Recycled and plant-based composites are being used in underhood components of the British Lola-Drayson B12/69EV race car, which will compete in the 2013 FIA Formula E World Championship Series.
Jointly developed by Lola Group and Drayson Racing Technologies, the 850HP B12/69EV prototope was designed and built to demonstrate the potential of sustainable technologies in the harsh and demanding environment of sports cars. It incorporates advances such as inductive charging, composite battery power, moveable aerodynamics, and electrical regenerative damping.
The Lola-Drayson B12/69EV prototype race car, which will compete in the all-electric FIA Formula E World Championship Series, uses recycled and plant-based composites in underhood components. (Source: Lola Cars International Ltd.)
Umeco, structural composite maker for aerospace and automotive applications, co-developed the recycled composites and flax-reinforced composites with two different sets of partners. For the recycled materials, the company worked with ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. and WMG at the University of Warwick. ELG reclaimed end-of-life carbon fibers from Umeco's MTM49 epoxy prepreg and re-impregnated them with Umeco's MTM49 toughened epoxy resin.
WMG, Lola, and Umeco performed several tests to assess how the material's mechanical and impact properties stack up against the properties of the original virgin prepregs. The tests showed that there had been a minimal loss of strength from virgin prepreg, while fiber stiffness was similar.
Umeco's partners in co-developing the flax-reinforced composites were WMG and Composites Evolution Ltd. WMG conducted extensive research and testing, while Composites Evolution supplied the woven flax material. Umeco impregnated the flax-reinforced material with its MTM28 and MTM49 epoxy resins, developed originally for components that require high damage tolerance. Flax fibers were selected because their mechanical properties are similar to those of glass fibers, but their weight and environmental impact are much lower. Flax fibers also have extremely good insulating and vibration damping characteristics.
Lola has since manufactured parts for the B12/69EV using the recycled MTM49 product, as well as the MTM28/Biotex Flax and MTM49/Biotex Flax.
Yes, I remember the difficulties with component tracking and part numbers. For some reason REACH didn't see to cause the same consternation. At least not that I noticed. I guess it's becasue REACH was more of a reporting function.
Actually, among the high-end embedded board-level products we covered, RoHS seemed to affect most the manufacturers that served both mil and commercial customers, since they often ended up running two separate lines for two different versions of the "same" product. Mil-only board manufacturers were not affected much until later. One thing that did affect them both was the nightmare of components tracking and part numbers changing.
Since there were only two of us, myself and the editor-in-chief, I did a little of everything. Mostly we did not address distribution, but design and development technologies for HW and SW, comms, and a lot of board-level products and technologies. I wrote several features on RoHS, too.
As I learned working for COTS Journal, COTS doesn't just mean actual end-system computers and apps software. It can also refer more broadly to both software and hardware design and development platforms, specifically for creating end-system hardware and software used in the field. Ruggedization is taken for granted for military field use; that feature doesn't determine whether a machine is COTS. A COTS-based machine may also be further tweaked--and usually is--for specific apps. The big difference is that the military is no longer spending zillions of dollars on proprietary, entirely customized systems.
What I've heard is that the COTS stuff is used for office and support functions. When it comes to electronics out in the field, the electronics are ruggedized (and leaded) so they can withstand a difficult environment over many years.
The COTS systems, platforms, networking technologies, and software are, as the term says, commercial off-the-shelf hardware and software, meaning stuff that's originally designed and built for the rest of us. Basically, that means the military is using Windows-based laptops and other standard commercial hardware and software, as well as standard networking protocols, which is actually kind of scary. This is instead of spending zillions of dollars on designing their own stuff, like in the "good old days." Even the NSA buys a lot of standard signal-processing equipment.
Interestingly, many of the older "antiques"--more like family heirlooms--in my house are made of bio-based materials, such as wood and paper (which also used to be considered sustainable materials until we nearly used them up), or ceramics and brick, which are sustainable. Even metals were sustainable, and still are. Most of these materials are commonly found in the rubbish heaps of our ancestors, and give archaeologists a lot to study. Much of the problem with materials becoming non-sustainable has occurred in more recent times because of overuse (due in part to enormous population growth), as well as because of newer materials with complex processes and polluting wastes.
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.