Techno Polymer Co. of Japan has developed a new, highly functional ABS film for use in solar panels. The recently developed black-colored backing sheet consists of a special pigment blended with weather-resistant ASA resin. Compared to solar cell modules with conventional black backing sheets, conversion efficiency has been improved by approximately 2 percent, according to Techno Polymer. The company says there were no negative effects on the module after the new sheet was subjected to a 3000-hour heat and humidity aging test. The backing sheet is currently under evaluation for commercial viability by manufacturers of solar cell modules both in Japan and elsewhere.
The new film is also being pitched to enhance appearance in the interior of luxury cars, and enable multilayer printing, mainly for building-related materials.
Techno Polymer has built a new production facility in Ohio to service American automotive OEMs.
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
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