3M says its reflective mirror film technology has the potential to revolutionize solar power, and bring the cost of generating electricity from solar energy closer to that of fossil fuels. Tim Hebrink, a scientist at 3M’s Corporate Research Process Laboratory (shown below), will review the company’s technical developments at one of three new technology forums at the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) annual technical conference (ANTEC) in Boston May1-5. Seven technical presentations will focus on roll-to-roll photovoltaic systems, solar concentrators, and flexible displays. Organizations represented by the presenters will include DuPont, 3M, Sabic, SkyFuel, Guardian Industries, Akron Polymer Systems, and the University of Akron.
A detailed agenda for each symposium is posted at the SPE Web site.
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.
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