Richard P. Wool, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, thinks that turning soy into industrial grade plastic is food for thought. As the director of Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources program at the University's Center for Composite Materials, he uses soy for manufacturing the doors for a John Deere tractor. He thinks that most of the tractor, including the tires, could be made from soy. Wool points out that the advantages of plastics made from soy include biodegradability, abundance, and the fact that soy is renewable. "Soy-based composites have better physical properties," says Wool. For more information, go to www.udel.edu.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
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.
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.