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.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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