GE Plastics long-standing attack on polyvinyl chloride continues in the Chevy Volt. Flexible Noryl replaces polyvinyl chloride for environmental and weight-saving reasons. Today's cars have over a mile of wiring, which is mostly made with PVC coating. The case against PVC, says GE, is that it contains halogen and releases dioxins when burned. The Noryl coating is also smaller in diameter than the PVC, making it easier for engineers to manipulate wires in the car. The PVC producers have long maintained that PVC is safe when incinerated properly. European regulators have been the most aggressive in attacking the use of PVC.
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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