A new shape-memory plastic that makes QR code labels look like Salvador Dali's famous floppy watch could prove useful in product and brand protection. Since codes can be read only when the labels are in their permanent, original shape, labels can store information that makes products tough to counterfeit. (Source: Bayer MaterialScience)
While researching and writing this, I kept wondering what would happen if it were possible to coming memory plastic capabilities with the self-healing characteristics of the plastic that indicates by a color change when it's been damaged: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=242838 That would be one multi-function uber-material.
Good question, Greg. Since this is just out of R&D, there may not be any data on that yet. At least, I didn't see it mentioned. For one thing, it would depend on the type of plastic and its specific formulation.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have achieved a first in lithium-ion battery science: the development of a successful lithium-based battery using one material for all three core components of a battery -- anode, cathode, and electrolyte.
The online Bar Steel Fatigue Database for automotive design engineers has been updated for the fifth time and now contains 134 iterations, or grade/process combinations. It provides better predictability for designing parts with long-term reliability and durability.
FPGAs use programmable fabric to create custom logic, but this flexibility comes at a cost -- usually around 10 times more silicon real estate and 10 times the power dissipation. Can we really claim any FPGA is low power?
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