Report: Gasification R&D Focuses on Non-Recycled Plastics
Engineering Materials 11/26/2013 39 comments A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Ceramic Matrix Composites LEAP to High Volumes
Engineering Materials 11/21/2013 13 comments Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Slideshow: Seismic Shifts in 3D Printing Materials
Engineering Materials 11/15/2013 15 comments Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
Slideshow: 3D Printing Is Cheap & Green for Plastics
Engineering Materials 11/11/2013 15 comments A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
Engineering Plastics Get Tough, Lightweight
Engineering Materials 11/4/2013 19 comments Engineers are using more plastics derived from petroleum, biological sources, and recycled materials in consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare, and offshore oil and gas applications.
Engineers Reinvent Metal 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 10/29/2013 15 comments Engineers are reinventing 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM). The latest idea, from father/son-startup Vader Systems, uses liquid metal jet printing (LMJP) to make solid metal, full-production parts.
Slideshow: Optimizing the Design of Cars & Planes
Engineering Materials 10/25/2013 15 comments Sophisticated optimization software turns out to be a secret weapon behind aerospace and automotive companies' ability to successfully incorporate new materials like carbon composites into their designs. It's also behind several other innovations in aerospace and automotive design.
Video: Robotic Cubes Self-Assemble
Engineering Materials 10/18/2013 26 comments MIT researchers have developed self-assembling, flywheel-driven modular cube robots that roll around each other and across a surface. They also appear to jump through the air.
Researchers Use Engineered DNA to Develop Programmable Glue
Engineering Materials 10/16/2013 6 comments Researchers have used engineered DNA to develop a programmable glue that can be used with a variety of materials to create self-assembling, small-scale systems, such as surgical glue that stitches together selected tissues, reconfigurable computer chips, or lenses.
Plastic Car Sandwich Material Modeled on Bone
Engineering Materials 10/14/2013 19 comments Bayer MaterialScience has designed a prototype car trunk lid, using a sandwich structure with a dense outer skin made of a glass fiber/polycarbonate-based thermoplastic composite and a polyurethane foam inner core.
DIY: Build Your Own Robotic Bug
Engineering Materials 10/2/2013 27 comments A crowdfunded DIY version of the cockroach-like DASH robot invented by engineering students at the University of California, Berkeley, is now available on Dragon Innovation.
NASA Seeks Commercial-Sector Tech for Human Missions
Engineering Materials 9/30/2013 8 comments NASA is on a mission to involve commercial suppliers in advancing human space flight. Jacobs Engineering, NASA's partner in getting technologies and materials human-rated for space, will give details at the upcoming Design & Manufacturing Texas show.
Video: Baxter 2.0 Extends Robot's Reach
Engineering Materials 9/27/2013 14 comments A new software upgrade to Rethink Robotics' Baxter robot extends the innovative bot's reach, makes it easier to program more precisely, improves overall performance, and expands its uses in the small to medium-sized companies it was designed for.
Super-Slippery Coating Inspired by Carnivorous Plant
Engineering Materials 9/25/2013 21 comments A durable, completely transparent, super-slippery coating can turn regular glass into a material that doesn't stain, resists scratches, and repairs itself. It was inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plant, coated with an ultra-slippery surface that slides insect victims into its depths.
Slideshow: 3D Printing in the Medical Cloud
Engineering Materials 9/19/2013 24 comments Medical professionals can use 3D Systems' secure cloud-based Bespoke Modeling service to create, edit, share, and print sophisticated, full-color, 3D anatomical models from CT scans, MRI scans, or other digital imaging and communications data.
Slideshow: Robots Will 3D Print & Build Space Structures
Engineering Materials 9/17/2013 21 comments NASA is funding technology that would use robotics and 3D printing to construct parts of very large spacecraft and other structures in space. Doing this could reduce the cost and risk of building and launching systems and allow for bigger structures.
