One of the big engineering questions with the Boeing Dreamliner was how to provide lightning strike protection in a plastic-bodied aircraft. Composites have up to 1,000 times less electrical conductivity than aluminum, increasing the potential for damage
The average airliner is struck by lightning once or twice a year. Boeing added conductive material to the composites to provide a pathway for lightning strikes. The added weight, especially on the wing where fuel is stored, was one of the factors that pushed the Dreamliner above its target weight.
The Dreamliner successfully endured its first lightning strike in a test flight last year. But Boeing is exploring a new materials’ solution to protect composite-bodied aircraft from lightning strikes, according to Boeing’s Andy Harber, who made the comment in a question-and-answer session following a presentation at AeroCon in Anaheim, CA last week. Harber, who is senior project manager-design engineering at Boeing, did not provide any specifics.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
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