleaning and Reliable
Geckos outclass adhesive tapes in one respect: Even after repeated contact with dirt and dust do their feet perfectly adhere to smooth surfaces.
Researchers of the KIT and the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, have now developed the first adhesive tape that does not only adhere to a surface as reliably as the toes of a gecko, but also possesses similar self-cleaning properties. Using such a tape, food packagings or bandages might be opened and closed several times. The results are published in the “Interface“ journal of the British Royal Society.
Enhancing Safety of Domestic Solar Power Storage
Safety and Service Life of Battery-based Domestic Storage Systems
Lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems have already demonstrated how efficient, reliable, and safe they can be in commercial electric vehicles. These high safety standards now also have to be transferred to battery-based storage systems for private photovoltaics facilities. At the "Intersolar", leading trade fair in Munich, KIT presents solutions for the design of safe and long-lived PV domestic storage systems.
"Lithium-ion batteries can reach a very high operational reliability, if the manufacturer possesses the necessary know-how and observes some 'golden rules'", explains Dr. Olaf Wollersheim of the "Competence E"-project of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He and his team analyzed the transport safety and operational reliability of stationary batteries and formulated corresponding guidelines. “These guidelines may serve as a checklist to help laymen separate the wheat from the chaff.” Stationary batteries store solar power and, in this way, eliminate the production peak at noon. This power is then released again in the evening, during the night or in the morning when it is needed. Area-wide balancing of power production and power demand would be an important element for the energy turnaround.
From Auto Expo 2014 in New Delhi
Asian premiere for the Volkswagen SUV concept Taigun
Volkswagen has two of the most successful SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicle) of European origin in its range with the "Tiguan" and the "Touareg". Now Europe's largest carmaker will significantly extend this range with new models in a wide variety of classes. A compact model in the lower price segment, the Taigun, is in the development phase; the latest version of this SUV concept was presented in New Delhi, India in February 2014 - a new sport utility vehicle features a new rear section with outside-mounted spare wheel. And this is exactly the solution future drivers wished for in the new Taigun. Volkswagen took the opportunity to analyse feedback from around the world to adapt the new SUV ideally to customers' wishes. One of these wishes: fast access to the spare wheel without having to empty the boot first. The advanced version of the SUV concept now meets this demand. The four-seat Taigun is powered by a new and fuel-efficient 1.0-litre TSI engine (turbocharged, direct injection petrol engine) with 81 kW / 110 PS (from 5,000/min). Average fuel consumption is just 4.7 l/100km (110 g/km CO2). This enables a range of around 1,000 kilometres (with a fuel tank capacity of 50 litres).
Measuring Fine Dust Concentration via Smartphone
Measurement System for Mobile End Devices to Compile a Pollution Map
Big cities in the smog: Photos from Beijing and, more recently, Paris clearly illustrate the extent of fine dust pollution. But what about our direct environment? What is the pollution concentration near our favorite jogging route? Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing a sensor that can be connected easily to smartphones. In the future, users are to take part in drawing up a pollution map via participatory sensing. The precision of the map will be the higher, the more people will take part.
The principle of fine dust measurements using a smartphone corresponds to that of simple optical sensors. “Instead of the conventional infrared LED in the sensor, the flashlight of the smartphone emits light into the measurement area. This light is scattered by the possibly existing dust or smoke. The camera serves as a receptor and takes a picture representing the measurement result. The brightness of the pixels can then be converted into the dust concentration,” computer scientist Matthias Budde explains. He has developed the system as a member of the research group TECO of KIT’s Chair for Pervasive Computing.