An aluminum alloy designated 7085 developed by Alcoa is getting a foothold in tough aircraft and military applications.
The first application of 7085 was for large die forgings on the Airbus A380 wing spars. Higher zinc along with reduced copper and magnesium content give the aluminum alloy excellent strength and high fracture toughness. It’s used in the Boeing Dreamliner for wing spars and engine pylons. It’s also being evaluated for thick structural parts, such as blast shields, on military vehicles.
Engineers shifted from titanium to 7085 for large forgings that form the center section of the bulkhead of the multinational Joint Strike Fighter’s F-35B variant for the US Marines and Royal Navy. Reason: To save weight. Titanium is 60 percent more dense than the aluminum alloy.
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.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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