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.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
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.
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