Increasingly novel materials applications are emerging to provide lightweight thermal management functions in aircraft (such as the Boeing Dreamliner) and oher applications. One example is a metal matrix composite developed by a company called CPS Technologies in Norton, MA. In a typical component, a silicon carbide structure is formed in a plunger-type, low-pressure injection molding machine that uses a carrier feedstock that freezes near zero C. The carrier is removed by a phase management sublimation in which the carrier never becomes a liquid. The product can then either be sintered or infiltrated with material such as aluminum.
CPS says that AlSiC produces hermetic packaging that is much lighter than CuMo and CuW, yet has similar thermal conductivity and expansion coefficient. It also costs less.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
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