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Content by Ann R. Thryft
Ann R. Thryft
Member Since: September 6, 2011
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Blog Posts: 514
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3D Printing Water-Based, Biodegradable Composites - with Robots!
Engineering Materials 
12/19/2014  4 comments
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Parasite Drones Will Suck Up City CO2, Give It Back to Plants
Engineering Materials 
12/18/2014  24 comments
Polish design firm NAS-DRA has proposed parasitic robotic drones that capture carbon dioxide from the air during the day and release it at night to plants growing on their wings.
Elastomer Goes With the (Waves') Flow
News 
12/17/2014  Post a comment
DuPont's Hytrel elastomer long used in automotive applications has been used to improve the way marine mooring lines are connected to things like fish farms, oil & gas installations, buoys, and wave energy devices. The new bellow design of the Dynamic Tethers wave protection system acts like a shock absorber, reducing peak loads as much as 70%.
Alcoa's Micromill Process, Alloy Could Change Car Manufacturing
Engineering Materials 
12/16/2014  8 comments
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA Installs Giant Composite Research Robot
Engineering Materials 
12/15/2014  7 comments
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
Video: ESA Plans 3D-Printed Moon Base
Engineering Materials 
12/12/2014  3 comments
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
3D-Printed Custom Spike Plates Outrun the Competition
Engineering Materials 
12/11/2014  3 comments
If there's one thing 3D printing's good for, it's customization. New Balance Athletic Shoe Company has begun using 3D printing to make customized spike plates for its running shoes made for members of its Team New Balance runners. They provide better traction and shave off a tiny bit of weight.
3D Printing Space-Worthy Satellite Parts
Engineering Materials 
12/9/2014  1 comment
Two teams, one based in the US and one in Europe, have 3D printed space-worthy support structures for satellite antenna arrays. These aren't prototypes: they're fully functioning antenna supports that will operate while exposed to the harsh temperatures and radiation of outer space.
3D Printing Stars at Euromold Show
News 
12/8/2014  3 comments
While most Americans were taking time off for the Thanksgiving holiday, 3D printer makers showed off their new systems, services, and materials at Germany's Euromold show.
More Reasons to Use 3D Printing & Plastics for Lightweighting Cars
Engineering Materials 
12/1/2014  5 comments
Here are a few more reasons to use 3D printing for making individual parts for cars and scooters, and investment casting from Solvay, Stratasys, and several divisions of CRP Group.
HP's 3D Printing Plans Still Seem a Little Out of Reach
Engineering Materials 
11/24/2014  5 comments
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
11 Robots Take Flight
Blog 
11/17/2014  9 comments
Flying robot hardware is still important, but what's getting as interesting now is some of the new uses, such as equipping them with medical equipment for aiding first responders, monitoring and recording biometric health data about athletes, and commercial aircraft inspection.
How Did a Concept Car Shed 26 Pounds?
Engineering Materials 
11/12/2014  19 comments
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Update: 4D Printing Self-Assembling Shapes In Carbon Composites, Wood
Engineering Materials 
11/11/2014  10 comments
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
3D Printing Super-Hard Metal Matrix Composites
Engineering Materials 
11/7/2014  6 comments
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
Students: NASA Wants You to Design its Next Space Tool
STEM Connection 
11/5/2014  1 comment
The winner of NASA's Design a Space Tool Challenge will watch the winning tool being printed on the 3D printer launched to the International Space Station in September. Students in grades K through 12 have until December 15 to submit entries.
HP Finally Reveals 3D Printing Plans
Engineering Materials 
10/31/2014  8 comments
After a year or so of missteps, false starts, retractions, and postponements, inkjet office printer giant Hewlett-Packard has finally revealed just what it plans to do in 3D printing.
Update: 3D-Printed Optics From New Material, Process
Engineering Materials 
10/29/2014  23 comments
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
10 Talented Robot Arms & Hands
Engineering Materials 
10/27/2014  14 comments
We've found an amazing variety of robot hands & arms in medicine, space, and service robots, as well as R&D and assembly. Some are based on industrial designs modified for speed or dexterity, while others more closely emulate human movements, as well as human size and shape.
Comment:Re: plastics - Ann R. Thryft-10/23/2014
Comment:Re: plastics - Ann R. Thryft-10/22/2014
Plastics Can Do Almost Any Job -- Even Yours
Engineering Materials 
10/22/2014  6 comments
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.


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A bold, gold, open-air coupe may not be the ticket to automotive nirvana for every consumer, but Lexus’ LF-C2 concept car certainly turned heads at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. What’s more, it may provide a glimpse of the luxury automaker’s future.
Perhaps you didn't know that there are a variety of classes, both live and archived, offered via the Design News Continuing Education Center (CEC) sponsored by Digi-Key? The best part – they are free!
Engineer comic Don McMillan explains the fun engineers have with team-building exercises. Can you relate?
The complexity of diesel engines means optimizing their performance requires a large amount of experimentation. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a very useful and intuitive tool in this, and cold flow analysis using CFD is an ideal approach to study the flow characteristics without going into the details of chemical reactions occurring during the combustion.
The damage to Sony from the cyber attack seems to have been heightened by failure to follow two basic security rules.
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