Improving production efficiencies of carbon composite processing is front and center at Apple and Daimler. Apple sees carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) as a way to reduce weight for housings used on iPads, laptops and other portable electronics equipment.
Daimler has signed a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with German automobile major Daimler AG to develop automobile parts made of CFRP. The focal point of the project is High Cycle Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), a molding process technology developed by Toray. Toray, in addition to developing optimal CFRP materials, handles design and molding processes, with Daimler being responsible for developing technologies for joining of the parts. The companies aim for adoption of the newly developed parts in Mercedes-Benz models within next three years. Daimler plans to mold CFP parts in a captive plant in Germany.
Daimler has set a target of reducing the weight of the body-in-white of its cars up to ten percent for all models under its Mercedes-Benz series compared with their existing models.
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.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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