Ford has emerged as a leader in green technologies, particularly in the use of soybeans to produce foam for car seats. Our sister publication Modern Plastics Worldwide reports that Ford now plans to use recycled utility waste as a functional plastics filler. An English company called Rocktron produces glass spheres from fly ash waste from coal-fired power plants. The new compounds may be used to produce parts throughout the car, even under the hood. The hollow alumino-silicate spheres are said to provide a superior hardness and density compared to talc filler and are also described as less expensive than glass spheres made from virgin raw materials.
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.