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
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.
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
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.