The composite material designed by Affan Innovative Structures, based on Dow Chemical's Voraforce TF epoxy infusion systems, is being used in non-load-bearing structures. Its high-energy absorbance is important to help reduce damage in the earthquake-prone Middle East. (Source: Affan Innovative Structures)
Ann, social media, at least of the facebook kind, has already gotten old and become a worthless collection of features, as far as I am concerned. Really, it is more like "spewing data" as opposed to sharing information, and very little of communicating insights is done, from what I see. I would not miss it one speck if it were gone some morning.
The various online discussion groups are different by quite a bit, and I enjoy the physics papers weekly publication and discussions as well.
Ah, Chicago still feels warm to me, Cabe. But I know what you mean about steel. I think composites are still a mystery. We don't know yet whether they're going to catch on and we don't know the full range of applications we'll see with composites. It will be interesting.
William, corrosion usually refers to what happens when metal breaks down. Composites can certainly break down, but "corrosion" is not the correct term. They delaminate, fragment, and suffer environmental stress cracking, as we've discussed here: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=238056 http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=236816 http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1365&doc_id=238200
Ann, actually, from what I have read, composites do corrode, but differently from metal.
The one other thing is that typically buildings are kept around a lot longer than aircraft or racecars, so that what happens after 30 years of weather matters on a building, while the race car is obsolete and the airplane is probably scrapped, or sold to the minor leagues.
Glad to see the reduction of wood use in architecture. But, I think that is a "no-brainer." A cow in a barn destroyed the wooden version of Chicago. Now, it's all rusty steel. Not a single fire since. Though, the city now has a cold feel to it.
William, I had the same question about damage, but I don't see why the wear problems would be much worse than what aircraft with carbon composite skins experience; in fact, they're probably not nearly as severe, since these buildings aren't speeding through the air and storms of hail, dust, and rain like planes do. Composites, of course, don't corrode like metals do.
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.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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