The giant K Fair, held every three years in Germany, is a great place to take the pulse of plastics technology. This year, for the first time, there will be a strong showing of plastics made from renewable resources.
One example is a Novamont-led project called ReBioFoam, which is developing a new flexible and eco-sustainable process with a low-energy impact for the production of expanded biodegradable packaging containing renewable raw materials. Biopolymers will be expanded using microwave technology in specially designed molding presses with innovative coatings. The process uses the water naturally present in the materials as expansion agents.
Can’t make it to K Fair? No problem. Keep an eye on the Engineering Materials blog and the news pages of www.designews.com Oct. 27 through Nov. 3 as I’ll be roaming the 19 halls in Düsseldorf looking for insights for design engineers. You can also follow me @plasticsblogger on Twitter.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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.
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