Understanding the Hardness of Metals
Blog 10/13/2014 8 comments When designing metal parts, it's important to specify their hardness. However, many engineers have only a shaky understanding of what hardness actually is, or how it's measured. This article helps clear up that confusion.
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.
3D-Printed Robot Thwarts Drug Smugglers
Blog 10/10/2014 19 comments MIT researchers have used 3D printing to develop an underwater robot about the size of a football that can protect ports by scanning the hulls of ships for suspicious or illegal cargo.
How to Think Like an Engineer
Blog 10/8/2014 31 comments Most engineers spend a lot of time thinking about how to solve design problems, but not much time thinking about how we think. Using analogies can help you come up with more, and possibly better, design ideas.
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.
Top 20 US Graduate Engineering Programs
Blog 10/7/2014 8 comments As promised when we listed the top undergraduate engineering schools, here are the top 20 US engineering schools based on their graduate programs. We looked at a number of rankings and created an overall list based on an average.
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.
India's Mangalyaan Probe Reaches Mars
Blog 9/30/2014 13 comments Three days after NASA's MAVEN probe reached Mars, India's Mangalyaan probe went into orbit around the red planet. India's first interplanetary mission, and the first successful Mars probe launched by an Asian nation, has a total project cost of nearly $600 million less than MAVEN's.
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.
16 Great Engineering Schools You Never Hear About
Electronics News 9/22/2014 13 comments Conventional wisdom holds that MIT, Cal Tech, and Stanford are three of the country’s best undergraduate engineering schools. Unfortunately, when conventional wisdom visits the topic of best engineering schools, it too often leaves out some of the most distinguished programs that don’t happen to offer PhD-level degrees.
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.
15 Great Hacker Movies
Blog 9/19/2014 35 comments Hacking has a long history in the movies, beginning with Tron and War Games and continuing through The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
'Space Kid's' Design to be 3D-Printed on ISS
STEM Connection 9/16/2014 18 comments The “Space Kid,” 11, will be one of the first civilians to have his design manufactured in space, thanks to the City X Project, which inspires kids to think about new 3D-printed inventions that could be useful for humans living in space.
20 Top Employers for Engineers
Blog 9/15/2014 16 comments We searched far and wide for the top employers for engineers. These companies were ranked by engineering professionals, engineering students, and engineering instructors and professors. Does your employer make the grade?
How to Harpoon a Comet
Guest Blogs 9/12/2014 10 comments In November, a European space probe will try to land on the surface of a comet moving at about 84,000 mph and rotating with a period of 12.7 hours. Many factors make positioning the probe for the landing an engineering challenge.
Video: These Robots Have X-ray Vision
Blog 9/9/2014 10 comments Two small, wheeled robots can "see" through a concrete wall using nothing but WiFi wireless communication. They can detect and measure everything on the other side: people and objects, their positions and geometry, whether they're moving, and what materials they're made of.
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.
How to Machine Aerospace-Grade Composites
News 8/18/2014 21 comments UK researchers have come up with a method for machining aerospace-grade, carbon fiber-reinforced composites, along with high-strength aerospace alloys, using an ultrasonically assisted machining device. It also works on high-strength aerospace alloys.
Can Plastic Bearings Outperform Metal Ones?
Blog 8/6/2014 7 comments Plastic bearings are replacing metal in some pretty tough jobs. Sometimes they're equally effective and reliable, and sometimes they actually outperform those parts. We'll tell you all about how this is possible in an upcoming Design News Focus on Fundamentals course.
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.
Video: Sciaky to Sell Its Huge Metals 3D Printers
News 7/31/2014 6 comments Sciaky, provider of electron-beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) services, will start selling these machines commercially in September. The company has used its EBAM 3D printing technology for making very large, high-value, metal prototypes and production parts for aerospace and defense OEMs.
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
With major product releases coming from big names like Sony, Microsoft, and Samsung, and big investments by companies like Facebook, 2015 could be the year that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) finally pop. Here's take a look back at some of the technologies that got us here (for better and worse).
Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
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.