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Andreas Vrabl, Head of Center for Vision, Automation & Control, Nicole Brosch, Junior Scientist und Petra Thanner, Research Engineer (r.).







Automated driving is a key component of future mobility. By synergetically pooling the skills of four different Centers, AIT is offering a holistic concept for this.

In order to develop the full potential of automated vehicles, it is necessary to have a holistic overview of the mobility system for both passengers and cargo. This explicitly includes multi-modal approaches, analyses of the acceptance of technology and user behaviours, new test processes and the opportunities arising from digitalisation. The aim is to deploy automated driving in the places where it makes sense and creates added value.

POOLED SKILLS When developing new technologies for automated driving, AIT takes a holistic and systemic approach, incorporating the skills of four different Centers to produce synergy. This covers the development of vehicle parts, investigation into requirements and effects on infrastructure and the latest methods for testing intelligent automated systems that are critical to safety. AIT is also in a position to analyse the higher level of effects on the overall transport system, as well as traffic safety. A user-focused overview of new interaction interfaces, including the experience of automated driving, helps to further the design and certification process.

Photo and cover photo: PicturePeople

DIGITAL SAFETY & SECURITY The increase of safety and reliability in software and systems forms one of the core research focuses in the Center for Digital Safety and Security, without which automated d ­ riving would be inconceivable. These research activities range from highly reliable 5G-based communi– cation connections, to the verification and monitoring of conventional and AI-­based systems, to privacy, standardisation and development of certification guidelines. The Center has a prominent position in national and inter– national security ­r esearch programmes and is building on strategic partnerships with the most important figures in national security and international industry campaigns.

MOBILITY SYSTEMS The Center for Mobility Systems is looking into effectively and sustainably integrating automated vehicles into the multi-




I o a u 5 m s T i t i

Automated driving is considered as a key aspect of the mobility of the future. In order to develop the full potential of automated vehicles, a holistic view of the mobility system for people and goods is needed. This includes multimodal approaches, technology acceptance and user behavior analysis, new test methods, and the explicit use of the opportunities of digitization. The aim is to set up automated driving where it makes sense and creates added value.

Pulling together: Wolfgang Pointner, Christian Zinner, Manfred Gruber,Peter Saleh, Thomas Zemen, Willibald Krenn, Alexandra Millonig, Peter Frรถhlich (left to right)

Effects on the transport system


Vehicle development

Gain of time Convenience & flexibility

Vision Zero

Added value of automated driving

Competences of AIT

Automated assistant Infrastructure


Be mobile, stay mobile

Good availability Liveable environment


T T i t b e a a p v



AIT TESTIMONIALS modal mobility system and is evaluating their effects using data-based prognosis models and simulations. This examines factors such as mobility behaviour and mobility relocation, as well as the consequences for transport infrastructure, road safety and traffic management. AIT’s solutions and services support the public sector and the industry by implementing new applications for mobility and logistics related to automated transport.

TECHNOLOGY EXPERIENCE Technology users take centre stage at the Center for Technology Experience. This Center uses recently developed methods to provide information on the future acceptance of automated driving and can ensure a value-based design process by measuring and modelling user experience. Particular impacts (e.g. deskilling) play just as important a role as new design concepts for social interactions between (semi-)autonomous systems and people. Innovative approaches for persuasive interaction techniques and context-sensitive visualisation complete the range of services.

VISION, AUTOMATION & CONTROL The Center for Vision, Automation & Control has extensive expertise in the field of intelligent vision systems focusing on camera-based sensor technology for assistive and autonomous systems that support the driver and increase safety and efficiency. Areas of applications include various industrial sectors, construction and agriculture, as well as the transport and rail sector with mobile working machinery and vehicles mounted on rails.

Photo: PicturePeople, Graphics: AIT

COOPERATION WITH INDUSTRY AIT also develops assistance systems and autonomous systems with renowned manufacturers from the rail sector (public transport), agricultural machinery sector, the construction industry and the special-purpose vehicles sector. In addition to system conception and the development of specific sensor technology and control software, the validation and optimisation of driver assistance systems are further points of focus, alongside the creation of test plans for product development. The question of sensible and attractive alternative activities for drivers in (semi-)autonomous cars and lorries is also being looked into on behalf of vehicle manufacturers. AIT also helps various stakeholders from the public sector and the industrial environment to implement industry standards and demonstrate the impact of different standards in the field of automated driving.

