Airbus is expanding the use of fiber-reinforced materials, slashing weight by 25 percent over aluminum. But as usage increases, so does the likelihood reinforced parts will crack. Though cracks in fiber-reinforced materials expand more slowly as they grow, pilots and passengers would still like to know these cracks are spotted and fixed quickly. Airbus is working with Belgian sensor maker XenICs to integrate long, fiber-like sensors within fiber-reinforced plastic components. The resulting in-flight aircraft structural analysis system will monitor the internal health of crucial structural components continuously during flight. Up to 40 sensor fields can be evaluated simultaneously within one fiber.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
Researchers have been developing a number of nano- and micro-scale technologies that can be used for implantable medical technology for the treatment of disease, diagnostics, prevention, and other health-related applications.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
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