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.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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