Cellulose is the hot new feedstock for bioplastics.. The latest announcement comes from Mazda Motor Corp. which today launched a project with Hiroshima University to develop a plastic made from plant waste or wood, Mazda, Toyota and other Japanese auto OEMs had previously pioneered application of bioplastics made from corn. The new thrust away from corn is driven by growing shortfalls, and rising prices, for corn because of booming demand from ethanol. The goal of the project is to develop a polypropylene that has sufficient heat resistance, strength and durability to be used in vehicle bumpers and instrument panels.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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