I learned two things from a quick recent conversation with Alexander Wilson of Mittal Steel and bridge steel maven:
New high-performance steels designed for bridge applications are now being qualified for other applications—pressure vessels used in nuclear power plants and platforms used in offshore oil drilling. The new steel provides up to 18% cost savings and 28% weight savings.
Some stability is expected in pricing this year. Costs for materials used in the two primary production streams (electric furnace and integrated mill) are stable. Look for modest increases and stable availability.
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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