Huge new projects are coming on line to produce plastics from corn through the processes of fermentation and polymerization. Now a Korean research team says it has developed a way to produce bioplastics, specifically polylactic acid, more efficiently.
Lee Sang-yup of the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology says PLA can be produced through a one-step process using bioengineering. Polymers are made directly from natural feedstocks using newly developed microbial genetics that starts with E. coli. The process has the potential to reduce costs of PLA. The Korean team also says they are studying ways to build polyesters through the process.
It’s a long. long way from the lab to the factory, however
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.