That’s the question in a makeover of the iconic Coney Island boardwalk in Brooklyn, New York. The debate over the last year or so has become an interesting intersection of emotion, aesthetics, climate change and cold hard cash. Everyone loves the old-fashioned East Coast boardwalks. Mayor Michael Bloomberg began the discussion with a decree that the boardwalk could not be built with the same tropical hardwood used in the previous boardwalk.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 2008, Mayor Bloomberg said: “Our City’s agencies will immediately reduce their use of tropical hardwoods by 20 percent. They will do that by specifying domestic wood, recycled plastic lumber, and other materials in the design of park benches and other construction projects.”
City officials originally opted for an all-concrete boardwalk for a variety of reasons, including economic. According to city officials, concrete costs $90 per square-foot, compared to $114 per square foot for a concrete slab topped with recycled plastic lumber. Fans of the old boardwalk howled at the outrage. A concrete boardwalk? As of April, 2011, New York City Parks Department officials proposed use of concrete for a strip down the middle of the Boardwalk with wood-plastic composite on either side.
That decision made no one happy, but it looks like it might stand.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
As we saw on the show floor this week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., 3D printing is contributing to distributed manufacturing and being reinvented by engineers for their own needs. Meanwhile, new fasteners are appearing for wearable consumer and medical devices and Baxter Robot has another software upgrade.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.