Amid the blast of news about soaring gas prices, came this whiff of good news on New England Cable News: A group in Maine hopes to make plastic from potatoes. Wow, we can get away from high oil prices and at the same time packaging made from potatoes would be biodegradable, right? That was the tone of the gee-whizz newscast. It sure would be nice to get a little context in these news reports. As reported here recently, the economics of using crops as a feedstock are way out of whack, even with high-priced oil. And also as reported here, there is no composting infrastructure in place to handle biodegradable packaging. I like Mane potatoes. Let’s just eat them.
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
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.
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