The UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 5 will be the first restrictor-plate event for NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow. Part of an overall program of new designs and materials, the restrictor plate is aimed at cutting engine power from 750 hp to approximately 430 hp. Drivers have resisted some of the innovations which are designed to improve safety. Dow Automotive is developing new energy management foam for the Car of Tomorrow (COT) Project that’s expected to be widely used next year. It’ll be placed between the roll cage bars and door panels. The energy of the impact is managed through a series of controlled reactions within the foam. The new foam is also said to reduce weight 50 percent compared to competitive foams. Installation errors (too close to the tailpipe) led to some melting and fuming problems in early trials.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
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