AUTO.BUS – SEESTADT • Developing technologies for small ­autonomated busses • Increasing efficiency and operational safety • Reliably detecting the vehicle’s ­surroundings; building trust through interactions between the bus and ­passengers • Planning tools for optimal layout of the vehicle, bus stops and route AUTODRIVE • Safety and security analyses, model-­ based testing and developing an ECS (Electronic Components and Systems) architecture • Secure wireless updates for fail- aware, fail-safe and fail-operational components of autonomous vehicles in a ­European context DIGITRANS •O  bjective: To create a test area for automated and connected driving (focus on cargo mobility, industry and infrastructure operators) • Implementing a sustainable operator model, focused on need and effects ­with an emphasis on Upper Austria ENABLE S3 •A  IT as a consortium partner in the ­ECSEL (Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership) ­research campaign “ENABLE-S3” • Developing a testing methodology for cyber-physical systems • Ensuring cyber-security •D  eveloping methods, tools and standards for increasing, verifying and validating the reliability of software and systems VIA-AUTONOM • Evaluating infrastructure technologies and measures for automated road traffic •D  eveloping a reference architecture for infrastructure data concerning automated vehicles


The AIT experts – Winfried Neuhaus (left) pictured with Palle Helmke – are working on diseases including stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s and Rett syndrome.

BIOLOGICAL BARRIERS: THE GATEKEEPERS OF THE TISSUE The Principal Scientist Winfried Neuhaus’s research team is working on identifying and evaluating molecular biomarkers that could help to detect diseases early, as well as developing treatment strategies.

CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH: AIT IS AT THE FOREFRONT IN EUROPE “AIT has outstanding facilities in researching biological barriers,” according to Principal Scientist Winfried Neuhaus, who continued to say that “understanding the tasks of biological barriers is relevant to a lot of diseases.” The function of biological barriers is often altered in diseases. Reestablishing the original, healthy condition can alleviate the progression of the disease. In turn, biological barriers release molecules and the pattern of released molecules could change during diseases. These differences can be detected and used as biomarkers. How do the tissue biomarkers reach the body fluids? How do they cross biological barriers or are they able to permeate or not in general? AIT is one of the leading

Photo: PicturePeople

Complex organisms cannot survive without biological barriers. They protect internal tissues, separate them from the outside and regulate substance exchange. They are a “biological obstacle” for microorganisms, toxins or even pharmaceuticals. Drugs have to overcome biological barriers in order to reach their target sites. Examples of biological barriers include the epithelium of the skin, gut and lungs, as well as the placental barrier or the blood-brain barrier. It is generally very important to understand the functions of biological barriers. The importance of the knowledge about their functionality increase especially in the context of personalized medicine. The active agents administered for instance as salves or tablets, have to penetrate biological barriers without any modification, so they can effect at the intended “place of action” in the body.

Molecular biology

institutes in Europe for analyzing biomarkers in body fluids. Winfried Neuhaus himself has more than 15 years of experience in cell biology, pharmaceutics and biotechnology. After entering the Competence Unit Molecular Diagnostics as a Senior Scientist in mid-2016, he has now been working as a Principal Scientist at AIT since October 2017. “Our main research field is the role of biological barriers in physiological and pathophysiological processes,” Neuhaus says, “in addition to explaining the transport processes of active agents, we focus on developing therapeutic strategies, as well as on identifying and evaluating molecular biomarkers.”

MEANINGFUL CELL CULTURE MODELS The focus here is laid on developing qualified, meaningful cell culture models: “We develop these models in such a way that they can be used to test active agents and biomarkers, and that they can be applied for the preselection of compounds, so we don’t have to test every single substance with animals straight away. At the same time, these models should be as simple as possible and as complex as necessary.” There are good reasons to consider and critically question the use of animal testing for certain problems, according to Neuhaus, who is also the President of EUSAAT (European Society for Alternatives to Animal Testing). In many cases, good cell culture and in silico methods could be preferred due to scientific and pragmatic aspects, in addition to the ethical considerations. Breeding animals and animal testing are expensive and there are differences between individuals and species that limit the validity of this data with respect to its use on humans. As such, there is often a certain minimum number of animals required for significant results, which can be reduced significantly with well planned preliminary tests. Neuhaus: “We work with human cell cultures in order to better understand the translation of the data from the animal to the person and also to be able to estimate the relevance for humans. This is because it often only takes a single protein to change how it works in different species.” AIT’s groundbreaking position in this field of research is highlighted by the fact that Neuhaus’s research team is part of the first group of researchers in Europe to generate and publish blood-brain barrier models from human, induced pluripotent stem cells (see box).

