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Rn5.qxdNo. 5 – 2002
1 Using plastics to track down prions
Are waste treatment plants really capable of reducing the risk of BSEinfection? A new polymer indicator developed by Fraunhofer scientists,allows plant operators to quickly evaluate the extent to which theharmful pathogens have been destroyed.
2 Neon signs: colorful, better, cheaper
Many people take pleasure in the colorful neon signs that light up cities at night. Yet not many people are aware of how costly and com- Phone +49 89/12 05-2 42Fax +49 89/12 05-7 13 plicated they are to produce. Software is now available that not only simplifies the planning process, but also calculates operational costs.
3 A whistle-stop tour of modern logistics
New materials-cycle management software lends a hand in the trans-port and recovery of reusable materials. Fraunhofer logistics expertsuse a model railway to demonstrate the latest methods of materials-cycle management.
4 Intelligent sealing
Water seeping into the basement is often the result of leaky cable ordrain transitions and of house lead-ins for gas and water. Builders andhome-owners can now breathe a sigh of relief: There is a new type ofcost-effective sealing system based on water-absorbent polymers.
5 High-Tech for sausage casings
Sausages need casings, as their artificial “skins” are called. These arefrequently of cellophane. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a process, now patented, with which sausage casings can be manu-factured more easily and ecologically, and with tailor-made properties.
6 Rolling on blue clouds
When the nights start to get milder, the time is ripe for “blade nights”.
To see and be seen is just as important for rollerbladers as it is for cyclists. The Fraunhofer Patent Center helped a lighting system, whichmakes use of blue light-emitting diodes, to enter the market.
7 Fraunhofer inducted into Hall of Fame
XM Satellite Radio is a digital radio station in the USA. Fraunhofer researchers were involved in the system design and the developmentof chips for the receiver device. In recognition of their work, they wereinducted into the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame.
In the laboratory the extruded cellulose solution enters theregenerating bath. With the experiences gained here, apilot plant produces sausage casings with tailored pro-perties.
Picture in color and printing quality: www.fraunhofer.de/researchnews
14476 Golm, Germany
Phone +49 3 31 / 5 68-11 51
Fax +49 3 31 / 5 68-31 10
No. 5 – 2002
High-Tech for sausage casings
Sausage is an extremely popular form of meat. Not only Germanseach eat an average of 70 grams of sausage every day. To protect theproduct and keep it “in shape”, most sausages are wrapped by an artificial skin, known as the casing. These are frequently made of re-generated cellulose, a synthetic material with entirely natural proper-ties, commonly known as cellophane foil or – in its fibrous form – as For further information:
Cordura®, Tencel®, rayon and viscose (artificial silk).
Dr. Peter Weigel Phone +49 3 31 / 5 68-17 07 email@example.com Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAPin Golm near Berlin have developed a new and now patented process Dr. Hans-Peter Fink Phone +49 3 31 / 5 68-18 15 with which blown cellulose film can be manufactured also for use as sausage casing. It is based on the relativly new Lyocell process: Chemi- cal conversion pulp is dissolved in a mixture of water and N-methyl-morpholine-N-oxide. This solution is extruded in a regenerating bathwhere the solvent is released and can be returned almost entirely tothe process. This technique is therefore less complicated than existingmethods using chemical conversion steps. Project head Dr. PeterWeigel explains the merits of IAP’s new and patented development:“With our method, the cellulose solution is extruded through a ringnozzle. But it does not immediately enter the regenerating bath. Firstit passes through an “air gap”, in which lateral and longitudinalstrength characteristics of the tube are set by internal air pressure. Aswith regular cellophane, the films are made of pure cellulose and areas biodegradable as wood.” Together with one of the market leaders for cellulose sausage casings,the Belgian company Teepak NV, the work of the IAP researchers overthe last three years began with a laboratory process and has now ledto a pilot plant on a semi-industrial scale. The manufacturing processis both ecological and cost-effective. Alteration of specific technicalparameters enables the scientists to manufacture casings with varyingbut defined properties as Dr. Hans-Peter Fink, head of this researchsection, explains: “The degree of porosity, for example, determineshow fast flavorings can penetrate the casing. This is particularly im-portant in smoking and cooking sausages. Furthermore, the surfacestructure of the casing mainly influences the ‘tightness’ or adhesivestrength to the sausage meat.” Apart from sausage casings other products are manufactured too: Tailor-made samples are investigated and optimized in fields like pack-aging foils and membranes for seperation processes.
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