On June 15th, 2007, the Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize 2007 was awarded in the ballroom of the Vienna University of Technology. This year’s award went to Dipl.-Ing. Hans-Michael Güther for the development of the carbon ceramic brake disc. The award winner studied chemical process engineering and has been managing director of SGL Brakes GmbH Meitingen near Augsburg, where the brake is developed and produced, since 2001.
A carbon reinforced silicon carbide (C/SiC) is used for the high-performance brake disc. It consists of the reinforcing component carbon fiber and a matrix of Si and SiC. The favorable properties are a stable friction coefficient of the brake disc over its service life, stable brake pad wear over its service life, flow-optimized cooling channels for an even heat balance, oxidation protection to retard fiber burnout and, finally, a wear indicator to indicate service life. The brake is available as an optional extra for many Porsche vehicles and numerous other high-performance variants of the Bentley, Lamborghini and Audi brands. The trade press has praised the extremely high performance of this brake design – particularly in terms of fading behavior, braking power consistency and very long service life. Alongside airbags (1987), turbo diesel direct injection (1991) and ABS (1981), the carbon ceramic brake disc is a “pioneering invention in the automotive sector” and was first presented to the world public at the IAA in Frankfurt/Main in 1999.
The prize is determined by a selection jury consisting of both representatives of the Porsche-Piech family, the rector and the dean of the Vienna University of Technology and the head of the Institute for Internal Combustion Engines and Automotive Engineering of the Vienna University of Technology and awarded by the Vienna University of Technology. The prestigious prize of EUR 50,000 is jointly funded by Porsche Holding, Salzburg (Austria), and Dr. Ing. h. c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart. The selection jury was of the opinion that the carbon-ceramic brake disc is, as the text of the award states, “…a revolutionary advance in the field of vehicle brakes and sets absolutely new standards in crucial aspects of use such as safety, load-bearing capacity and durability.”
Thus, once again, a prize is awarded to technicians whose inventions have had a lasting influence on the development of the automobile.
The “Professor Ferdinand Porsche Prize” of the Vienna University of Technology was endowed by Ferdinand Porsche’s daughter, Distinguished Businesswoman Louise Piech, in 1976, and in 1977 was awarded for the first time every two years since 1981 to technicians who provide innovations for the essential development of the automobile.