SELF-DEVELOPED MODELS IN BIOMARKER RESEARCH In biomarker research AIT focuses on self-developed methods as well: “We try to identify new biomarkers or to evaluate already known biomarkers by comparing samples from

patients with samples from healthy people.” Here, the blood-saliva barrier comes into play as a secondary focus: “In our Competence Unit, we are exploring saliva as a future diagnostic fluid. As part of this, my group hopes to improve the understanding of how biomarkers reach the saliva from the place at which the disease occurs in the body.” The significance of biomarker research is clear: We want to detect diseases early and simultaneously test the effectiveness of possible treatments. Where does a biomarker come from? How relevant can a biomarker actually be if he is not formed at the place of the disease? These are the questions being asked in AIT’s research. In the USA, this is a major topic. The aim is for a huge variety of tests – such as tumour biomarkers and biomarkers for cardiovascular diseases – to be carried out quickly and efficiently in future using point-of-care devices. This is opening up commercial opportunities such as out-licencing, in-house production of items like sensors, or services for the pharmaceutical industry. Saliva diagnostics is a promising area of molecular diagnostics and has significant advantages compared to traditional analysis of blood and tissue samples. Saliva contains a wide range of molecule types that are relevant for diagnoses, such as methylated DNA, miRNA and antibodies. Saliva samples can be collected easily, without any pain and non-invasively, which is an important issue for industry as well as patients.

Pluripotent stem cells Pluripotent stem cells are those stem cells that have the ability to differentiate into cells of the three germ layers (ectoderm, entoderm and mesoderm) and of the organism’s germ line. To some extent, this turns them back into “mother cells” or original cells and they can evolve into any cell type of an organism as they are not determined to a particular type of tissue. Induced pluripotent stem cells are produced by reprogramming blood or skin cells, for example. Reprogrammed patients’ cells can be used to generate disease models of the intended tissue.


More than 50 participants from all over the world were with us in Idaho.


It was a resounding success, making headlines throughout the world. AIT is known globally as a leading provider of test options for highly critical infrastructures, e.g. for nuclear power plants. For the purpose of exchanging information and reinforcing partnership, AIT´s first “IAEA inaugural International Training Course (ITC)” took place in Idaho Falls at the end of October, focusing on the topic of protecting computer-aided systems in nuclear security regimes. “We want this to encourage international cooperation and knowledge sharing with regard to computer and nuclear security,” explained Helmut Leopold, Head of Center for Digital Safety and Security. More than 50 cyber-security experts from Asia, Europe and America took part. Scott Purvis, Head of the Information Management Section in IAEA’s Division of Nuclear Security, emphasised the importance of international partnership and constant vigilance for nuclear security when dealing with cyber threats. The course has been in its planning and development stages for more than two years. This produced a practical cybersecurity training programme for protecting nuclear, but also

other critical industrial systems. AIT experts contributed to the design of the course under the leadership of AIT expert and Senior Scientist Paul Smith. The course emphasises the growing involvement and the leading role of AIT in the field of nuclear security and in IAEA activities. Alongside the University of Idaho (UI), Idaho Falls (uidaho. edu/idaho-falls), AIT supports a strategic partnership for cooperation in the educational sector of Nuclear Security. AIT is also a key participant in IAEA’s coordinated research project “Enhancing Computer Security Incident Analysis at Nuclear Facilities”. In December, AIT also held a training course in Vienna. “After this, the IAEA training course, hosted by AIT, is planned to take place every year and AIT will be established as a global leader of training programmes for operators of industrial facilities and critical infrastructure,” Helmut Leopold emphasised. Specialist media outlets also reported on AIT’s appearance in Idaho: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/IAEA-offers-­ training-on-preventing-cyber-attacks

Photo: Idaho National Laboratory

In October, the AIT Center for Digital Safety and Security participated in the first international cyber-security training course for critical infrastructure in the energy sector for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Idaho Falls, USA.

