A start-up company in New York has developed a new vibration-proof fastening system that offers interesting opportunities for plastics molding. The company, called Permanent Technologies, uses a patented system in which the nut has one or more tines that work in conjunction with longitudinal bolt thread channels to prevent counter rotation and loosening. Months-long testing on U.S. Navy Hovercrafts proved the concept. Engineers are often loathe to try new designs, but this is worth a look—particularly if you’re experiencing failures due to vibration. Some cool design ideas are possible. Take a pump assembly for example. Permanent Technologies can produce a cut-out underneath the pump cover and put a hexagon-shaped tine in the hole located in the body of the assembly. Then put the cover on and put a bolt through the cover. The bolt would then click through the tines just as if they were on top of a nut. You get vibration-proof blind hole fastening. And that translates well into injection molding, where undercuts can be mass produced at high speeds with tool action.
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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