Lou, recyclable and recycled composites and plastics are a subject that's getting more attention all the time. We covered it here: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271489 Since recycled polymers are already being used in heavy truck parts, bridges, and Ford's car seats, among many other uses, it's clear that they must meet the same performance standards as any other plastics. Making materials recyclable is also being investigated. Recycling composites, though, especially carbon fiber-reinforced ones, is a lot more difficult. One of the biggest problems in recycling plastics is when they're made of multiple materials, as composites are. The companies mentioned in the story at the link I gave are pioneers. Some are also working on making carbon composites recyclable.
Ann, I was just talking to my son this morning about cars made from carbon fiber composites and comparing them to cars made from aluminium. Since steel and aluminium are easily recyclable, it makes sense to use them when appropriate. On the other hand, if more composite materials are used I think that there should be standards for recyclability. This material seems to be a good first step.
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.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
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 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.
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