Innovation in materials engineering is one of the keys to a U.S. turnaround in manufacturing. That’s according to Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is conducting a “materials genome project”.
The goal of his group is to use computers to design high-quality functional materials by mapping the relationship between materials structures and their physical and chemical properties through a combined theoretical and experimental approach.
“We combine computational approaches in quantum mechanics, solid state physics and statistical mechanics, with selected experiments into a complimentary research strategy to investigate materials in the energy field,” according to a statement on the group’s Web page. Areas of interest are Li batteries, fuel cell electrodes, hydrogen storage, thermo electrics and solar cell materials.
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.
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