DuPont of Wilmington, DE, spent 15 years developing a new category of bio-based materials called DuPont Renewably Sourced Materials. The company launched a Web portal at renewable.dupont.com to make it easy for design engineers to find and learn about these materials. In addition to basic product information, the website provides environmental data sheets for each product family. These sheets disclose information on the products’ cradle-to-grave environmental footprint, including an analysis of greenhouse gas emissions and non-renewable energy consumption.
DuPont’s renewably sourced materials are high-performance, bio-based materials and biofuels made in whole or in part from renewable agricultural feedstocks such as corn, soybeans, sugar cane and wheat rather than petroleum. In the future, DuPont expects to make these materials from cellulosic feedstocks from fast-growing energy crops such as grasses and agricultural byproducts like corn stalks. There are two criteria DuPont uses to select renewably sourced materials. First, they must contain at least 20 percent renewably sourced ingredients by weight, and second, the product must perform as well or better than petroleum-derived products.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
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