Membrane fuel cells have advanced well beyond the demonstration stage. BASF is bringing on line a plant to manufacture membrane electrode assemblies in Somerset, NJ, augmenting existing production in Germany.
High-temperature fuel cells could soon be used for portable applications in camping or even to supply electricity and heat in private homes. Electronics OEMs think that fuel cells could provide up to five times longer life cycles for mobile telephones, radio equipment and laptops.
The German aerospace industry is also conducting tests that could lead to the membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) being used to provide onboard power for Airbus A320s. MEAs powered a recent test flight of a motorized glider.
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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