There’s a resurgence of chrome in trim, door handles, and other decorative touches to impart a high-end, luxury look to new cars. Special grades of Cycoloy polycarbonate/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (PC/ABS) resin and Cycolac ABS resin feature low stress and superior adhesion to the metal layer, and are aimed at helping automakers easily incorporate jewel-bright chrome details into designs
Higher yields are especially important due to the relatively high cost of chrome plating. In addition, the use of plated plastic components versus all-metal parts avoids the expense of secondary operations including milling and polishing. Lightweight plastics also help with weight-out for improved fuel economy. Finally, plastics offer greater design flexibility than traditional metal. Chrome plating can be unforgiving in terms of quality. Even the slightest defects can create a negative impression of the entire vehicle. Target applications include exterior trim, interior trim, running boards, wheel covers, roof racks, and mirror housings that require stiffness, impact strength, and processability.
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.
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
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