researcher doing an experiment
HTWD / Crispin-Iven Mokry
Lucas Kurzweg illustrates his research in microplastics with a live experiment at the Young Scientists Symposium on June 07, 2023.
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Why even cycling contributes to more microplastics in waterways: The best young research 2023

Chemical engineer Lucas Kurzweg is this year's winner of the HTW Dresden Young Scientists Award. He received the first-place prize of 1,000 euros for his doctoral project entitled "Untersuchungen zur Transformation von polymeren Materialien – Tribologie, Kohäsion, Adhäsion und Transport in mehrphasigen aquatischen Systemen".

The award-winning research topic

Microplastic particles are polymeric materials that represent a worldwide environmental problem with as yet incalculable consequences. Microplastics are directly related to the major crises of our present: climate change, loss of biodiversity and environmental pollution. In his work, Mr. Kurzweg develops a time- and cost-efficient method to determine these plastic particles in river sediments. He is investigating how changes in microplastics in the environment affect their accumulation from sediments and how microplastics are formed by abrasion on the riverbed. Studying such changes contributes to a better understanding of the behavior of microplastics during transport in a river - a good basis for developing tailored approaches to protect particularly vulnerable ecosystems.

With the presentation of his dissertation topic, the chemical engineer convinced the jury not only in the first evaluation stage. During the Young Scientists Symposium, he used a live experiment to illustrate to the audience how even daily bicycle riding contributes to tire abrasion and thus the accumulation of microplastic particles in the environment. "My sincere congratulations to the winner," congratulated Professor Göbel, Prorector Research and Transfer. "Mr. Kurzweg and all the finalists in the Young Scientists Award prove with their topics that it is important to create fast and applicable solutions for the crises of our time. That's why it's all the more important for us at HTWD to make precisely this new generation of researchers heard and to make their work more visible." Lucas Kurzweg is pursuing his cooperative doctorate with the Technical University of Dresden and the Faculty of Agriculture/Environment/Chemistry at HTW Dresden under the supervision of Professor Kathrin Harre.

The second and third place research projects

In second place, David Schaarschmidt qualified with his doctoral project on the topic of "Zur Beurteilung der Oberflächen- und Materialdegradation zyklisch beanspruchter, vorgespannter Trockenfugen zwischen Betonfertigteilen". In his thesis, Mr. Schaarschmidt investigates the long-term behavior of modular precast concrete elements and their connection by means of dry jointing. The civil engineer illustrated his research work in a concise short film. For this he received the prize of 500 euros. Third place went to Benjamin Härtel from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. In his doctoral project on the topic of "Entwicklung eines biofidelen Dummys zur Darstellung komplexer Verletzungsentstehungen im Crashverhalten der Fahrzeugsicherheit", he is developing a biofidel dummy which - unlike conventional crash test dummies - acts as a surrogate of the human body and can thus display human injuries for specific load ranges and purposes.

The award ceremony took place for the ninth time at HTW Dresden. During the Dies Academicus on June 7, 2023, the winners were honored by Professor Salchert and Professor Göbel. Already in the morning, the young researchers had faced the questions of the large and interested audience at the Young Scientists Symposium.

Young Scientists Award of the HTW Dresden

The Young Scientists Award recognizes outstanding achievements at HTW Dresden in the field of applied research. Researchers at HTW Dresden and ZAFT e.V. who have started a cooperative doctoral project or whose doctoral degree was completed no longer than one year ago are eligible to apply. The jury consists of the members of the senate commission for research of the HTW Dresden.

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M.A. Sophie Tietze

Research Coordinator

M.A. Sophie Tietze