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.
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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