Research talents on their way

August 01, 2022

Two "Jugend-Forscht" award winners are interns at the Fritz Haber Institute this summer. In July, Robin Winkelhage from Osnabrück (project "Obtaining carbon dioxide-neutral fuels") spent two weeks at the CatLab in Adlershof. Today Alexandra Simion (project "The Marangoni effect using the example of a water-alcohol drop on oil") from Nuremberg has her first day of internship.

Here an excerpt from Robin's report: Among other things, I was shown the reactor lab. There, the researchers investigate, for example, the hydrogenation of carbon monoxide or energy storage using ammonia, an important basic chemical substance. I had also dealt extensively with a similar research question in my "Jugend forscht" project. I wanted to find out whether it would be possible to combine two important synthesis steps for the production of carbon dioxide-neutral fuels in order to save energy in the process. When I reported this, I was immediately informed about research work that I really needed to know about for my project. I got the feedback that I should definitely continue with this project. So I asked if it would be possible to have my self-developed catalyst tested at the institute, which took place a few days later.

We prepared everything for repeating my experiment. The plan was to characterise my catalyst under the scanning electron microscope and to carry out the synthesis in the SEM and in the pressure reactor. However, since there was no measurement time available in the pressure reactor, I helped prepare the electron microscope. In the process, we flooded the laser responsible for heating the catalyst. The gas-water installers, who had carried out routine maintenance on the inhouse cooling water distribution system, had connected the water pipes the wrong way round at the end of the maintenance, resulting in excessive pressure in the pipes downstream of the compressor. After we found the leak and repaired it, we let the laser and associated electronics dry. We hoped that nothing had broken and reactivated the unit on Friday. It worked! Unfortunately, that was already my last day. We conducted the experiment and were able to generate a lot of good data. I will be able to make use of this for the continuation of my "Jugend-Forscht" work.

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