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.
NASA and Boeing developed a huge, carbon composite cryogenic fuel tank for deep space missions, and started testing it last month. The 18-ft cryotank will enable heavy-lift launch vehicles to send both humans and robots into deep space.
German engineering firm EDAG Group showed a single-piece, 3D-printed car body design inspired by a turtle at the Geneva Motor Show. It came about after an assessment of how additive manufacturing could be applied to making industrial components, modules, and complete vehicle bodies.
Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
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