Ready for new turbulences? - Max Planck Center for complex fluid dynamics
The Max Planck Society and the University of Twente in Enschede/The Netherlands are joining forces in the groundbreaking Max Planck Center for the investigation of complex fluid dynamics. The two parties are investing around ten million euros in total to enable this Max Planck - University of Twente Center for Complex Fluid Dynamics to make progress in medical diagnostics, or the operation of wind turbines, for example. The outstanding research groups and the unique laboratory facilities via the Center are jointly beeing used by highly talented PhD students and Postdocs from all over the world.
There would be no life on Earth without liquids and gases. The dynamics of fluids determine the thermal budget of the Earth or generate its magnetic field; in our bodies, our lungs and heart keep us alive. Water, gases and oils are transported in pipelines and along tubes. The combustion efficiency in a car engine, for example, or the production of chemicals in large-scale chemical reaction plants depends crucially on the dynamics of the gases and liquids. “These are but a very few examples which show: fluid dynamics governs the world and the universe. And since the mathematics of this field theory are still not understood in detail, and reactions or interactions between fluids and surfaces also throw up fundamental questions, it is definitely high time that physics really got to grips with the fundamentals of this field,” says Eberhard Bodenschatz, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen (MPIDS). He initiated this first Dutch Max Planck Center together with Detlef Lohse, who heads the Physics of Fluids Department at the University of Twente (UT). From the UT, the physics of fluids and BIOS Lab-on-a-Chip research groups are taking on a leading role, while from the Max Planck Society, the participants are not only the MPIDS scientists, but also the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz (MPIP).
The new Max Planck Center possesses a high level of expertise in the field of microfluids and nanofluids. One department of Hans-Jürgen Butt, Director at the (MPIP), investigates how the spread of fluids can be controlled by the nanostructure of a surface. The scientists want to use this research to produce biofilms or self-cleaning surfaces or prevent a material from icing-up. On the other hand, the department headed by Katharina Landfester, Director at the Mainz MPIP, takes the opposite route: It investigates how fluids with structured nanoparticles can affect fluid dynamics. This can be used to position biological materials at specific locations on surfaces, for example. The cooperation between the three partners also allows more detailed insight into biological processes with the aid of a component developed in Twente; this so-called Lab-on-a-Chip is a tiny laboratory on a circuit board which will facilitate the on-the-spot analysis of very tiny quantities of a liquid such as blood, for example, in the future.