Look for extensive use of ceramics and new woven polymer materials in the armored vehicle that will replace the US Army’s Humvee. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will come in three types that will haul cargo and perform reconnaissance missions. The target weight is 20,000 pounds, about half the weight of currently used armored vehicles. That’s only three to four times the weight of pickup trucks. Under consideration will be use of composite systems such as aramid-fiber reinforced materials (Kevlar), ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) composites, and S-2 glass armor systems, which are also used in the Boeing Dreamliner. Capacities of all three are being rapidly expanded in anticipation of higher demand for military and other types of applications. Manufacturers of all three materials are dramatically expanding capacity right now to meet soaring demand.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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