Ehthanol was once viewed as a way to help solve the climate change problem. Then we heard about the huge amounts of enegy used to make ethanol, anad then the effects of crop prices. It turns out there’s another issue–the impact on plastic used under the hood.
A new fuel tank pressure sensor from Robert Bosch GmbH uses BASF’s Ultramid T KR 4355 G7, a partially aromatic polyamide (PA 6/6T) that fulfills a new and crucial requirement for materials used in electronic housings. Any material that comes into contact with modern fuels has to be able to resist not only gasoline but also water and alcohols such as methanol and ethanol. These substances are found in the tank, especially due to the emergence of flex fuels that contain alcohol. The new polyamide (also called nylon) can withstand the presence of zinc chloride. At the underbody area the sensor may come into contact with this zinc salt that can be formed by splash water.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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