Plastics Can Do Almost Any Job -- Even Yours
Engineering Materials 10/22/2014 6 comments To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
3D-Printed Telescope Takes (Nice!) Pix of the Moon
Engineering Materials 10/21/2014 22 comments The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
Video: Tiny Humanoid Robot Flies Plane
Engineering Materials 10/13/2014 9 comments A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
China's Emerging 3D Printing Market Will Grow 4X
Engineering Materials 10/10/2014 12 comments Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
IAPD Plastics Expo Gives Engineers Alternatives
Engineering Materials 10/8/2014 8 comments You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
The Job Market: Robots vs. Humans
Engineering Materials 10/3/2014 6 comments Some studies say that robots take away certain jobs from humans, but give us others in return. So far that's worked in the past, but things may be changing.
SABIC Dishes On 3D-Printed Car Materials
Engineering Materials 10/2/2014 2 comments The Strati EV car printed at IMTS is made of SABIC's LNP STAT KON AE003. SABIC tells Design News why this carbon fiber-reinforced compound was chosen by Local Motors and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Engineering Materials 9/25/2014 17 comments NASA's MAVEN spacecraft has entered Mars' atmosphere, carrying instruments to help Earthlings figure out what happened to it. Launched last November, the spacecraft arrived at the red planet right on time after a journey of 442 million miles.
Airbus' 3D-Printed Metal Spacecraft Hinge
Engineering Materials 9/22/2014 10 comments Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
Stratasys Reveals Latest Multi-Materials 3D Printers
Engineering Materials 9/18/2014 3 comments At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
GE Aviation Steps Up 3D-Printed Engine Parts
Engineering Materials 9/16/2014 5 comments GE Aviation not only plans to use 3D printing to mass-produce metal parts for its LEAP jet engine, but it's also developing a separate technology for 3D-printing metal parts used in its other engines.
Report: World Solar Demand Will Grow 75%
Engineering Materials 9/15/2014 35 comments The demand for solar energy around the world will grow a total of 75% by 2019, according to a new report by Lux Research. Trade disputes and policy changes, though, will complicate the picture.
CO2-Based Plastic Nears Production
Engineering Materials 9/8/2014 7 comments Bayer MaterialScience is using CO2 to produce a precursor for high-quality polyurethane foam at its pilot plant in Leverkusen. The transition to full-scale manufacturing is expected in 2016.
NASA Invents Multi-Metals 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 9/3/2014 20 comments NASA's JPL and Caltech have achieved the mind-boggling feat of 3D printing multiple metals in a single end-part, grading from one alloy to another. They've also developed a method for combining metals with carbon fiber composites in end-production parts.
Video: Autonomous Military Robots Complete Mission
Engineering Materials 9/2/2014 3 comments More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
ASTM Proposes New Standards for Metal 3D Printing
Engineering Materials 8/29/2014 6 comments Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Video: 1,000 Swarming Robots Self-Assemble
Engineering Materials 8/28/2014 13 comments The biggest robot swarm to date is made of 1,000 Kilobots, which can follow simple rules to autonomously assemble into predetermined shapes. Hardware and software are open-source.
Update: Converting Plastics to Energy Could Boost US Reserves
Engineering Materials 8/27/2014 25 comments Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
Report: Metamaterials Will Partly Depend on Additive Manufacturing
Engineering Materials 8/20/2014 8 comments Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX Reveals 3D-Printed Rocket Engine Parts
Engineering Materials 8/19/2014 9 comments SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Update: Intelligent Composites for Structural Monitoring
Engineering Materials 8/5/2014 5 comments Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
Good News & Bad News About Ocean Plastics
Engineering Materials 7/28/2014 22 comments The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Robot Can Detect Gas Pipe Leaks
Engineering Materials 7/18/2014 21 comments A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
3D-Printed Rocket Engine Fires Up
Engineering Materials 7/14/2014 19 comments Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Video: Wear Your Own Pair of Robot Arms
Engineering Materials 7/10/2014 53 comments Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
3D-Printed Steel Building Structures
Engineering Materials 7/2/2014 22 comments Structural engineers have developed a design method for 3D printing structural steel elements to be used in construction projects. Complex, individually designed pieces can be created far more efficiently, and costs and waste will be reduced.
