Renate Sachse receives the Bertha Benz Award 2022

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The Bertha Benz Prize of the Daimler and Benz Foundation, endowed with 10,000 euros, was awarded to Dr.-Ing. Renate Sachse on June 27, 2022. The findings from her dissertation can be used to easily calculate movements of mutable structures that enhance energy efficiency and sustainability.

For her outstanding dissertation, Dr.-Ing. Renate Sachse is awarded the Bertha Benz Prize 2022 of the Daimler and Benz Foundation.
For her outstanding dissertation, Dr.-Ing. Renate Sachse is awarded the Bertha Benz Prize 2022 of the Daimler and Benz Foundation. She has developed a mathematical method for calculating adaptive structures that can be used in civil engineering as well as in space travel, robotics and medical technology. ©Daimler and Benz Foundation_Senger

Mathematical thinking + a sense of practice = new fields of application. That is the "formula" of Renate Sachse, who wrote her dissertation entitled „Variational Motion Design for Adaptive Structures“. She has developed an innovative mathematical method from which not only the construction industry, but also aerospace, robotics and medical technology can benefit in the future. For her work, the engineering scientist was awarded the Bertha Benz Prize of the Daimler and Benz Foundation on June 27, 2022, which is endowed with 10,000 euros.

"The new method can be used without in-depth engineering knowledge," Sachse explains, "You can use it to calculate the optimal movements for flexible structures relatively easily." Concrete fields of application, he says, can be found in the construction industry, when deformable facade elements for buildings or retractable stadium roofs are to be designed. "This can save energy, especially in the booming construction industry, where a lot of material and resources are consumed." The mathematical principles could also be used in aerospace to research movable wings for aircraft or the deployment of satellites after their journey into space. In robotics and medical technology, motion sequences of flexible soft robots and medical stents could be easily simulated.

The civil engineer found inspiration for her doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Stuttgart in an interdisciplinary bionics project. Architects, biologists and engineers analyzed the movement mechanisms of plants in order to transfer them to technical elements. Says Sachse, "By working across disciplines, we learned a lot from each other methodologically and, of course, professionally for our respective disciplines." The innovative aspect of the award-worthy method of optimized motion design is that the deformation process can be simulated independently of the geometry of the respective structures. Calculations can thus be aligned based on desired targets: maximum energy efficiency, reduced material wear, or minimization of the required forces. Finally, in a purely formalized way, optimized motion patterns between the initial and the specified final geometry of a structure can be determined. It was precisely because of its broad applicability that the Daimler and Benz Foundation jury found the dissertation particularly worthy of an award. The prize stands for curiosity, courage, perseverance and pioneering spirit in the sense of its namesake, Bertha Benz, who in 1888 undertook the world's first long-distance journey in an automobile. "For me, it is an honor to be recognized by the Daimler and Benz Foundation for the social significance of my fundamental work." Sachse hopes that the Bertha Benz Prize will also help to inspire girls of school age to pursue engineering studies.


Profile from Dr.-Ing. Renate SachseLehrstuhl für Numerische Mechanik

Link to the press release of the Daimler and Benz Foundation.