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 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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