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.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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