Vertech's new materials will be manufactured in the UK from UK-sourced recycled materials. "We shouldn't be sending so much of the UK's waste plastic to landfill, nor should we be shipping it to China," William Mainwaring, co-founder and CEO of Vertech, said in a press release. "With this unique technology, we can now recycle it ourselves to produce increasingly sought-after high-quality and sustainable construction materials for the European market."
This year, Vertech plans to open a manufacturing facility in northern Wales to produce its own material, and it will work with Axion to combine its knowledge of the bridge market with technology from Rutgers.
On its Website, Axion bills the Struxure RSC products used in the Scottish bridge as "Composite Infrastructure Products." This looks to me like the wave of the future. It may not be technically renewable or sustainable, but an industrial-strength Trex could go a long way toward solving the problem of all that unused plastic that would otherwise end up in landfills.
An efficient way of using those plastic bottles, thus great thought of waste management. Recycling plastic is the easiest way of making our earth cleaning and free from plastic landfilling. We at Replas encouraging for the same concept of plastic recycling as we manufacturing plastic recycled products like plastic profiles, plastic deck, bollards, furniture etc.
Actually, this material is being used for heavy-duty bridges built to take heavy traffic. The Fort Bragg bridge Chuck references was made for military vehicles, such as Army tanks, and the bridge I reported on, in Scotland, is built to take heavy equipment loads. The same material is used to build railroad bridges, including ties. Pretty amazing stuff. And it looks like the materials supplier, Axion, is increasing its production capability with at least one manufacturing facility:
Thanks for the info Charles. I'm amazed that they were able to get the specs to be that good, actually. Whilel this is not necessarily a material that you would want to use for long-term, high-weight traffic, it might be a great option for lower cost pedestrian bridges in a park, for example.
Chuck, thanks for sifting through the specs and making comparisons with steel. Sounds like, at least for now, this material competes with steel on the lower-end apps in terms of strength and length. But at least it's been done at all--it's a start!
Thanks for the link, Ann. From what I can tell in the Fort Bragg bridge, the Elastic Modulus was somewhere above 350 ksi, which would be very low compared to steel. Ultimate bending strength is 2,300 psi, which again would be much lower than steel. I think steel bridges are designed for 36,000 psi in bending. My guess is that this wouldn't give you the long unsupported spans that steel would but it's very impressive nonetheless and obviously has supported some high loads in short spans.
Thanks for the fire-retardant info. What exactly is the "totally safe component in the material that retards fire"?
Regarding the 34:1 ROI, to be honest that's one of those phrases that tends to sound like PR or marketing, at least without enough contextual info for comparisons. ROI on exactly what? Compared to what? Those are the questions I usually ask a vendor. In any case, what readers have been wanting to know, and so have I, is the relative costs of this material vs the traditional ones, and that information doesn't seem to be available. Hence my guess that the material must be relatively inexpensive by now--or at least the comparative COO with steel must be relatively low, if the Army has been willing to pay for it.
Did you listen to the Army video I gave the link for? There is a 34:1 ROI on the bridges. There is a totally safe component in the material that retards fire. There are also coatings we have developed to render the material totally fireproof.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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