What price premium will you pay for bioplastics? In general, look for a premium of 20 to 30 percent above what you now pay for a comparable material. That’s an artificial figure, but it’s what OEMs think customers will pay for the environmental friendliness plus the enhanced properties some of these grades will have.I say artificial, because seemingly like all things that overcome our “energy” or “global warming” crisis (pick your decade) costs will be very high until there is economy of scale. And economy of scale for plastics is huge. American OEMs that have been leaders in this field, such as John Deere, have not pursued bio materials for economic reasons. They pursued them for political reasons. Deere, for example, wanted to support its farmer-customers, particularly in the soybean area, where grants were available.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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