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.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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