Delphi’s new PVC-replacing cable will debut on the 2007 Toyota Tundra. Delphi and Toyota both described the development as one of the most important advances in auto cable in many years. First reported by Design News Feb. 7, the very thin wall cable improves design possibilities as well as reducing weight and eliminating potential halogen release. It’s the first application of GE Plastics' Flexible Noryl resins in the automotive industry. The new insulation is half as thick as conventional coatings in North America — 0.2 mm versus 0.4 mm — or about as thick as two sheets of paper, reducing wire/resin weight by up to 25 percent and wire diameter an average 28 percent. Size of the wire bundle is cut by as much as 40 percent.
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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