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Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft The development by Fraunhofer UMSICHT and Hörmann KG, Europe’s market leader for doors and gates, should not actually work: But it works – and even exceeds all expectations: The new fire protection glass does not use carcinogenic acrylamide and is therefore toxicologically harmless to process. Instead of 150 to 160 kilograms as before, only 20 kilograms of process waste are generated per day in the manufacture of the new fire protection doors. The automation rate is higher, the production process leaner, traceability and reproducibility are given across the board. In the event of a fire, the glazing withstands the flames and heat above 1000 ° C for the required service life, which can be up to 120 minutes. For this groundbreaking development, Dr. Holger Wack and Damian Hintemann from the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT and Thomas Baus from Hörmann KG Glastechnik received the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize. Cooling water vapor and heat-insulating salt layer Fire-resistant glazing contains a transparent gel rich in water and electrolytes between two panes of glass. If a fire breaks out, the pane of glass facing the flames will not withstand the high temperature for long and will shatter. Two mechanisms are now in motion: The water from the gel evaporates and cools the still intact second glazing. On the other hand, a heat-insulating layer of salt forms. Using their database, the Fraunhofer researchers first carried out a screening: Which gels are suitable for such fire-resistant glazing? After about 60 unsuccessful attempts, for the sake of completeness, they tested a basic component that theoretically cannot work at all. “But it does,” smiles Wack. The researchers don’t want to look into the cards here, only Baus adds: “The project had a few moments like this where something worked that apparently can’t.” Four years from the beaker to the factoryAlready the first fire test, which the researchers carried out after only a short development time, turned out to be very promising: In the first attempt, they achieved a 30-minute fire performance, as they say. This was followed by the scale-up of the beaker in a demonstration facility at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. »We transferred the idea from the laboratory to practice within just four years – a very short time for a complete process engineering development. The implementation time is usually ten to twelve years, ”says Hintemann. Based on the successful development, the Hörmann family decided in 2016 to spin-off Hörmann KG Glastechnik and built a new plant in Saarland, where the fire protection glasses are produced. In particular, this implementation of the research results in practice – in conjunction with the excellent cooperation between Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the family company Hörmann – convinced the jury of the project. “We not only developed fire-resistant glass,” emphasizes Baus, “we also reinvented fire-resistant glass production.”


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