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.
Slideshow: Proto Labs Buys 3D Printing Service Bureau
Engineering Materials 5/13/2014 18 comments Not long after 3D printing leader Stratasys bought two service bureaus, rapid prototyping service bureau extraordinaire Proto Labs has embraced the technology by buying a service bureau focused solely on additive manufacturing. Before this acquisition, Proto Labs has concentrated on CNC machining and injection molding.
Slideshow: Recyclable 3D Printing Material Beats ABS & PLA
Engineering Materials 5/8/2014 4 comments What if you could get a 3D printing filament that's strong like ABS, but easier to use like PLA, and more flexible than both? Better yet, what if it was also recyclable? Startup independent 3D printing materials company MadeSolid offers that material: PET+.
3D-Printed Bioplastics Coming Soon
Engineering Materials 4/25/2014 27 comments Bioplastics formulator and manufacturer Sierra Resins and distributor 3D Printlife are working together to introduce a new biofilament for 3D printers.
Solar Impulse 2 Flies New Materials
Engineering Materials 4/24/2014 26 comments Solar Impulse 2 -- a 100% solar-powered airplane -- has been completed. It features several advanced materials, some developed specifically for next year's attempted around-the-world flight.
Composite Rocket Fuel Tank Will Explore Deep Space
Engineering Materials 4/23/2014 8 comments NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
Turtle Inspires 3D-Printed Car Frame
Engineering Materials 4/22/2014 6 comments German engineering firm EDAG Group showed a single-piece, 3D-printed car body design inspired by a turtle at the Geneva Motor Show. It came about after an assessment of how additive manufacturing could be applied to making industrial components, modules, and complete vehicle bodies.
Video: 3D-Printed Drone Flies High
Engineering Materials 4/16/2014 8 comments 3D printing has met up with drones in a 3D-printed UAV. University of Sheffield engineers printed the prototype drone in 24 hours from ABS plastic using Fused Deposition Modeling.
3D Pictures of Huge, Self-Assembled DNA Structures
Engineering Materials 4/15/2014 5 comments Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
3D Printing High-Strength Carbon Composites Using PEEK, PAEK
Engineering Materials 4/14/2014 6 comments Arevo Labs' end-production 3D printing technology for carbon composites includes a high-temperature, filament fusion printer head design and firmware for use with the company's new carbon fiber and nanotube reinforced high-temperature matrix polymers like PEEK.
World Industrial Robot Demand Falls
Engineering Materials 4/10/2014 9 comments The International Federation of Robotics reports that global sales of industrial robots decreased by 4% in 2012 over 2011. The biggest hit was electrical/electronics manufacturing, down by 13%; but by region, the Amerficas did well.
Slideshow: New Carbon Composites for Volume Car Production
Engineering Materials 4/9/2014 21 comments At the JEC Europe 2014 composites show in Paris, many companies showcased their carbon fiber composite products, especially for volume automotive manufacturing. Some companies touted their contributions to BMW's all-carbon composite body-in-white. Others introduced automotive products and processes.
Report: Biochemicals, Bio-Based Materials Capacity to Jump
Engineering Materials 4/1/2014 1 comment A report forecasts a big capacity increase for bio-based materials and biochemicals, including those that go into bioplastics. These are mostly based on first-generation feedstocks like corn and sugarcane, but second-generation cellulosic feedstocks continue to grow slowly.
Slideshow: More Seismic Shifts in 3D Printing Materials
Engineering Materials 3/27/2014 9 comments This is the fourth blog in an occasional series on 3D printing and additive manufacturing. This time, we'll tell you about architects 3D printing with ice and marble, some firsts in 3D printing titanium, and a university R&D team with a faster way to print multimaterial objects.
Slideshow: Drop-in Jet Biofuels Becoming a Reality
Engineering Materials 3/25/2014 16 comments Drop-in jet biofuels have started becoming a reality during the last year. Along with major deals between airlines, engine makers, and fuel producers, one main source may turn out to be renewable diesel already used in ground vehicles, which could make prices competitive with fossil jet fuels.
Shrimp Shells Make Compostable, Moldable Bioplastic
Engineering Materials 3/18/2014 15 comments Wyss Institute researchers at Harvard have created a low-cost, biodegradable plastic made from shrimp shells that can be used to mass-produce 3D compostable consumer goods, using injection molding or casting processes.
3D-Printed Wood – Really!
Engineering Materials 3/17/2014 42 comments Does it sound like magic? It's not. You can 3D-print with wood filaments right now, using a choice of colors and filament widths. Objects made from these materials range from things resembling plastic or lumber to stunningly beautiful art pieces that look just like the real thing.
Slideshow: 3D-Printed Carbon Composite Yacht Model
Engineering Materials 3/13/2014 7 comments CRP Technology has 3D-printed a 1:14 scale model of a yacht in carbon fiber composites to demonstrate the possibilities and give a boost to boat design. The material and process are also used for under-hood motorsport applications and in aerospace.
The new composites manufacturing innovation center is intended to be a source of grand challenges for industry, like the kind that got us to the moon under JFK. These aren't the words its new CEO Craig Blue used, but that's the idea and the vision behind the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI).
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.