When I think of pultrusion, I think of a continuous process to produce lineal shapes, such as I-beams or legs for ladders. I think of it as a reverse extrusion process because reinforced fibers are pulled through a resin and into a heated die, where the resin is polymerized. An interesting new German technology called Radius Pultrusion allows the continuous production of curved reinforced profiles from endless fibers and webbing. It was just announced that the process, developed by the Thomas Group of Bremervörde, Germany, has been nominated for the prestigious Hermes technology Award, which will be given at the Hannover Messe, which will be held later this month in Germany.The innovation enables production of endless circles and arches of any radius, for example springs. When using bidirectional reinforcement, the strict orientation of the fibers can only be provided on the level that is vertical to the deflection level. For all other areas, formable webbings, or nettings are required. Thomas says it can be used for structural components of cars, trains or aircraft. Thread rods and nuts are another possibility.
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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