Keep a close eye on developments with China’s home grown car producers, such as Chery, Brilliance and Geely. They put emphasis on low-cost, mass output and not on technical innovation—a critical factor for advancing the use of engineering plastics. We’re not talking the Chevy Volt here; we’re talking the Chery Tiggio. You’ve probably heard a lot about the involvement of VW and GM in the China market. And in fact those two OEMs and their local JV partners are the current leaders in production. But the Chinese-owned and developed companies are growing fastest. Sales by Chery are up 48% for example, while GM’s sales are up 22%. News that Chrysler is collaborating with Chery on new models that will be sold by Chrysler in the United States under the Dodge brand turns up the heat.
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.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.