More than 70 percent of an ABS substitute is made from starch, palm oil, and carbon dioxide. The research team used it to manufacture a vacuum cleaner cover to demonstrate its usefulness in consumer products. (Source: Siemens)
I don't think we should have to trade off one sustainability factor against another, in this case, a styrene alternative vs using palm oil. Actually this is a three-way tradeoff, since it's a creative way to reduce and make use of CO2.
Thanks for your comments. I'm aware of the palm oil problem, which is not insignificant. I decided to report this anyway, because finding a substitute for styrene is a big deal, since it's also bad for the environment. Humans aren't the only beings that are affected by it. Since this material is still in R&D it's possible that BASF, which has a deservedly good rep in sustainability consciousness, might be looking for an alternative to palm oil.
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.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
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