There’s a “real horse race” at General Motors between new magnesium alloys and carbon-fiber reinforced plastics for use in load-bearing structural applications of future car platforms. That comment was made in an exclusive Design News interview today with Mark Verbrugge, the director of GM’s materials and process lab. For the moment, magnesium is leading because of the successful use of a new Norsk Hydro magnesium alloy in the engine cradle of the Corvette Z06, The cradle provides a 35 percent weight savings over the previous aluminum structure. “There are only about 10 pounds of magnesium in a car now,” says Verbrugge. “There’s a lot of bandwidth there for magnesium to go after.”
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
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