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.
The Lightning Came With a Crash
Sherlock Ohms 10/4/2013 23 comments Sherlock Ohms highlights stories told by engineers who have used their deductive reasoning and technical prowess to troubleshoot and solve the most perplexing engineering mysteries.
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.
Spreading Excitement About Space Exploration
Guest Blogs 9/20/2013 21 comments It's commonplace to hear engineers lament the small size of the NASA budget, the lack of a successor to the Space Shuttle, and the lack of a US heavy launch vehicle. We need to teach young people to have an optimistic view of the future of human space exploration.
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.
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.
Video: Inside the World's Largest Wind Tunnel
Electronic News & Comment 8/23/2013 29 comments When NASA Ames runs its massive wind tunnels, the surrounding area knows it. Local aircraft are warned of potential updrafts. Electric utilities brace for sudden power draws. And nearby residents are said to hear its 300-knot airflows from miles away.
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.
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.
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.
Californiaís plan to mandate an electric vehicle market isnít the first such undertaking and certainly wonít be the last. But as the Golden State ratchets up for its next big step toward zero-emission vehicle status in 2018, it might be wise to consider a bit of history.