Use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) in cars continues to advance. Audi and Voith GmbH announced a partnership to promote industrialization of fiber-reinforced materials, particularly through developing a highly automated process for high-volume automotive production.”Fiber-reinforced polymers offer weight and strength advantages, which we have already put to use in the Audi R8 and the Audi RS 3 Sportback, for instance,” says Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi. Voith has been working for several years on the use of CFRP to light weight components in paper machines and in machine drives.
Audi has already made extensive use of other lightweight materials to make its cars more fuel efficient. These include aluminum, steel and magnesium.
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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