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?
The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement.
Advantech has launched a new series of motion-control I/O modules to meet the increased demands that come with more distributed industrial systems that require control of a growing number of axes and devices.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is