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.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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.
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