Austria: Toward New Horizons
It’s no coincidence that Austria is called a “Land of Mountains” in its national anthem: More than 60 percent of its national territory consists of Alpine mountain regions. Mozart’s native country is also distinguished by a rich cultural landscape, as well as companies whose innovations are propelling this republic into the future. Evonik is represented in Austria by four locations
ANNA SCHRIEVER & NICOLAS GARZ
From the top of the Schoberstein, a mountain in Upper Austria, climbers have a fantastic view of Lake Attersee. On the lake’s northern shore are the municipalities of Schörfling and Lenzing, where textile and synthetic fibers have been produced for almost a century. Evonik has added a sustainable element to this tradition: At its facility in Schörfling, polyimides are processed into fibers and membranes. The plant’s highly efficient filtration and separation technologies purify flue gases and refine biogas into ultrapure biomethane, for example.
With the utmost care, Rupert Hofer makes high-quality violins at his workshop in Graz. There’s a long tradition of violinmaking in Austria, and the country’s string instruments are known for their excellence. To make sure a violin will produce an optimal tone, you need skilled craftsmanship, sound wood, and robust strings, which are generally made of nylon fibers. By comparison with strings madeof conventional fibers, strings made of Vestakeep®, a high-performance polymer from Evonik, make a new audiophile dimension possible. Their tone is more broad-based, more voluminous, and thus pleasantly warm, yet clear and precise.
The town of Weißenstein is surrounded by an impressive panorama dominated by the Nock Mountains in the north and the Gailtal Alps in the south. And in the midst of it is the Evonik plant where hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid are produced. The Weißenstein process, which was named after the town, made it possible to produce hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂) on an industrial scale for the first time. Today H₂O₂ is produced via the anthraquinone process, which is much more efficient. The tens of thousands of tons of H₂O₂ and peracetic acid that are produced annually in Weißenstein are used in bleaching and disinfecting agents, for example.
Austria is a country of culinary delights. The highlights include Wiener schnitzel and Sachertorte, which was created by Franz Sacher in 1832. Today it is baked all over the world, but only the variant served at the Hotel Sacher in Vienna has the right to be called “original.” This cake basically consists of eggs, butter, sugar, flour, apricot marmalade (which is called Marillenmarmelade in Austria) and, of course, chocolate. The typical crunchy chocolate glaze contains edible oils and fats that are produced with the help of catalysts from Evonik. The catalysts ensure that the glaze sticks to the cake well and melts slowly and lusciously in the mouth.
The Großglockner High Alpine Road is Austria’s highest surfaced road. At an altitude of around 2,500 meters, it connects the federal states of Salzburg and Carinthia. To protect road users from potential avalanches, parts of this mountain pass road, which was opened in 1935, are covered by “avalanche galleries.” When the road is deiced in winter with deicing salt, the chlorides in the salt attack the reinforced concrete in the galleries’ pillars. But that can be prevented with corrosion inhibitors such as PROTECTOSIL®. The silanes it contains ensure that these important structures are not damaged even under icy conditions.
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