Sustainability is at the top of the list of trends seen by Nypro, a large custom molder based in Clinton, MA. “Bio materials have been on our radar screen for the past seven years,” says Michael P. McGee, director of technology at Nypo. “”In the last 12 to 18 months, it has started to take off.” He also said that while there is a lot of creativity in thinking about materials made from renewable resources, there ”hasn’t been a lot of connectivity to the marketplace.” Nypro is working on its first sustainability report which will measure the company’s carbon dioxide footprint (electricity consumption) and water usage as a percentage of sales. Nypro is also working with suppliers to index levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in coatings. In a presentation at MassPlastics, he also acknowledged a lot of confusion about what sustainability really is, noting that he has counted more than 300 different definitions.
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.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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