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10/10/2021

Tracking Small Particles

Even when it comes to science, you often need a 'good nose' to be at the right place and the right time with your research. And so it's true for flow expert Stefan Pirker who just received the prestigious CDG prize from the Christian Doppler Research Association (CDG). Professor Stefan Pirker is an expert in flow simulations at JKU Linz and also heads the Christian-Doppler laboratory on campus with which Plansee collaborates closely.

Stefan Pirker
Rendezvous with reality: Stefan Pirker with a test rig for validating his mathematical theories.

Pirker and his team develop (digital) models which can be used to calculate and observe various flows as well as the flow characteristic of the smallest particles in real time. These models are used around the world, from NASA where they are used to research the motion of the Mars robot Curiosity, to Florida, where drift flows in the ocean are calculated. Plansee researches and improves the flowability of metal powders. And Utrecht University models the spread of viruses among people while in motion with the goal of being able to direct visitors at large events so that the probability of infection remains low.

"Prof. Pirker closely examined the flow characteristics of our metal powders in his CD laboratory in order to model the particulate flows. His findings were vital as they enabled us to continue to improve the quality of our sintered products," says Dr. Arno Plankensteiner, who is responsible for research and development at Plansee. Plansee products made of molybdenum and tungsten make progress possible in high-tech industries such as medicine, electronics, and semiconductors.

CDG prize
Experiment at Plansee: Molybdenum and tungsten metal powders 'flow' in a clockwise-rotating drum.

 "Congratulations Stefan Pirker! He performs cutting-edge research together with his company partners. Our CD laboratory unites science and business so that both sides can benefit. We can rely on the innovative power of our companies and on the knowledge and ability of our scientists," emphasizes Margarete Schramböck, the Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs of Austria.