• Beethoven’s Deafness: Consequence of Lead Poisoning via the Nano-Auditory Route

    Figure 1: The ear is a portal of entry for nanoparticles via the external auditory canal. The connection of ear to inner ear offers an entrance to the most central parts for the particles. Nanoparticles go through the tympanic membrane to enter via the tympanic cavity all other parts of the inner ear and can even delocalize via the vestibular nerve, the cochlear nerve and the blood to the entire body, especially the brain. The particles can be from lead oxide, lead acetate and lead acetate coated solarium dioxide nanoparticles.

    The Beethoven’s deafness and its development are a riddle. In a previous article the authors (Luthe and Bischoff, 2020) suggested poisoning by ultrafine particles through lead corrosion of e.g. organ pipes. In the present article, they propose that Beethoven’s health problems, especially his deafness, were caused by a combination of exposure to lead-containing micro- and nanoparticles. In addition, high alcohol consumption weakened the defense against radical oxidative stress. The authors further hypothesize that the ear is a major portal of entry for nanoparticles, in this case causing lead poisoning of the inner ear. 

  • Beethoven’s Saturnism Conundrum Solved: High Lead Levels in Hair and Low Levels in Bones Result From Micro and Nano Sized Lead Particle Uptake

    Figure 1: (A) Distribution of the particular matter into the follicles in a schematic presentation. (B) Particle size determines deposition in lung and penetration depth in hair follicle. In hair follicles penetration is highest for particles of a size ~ 643 nm with a depth of ~ 1200 µm.

    In this article the authors (Luthe and Bischoff, 2020) connect recent findings in nano-toxicology with the investigations in Ludwig van Beethoven’s supposed saturnism. Namely, contradicting measurements of lead concentration in Beethoven’s hair and bone cannot be explained by the current hypothesis discussed among scientists. This mismatch may be called the key to the conundrum. It is also of broader interest to toxicologists, as the circumstances of Beethoven’s poisoning elucidate a general issue of particle uptake and resulting effects, which is quite neglected until now. They suggest that lead containing micro- and nanoparticles, i.e. lead oxides and acetate are the basis for the contradicting lead levels. The different portal of entry discriminates the concentrations in the bones when compared to the hair follicles. The authors also consider the source for these ultrafine lead-containing particles in Beethoven’s environment, and propose a complete explanation for his saturnism. 

  • Corrosion and Wear Protection: Economical, Environmentally Friendly and Extremely Fast

    With EHLA, metal protective layers can be applied with ultra-high-speed. Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen, Germany / Volker Lannert.

    Components are protected against corrosion and wear through hard chrome plating, thermal spraying, laser material deposition or other deposition welding techniques. However, there are downsides to these processes – for example, as of September 2017, chromium(VI) coatings will require authorization. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen as well as the RWTH Aachen University have now developed an ultra-high-speed laser material deposition process, known by its German acronym EHLA, to eliminate these drawbacks. On May 30, 2017, the research team was awarded the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for this work.

  • Fraunhofer IFAM expands its R&D work on Coatings for protection against corrosion and marine growth

    Outdoor weathering test stand at Westmole, Helgoland. © Fraunhofer IFAM

    Preventing corrosion and its consequences is a key issue in most industries because the cost of corrosion in Germany alone amounts to billions of euros. In addition, the marine growth on surfaces is a huge challenge for shipping, offshore wind turbines, and underwater steel structures. Fraunhofer IFAM has many years of experience developing effective corrosion protection systems and antifouling strategies. In order to further enhance the institute’s expertise in this area, outdoor weathering test stands have been acquired to augment existing test facilities and key personnel with the requisite know-how have been added to the maritime technologies team.

  • Hannover Messe: Improved Corrosion Protection with Flake-type Particles of Metal-phosphates

    Corrosion protection with flake-type metalphosphate particles. Source: Uwe Bellhäuser; free within this context

    Research scientists at INM developed a special type of flake-type-shaped metal-phosphate particles: They show improved passivation ability and improved diffusion barrier against corrosive substances. Besides zinc phosphate also newly developed manganese phosphate flakes are available.

  • Hannover Messe: Improved corrosion protection with flake-type zinc-phosphate particles

    Because of the disordered arrangement of the flakes, they can not run through the sandglass like spheric particles do. Source: Ollmann

    To prevent corrosive substances from penetrating into materials, a common method is to create an anti-corrosion coating by applying paint layers of zinc-phosphate particles. Now, research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials developed a special type of zinc-phosphate particles: They are flake-like in shape because they are ten times as long as they are thick. Large quantities of steel are used in architecture, bridge construction and ship-building. Structures of this type are intended to be long-lasting. Furthermore, even in the course of many years, they should not lose any of their qualities regarding strength and safety. For this reason, the steel plates and girders used must have extensive and durable protection against corrosion.