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.
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.
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.