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.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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.