In composite materials, the most common types of fiber are glass, aramid, or carbon. If the highest stiffness per weight is desired, then a design engineer might choose carbon. Aramid is an excellent choice for impact resistance, having the greatest strength per unit of weight. If cost is the main concern, fiberglass will give the greatest strength per dollar.
"Of course, there are many other factors used in selecting a type of fiber," notes Greg Kress of Kress Precision Composites (Pensacola, FL). "Even among these categories of fibers there is a wide range of stiffness values for carbon, several for aramid, and different types of glass fiber. Less commonly used reinforcement fibers are polyethylene (AlliedSignal Spectra®) and boron, which have unique properties that may make them the best material for the job."
Keep in mind, however, reinforcement fibers hold the key to strength in any composite structure. A composite fabricator normally has several types of fibers to choose from, as well as pages and pages of weave styles. Before an accurate selection can be made for the best reinforcement, the engineer needs to know more about the terminology used to completely describe how reinforcement fibers are presented. Any major fiber maker or composite manufacturer can lend an assist.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.