The next generation of North American-built diesel engines, scheduled for introduction during the 2009 to 2011 timeframe, is a bright spot for an otherwise weak powder metal industry. New PM applications include cam gear drives, idler gears, timing system sprockets, and fuel injector gears. Powder-forged connecting rods and PM bearing caps are currently being tested and the outlook is good. General Motors put $69 million into its DMAX diesel engine plant in Moraine, OH to manufacture a new Duramax 6.6-liter V-8 turbo diesel engine that will meet 2010 emissions standards. DMAX Limited is a joint venture between GM and Isuzu Motors Limited and was established as a diesel engine company in 1998. About half of new cars in Europe feature diesel engines, which are more energy efficient than cars with spark ignition systems.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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