Japanese producers continue to develop meteoric improvements in bioplastics for engineering applications. The newest is a stunner: NEC has developed a bioplastic that has better heat conductivity than stainless steel. The new material is aimed at new mobile phones and personal computers that are too small for fans and other devices used to remove heat. “In electronic product housings, the use of heat-conductive metals is considered to be one alternative to plastic for improving heat release,” NEC said in a statement. “However, heat conductivities in the thick direction of metal boards are too high and can cause partial or rapid increase in the temperature of housings near electronic parts that have high temperatures.”Previous attempts to use heat-conducting plastics for housings have been slowed by their high costs (due to 50 percent-plus content of fiber or stainless steel), poor moldability and high densities.
NEC has been researching alternatives using bioplastic, which has the same low heat conductivity as oil-based plastics. A new cross-linked structure between the resin matrix (polylactic acid) and carbon fiber is achieved through use of a new biomass binder. “This enables good heat conductivity in the plane direction of the PLA resin board, which is a characteristic conventionally difficult to attain in metal boards,” NEC said. A filling of 30% carbon fiber provides double the heat diffusion ability of stainless steel. NEC says it plans to begin mass production of the new composite in March, 2009, when it will seek new applications beyond housings of electronic products.
As reported by Design News, NEC has already developed bioplastics with kenaf reinforcement for mobile phone housings, a wall as shape memory bioplastics.
1.The biomass content of the new composite exceeds 90 percent, excluding the carbon fibers.
2.NEC says the new composite molds satisfactorily and has adequate strength for electronic products.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.