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Engineering Materials
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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.
Muscle-Bound Bots Bench 80 Times Their Own Weight
Engineering Materials 
10/15/2013  34 comments
An electroactivated polymer (EAP) produces robotic muscles that lift 80 times their own weight, a new benchmark. They also store and convert energy that robots can use to operate themselves.
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.
Slideshow: Composite Bridge Deck Lightens Loads
Engineering Materials 
10/11/2013  29 comments
Washington, D.C.'s crumbling 29th Street bridge has been replaced with one that has a fiberglass-reinforced composite deck.
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.
Slideshow: 3D Printing Multiple Materials, Colors & Textures Gets Closer
Engineering Materials 
10/1/2013  21 comments
The ability to 3D-print multiple materials, colors, and textures in the same piece is getting closer with some major breakthroughs in hardware and software.
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, Etch & Mill in 1 Machine
Engineering Materials 
9/12/2013  8 comments
The latest in Kickstarter's clever, ingenious, and useful manufacturing products is the Microfactory, which combines 3D printing, milling, and etching in one system.
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.
Report: China Faces Solar Shakeout, but Market Will Keep Growing
Engineering Materials 
9/9/2013  11 comments
A major study of China's tangled solar market concludes that although consolidation and near-term chaos are inevitable, so is continued growth and a return to profitability and price stability.
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.
More Seismic Shifts in the 3D Printing Industry
Engineering Materials 
8/30/2013  38 comments
We discuss more major developments in the 3D printing industry, and focus on what's happening in materials.
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.
Update: NASA 3D Printer for Space Passes First Tests
Engineering Materials 
8/15/2013  7 comments
The engineering test unit for the 3D printer that Made in Space is building with NASA has passed initial microgravity, environmental, and functional tests. It's scheduled to launch next year.
US Navy Resin Will Make Composites Stronger, Flame-Resistant & Cheaper to Process
Engineering Materials 
8/14/2013  13 comments
A new high-performance, PEEK-like phthalonitrile resin developed by the US Naval Research Laboratory is resistant to high temperatures, flammability, and impacts. It can be processed using standard methods like resin infusion molding and resin transfer molding.
Slideshow: Bombardier Prepares CSeries for First Flight Test
Engineering Materials 
8/13/2013  7 comments
Bombardier's Flight Test Vehicle 1 incorporates carbon composites in some areas. The main fuselage and structure are composed primarily of aluminum-lithium, making it about 2,000 pounds lighter and reducing fuel use by about 20 percent.
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.
Seismic Shifts in the 3D Printing Industry
Engineering Materials 
8/6/2013  11 comments
Some major developments are happening in the 3D printing industry and more are on the horizon.
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.
Slideshow: Ford Steps Up Sustainable Materials
Engineering Materials 
7/30/2013  11 comments
Already ahead of the curve in using renewable and sustainable materials, Ford is stepping up its use of recycled, biobased, and recyclable materials in components throughout the car.
NASA Tests 3D-Printed Rocket Engine Part
Engineering Materials 
7/29/2013  28 comments
NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne have completed hot-fire tests on a rocket injector assembly made with a selective laser melting 3D printing process and powdered metals.
Slideshow: Plastic Can Protect Astronauts
Engineering Materials 
7/16/2013  26 comments
A thermoplastic material invented to simulate human tissue may be powerful enough to shield astronauts against radiation in space, which is no mean feat.
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.
Metals 3D Printer Gets a Smaller Footprint
Engineering Materials 
6/25/2013  42 comments
Optomec has downsized its highly sophisticated 3D printing process for metals and made it available in a smaller machine -- the new 450.
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.
100-Percent Solar Plane Flies High on Advanced Materials
Engineering Materials 
6/13/2013  18 comments
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
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.
Slideshow: Watch Out, Hobbyist 3D Printing – Here Comes DIY Injection Molding
Engineering Materials 
6/6/2013  37 comments
A $1,500, hand-operated, bench-model, plastic injection machine crowdsource-funded via Kickstarter can be used to mold small, quality, plastic parts inexpensively, on demand.
Feds Launch Metals Lightweighting Institute
Engineering Materials 
6/3/2013  31 comments
The federal government is launching competitions to kickstart three more manufacturing innovation institutes, including one focused on Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation.
Slideshow: Anatomy of a Composite-Heavy Jetliner
Engineering Materials 
5/31/2013  21 comments
The airframe of Airbus's A350 XWB consists of a bigger proportion of carbon-fiber-reinforced composite structures than any other commercial jet to date: over 53 percent by weight.
Bioplastic's Algae Content Raised to 51% for Injection Molding
Engineering Materials 
5/29/2013  19 comments
Bioplastic manufacturing leader Cereplast has increased the post-industrial biomatter content of its second injection-molding grade of algae-based resin to 51%.
NASA Tests Biofuel, Reports Reduced Emissions
Engineering Materials 
5/28/2013  7 comments
Initial reports from NASA's first round of flight tests of a jet biofuel based on camelina plants show fewer emissions than from conventional jet fuel.
Slideshow: Composites Help Disintegrate Spacecraft Fuel Tanks
Engineering Materials 
5/22/2013  9 comments
Carbon fiber composites are being used in a satellite fuel tank designed to burn up on re-entry.
Video: Worm Hooks Inspire Better Bandages
Engineering Materials 
5/17/2013  16 comments
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
Video: Seahorse Armor Inspires Robot Design
Engineering Materials 
5/16/2013  5 comments
Engineers at the University of California, San Diego are designing a robotic arm that takes inspiration from the loose, flexible, yet very strong structure of the armored plates on a seahorse's tail.
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