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.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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