New, tougher steels for landing gears are being developed at the Delft Technical University in The Netherlands using a novel engineering research approach. Researchers have identified alloys using artificial intelligence algorithms as opposed to traditional trial-and-error development systems that tinker with existing chemistries. The new system is faster, and at least ten times less expensive than the commonly used approach, says Sybrand van der Zwaag, a metallurgical professor who oversees the materials programs at Delft. Corus Steel in the United Kingdom is now producing trial lots of the new steel for testing. Delft professors reviewed new technologies in meetings with American technical reporters during an advanced materials review conducted by The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency
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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