Metal clamps are eliminated because of a new spin welding process used in the pressure line of the award-winning diesel exhaust fluid system (DEF) in the 2011 Ford Superduty pickup truck. A 50 percent glass reinforced polyamide quick connector is friction welded to a polyamide line in one of the many technical innovations in the DEF system, which won the Grand Prize at the 40th Annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala held by the Society of Plastics Engineers International in November. The all PA12 inner tube line construction is 40 percent lighter than competitive EPDM rubber lines, according to Scott Cooper, an engineer with Ford Powertrain Engineering.
Spin welding, a technical strength at Ford, is used to join spherical plastic parts. Generation of friction at the mating surface by spinning one part (upper) against a fixtured (lower) part, fastens the assembly.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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.