A metal/polymer hybrid featuring nanotechnology aimed at extremely lightweight components was introduced at K 2007 today by DuPont Engineering Polymers and partners Morph Technologies of Toronto, Canada; Integran Technologies, of Pittsburgh, PA; and PowderMetal Technologies of Carlsbad, CA. Key to the technology is a new proprietary process called MetalFuse that applies precise amounts of nanometal to molded plastic components. Parts are said to have the stiffness of aluminum or magnesium but with better strength. Grain sizes of the metals are 1000 times smaller than conventional metals. “Nanocrystalline nickel or nickel-iron are high-performance metals that are two to three times stronger than normal steel and are also significantly harder, with better wear and friction performance,” says Gino Palumbo, president of Integran Tehcnologies. Initial development will focus on selected applications in the automotive, consumer electronics, and sporting goods markets.
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.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
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