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.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
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