Performance & Success


RAISING AWARENESS OF CYBER-SECURITY The emergence of social media networks has exposed both companies and public institutions to “Social Engineering 2.0” – and is making them vulnerable to targeted cyber attacks. To counter this, it is crucial to not only protect IT systems against technological vulnerability, but also to provide employees with effective training. In various different projects, AIT experts are exploring innovative, effective and fun ways of raising awareness of cyber-security risks. In the DOGANA project, individualised assessment and awareness methods are being developed to make end-users more aware of social engineering attacks. In the COMPACT project, the focus is on the role of employees and on competitive ways of protecting local public authorities from cyber-security threats. This involves developing and testing gamification methods. In order to allow for the different needs of the target groups, the SecLearn project is working on a flexible solution that can be personalised.


WORKSHOP SERIES AT AIT In 2019, the AIT Technology Experience (TX) meet-up workshop series will focus on innovative topics concerning technology and user experience over 10 sessions, including topics relating to smart homes, HCI security and compliance by design/behaviour change. The starting question for these workshops will always be: Why do so many new technologies fail? One main reason is the lack of acceptance, insufficiently positive experiences and/or unfulfilled experience poten– tial. These are, however, the key to the success of economical products and should not be left up to chance. The experts at AIT’s Center for Technology Experience show how companies can influence these factors in the early stages of considering, planning and developing their product. The workshop series is primarily aimed at product managers and those res– ponsible for innovation and quality who want to improve product development and internal processes in their company through an experience-based approach, and to positively reshape the pitfalls of person-machine interaction. In addition, the TX Meet-Ups offer a great opportunity for topicspecific networking due to their personal setting. Find out more at: http://www.ait.ac.at/txmeet-ups

Unauthorised access to sensitive information

Photos: Designed by xb100/Freepik, AIT/Skof

and services can cause significant economic damage to companies.

Manfred Tscheligi, Head of Center for Technology Experience: “A lack of acceptance can prevent economic success.”



AUSTRIA’S STARTUP MONITOR The “Austrian Startup Monitor” (ASM) is the largest and most extensive study of Austria’s start-up scene to date and is the first to create a database, firmly rooted in scientific research, on the creation, dynamic and development of start-ups in Austria. The team, consisting of AIT, Austrian– Startups and Vienna University of Economics and Business, interviewed more than 500 start-up entrepreneurs for this study. In total, more than

Chairman of the AIT Supervisory Board Hannes Androsch was also at the presentation of the results.


CUTTING-EDGE AUSTRIAN TECHNOLOGY FOR THE ISS The aim is to find out what effects deep space missions have on human circulation with the help of the specially developed ARCSolver® algorithm.

1,500 start-up launches between 2004 and 2017 were included in the Austrian Startup Monitor, which is scheduled to appear once a year in future. The study was funded by Austria Wirtschaftsservice (aws), the Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO), the Vienna Economic Chamber (WKW), the Austrian Council for Research and Technology Development (RFTE), the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), the Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) and the Vienna Business Agency.


KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION IN EUROPE As part of the KNOWMAK project, AIT and its project partners have developed a tool for analysing the production of knowledge in Europe. It offers indicators on the production of knowledge from various data sources (AIT-EUPRO database on RP projects, IFRIS-PATSTAT on patents and CWT-WoS on publications) and presents these in the form of illustrative charts and diagrams. The indicators are available at the level of European countries and regions (Eurostat me– tropolitan regions as well as NUTS-2) and broken down into the 135 topics of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and Grand Societal Challenges (SGCs). The KNOWMAK tool is directed towards researchers from various different disciplines, political decision-makers and managers of funding organisations or sponsors. https://www.knowmak.eu/

Photos: WKOE/Schnarr, AIT

The joint venture by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems Moscow (IBPM) and AIT Austrian Institute of Technology plans to study the long-term effects of zero gravity conditions in space on human circulation. The results will pave the way for manned long-term missions to the moon and Mars. The crew members of Expedition 57 were the Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and the NASA astronaut Nick Hague. They began their journey to the ISS international space station on a Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but had to make an emergency landing shortly after launch because of an engine failure. Nobody was injured and there are plans underway for the flight to be repeated at a later date. There is already a replacement available for the equipment containing the AIT algorithm, which was destroyed in the emergency landing, and this will be transported to the ISS as soon as possible. “Previous measurements with astronauts have shown that the heart and arteries interact differently in zero gravity conditions from on Earth. As such, we cannot rule out the possibility that long-lasting weightlessness may pose a risk for astronauts,” explained Siegfried Wassertheurer, Senior Scientist at AIT’s Center for Health & Bioresources.

