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 lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
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