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.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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