You don’t often think of glass reinforcement as an issue when it comes green engineering. But engineers at Ford Motor Company are taking a different tack.
Dr. Deborah Mielewski, who heads plastics research at Ford, is studying several different plant materials as a substitute for glass as reinforcement in plastics. One of the big payoffs is a 30 percent weight reduction. The other issue, she says, is that glass fiber is a very energy-intensive process. Mielewski’s six-woman engineering group is taking a close look at kenaf, hemp, coconut hair (coir), and wheat straw.
Now comes news that glass giant Owens Corning wants to reduce the environmental footprint of glass fibers used to reinforce plastics. The company will re-start a glass fiber reinforcement manufacturing facility in Italy that has been converted to a boron- and fluorine-free process called Advantex. The new process is also more energy efficient, resulting in less demand for fossil fuel and emissions reductions of up to:
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
We've found an amazing variety of robot hands & arms in medicine, space, and service robots, as well as R&D and assembly. Some are based on industrial designs modified for speed or dexterity, while others more closely emulate human movements, as well as human size and shape.
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.
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