Materials structure can at times have as profound an impact on properties as chemical composition.
PepsiCo is testing a new type of salt whose crystals are shaped in a manner that reduces the amount of sodium humans ingest. Duke researchers developed metamaterials that derive unique electromagnetic properties from their physical structures.
Now, a California startup company called EoPlex is manipulating tiny bricks of materials to enhance performance. EoPlex CEO Arthur Chait says that voxel deposition in the company’s patented High-Volume Print Forming can produce micron-level metastructures. Chait says a Voxel is like a tiny Lego brick. Little bricks made of a given material can be “woven” through the printing process with little bricks made of another material to create metastructures of multi materials that normally don’t bond. Chait says that metastructures made this way offer the potential to increase bandwidth in small antennas.
EoPlex illustration shows an example of a voxel metastructure
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
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.
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