Look for interesting new technologies to emerge from a recent partnership between Solvay Solexis, Thorofare, NJ and Parkinson, Woonsocket, RI, to produce the first biaxially oriented polyvinylidene fluoride (PVdF) film. The first film was produced in Parkinson’s Marshall & Williams extrusion and orientation lab for a confidential customer. Changes in process settings and hardware accommodated the resin’s narrow processing window. The test was run on a 16-micron finished film. Biax PVdF film has unique properties, including abrasion and corrosion resistance that suit it to harsh applications, such as capacitors.One of the markets could be bilayer films used in lithium-ion batteries. Another could be very lightweight aircraft, such as the Solar Impulse under development in Switzerland. A laminated PVdF film is used for the underside of a 60-meter wing spar made of honeycomb-carbon fibers. An encapsulated photovoltaic system is on top.
According to a new report from BCC Research, PVdF films will grow at a 22 percent annual rate globally through 2015.
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.