RADIBOND – SUPERIOR ASSEMBLY OF LIGHTWEIGHT MATERIALS FOR TRANSPORTATION

Espen Hvidsten Dahl and Mikkel Kongsfelt, RadiSurfApS (Arhus, Denmark)

Winner of an HP Workstation

Technological developments are moving faster and so is the pressure put on industries to produce safe and sustainable products within a circular economy perspective. Hybrid assemblies that join dissimilar materials are key in modern product design and found everywhere — in smartphones, cars, TVs, dishwashers, and planes. But modern products increasingly rely on engineering plastics and fiber-reinforced plastic composites that are hard to bond to other types of material and using industrial glue prevents the plastic part from being easily recycled.

This becomes particularly challenging for the transportation sector, which has especially stringent legislation. Engineering plastics and fiber-reinforced plastic composites are considered key for lightweight materials to reduce a vehicle’s weight; however, the downside that limits implementation is a lack of cost-efficient, strong, and sustainable joining technologies to combine these materials.

RadiBond technology, based on nanometer-thin coatings of polymer brushes, provides ultra-strong and ultra-tight bonding between metals and the challenging plastic or plastic composites typically used for automotive and aerospace. RadiBond is a sustainable bonding technology that can also easily be reversed at product end-of-life for disassembly and recycling of the bonded parts.

Polymer brushes are essentially plastic chains chemically tethered onto a surface that can be applied onto almost any inorganic material and certain plastics. The polymer brush layer makes incompatible surfaces compatible, meaning that a coated metal surface can be joined to a plastic as easily as plastic can be joined to itself. This happens because the polymer brushes blend into the structure of a plastic to create a form of bonding called chemical entanglement — a type of immensely tight nano-Velcro ® bonding between the polymer chains of the plastic and the polymer brushes.

The assembly between a coated polymer brush surface and a plastic or fiber-reinforced plastic composite is achieved by melting the plastic in the interface, typically by welding or molding. The bonding can again be reversed easily by remelting the plastic in the interface to break the chemical entanglement bond and get clean parts that can be recycled or reused.

The process for applying the RadiBond polymer brush layer is a fast, simple, and cost-efficient dipping process that takes five minutes and can easily be applied on both complicated geometries and large areas. Application by spray and paint-on are also under development.

For more information, visit here .


HONORABLE MENTIONS:

3D Printing of High-Performance Ti Alloys

Duyao Zhang, Dong Qiu, and Mark Easton, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

A new class of titanium-copper alloys provides high strength and optimum solidification behavior for additive manufacturing. The 3D-printed alloys have fully equiaxed grain structure. This means the crystal grains had grown equally in all directions to form a strong bond instead of growing in columns, which can lead to weak points liable to cracking.

For more information, visit here .


3D Printing of Multicomponent Glasses

Lorenzo Barbera, David G. Moore, Kunal Masania, and Andre R. Studart, ETHZ, Zurich, Switzerland

A digital light-processing 3D printing platform exploits the photopolymerization-induced phase separation of custom resins to create glass parts with complex shapes, high spatial resolutions, and multi-oxide chemical compositions. It uses a 3D-printable resin made of inorganic precursors, a photoactive monomer mixture, and a light-absorbing dye. The printing process uses a commercially available desktop digital light processing (DLP) printer.

For more information, visit here .


Automated Process for Apparel Manufacturing

Brett Stern, Formafit, Portland, OR

The Formafit process is an automated method for apparel manufacturing in which a machine makes clothing without direct human intervention in a 45-second cycle. The system goes from a bolt of cloth to a finished garment and applies 3D fabric molding and ultrasonic bonding technologies to simultaneously affect the shape of the garment and the cutting/seaming of materials.

For more information, visit here .


The Future for Helmets is Now — Introducing Fluid Displacement Technology

Jason E. Kirshon and Donald A. DeVito II, KIRSH Helmets, Inc., Schenectady, NY

Fluid Displacement Liner™ technology for helmets allows kinetic energy to travel laterally throughout the liner, distributing energy before it is transmitted to the skull. The helmet fluid conforms to the wearer’s head and absorbs energy from impacts at any speed and at any angle.

For more information, visit here .

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Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2020 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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