Scientists at the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry are developing a way to add wood fiber to plastic to make it stronger. The process extracts nanocrystals of cellulose out of woody materials such as trees and willow shrubs and mixes them with the plastic. The result is a strong, lightweight plastic that will degrade in a landfill.
“By adding an ounce of crystals to a pound of plastic, you can increase the strength of the plastic by a factor of 3,000,” says William Winter, chemistry professor and director of the college’s Cellulose Research Institute. “And in the end, in a landfill, it’s just carbon dioxide and water, which can be taken up and made into more biomass.”
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
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