10 Nautical Robots Brave the High Seas
Engineering Materials 7/1/2014 13 comments Some of the latest nautical robots take a variety of forms. They can look like small boats, tiny four-wheeled vehicles, or realistic fish. One design from Sandia Labs will be able to transform itself from a swimming robot to one that flies through the air or uses wheels on land.
Consumer-Grade 3D-Printable Metal Casting Resin
Engineering Materials 6/26/2014 12 comments MadeSolid is offering a 3D-printable casting resin for making small metal parts for things like jewelry. It costs a lot less than previous alternatives and can be used with multiple consumer-grade printers -- an industry first.
SABIC & Kringlan Develop Carbon Composite Wheel
Engineering Materials 6/25/2014 11 comments SABIC and Kringlan Composites are developing a thermoplastic carbon composite wheel with a matrix based on SABIC's ULTEM resin. Kringlan says its process is geared toward high volumes, short cycle times, and in-house recycling of production waste and end-of-life materials.
Slideshow: igus's 3D-Printable Bearings Material
Engineering Materials 6/20/2014 5 comments igus is offering its tribological, integrated lubricant polymer in a filament for 3D-printing custom bearings, bushings, and prototypes. The Tribo-Filament is compatible with any filament fusion printer that has a heated nozzle and print bed, and uses ABS filaments.
Automotive Lightweighting Groups Get Serious
Engineering Materials 6/16/2014 7 comments Industry trade groups, materials manufacturers, and software companies are getting serious about helping automotive manufacturers with vehicle lightweighting. This spring, four different consortia and partnerships were formed.
Ford & Heinz Test Tomato-Based Plastic
Engineering Materials 6/13/2014 13 comments Ford and Heinz are testing bioplastics that use waste tomato fiber. Researchers have made some composites and are evaluating their properties, with the goal of making a strong, lightweight composite that can be used in a car's non-structural components.
Climb Glass Walls Like a Gecko With DARPA Tech
Engineering Materials 6/12/2014 8 comments For the first time ever, a human has scaled a glass wall using an adhesive inspired by gecko feet. The DARPA-funded research that developed the polymer microstructure technology on handheld paddles is part of the agency's Z-Man program to help soldiers in urban environments.
10 Robots You Don't Want to Mess With
Engineering Materials 6/10/2014 76 comments Our current crop of military robots includes small, tank-like unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), more specialized types like large autonomous vehicles, and both large and small winged robots, one carrying its own fuel cell.
3D Print Plastic & Electronics in One Pass
Engineering Materials 6/5/2014 4 comments Stanford University grad students have developed open-source technology that 3D prints conductive traces and plastic in one pass. Their startup is selling a liquid syringe extruder that plugs into a filament fusion printer, a plug-in replacement dual extruder, and a dual-extrusion 3D printer.
Slideshow: Airbus Launches All-Composite, All-Electric Plane
Engineering Materials 5/27/2014 79 comments Airbus Group's all-electric, all-composite training aircraft took its first public flight last month during the company's E-Aircraft Day in Bordeaux, France. The experimental aircraft was designed and built as a technology demonstrator for small planes used to train pilots.
BASF Reveals More BMWi3 Materials
Engineering Materials 5/20/2014 9 comments The BMW i3's carbon fiber composite breakthroughs include contributions from several suppliers. BASF, which already announced its carbon composite rear seat pan, recently said more of its plastics and composites play a role in several parts of the car, some of which are firsts in a production vehicle.
3D Printing Needs to Open Up
Engineering Materials 5/19/2014 13 comments The prototyping-based models 3D printing has used for 30 years must change if the industry is to continue growing and shift to production parts, says a new Lux Research study.
Slideshow: Plastics Showcased at Aircraft Interiors Expo
Engineering Materials 5/16/2014 15 comments At the Aircraft Interiors Expo 2014 show in Hamburg, many companies got a chance to showcase their plastics for a variety of applications in aircraft interiors. Some introduced new materials. Others announced new applications or qualifications for their products.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones used to fare quite well in the repairability department, but last year's flagship S5 model took a tumble, scoring a meh-inducing 5/10. Will the newly redesigned S6 lead us back into star-studded territory, or will we sink further into the depths of a repairability black hole?
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