Consider specialty compounds to take advantage of growing interest in molded liquid silicone rubber. Advantages of silicone rubbers include flexibility, thermal stability over a broad temperature range, resistance to solvents, and excellent biocompatibility. Silicones are increasingly being selected by design engineers for valve seats or hoses in autos and aircraft, where their resistance to solvents can be boosted through incorporation of fluorosilicones. Polyurethane is added to improve tear strength for some medical applications. New developments in specialty compounding were reviewed by Mary Krenceski, a research scientist at Extreme Molding in Watervliet, NY at Molding 2008.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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