Performance & Success


PROMOTING THE ELECTRIFICATION OF COMMERCIAL FLEETS An international consortium around AIT and DLR is developing an online knowledge platform based on the needs of fleet managers as a decision support system for investments in e-mobility. The EUFAL (Electric Urban Freight and Logistics) research project offers tools and consulting services on one platform for companies at various stages of intro– ducing e-vehicles, from the planning phase to implemen– tation to optimisation. Currently, workshops are offered in the five participating partner countries: Denmark, Germany, Austria, Poland and Turkey. These workshops facilitate the exchange of specialist and user expertise in order to better meet users’ needs and to be able to incorporate these into the continued development of the platform. This is because although it is widely accepted that electric vehicles are well suited to completing the last leg of the supply chain, to the con– sumer’s door, particularly in urban areas, they are still only used by a few companies. In order to reach the full potential of e-mobility, logistics concepts and the application of e-vehicles must be developed collectively, taking into account the topo-


CHRISTIAN CHIMANI TOOK OVER AS MANAGING DIRECTOR OF LKR On 1 October, Dr Christian Chimani, Head of Center for Low-Emission Transport at AIT, took on the role of Managing Director at LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen GmbH, in addition to being the Head of Center. The mate­rials scientist replaced Andreas Kraly, who is now returning to work in industry after five years in management. As a sub­ sidiary of AIT, the LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen GmbH forms the Light Metals Technologies Ranshofen Business Unit in the AIT Center for Low-Emission Transport. The 50-strong team for LKR is researching the holistic view of lightweight design in the transport sector – from materials to process technology through to material-related structural design. On one hand, this involves developing sustainable, efficient manufacturing processes for materials in order to enable a significant reduction in energy consumption as early as the production stage. On the other hand, the materials have to meet the requirements for use in components under high stress, e.g. in new electric mobility vehicles. In this matter, the research focus concentrates on the light metals alumi­ nium and magnesium in order to develop efficient, safe and environmentally friendly mobility solutions. Christian Chimani is carrying forward LKR Ranshofen’s trail of success.

Jürgen Zajicek, AIT Center for Mobility System: „We are

Photos: AIT/ZInner, AIT

developing decision-making aids for e-mobility.“

graphic and geographical characteristics of the regions in question. Jürgen Zajicek, Research Engineer at the AIT Center for Mobility Systems: “The insights we have gained from EUFAL and the solutions we have worked out together will contribute towards optimising the platform and communicating the necessary expertise for the promotion of electric commercial transportation to future users.” More on this at: http://www.eufal-project.eu/



Blockchain technology enables PV system operators to optimize energy consumption. Residual storage capacity can be sold on flexbility markets.


AIT, SIEMENS AND ENERGIENETZE STEIERMARK ARE TESTING BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY In collaboration with Siemens Austria and Energienetze Steiermark, AIT has evaluated blockchain technology for the specific application of community storage. The aim of the experiment is to gather practical experience with blockchain by extending an existing test bed in Heimschuh, a municipality in Styria, Austria. The community energy storage can be used by multiple customers to optimize the self-consumption of their PV energy. Blockchain technology is used as a reliable way to use community storage collectively and to track its usage by multiple customer accounts. Evaluation criteria have been defined and several blockchain implementations have been assesed in view of these criteria. Furthermore, a primary proof of concept based on Ethereum has been implemented and was evaluated under laboratory conditions. After intensive tests at AIT and Siemens, the blockchain solution has been in use in Heimschuh since January.


INTRODUCING MICROORGANISMS INTO SEEDS SEEDJECTION is a highly efficient method for introducing useful micro­organisms into seeds mechanically. This involves a patented and regi­stered piece of technology, based on purposefully opening the surface of the seed, injecting microbial inoculants into the starch reservoir and then closing the seed. There is a prototype of this on-site in Tulln, Austria, that can cut open 40 seeds a second, inject the substance and close them again.

