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.
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
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