DuPont, a company famous for the invention of nylon and other plastics, is honoring two non-plastic materials as the top-level winners in its annual competition to honor outstanding new packaging.
The first “Diamond” award was issued to Exal Corp. and Alcoa Rigid Packaging for new “coil to can” (C2C) aluminum bottle manufacturing technology. C2C aluminum bottles use less material and are manufactured at faster speeds to enable a 40 percent weight reduction at a cost comparable to PET and/or glass.
The second diamond winner is Entropy Solutions of Eden Prairie, MN, for a new reusable thermal management system for shipping blood and pharmaceuticals. The package is based on phase change materials such as paraffin or eutectic salt.
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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