Announcements of new polymers are infrequent, with most of the action coming in additive systems that enhance performance or processability. DSM Engineering Plastics says it has developed a “breakthrough” polymer called PA4T, a specialized nylon aimed at electronics miniaturization. Specific attributes include excellent dimensional stability, compatibility with lead free soldering, high stiffness and mechanical strength at elevated temperatures, high melting point, and excellent flow and processing window. Potential applications include memory card connectors, CPU sockets, and air/fuel and power train components. A market development plant in the Netherlands will open early next year.
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
German engineering firm EDAG Group showed a single-piece, 3D-printed car body design inspired by a turtle at the Geneva Motor Show. It came about after an assessment of how additive manufacturing could be applied to making industrial components, modules, and complete vehicle bodies.
Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
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