The first priority for General Motors engineers working on the Chevy Volt has been to develop a powertrain that makes economic and environmental sense. As my colleague Chuck Murray has been blogging, there has been some controversy over GM’s interesting approach.
The second priority will be to dramatically reduce the vehicle’s weight in second- and third-generation vehicles. The Volt is built on the Chevy Cruze platform and weighs almost 3,800 pounds. The Cruze weighs 2,832 pounds. The reason: the battery package alone weighs 435 pounds, and there is other new gear associated with the Volt’s new powertrain.
Use of aluminum in the engine block to replace iron would be a logical place to start. The lost foam casting process would allow more complex and detailed features to be cast directly into the engine block. A near net shape part would reduce weight even beyond the difference in the weight of the materials. The foam pattern is formed from expandable beads, usually pentane-blown polystyrene. GM now has more than five years’ experience with the lost foam process on engine blocks used in trucks and sports utility vehicles.
The Volt would also be an ideal place to use the composite underbody that GM has been developing as part of the USCAR project. USCAR has reported significant improvements in the manufacturability and quality of fabric-reinforced sections that would replace stamped steel assemblies.
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
Researchers at the Missouri University of Science & Technology have designed a new nanoscale material that can transmit light faster than the 186,000 miles per second it usually takes to travel through air.
It has often been said that as California goes, so goes the nation. This spring, the state's wind power is setting energy generation records and solar energy generation is expected to rise sharply during the second half of 2013.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is