WIWeB researcher wins Adhesion Innovation Award 2020

WIWeB researcher wins Adhesion Innovation Award 2020

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A woman working on equipment in a laboratory

Elisa Arikan works on a photoelectron spectroscope. The scientist finds ideal conditions for her work at WIWeB.


Elisa Arikan was recently awarded the EURADHEUROPEAN ADHESION CONFERENCE & FEICA Award for Innovative Adhesion Science 2020 for her scientific work. The prize is awarded every two years for outstanding publications by young researchers in the field of bonding technology.

Elisa Arikan is researcher and civil servant at the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials, Fuels and Lubricants (WIWeB). As part of her doctorate at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, she investigated the high-strength adhesive bonding of plastics at WIWEB.

High-strength bonding creates connections designed to withstand high loads and forces in structural applications.

"High-strength bonding creates connections designed to withstand high loads and forces in the structural area," the scientist says. In the best case scenario, these bonded connections can completely replace screws, rivets or bolts. If you dispense with these connecting elements, you save aircraft weight and consequently fuel.

Excellent departmental research for the Bundeswehr

A woman stands behind a lectern, a slide show is played behind her

The results of the "structural adhesive bonding" research group are internationally recognized. Elisa Arikan presents her publication at a conference of the Adhesion Society in the USA.

Bundeswehr/Felix Zimmer

WIWeB has different research groups. One of them is the "structural adhesive bonding" group headed by PD Dr.-Ing. habil. Jens Holtmannspötter. The senior civil servant formed the group more than ten years ago. In international comparison, it is one of the leading research groups in the field of structural adhesive bonding of composite materials and polymer surfaces. This is demonstrated, among other things, by three further awards, each for the best presentation at an international scientific conference last year.

The Bundeswehr uses the research results obtained from the "structural adhesive bonding" group especially for aviation. The findings enable new and more efficient construction concepts and will increasingly be incorporated into the design of lightweight military structures. Especially with regard to the repair of fiber composite structures as well as their aviation industry certification, the work is of great importance.

Suggested by the superiors

By investigating the effect of surface pretreatment processes on adhesive strength, the graduate engineer developed a fundamental knowledge of adhesion mechanisms. Colloquially translated: What makes the adhesive adhere to the plastic surfaces? The engineer proved - contrary to common doctrine - that adhesion is mainly determined by surface roughness and not by surface chemistry. Her findings impressed her superiors. They suggested to the 33 year old to apply for the EURADHEUROPEAN ADHESION CONFERENCE & FEICA Award for Innovative Adhesion Science. Supported by an appropriate letter of recommendation, the young researcher submitted her publication.

Research in the molecular domain

Her English language publication has the title: "The role of chemical surface modification for structural adhesive bonding on polymers - Washability of chemical functionalization without reducing adhesion". The jury confirms that the work is an outstanding contribution to the understanding of adhesion processes. For both military and civil aviation the publication is of great importance. The quality of the methods used was particularly emphasized. With her scientific work the civil servant prevailed against nine competition participants.

Detailed view of a laboratory instrument

In the analysis chamber of the photoelectron spectroscope (XPS) the chemical composition mainly of solid objects or their surfaces is determined in a non-destructive way


The second award already

It is the second award for the candidate for doctoral degree. Already in 2018 Arikan received the Distinguished Paper Award from the Adhesion Society in the USA for her paper "Vacuum-UV of polyetheretherketone (PEEKPolyetheretherketon) as a surface pre-treatment for structural adhesive bonding".

She has already submitted her doctoral thesis to the Bundeswehr University Munich. Soon, she will defend her dissertation. There was already a reason to celebrate: Since April 1, 2020 the scientist is employed at WIWEB. There, she supports the branch "Surface Technology and Surface Analytics".

by Dennis König
View of WIWeB from above

Further information about WIWeB

The Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials, Fuels and Lubricants Tests which textiles, fuels and lubricants and chemicals are suitable for the Bundeswehr.


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