In daily life, there are often situations that require moral courage or assistance. Passers-by often have to decide in seconds whether they should intervene in a dangerous situation without putting their own safety at risk. In the project “kURAGE: Investigation of civil courage and its promotion through playful experiences”, AIT experts at the Center for Technology Experience are looking into the question of why people act with moral courage and what obstacles there are to this. The aim is to develop innovative training concepts for moral courage that can be used individually and without a specific location, using fun approaches to strengthen people’s ability to intervene and also to raise awareness. Two controlled field experiments were conducted in Vienna for this purpose (Danube Island and Vienna Stadtpark). The results show that dangerous situations are too often underestimated. In particular, the mere threat of physical violence is often not seen as a risk. Verbal abuse, threats, spreading rumours and discrimination do, however, leave behind a deep mark on the person targeted. This is less visible for passers-by but intervention and assistance are nevertheless necessary – not only to prevent emotional and psychological harm but also because physical assaults generally begin as verbal attacks. “The innovative training concepts developed by AIT can be used in the form of an app. Such applications train risk awareness and intervention skills in a playful way,” explains Julia Himmelsbach, Project Manager at AIT. The project is funded by the Aus– trian Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), as part of the Austrian Security Research Programme KIRAS.

Photo: GettyImages




THE SECURITY AND PRACTICABILITY OF E-SCOOTERS Mini electric vehicles such as e-scooters, hoverboards, e-longboards, segways or e-monowheels are in fashion right now and the first sharing providers are now active on the market. The potential for electrically powered mini vehicles can be seen primarily in combination with public transport. The “first and last mile” (getting to the public transport stop and to the final destination after alighting) can be covered quickly, easily, comfortably and without environmental damage using these vehicles. Mini e-vehicles have to be integrated appropriately and sustainably into the mobility system for this to be practical. The AIT Austrian Institute of Technology’s Center for Mobility Systems is dedicating itself to this topic area within the scope of transport safety research. The intention of this is to evaluate the potential, practicability and safety of these vehicles. The traffic situation will be determined and analysed using specially developed technologies, such as the mobility observation box. New forms of mobility like mini electric vehicles can thus be evaluated in relation to the overall system and targeted measures for improvement can be implemented. AIT road safety expert Klemens Schwieger: “In order to integrate e-scooters and other similar vehicles into the mobility system sustainably, we need clear and sensible traffic rules. In relation to this, raising awareness of all road users is vitally important. Our aim is to increase traffic safety and, at the same time, to build the foundations for positive cooperation among road traffic users.”

15-18 January 2019 // SOFTWARE QUALITY DAYS Europe’s leading conference on software quality. Location: Vienna AIT contact: Willibald Krenn Details: software-quality-days.com/en/ 22-24 January 2019 // OOP – SOFTWARE MEETS BUSINESS The conference for software architecture. Location: Munich AIT contact: Willibald Krenn Details: oop-konferenz.de/oop2019/start­seiteenglisch.html 28 January 2019 // FIT INFO DAY 2019 Women in technology orientation programme for female school pupils from Year 10 (approx. aged 16) upwards on technical or scientific courses of study. Location: Vienna AIT contact: Katja Fröhlich, Evgeniya Kabliman Details: fitwien.at 28 January 2019 // RISIS II Kick-off event: Further development of a research infrastructure for Europe. Location: Paris AIT contact: Thomas Scherngell Details: risis.eu 26-28 February 2019 // EMBEDDED WORLD The leading international trade fair focusing on embedded system-technologies. Location: Nuremberg AIT contact: Willibald Krenn Details: embedded-world.de/en

Photo: AIT/Zinner

4-5 March 2019 // MAPPING WORKSHOP OF THE MICROBIOMESUPPORT PROJECT Large international stakeholders’ workshop (industry, politics, research, etc.). Location: Vienna AIT contact: Angela Sessitsch Details: microbiomesupport.eu

AIT is testing the potential, safety and practicability of e-scooters.

11-15 March 2019 // VIENNA CYBER SECURITY WEEK 2019 International multi-stakeholder conferences, training and exhibition Location: Vienna AIT contact: Michael Mürling Details: energypact.org


NEW APPROACHES IN DEALING WITH 7000 SERIES ALLOYS Stabilising aluminium alloys in the 7000 series opens up innovative options for their use in automobile and aircraft construction.

