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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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