Car Wars Episode VI: Carbon Nation

“Car-bon”. The element of cars. That is, according to the periodic table of company visits.

The day began with a bus ride to the headquarters of SGL Group, a company that specializes in the utilization of carbon fiber to make automotive parts, lithium ion batteries, sporting goods, etc. We visited the pilot lab, where workers perform investigative experiments on the carbon fiber material. Then, we walked through the recently established engineering facilities, where (coincidentally) an orange KUKA robot placed materials into machines to make carbon fiber tiles. Finally, we marveled at examples of SGL carbon-containing products on display in the showroom. I found the emphasis on chemistry and materials science to be quite interesting. This company visit reminded me of theYouTube video of the Piano Guys in which the cellist played a custom-made cello that had a body made out of carbon fiber. I think it’s impressive (and seemingly impossible) that carbon fiber is so thin, lightweight, and durable at the same time; I was surprised by the fact that a thread of carbon fiber is significantly thinner than a strand of human hair! I was also impressed by the versatility of the material; carbon fiber has been used to make race cars, Porsche doors, wind turbines, baseball bats, and even golf clubs. No wonder drivers and hybrids can be so lightweight!



After enjoying a free lunch at SGL, we hopped back on the bus and headed to the University of Augsburg, where a representative of BMW gave a presentation about the various innovative technologies the company has recently been utilizing. It’s definitely interesting and impressive how the company is moving towards autonomous driving, remote parking, artificial intelligence, and other types of advancements.

Upon the conclusion of the BMW talk, I got together with my group members to work on our KUKA presentation. My Pitt colleagues and I were quite surprised by how much the German students had gotten done ahead of time–I was certainly grateful for and appreciative of their efforts. They had completed several slides about business aspects, which I never learned. I’m planning to focus on the innovative and medical aspects of KUKA. I’m very proud of how far we’ve gotten at this point, and I’m looking forward to making the final product.

After leaving the university, my parents and I decided to grab dinner at City-Galerie, the shopping mall near downtown. Specifically, I ordered an Eiweißbrot-Döner (protein bread) at Dönerkebab. It was the first time in my entire life I had ever eaten a Döner, and it was beyond amazing! There’s no word in the English language (or German language, for that matter) that can adequately describe how awesome it tasted. I then ate Spaghettieis at Gelati for dessert. Spaghettieis is definitely one of my all-time favorite German desserts; I always used to make it in my high school’s German Club.



This two-floor mall is quite big and has a wide variety of eateries and stores–it’s a really nice place to walk around and see all the different kinds of food nad merchandise for sale. I’m really thankful that my parents found out about this place and told me about it. At the entrance of the mall, there was a red piano with an octopus pattern called “Die Rote Oktopus” (The Red Octopus), which was a “Play Me I’m Yours” piano. Despite the fact that I hadn’t practiced in a long while, I sat down and played some of my favorite songs. I definitely want to come back to this mall as often as I can before going home to the U.S.


Tomorrow is going to be an awesome Saturday, I’m sure. Again, you’ll see why.

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