In the middle of the "Theme Week of Education," 18 students from Coburg and Neustadt received the Dr.-Ing. E. h. Bernhard Kapp Prize, endowed with 6,900 €.
On his 80th birthday in 2001, Dr. Bernhard Kapp, founder of today's Kapp Niles group and founder of the prize, sent a clear signal to strengthen engineering by launching this competition with a generous donation. A total of 200,000 € was paid into the foundation, so that we can look forward to many more inventions from the students.
After a brief introduction to the Kapp Niles Group by managing partner Martin Kapp, Thomas Engel from Rotary Gemeindedienst e.V. described the importance Dr. Bernhard Kapp attached to engineering. "In order to strengthen the valuable reputation of the globally recognized seal of quality 'Made in Germany,' our country must be at the forefront in the race for the 'best minds.' For this reason, it is important to promote young people's interest in the engineering professions during their school years. A holistic approach should be pursued, because nothing is worse than to construct something that the world does not need," says Thomas Engel.
Following this approach, the pupils have dealt with the following points within the framework of an independent project: Problem recognition - idea - solution - sensible application - marketing.
Dr. Jan Ungelenk was already awarded the Dr.-Ing. E. h. Bernhard Kapp Prize in 2002 and described his life in an exciting and entertaining presentation.
Climate change and the associated problems of energy supply were already an important topic 17 years ago. In order to find an answer to this social question, Dr. Ungelenk looked for a replacement for conventional energy storage in his work. His idea was to use the fuel cell as an accumulator replacement for "portable small devices," today better known as "smartphones." After graduating from high school, Dr. Ungelenk studied nanostructural sciences in Kassel, did his doctorate at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and is currently working for BASF. His wife, with whom he has two children, was also awarded the Dr.-Ing. E. h. Bernhard Kapp Prize in 2002, which gave the couple additional importance to the effectiveness of promoting young talent.
The second highlight of the event was the students' presentations, in which they presented the essential aspects of their work.
The first prize was awarded twice this year. Florian Zosig from the Regiomontanus School received one of them for the development and production of a Bluetooth hands-free kit for a motorcycle helmet. In his presentation, he demonstrated numerous advantages of his system compared to existing solutions. On the one hand his development is completely integrated into the motorcycle helmet, whereby no disturbing wind noises occur during the telephone call. On the other hand it offers a price advantage of 497 € compared to a commercially available branded device.
Another first prize went to Viktor Neumaier, Fabian Beck and Leopold Franz from the Ernestinum Gymnasium for examining 3D-printed objects for their suitability for high-vacuum applications. The vacuum chamber produced by additive manufacturing was tested for vacuum suitability using various methods. The object showed properties similar to those of conventional models made of steel or aluminum. Such vacuum chambers must be able to withstand extreme temperature differences and are used, among other things, in space research to simulate the real conditions of space.
The second prize was awarded six times. Jonas Göbel, Erik Harmgarth and Jonathan Romankiewicz from Ernestinum High School started a series of tests in which conventional sealants in a piston compressor were replaced by magnetofluids in order to minimize the friction forces and thus the wear intensity.
At the same time as the first-mentioned project, Harmgarth and Leon Migge were working on the development of an artificial neural network to classify physical objects.
The work of Tobias Birk, Dominik Edel and Paul Weber dealt with a currently important topic in the field of energy saving in buildings. The students of the Gymnasium Casimirianum developed a system which regulates the heating operation by means of sensor monitoring.
David Preßel, Lukas Scheler and Philipp Wetstein from the Gymnasium Casimirianum showed that the subject of "electricity generation through pressure or movement" has not yet been exhausted. In their project, they researched the possibilities of generating electricity using fitness equipment.
Elisabeth Dittrich from Arnold Gymnasium reported on her work on the determination of colorants in food using various commercially available beverages.
Maja Bernhard, also from Arnold Gymnasium, dedicated her project to the food additive riboflavin, which helps regulate the energy balance in the human body during the breakdown of carbohydrates.
The third prize was awarded twice to students of the Arnold Gymnasium. Niklas Forkel carried out a long-term study of the relationships between weather and bee activity and made concrete suggestions on how bees can be protected through preventive action.
Anton Römhild focused on to the production of lacquers from polystyrene waste. He succeeded in producing a varnish for wooden surfaces that proved to be durable and resistant to acids and bases.
Following the exciting presentations, the event coordinator, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Lindner, announced the awarding of next year's prize and explained two changes of the framework conditions. In view of the sophisticated technical equipment required to support the student projects, the schools will receive an expense allowance of 100 € for each project with a first to third placement, limited to 500 € per school and year.
The second change will allow students to take advantage of help from external companies. For example, they can use the companies' resources or ask for ideas about possible problems. Of course, the extensive equipment of the Creapolis "Makerspace" in the Coburg director's villa is also available to the students.
In addition to the six prize winners, the Casimirianum Gymnasium sent two other students to the awards ceremony: Nathanael Illies (piano) and Jannis Bock (saxophone) provided the perfect musical setting.
Martin Kapp thanked all the lecturers for their challenging work and encouraged the young pupils to sometimes push themselves into the unknown in future research projects without being sure of the outcome of their work.