Plastic heat sinks will be getting a huge push on new Boeing aircraft, possibly starting on the Dreamliner. They offer additional opportunities to reduce weight and improve design through net shape injection molding. “This is a coming attraction,” says Dr. Alan G. Miller, director of technology integration on the Dreamliner. “This technology is already in the marketplace, but is just now moving into aircraft. Thermoplastics can become heat sinks through high loadings (30 to 40 percent) of carbon-graphite fiber or ceramics. Suppliers of thermally conductive thermoplastics include LNP Engineering Plastics (GE Plastics), RTP, Cool Plastics, and DuPont On the thermoset side, suppliers include Epoxies, Etc.
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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