A Brooklyn, NY, researcher has created a plastic made from plants such as corn or soybeans that can be used as a biodiesel fuel. The finding may have particularly significance to the US Army which has been researching new field ration packaging that is lighter, more efficient and contributes less to waste in the field. The new bioplastic is described as stronger than polyethylene and could be used as a vehicle fuel source after rations are consumed. Dr. Richard Gross, director of Polytechnic University’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules (CBBM), made the discovery, and is receiving a $2.34 million award from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Next: Efforts will be made to make the process less costly.
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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