Toxic toys were a major story last year. The Chinese toy scare stirred up a lot of new business for wooden toys made in the United States. That feel good story is now getting even a little better. Two American toy manufacturers are rolling out this year toys or games made with “thermoplastic biocomposite compounds”. These compounds are made of waste agricultural products such as discarded rise hulls and recycled plastics held together with patented additives developed by the National Research Council of Canada. The new coupling agents are a powerful moisture absorber that allow a tight bond between the wood fiber and the plastic. The toymakers are Sprig Toys of Fort Collins, CO and Rolco of Kasota, MN. The materials supplier is JER Enviortech International of Vancouver, BC.
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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