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18. Jun 2021

Electric cars: Special dyes could prevent unnecessary motor replacements

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Here you find the doctoral student’s profile of Alexander Funtan. He published results of his doctoral studies at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and shared the research more widely with a press release.

A. Funtan in the lab

About the author:

  • Alexander Funtan
  • Research area(s): Polymer degradation, Protective Coatings
  • Institute of Chemistry (link), MLU

Field(s) of expertise during doctoral studies:

  • Thermal degradation of polyester resins
  • Optical chemosensors
  • Detection of fluorescent organic molecules in solid polymers

Curriculum Vitae

  • Doctoral studies in the group Macromolecular Chemistry of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Binder at MLU
  • Master in Chemistry at MLU Halle in 2017

Challenges, rewards and contribution

Q: What was your most important contribution to the publication?
A: I contributed in the investigations of the thermal degradation experiments of the protective coatings and was responsible for the embedding of the sensor molecules within the solid polymers and the evaluation of the resulting data.

Q: What was challenging and what was a rewarding moment during your work presented in the publication?
A: The challenge was to investigate the thermal degradation of several polymers because they were monitored and analyzed over a period of seven months. Since there is no commercial equipment available for such long-term investigations, it was necessary to design and assemble my own apparatus. The most rewarding moment was when it became apparent that the in-solution experiments developed sensor system could also be embedded and detected in a solid polymeric material.

Significance of publication

One day in the near future dyes in electric motors might indicate when cable insulation is becoming brittle and the motor needs replacing. Scientists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), together with ELANTAS, a division of the specialty chemicals group ALTANA, have developed a new process that enables the dyes to be directly integrated into the insulation. By changing colour, they reveal how much the insulating resin layer around the copper wires in the motor has degraded.

from press release no. 073/2021 of May 18, 2021.

Related publication

A. Funtan, P. Michael, S. Rost, J. Omeis, K. Lienert, W. H. Binder 
Self-Diagnostic Polymers – Inline Detection of Thermal Degradation of Unsaturated Poly(ester imide)s
Advanced Materials 33, 2100068 (2021) 
doi: 10.1002/adma.202100068

About this profile

Doctoral students contribute significantly to publications highlighted by the MLU press office in many cases. These early stage researchers and their work in connection with the publication are in the focus of this profiles by InGrA.

Are you interested in science communication and have an interesting story to tell? Get in touch with MLU’s press office at

Über Thomas Michael

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