At the end of November, 14 students from the Friedich-Dessauer-Gymnasiums (FDG) visited the laboratory in Karlstein . The ninth graders were addressing the topic of recycling and various separation processes and material compositions in the course of the so-called ”Junior-Ingenieur-Akademie (JIA)“ (Junior Engineer Academy). The goal of the excursion was to deepen their theoretical knowledge in practice.
Peter Lenz gave the “junior engineers” a detailed explanation of the precious metal recovery process for catalytic convertors. With the aid of individual material samples, the students were able to see how a fine homogeneous powder is produced from the monolith block of a catalytic convertor, allowing the recovery of the precious metals platinum, palladium and rhodium,
The first stop on the factory tour was our partner company’s plasma furnace. Here, the young people had the pyrometallurgical process explained to them and were able to experience “tapping” live. Particularly interesting was watching from a safe distance as the glowing mass flowed out of the oven and onto the eight-tonne steel block to cool – a sight which made the eyes of even the old hands sparkle.
The second stage of the afternoon was the topic of precious metal analysis at the IDO Lab. Laboratory Manager Orhun Dedeci, alongside Lisa Uftring, gave the young visitors an understanding of the various methods of analysis and used numerous examples to show the aspects of lab work which are important to provide exact results. Here, in particular, the students were able to weigh in with knowledge gained from their lessons and link theory and practice.
During the Junior Engineer Academy, the schools cooperate closely with partners from research and business. The academy is arranged as a two-year elective subject and is aimed at particularly talented students in the 8th to 10th grades at secondary schools.
Hensel Recycling has been supporting the project since last year, among other things in investigating the effects of ground heavy metal dust on plants, and gives students an insight into the various separation processes, the structure and operating principles of a sample divider as well as into X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF analysis).