Design engineers are fuming mad about the lack of decent options for cadmium as a plating material. A couple made comments in a recent study conducted by the Reed Business Information Research Department for Design News. “We need an environmentally friendly replacement with decent cost and performance,” says an engineer who designs equipment for in house use. ”These days, cadmium is effectively banned for environmental reasons, but none of the possible replacements meet all the performance requirements.” Cadmium has been widely used as a plating material because it offers good corrosion resistance, cathodic protection of steel, galvanic compatibility with aluminum, as well as excellent lubricity. Cadmium can be dyed to many colors and can be used as a final finish or a paint base. Inhalation of cadmium-containing fumes can result in chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and death. Human exposures to environmental cadmium are primarily the result of the burning of fossil fuels and municipal wastes It’s one of six substances banned by the European Union’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.
If you have some thoughts, please contribute your ideas here.
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.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
Two teams, one based in the US and one in Europe, have 3D printed space-worthy support structures for satellite antenna arrays. These aren't prototypes: they're fully functioning antenna supports that will operate while exposed to the harsh temperatures and radiation of outer space.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.