Titanium might just be the hottest material on the planet earth right now. Out of England comes news that biochemists at Manchester Metropolitan University believe hospital superbugs could be destroyed simply by applying titanium dioxide nanoparticles to hospital surfaces, and then exposing those surfaces to fluorescent light. Titanium dioxide isn’t exactly a rare material – it’s the most commonly used white pigment. The researchers found that other paint additives, such as calcium carbonate, block the killer properties of titanium dioxide. From Toronto comes word that a company is pitching money and credit card clips made of titanium for people who don’t want to carry wallets. Why titanium? It’s lightweight, hypoallergenic, immune to salt water and extremely durable. Immune to salt water? OK, I don’t get that either. And then there’s Sarah Palin. Those titanium glasses she wears are normally slow sellers – about 9,000 a year globally. Ten days after her selection as John McCain’s running mate, the Japanese manufacturer received 12,000 orders.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
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.
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