Brace for higher prices for industrial materials in coming months. Rising prices are triggering inventory building, creating the strongest demand for steel, nonferrous metals, and plastics in more than two years. Prices for flat-rolled carbon steel, the bellwether grade, have jumped six times since November, for total actual increases in the 20-to-30 percent range. Cash prices on the London Metal Exchange for nickel, a key stainless steel ingredient, have risen 15 percent since early January. Whirlpool announced this week that it will raise prices because of rising steel, plastics and paint costs. Value engineering efforts are sure to intensify as a way to fight higher materials’ costs.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
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.
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