A researcher rewarded for his work on intelligent pipes in reinforced concrete


In 2020, Kira Heins, PhD candidate at ITA, received the Hanns Voith Foundation Prize 2020 in the field of New materials up to €5,000. Ms. Heins received the award for her master’s thesis Development and realization of concepts for the manufacture of intelligent pipes made of textile reinforced concrete.

With her work, Ms. Heins studies the implementation of textile reinforced concrete pipes with leak detection integrated into the reinforcement for the first time.

Compared to conventional reinforced concrete, high-strength concrete with textile reinforcement is lighter (up to 80%), stronger (up to a factor of 6), more durable (> 80 years) and more resistant to corrosion and is therefore an excellent alternative to conventional building materials. Reducing the concrete and thus cement content by up to 80% facilitates a significant contribution to the sustainable use of resources in the construction industry. Conductive fibers as sensors in the textile reinforcement make it possible to locate leaks. This principle paves the way for the development and production of durable textile concrete water pipe systems.

Implementation of textile concrete pipes with integrated sensors in the field of drinking water supply

In her master’s thesis, Mrs. Heins defined the technological and economic requirements for sensors and composites for application in drinking water supply. Based on this, Ms. Heins examined the textile configurations, taking into account factors such as cost, industrial availability and processing capacity and carried out practical trials at the ITA. As part of its tests, it determined a suitable textile architecture, proved the functionality of the integrated sensor technology and created the basis for testing structural components with the developed manufacturing concept.


The foundation’s awards ceremony in Heidenheim, Germany, scheduled for June 26, 2020 fell victim to the Covid19 pandemic, as did the alternative date of November 20, 2020. The foundation will honor award-winning work appropriately. at the 2021 awards ceremony with the new winners. For more information, please see the Hanns Voith Foundation press release from December 2020.

The Hanns Voith Foundation

The Hanns Voith Foundation awards the Hanns Voith Foundation Prizes for outstanding theses at universities in the fields of engineering, natural sciences and economics. In recent years, the Hanns Voith-Foundation Prize in the category “New Materials” has been awarded several times to ITA doctoral students. ITA doctoral student Martin Scheurer received the award in 2019, ITA doctoral student Magdalena Kimm in 2017, ITA doctoral student Inga Noll in 2016. In 2020, the jury chaired by Prof. Dr. Dr. eh Dr. hc mult. Sigmar Wittig for the first time honored three winners each for their outstanding work in the areas of paper, new materials, economics, drive technology, digital businesses and hydroelectricity. The awards aim to raise public awareness of the responsibility of the Hanns Voith Foundation for the qualification of academic specialists and managers. In this way, the Hanns Voith Foundation also wants to contribute to Germany as a place of research and education.

ITA website


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