Composites Stabilize Diesel Train Engine Enclosures
A prototype diesel train engine housing made of a new polyurethane-based glass fiber sandwich material saves 35 percent weight and 30 percent cost over its steel and aluminum counterpart. (Source: Bayer MaterialScience)
Ok, so it's jumbled, but that's the point. We've heard so much about the use of composites in the automotive sector and in aerospace, even with large-scale boats and yachts, but not so much in trains. Improved access to more efficient and cost-effective mass transportation is equally as important as alternative energy sources and lightweighting vehicles as part of green energy strategies. This is a cool development. Any big deals yet for the technology?
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
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.
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.