Examples of new materials applications for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner continue to come to light. Amphenol, a large manufacturer of interconnect products, developed a high performance wiring, cable, and hydraulic tubing clamp to replace and outperform traditional P-clamps and Saddle clamps. It also wanted to reduce weight, one of the major goals of the composite-bodied Dreamliner.
Amphenol engineers designed a clamp molded from polyetheretherketone (PEEK) polymer and overmolded with a silicone rubber cushion. By using VICTREX PEEK polymer, Amphenol was able to develop a lighter and stronger clamp - one that, unlike metal, is completely non-corrosive and non-conductive for use throughout the aircraft.
Amphenol uses a proprietary silicone over-molding process to produce the high performance clamps, which are also used in a wide range of shipboard, industrial and railway applications. The advantage of Amphenol’s overmold process is that it bonds the silicone rubber cushion to the plastic in the tool. There’s another assembly aspect to the new Amphenol design: the high performance clamps are equipped with a locking feature that makes installation quick and easy. “A “lock-open” feature keeps the clamp open and a second “lock-closed” feature keeps the clamp closed.
Available in single leg (P-clamp) and double leg (Omega) configurations, the new high performance clamps are available in 36 sizes, allowing them to meet most wire bundle and application-specific load requirements. They are also compatible with tubing up to 2-inches in diameter.
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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