Slideshow: 3D Print, Scan, Copy & Fax in 1 Machine
Engineering Materials 9/10/2013 40 comments What if you could 3D scan and copy objects and fax your files as well as 3D print them – using only one machine? AIO Robotics' Zeus 3D printer, funded on Kickstarter, also scans objects, copies them, and faxes .STL files to a remote Zeus for printing.
3D-Printed Eyeglasses Are Fit for a King
Engineering Materials 9/3/2013 16 comments Dutch company LUXeXceL has developed a proprietary process to print plastic lenses and other non-imaging optical-quality components. The company has 3D-printed complete pairs of eyeglasses.
Materials Spotlighted at Design & Manufacturing Show
Engineering Materials 8/29/2013 3 comments The choices of metals, plastics, coatings, and adhesives has never been broader, and new ones are becoming available at a rapid rate. Some of this variety is reflected at the upcoming Design and Manufacturing Midwest Show.
3D Printing With Iron & Tungsten
Engineering Materials 8/26/2013 7 comments The range of metals that can be 3D printed is increasing. ExOne has added iron infiltrated with bronze, and bonded tungsten, to the range of metal and ceramic powders that can be used with its multi-material M-Flex machines.
Slideshow: Robots Get More Thin-Skinned
Engineering Materials 8/22/2013 23 comments Robots may be getting more sensitive, due to a breakthrough by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley. An electronic skin made of a sensor network mounted on a substrate of flexible plastic reacts to touch by lighting up.
DuPont Pushes for a 50%-Plus Renewable Plastics Line
Engineering Materials 8/9/2013 13 comments DuPont says its performance plastics line will contain more than half renewable materials within 15 years, and that all of its medium- to long-term research in engineering plastic feedstocks is based on the need to move to non-food based sources.
MIT 3D Prints Tough, Bone-Like Composite
Engineering Materials 8/8/2013 6 comments A team at MIT has 3D-printed bone-like composite materials on the Objet Connex500 multi-material printer. One was more than 20 times as tough as its constituent materials alone.
How to Make Intelligent Carbon-Fiber Composites
Engineering Materials 8/7/2013 6 comments German researchers have demonstrated the ability to embed RFID tags with ultra-thin antennas inside carbon-fiber-reinforced composite components such as aircraft wings. The technique is also being investigated for composite structural health monitoring.
Update: Corning's Paper-Thin, Flexible Glass
Engineering Materials 8/1/2013 11 comments Corning's super-thin, 100-micron Willow Glass can be adapted to high-volume, low-cost, roll-to-roll manufacturing processes not previously possible with glass. Corning is helping customers retrofit or build new lines to integrate the material into manufacturing.
Algae-Based Biofuel Goes Commercial-Scale
Engineering Materials 7/9/2013 8 comments In a major move forward for algae-based biofuel, US feedstock producer Cellana has inked a multi-year deal for commercial-scale quantities with Finnish company Neste Oil, one of the world's biggest renewable diesel producers.
NASA Builds 3D Printer for Space
Engineering Materials 7/3/2013 30 comments After nearly two years of R&D and testing several different commercial 3D printers in zero gravity, NASA has partnered with Made in Space to develop a 3D printer.
3D Printing & Printed 3D Electronics
Engineering Materials 7/1/2013 16 comments Combining a conformal printed electronics process with 3D printing in the same machine could speed up manufacturing, cut costs, and give engineers more design freedom. It's not that far away.
DuPont Lightens Up
Engineering Materials 6/27/2013 30 comments DuPont has been working with auto manufacturers to refine some of its high-performance engineering plastics, and even invent new ones. It's all being done in the name of lightweighting vehicles and improving performance.
Flexible Image Sensors Printed on Plastic
Engineering Materials 6/20/2013 16 comments UK-based Plastic Logic and French company ISORG have created what the pair tout as a first in flexible printed electronics: a large area, conformable, organic image sensor printed on plastic.
Bioplastic Injection Molding Grade Is Compostable
Engineering Materials 6/19/2013 20 comments New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
GE Aviation Cuts 3D Print Time in LEAP Engine
Engineering Materials 6/11/2013 12 comments GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.