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.
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
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.
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