There’s a lot of hype about new power trains and lightweight plastics, but traditional materials are sure to play a big, if not leading role, in making cars more fuel efficient. The new models on display at the International Motor Show Sept. 19-27 in Frankfurt are a case in point. Ten of the models from Audi, BMW, Opel, Peugeot and Renault use Hydro aluminum components and systems. Examples include:
Opel Astra, front and rear bumper beams;
Rolls-Royce Ghost, front end;
Audi R8 Spyder, rollover protection system; and
Peugeot 5008 MPV, rear bumper.
In addition, Hydro is supplying flat-rolled aluminum strip for body parts to the new BMW 5 series, the Mercedes-Benz E-class station wagon and all versions of the new C-class model, as well as the current Porsche Panamera.
Hydro supplies the aluminum content pictured above for several BMW models, including the new “small” Rolls-Royce.
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
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