Polymer chemists and metallurgists like to stay busy. The number of material grades — plastics, elastomers and metals — grows year after year. And that growth is good news for design engineers who have to find new materials that can help boost product performance while keeping costs in check.
But there's a downside too. As the pool of material grades swells, it takes more time and engineering energy to find the right one for a given application. This Design News supplement should help you cope with the problem of materials overload. It covers a variety of new and recently enhanced plastics, elastomers and metals.
Unlike many product round-ups, though, the materials aren't lumped together only according to broad classifications — like "plastics" or "metals." Instead, the products are organized around far more focused technical themes. In the Engineering Plastics section, to take one example, you'll find a look at unconventional plastics for use in clear parts. Another article highlights breakthroughs in sustainable polymers.
The same focused approach also extends to metals and elastomers. And since so much of what you can do with a material comes down to how it's processed, we've included plenty of information on advanced injection molding techniques, as well as rubber and metal molding.
Not all the news covered here involves materials for production use. We've also covered two related areas. One is rapid prototyping, and the supplement contains articles on the latest machines and materials. The other is fastening and joining, with adhesives in particular offering a surfeit of choices that can potentially eat up valuable engineering time.
Now, it's true we could squeeze a bunch more products into an issue like this if we went with the usual laundry-list approach. But we think adding some context to product listings makes them more useful to working engineers. We hope you agree.