Materials & Coatings

Plastics

Learn the latest technologies and tactics for engineering plastics. Design engineers can browse applications and technical briefs for plastics used in 3D printing, military and defense, medical devices, automotive, and all areas of manufacturing.

Latest Briefs & News

Issue Archive: Imaging
2022 September August July June May April March February January 2021 December November October ...
Special Reports: Materials
Medical Manufacturing & Outsourcing - August 2022

A novel ink that enables 3D printing of bone with living cells...advances in ultrasonic welding of plastics...additive manufacturing of self-powered wearable devices. Read these stories and...

Briefs: Materials

Engineers have invented a way to spray extremely thin wires made of a plant-based material that could be used in N95 mask filters, devices that harvest energy for electricity, and potentially...

Briefs: Aerospace

Researchers combined additive manufacturing with conventional compression molding to produce high-performance thermoplastic composites reinforced with short carbon fibers. The approach...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
This method prints 3D structures made of metal and plastic, paving the way for 3D electronics.
Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
This process could improve large touchscreens, LED light panels, and window-mounted infrared solar cells.
Blog: Materials
A plastic known as 2DPA-1 is super-strong and super-light.
Special Reports: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Medical Manufacturing & Outsourcing - February 2022

How virtual, cloud-based technologies are powering the next industrial revolution...transforming plastic parts into high-value products...designing optics for medical 3D printing. Read...

Briefs: Materials
The carbon fiber reinforced material can be repeatedly healed with heat.
Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
An optimized flash process could reduce carbon emissions.
Blog: Materials

An everyday material that we all know well may lead to safer, longer-lasting batteries for the electric vehicle.

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
These elastomers have a wide range of uses for the building, automotive, and electronics industries.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Biobots based on muscle cells can swim at unprecedented velocities.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
SensiCut, a smart material-sensing platform for laser cutters, can differentiate among 30 materials commonly found in makerspaces.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
The camera combines lasers, computers, and terahertz waves to see “unseen” details.
UpFront: RF & Microwave Electronics
NASA's satellite data reveals the pandemic's effect on our atmosphere, and a team of shoebox-sized rover scouts is prepped for the lunar surface.
Blog: Materials
A team has created a new type of carbon fiber reinforced material that reverses any fatigue damage -- you just need a little heat.
Special Reports: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Medical Manufacturing & Outsourcing - November 2021

In this new report from the editors of Medical Design Briefs and Tech Briefs magazines, discover how the latest advances in 3D printing, machining, molding and more are changing the way...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Directly visualizing external stresses of plastics is useful in development of materials with improved mechanical properties.
Articles: Materials
Once triggered, the enzyme-embedded plastics self-destruct, completely degrading and eliminating microplastics in days.
Question of the Week: Green Design & Manufacturing
Will Technology Help to Reduce Plastic Pollution?

Our October Q&A in Tech Briefs highlighted an achievement from Professor Aaron Sadow of Ames Laboratory in Iowa. Sadow’s chemical process produces valuable biodegradable chemicals from discarded plastics, which are then used as surfactants and detergents in a range of applications.

Blog: Materials
The 2021 Create the Future Design Contest winner wants to build a truly recyclable bioplastic.
Q&A: Green Design & Manufacturing
A chemical process produces valuable biodegradable chemicals from discarded plastics.
Briefs: Materials
The process produces rapid, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly material.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High-voltage direct current cables can more efficiently transport electricity over long distances.
Briefs: Nanotechnology
With this advance, so-called “flextronics” move closer to reality.
UpFront: Unmanned Systems
NASA reveals winners of a CO2 conversion challenge.
Products: Materials
Power distribution units, pressure sensors, connector straps, and more.
Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
The reaction converts 90% of plastic to jet fuel and other valuable hydrocarbon products within an hour at moderate temperatures.

Videos