The push to deliver swine flu vaccines is creating a short-term boom for some plastics processors. An injection molder in Bradenton, FL called Delaney Manufacturing got a rush order for up to 50,000 polystyrene trays used to ship vaccine from a major pharmaceutical company. Delaney was first contacted in July, and began production in mid-October. The first shipment is due in late October. The company has presses that range in clamping force from 55 to 500 tons. Another hot injection molded product is a respiratory mask designed to protect users from the swine flu virus.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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