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.
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
Using simulation to guide the drafting process can speed up the design and production of 3D-printed nanostructures, reduce errors, and even make it possible to scale up the structures. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a model that does this.
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