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.
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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