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.
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.
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