Entrepreneurs selling plywood made some quick bucks in advance of Hurricane Ike, but a better option for homeowners may be temporary polycarbonate glazing. The newest product from SABIC Innovative Plastics is Lexan LTH3T16 sheet, a 5/8-inch-thick, fluted polycarbonate storm panel targeted for use on windows and doors. It is said to be four times stronger than half-inch plywood sheet and offers 250 times higher impact resistance than glass and 30 times the impact strength of acrylic of the same thickness. The sheet can be easily cut to size using conventional power tools to cover windows and doors. The PC lets in light and can be left on for the duration of a hurricane season.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.