Polycarbonate, one of the fastest-growing engineering polymers in recent years, looks like it’s in for some hard times. On one side, the clear thermoplastic is getting battered by concerns over adverse health effects of biphenyl A (a key constituent) and on the other by declining sales of CDs and DVDs.New clarified polypropylenes are replacing PCs used in food and beverage containers. The economics favoring polyolefins is also changing. The price differential between the two polymers, already substantial, is likely to widen further as massive new PP supplies come on one. PC is easily twice as expensive as PP right now.
Meanwhile, one of the giant markets for PC is under siege. Since the introduction of the MP3, sales of CDs have dropped in seven out of the last eight years. Large label CD sales dropped 20% in 2008. The outlook is grim as it becomes apparent that movies and other content will be increasingly delivered over the Internet.
That’s why you see so many concept cars (like the first Chevy Volt) featuring polycarbonate roofs. Automotive glazing has been the Holy Grail for PC for at least five years. But that won’t be coming anytime soon because of concerns over performance issues.
What does all this mean for mechanical engineers? Look for major producers (such as Sabic IP, Bayer, Dow or Mitsubishi) to show more interest on working with you to develop new applications. Key candidates are components requiring clarity, stiffness, temperature resistance and impact resistance.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
Researchers at the Missouri University of Science & Technology have designed a new nanoscale material that can transmit light faster than the 186,000 miles per second it usually takes to travel through air.
It has often been said that as California goes, so goes the nation. This spring, the state's wind power is setting energy generation records and solar energy generation is expected to rise sharply during the second half of 2013.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is