A brand new lightweight material for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was announced this morning at K 2007, the giant plastics fair in Düsseldorf. BASF will produce a new ultra light foam for the interior of the groundbreaking aircraft. The new foam is 30 per cent lighter than films that had been used for sound and thermal insulation. Pieces cut from the elastic membrane resin foam can be installed with ease in cabin walls because of its open cell network structure. “We investigated several material combinations, and our testing determined that a laminate containing Basotect, the new material, was the most weight-efficient solution to reduce the interior noise in the forward fuselage,” said Randall Smith, Interiors Design Engineer at Boeing.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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