You might not think of cement as an engineering material because of its brittleness. But a new engineered cement composite developed at the University of Michigan may cause you to think again. Specially coated fibers replace stone aggregate and act as ligaments that tie the cement together under stress. Engineering Professor Victor Li comments: “How the fiber works inside the composite—especially when loading is excessive and the crack starts to break—needs to be just right. it means that fibers don’t come out too easily. Otherwise you don’t have a composite per se. On the other hand you don’t want them bonded too strong. If that was the case you wouldn’t allow the fiber to slide; you would break the fiber. In either case it would return to a brittle material as opposed to the ductile behavior we are looking for.“
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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