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Materialica Design + Technology Award 2023 for project involving livMatS researchers Thomas Speck and Kim Ulrich
Research team receives award for project on biomimetic filter that removes microfibres in washing machines
The project “Bionisches Konzept für Mikrofaserfilter” (Engl. “Biomimetic Concept for Microfibre Filters”) has been awarded the MATERIALICA Design + Technology Award 2023 in the category “Process”. In the project, Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck, Dr. Georg Bold, Dr. Tim Kampowski, Dr. Tom Masselter, Dr. Marc Thielen and Kim Ulrich from the Plant Biomechanics Group, in cooperation with E.G.O. Elektro-Gerätebau GmbH, headed by Dipl.-Ing. Uwe Schaumann, developed a biomimetic concept for a filter that can filter and remove particles such as microfibres in conventional washing machines. The prize was awarded at the “eMove360° – International Trade Fair for Electromobility & Autonomous Driving”.
Household appliances, such as washing machines, are the main source of the increasing water pollution caused by microplastics and microfibres and have a high technical potential to separate problematic contaminants from wastewater during the cleaning cycles. Based on a biological role model, the basking shark, the project developed different filters with and without a ribbed structure and analysed their efficiency. Based on the results, an easy-to-use and cost-effective filter concept could be developed.