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.
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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