While I'v got an affection for plastics, I think it does have its limitations. There will need to be a lot more empirical testing of plastic in airplane body parts before the general public will be ready to fly in a plastic plane.
Alcoa calls this product a "third-generation" aluminum-lithium alloy. The "second-generation" aluminum-lithium alloys have been around since at least the 1980s. They are used fairly extensively in space applications, with the best-known being the Space Shuttle external tank. They are also used in military aerospace applications (for example, the MiG-29M airframe). However, they are less widely used in commercial applications. I think the biggest reasons are cost and unfamiliarity. Another issue is anisotropy of properties, although this is an issue with composites as well. Alcoa claims to have addressed this with the new generation of alloys: http://www.alcoa.com/global/en/innovation/papers_patents/pdf/LMT2007_110.pdf
Wow. Looking at the link to the information about these alloys, it makes you wonder why their use isn't more widespread: lower density; higher tensile strengths; higher elastic modulus. Where've these alloys been up to now?
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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