28/04/2016
Girls'Day 2016 at BAM: with a homemade BAM button

Girls'Day 2016 at BAM: with a homemade BAM button

Source: BAM

Girls'Day – A day focused on girls' futures takes place on 26 April, 2016, and the Bundesanstalt für Material­forschung und -prüfung (BAM) takes part again! This year, BAM invites the young researchers into their new laboratory building and technical centre in Berlin Adlershof – a building equipped for cutting-edge analytics and with many special laboratories.

The programme

Station 1

The Inorganic Trace Analysis Division

Preparation is also important: Proteins under current

Many factors interact in the human body, and as a result physicians need a wide range of cellular information in order to be able to correctly detect and treat serious illnesses such as cancer. Much of this information can be determined immediately using an element microscope. To do so, the special microscope screens the sample material – in this case, proteins – and creates a two-dimensional image for each medical measurement selected.

Good sample preparation is important for achieving usable measurement results. To do this you will break a protein mixture down into small pieces and make a solution with it. The protein solution is dripped onto a carrier with a gel layer, and this gel layer is then exposed to electrical current. Driven by the electrical field, the proteins now move into the gel based on their size – the smaller parts go deeper than the larger ones. In an additional step, the molecules that are different and now sorted by their size distribution are transferred as if they were points on the membrane, and investigated using the element microscope.

Station 2

Environmental Analysis Division

Pollutants in the environment and how to track them chemically

Pollutants put a strain on our environment. There are limits for many pollutants. That's why we have to chemically analyse these pollutants. To this end, researchers are developing BAM rapid tests which can be used on site, and additional procedures in the laboratory. Chemical reactions and concepts form the basis for these tests. You will see the pH value, oxidation and chromatography illustrated; the pH value is particularly significant for biochemical reactions. You will use red cabbage juice as an indicator to determine different pH values. We show you oxidation on a molecule that only has a colour when it is oxidised. You can follow the process of this chemical reaction with the naked eye. And, using chromatography, you will separate a chemical mixture into its components. You are all already familiar with the chemical mixture: brightly coloured chocolate buttons with a sugar shell. Water dissolves the dye only. You will drip the dissolved dye – which differs depending on the colour of the chocolate buttons – onto a special filter paper. The colours separate and you will see that the brown shell of the chocolate button also contains a red dye.

Station 3

Materials and Air Pollutants Division

Caution: Hot! From sand to glass

A glass laboratory is a very practical place. The experts at BAM who research the area of environment-resistant types of glass will make "sand" into glass. The raw materials that are used for the glass will be melted in a platinum crucible at 1400 °C. The liquefied material is poured into a metal mould and placed in the different oven to slowly cool. It is important to cool the poured glass slowly to prevent the glass from developing stresses and cracking. And you'll have a small memento made of poured glass to take home with you!

Station 4

Thermochemical Residual Material Treatment and Resource Recovery Division

Using heat to make technical waste a resource

Ash and waste products from technical processes can be recycled as fertilisers. However, the product still contains a number of chemical resources that are able to cause significant damage to the environment if released into it. That makes it a good idea to remove them for two reasons: firstly to reduce the strain on the environment from pollutants, and secondly to enable the removed chemical substances to be treated and reused. To achieve this, the ash and waste products are heated to above 1000 °C in special ovens. You'll see how the ovens work.

Station 5

Structural Analysis Division

Girls on the tool machines

Substances almost always need to be processed if you want to produce something from them. Substances are metals, plastics or even ceramics. Specific machines are required for each substance. At the BAM mechanical research workshop you will see the whole process, from drawing to finished product, with help from the CAD construction program and CNC (Computerised Numerical Control) machine.

CNC designates an electronic process for automatically – and therefore very precisely – controlling tool machines. You will install several components made of aluminium.

But 3D printing is another element in the BAM workshop. You will take part and print your model from plastic.

Press Release 9/2016