Aluminium alloys are classed as belonging to the 7000 series if they are alloyed with zinc, magnesium and often also copper. These alloys have been used for decades as sheet metal in aircraft construction because they are very strong and so enable light-weight constructions. At first glance, it is surprising that the 7000 series is not used in automobile construction, apart from a handful of exceptions. The reason for this is that the alloy class is “incompatible” with the processes involved in automobile construction and introducing new production methods is too expensive. At LKR, we are working to change this. Through fundamental and applied research, economical process chains are being developed that will allow the use of the 7000 series in auto–mobile construction. Prior heat treatments known as stabilisation or “pre-aging” play a key role in this process.


Johannes Österreicher, Scientist at the LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen, Center for Low-Emission Transport

The lack of use of 7000 series alloys in automobile con– struction so far has three principal reasons: Firstly, they are generally not suitable for welding as the area around the welded joint will tear. Alternative joining methods such as punch riveting are also not particularly well suited because the rivet has to penetrate the material without pre-drilling. This does not work as well as in softer alloys because of the hardness of 7000 series alloys. The second reason for the lack of use is the poor formability. Car panels made from sheet metal are usually produced through deep drawing at room temperature. This is not possible without further processing for the 7000 series because the sheet metal tears already at low degrees of deformation. The third problem is that the parts have to be exposed to temperatures of 120°C for 24 hours in order to reach their full strength. This treatment has to be conducted after the deep drawing parts are

Scientific Paper

produced and is therefore to be performed by the car maker or supplier. However, exposure lasting 24 hours is not something the automobile industry wants. Instead, hardening of the sheet metal is carried out at the same time as the paint-hardening in what is known as the paint-bake process. However, the temperatures used here are too high and the times are too short for 7000 series alloys so their full strength cannot be reached. However, it is the high strength itself that presents the main argument for using the 7000 series! In summary, then, the problems with making joints, the lack of formability at room temperature and the need for a very long, impractical heat treatment all prevent the use of the 7000 series in automobile construction. Complicating matters, there is also the issue of these alloys’ susceptibility to corrosion. Of course, there are possible solutions to above-mentioned problems but they all have one thing in common: they are expensive and incompatible with the cost pressures on the automobile industry. As a result, the 7000 series have thus far lost the competition to be the primary construction material to steel or other aluminium alloys. Both have a lower specific strength than the 7000 series, but they are easier to work with. However, as many weight-saving potentials have already been exhausted, the automobile industry is still extremely interested in the 7000 series. After all, new technologies produce extra weight that has to be saved in other areas.

Photos: AIT

SPECIAL HEAT TREATMENTS In order to solve the 7000 series predicament, special heat treatments prior to manufacturing were developed at the LKR. We call these stabilisations. One example is a heat treatment at 90°C for one hour, directly after the indispensable solution heat treatment at approximately 500°C. In many cases, this stabilisation can be carried out directly in the rolling mill, which is better equipped for it than the car ­manufacturer. In comparison to full hardening, which takes 24 hours, the sheet metal manufacturer saves both time and energy. Using the stabilisation approach, the problem of being able to use punch riveting was solved in close cooperation w ­ ith our project partner Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik. The natural ageing (1) of a 7000 alloy can be delayed, which means the material is able to be punch riveted for a longer period of time. Previously, this effect and the underlying ­physical ­phenomenon were unheard of, which is why atom probe m ­ easurements (see image) were taken in collaboration with our project partner ETH Zurich to elucidate the mechanisms. The problem of 7000 series alloys’ poor ability to harden in the paint-bake process was already alleviated for an alloy by s­ tabilising the material at 120°C. The yield strength

Atom probe measurements of a non-stabilised (a) and a stabilised (b) 7000 alloy. The areas with increased magnesium and zinc content indicate the formation of Guinier–Preston zones.

achieved in tensile test reached 98% of that of full hardening. The results were published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds [1]. This topic also drew a great deal of interest at the International Conference on Aluminium Alloys in Montreal and the number of copies of the article brought to the event were soon gone. Finding the right stabilisation conditions was very l­ aborious and took several months. At the LKR, we are ­currently working on methods for finding stabilisations that can be tailored more quickly to different alloys and application purposes in automobile and aircraft construction. Stabilisation is also combined with different forming processes in order to solve the problem of the poor capacity for deep drawing. Here, it is important for the process chains to be economical. ­Moreover, the crash capacity and corrosion properties have also been optimised and the results are promising. In addition to the project proposal already submitted for continuing to study the foundations, there are also plans to establish co– operation with a major well-known company. Despite using 7000 series alloys, which are widely known as aviation alloys, the LKR is not aiming to develop „a flying car“ at the moment. With solution heat treatment at ~500°C, the strength of the 7000 series can be lowered significantly, allowing punch riveting. With natural ageing treatment at room temperature, however, the strength increases rapidly again, which makes punch riveting impossible.


