Newly developed selective self-adhesive silicone rubbers can be co-molded with nylons, polycarbonates, and PBT-type polyesters, creating new design opportunities in medical devices and cars. “These materials can eliminate assembly operations for needle-less IV valves,” comments Eric Bishop of Shin-Etsu Silicones. The new materials’ combinations are also replacing gum rubber in automotive applications. Bishop spoke at Molding 2008 in San Francisco. The materials are called selective because they don’t adhere to steel.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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