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.
How 3D printing fits into the digital thread, and the relationship between its uses for prototyping and for manufacturing, was the subject of a talk by Proto Labs' Rich Baker at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
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