[1] Österreicher, J. A.; Kirov, G.; Gerstl, S. S.; Mukeli, E.; Grabner, F., & Kumar, M. (2018). Stabilization of 7xxx aluminium alloys. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 740, pp. 167-173.


FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE CPX METHOD In order to determine the road surface influence on tyre/road noise, the standard ISO 11819-2 (International Organization for Standardization, 2017) is used, which is also known as the “CPX method”. With this, the tyre/road noise is measured using a specific measurement trailer and tyre. As various parameters, such as temperature, trailer design, pressure or hardness of the tyre have a significant impact on the CPX sound pressure levels, the corresponding correction procedure is described in this standard. Whereas the air temperature and the Shore A hardness measured under laboratory conditions are currently used, a different approach is presented in this paper: Here, the tyre temperature during the measurement run is measured and then calculated to the in situ Shore A hardness. As we assume that this is the dominant influence on tyre/road noise emissions, a direct correlation between in situ Shore A hardness and CPX levels is carried out. Extensive measurements are presented and the various correction procedures are analysed with respect to their replicability. It shows that within the boundaries of the measurement set-ups, the combined correction for temperature and Shore A hardness can be carried out and can support the further development of the CPX method. R. Wehr, A. Fuchs, C. Aichinger: “A combined approach for correcting tyre hardness and temperature influence on tyre/road noise”; Applied Acoustics, 134 (2018), 134; pp. 110–118.

INTERMETALLIC ­PARTICLES UNDER THE MICROSCOPE The α-intermetallic phase can be found in almost all aluminium alloys used in mechanical engineering, particularly because of the unwanted but unavoidable contamination in primary production or recycling processes. Examples show that intermetallic α-particles function as harmful nucleation points during reshaping processes. In order to form a deep understanding of these particles as harmful nucleation points, it is important to be familiar with their thermomechanical behaviour and their interactions with the matrix during production and operation. Previously, the mechanical properties of the α-intermetallic phase, e.g. the elasticity modulus and thermal expansion, have not been studied very extensively. For that reason, we implement ab initio methods focusing on two polymorphs of the manganese-rich α-phase: Al114Mn24 and Al108Mn24Si6. In addition to the elasticity properties in its initial state, the temperature-dependent thermal expansion coefficient and the bulk modulus are also calculated. In one case study, these properties calculated are used as the input for an Eshelby-type eigenstrain model in order to analyse the thermal residual voltage of a particle with a spherical phase in the aluminium matrix during a cooling process. Duancheng Ma, LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen GmbH, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology: “Elastic properties of Mn-rich α intermetallic phase in engineering aluminium alloys: An ab initio study.”; https:// aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5041524

SOLAR CELLS FROM WATER AND METAL OXIDES Solar cells made exclusively from metal oxides are promising candidates for sustainable energy production in future as many oxide semi-conductors have excellent electronic properties and chemical stability, as well as low manufacturing costs. As such, they are often used in technologies that are already part of daily life, such as touchscreens, LEDs or sensors. One recent paper from AIT’s Center for Energy shows for the first time that it is possible to produce oxide solar cells in an environmentally friendly manner, based on the inexpensive and readily available raw materials from aqueous solutions. This involves producing ZnO-doped trans­ parent electrodes and buffer layers with variable band gaps using spray pyrolysis. Electrochemically isolated copper(I) oxide was used as a solar absorber. This showed that high-quality metal oxide films can be produced with the methods demonstrated and that these films are well suited to application in sustainable solar cells, as well as for additional areas of application. Nina Winkler, Stefan Edinger, Jatinder Kaur, Rachmat Adhi Wibowo, Wolfgang Kautek, Theodoros Dimopoulos: “Solution-processed all-oxide solar cell based on electrodeposited Cu2O and ZnMgO by spray pyrolysis”; Journal of Materials Science (2018) 53:1223112243, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10853018-2482-2

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Tomorrow Today 03/2018 (english)  

Tomorrow Today 03/2018 (english)  

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