ITA
New type of energy storage system, aerospace materials, etc.

17.05.2019 The Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, presents its expertise in the field of ambient lighting with the demonstrator light textiles, a new type of energy storage system for furniture applications (model vehicle for fuel cell drive), with efficient textile products (e.g. sports bra) and with new materials for aerospace applications (MoonFibre). With the Demonstrator Light Textiles an illuminated textile is shown using light-guiding fibers and polymer optical fibers (POF). This is well suited to design illuminated surfaces in the interior, e.g. in the automotive or home sector. This textile solution offers a flexible, drapable surface with a soft, pleasant feel in a limited space. The ITA provides the fiber and process development. The key partner is Mentor GmbH & Co. KG, Erkrath/Germany. The POF demonstrator was developed as part of an ongoing cooperation. This model offers the ITA's industrial partners the opportunity to conduct targeted research in a specific field and to train qualified employees.

Novel energy storage for mobility applications - remote-controlled model vehicle with fuel cell drive (source: ITA)
© Photo: ITA
Novel energy storage for mobility applications - remote-controlled model vehicle with fuel cell drive (source: ITA)
The remote-controlled model vehicle with fuel cell drive (RC-Car) is an emission-free model car with lightweight tanks and body made of fiber composite plastics (FRP). It consists of kits from Tamiya-Carson Modellbau GmbH & Co. KG, Fürth/Germany, and Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies Pte. Ltd., Singapore. The pressure vessels (Composite Pressure Vessel-CPV) of the RC-Car were manufactured by the ITA with a new winding technology for pressure vessels with carbon fibers on a machine from Murata, Japan. The CPVs are produced by multifilament winding, which promises a higher productivity than conventional wet winding. They can withstand high pressures of e.g. 700 bar, and offer significant weight savings compared to batteries. The CPVs enable emission-free, long-range, hydrogen-based propulsion that can be refueled quickly and represent the ITA's contribution to the mobility and energy revolution. The CPVs contribute to a sustainable energy balance, since, for example, rare earths are not required as in battery production. The target group for the CPVs is the transport sector. In the automotive industry, CPVs provide the basis for a lighter drive concept, as they can be charged more quickly and offer greater lightweight potential than batteries. For the aerospace sector, the new winding technology represents an alternative, faster manufacturing process to wet-winding pressure vessels.
With its exhibited sports bra, the ITA shows a newly developed innovative process for the highly productive manufacturing of 3-dimensional knitted fabrics on large circular knitting machines without additional separating and joining steps. Large circular knitting is significantly faster and more efficient than flat knitting which was previously used. The garments (here a sports bra) can be tailored seamlessly and individually to size in a single step and are thus an example of a store-factory approach, i.e. customer-specific just-in-time production in a specialist shop on site. This new process is patented and forms the basis for licensing this technology to new business areas and other industries.
Many nations are toying with the idea of setting up a lunar station and to use the moon as a source of raw materials, a research site, a stepping stone into the solar system and a tourist destination. But the transport of the material for a lunar station is very costly: to bring material from the earth to the moon costs up to €1 million/kg €. For a lunar station, at least 450 tons are needed. The ITA's solution: produce directly on the moon. A lot of moon rock is very similar to basalt. The ITA has already developed a production process to spin mineral fibers based on lunar rock. Within MoonFibre, the ITA uses this experience for the production of fibers for the reinforcement of 3-dimensional structures on the basis of moon rock and produces the fibers for the construction of the moon station directly on site. This approach is supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) funded by Crowd-Funding.

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