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

Rice University engineers have suggested a colorful solution to next-generation energy collection: Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) in your windows. The team designed and...

The marking provides easy-to-see legends on plastic buttons under widely varying illumination conditions.
The material can be recycled, making renewable energy more sustainable while lowering costs in the process.
Briefs: Green Design & Manufacturing
Process Turns Plastic Bags into Adhesives
A chemical process converts polyethylene plastic into a strong, valuable adhesive.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Technology Remedies 3D Printing’s “Weak Spot”
The technology welds adjacent 3D-printed layers more effectively, thereby increasing the reliability of the final part.
Ultra-thin and flexible metalenses could replace traditional camera lenses.
“The disruption promised by Industry 4.0 has already begun,” says Jason Melcher from the aerospace manufacturing company Ingersoll.
A technique enables manufacturing of minuscule robots by interlocking multiple materials in a complex way.
Articles: Packaging & Sterilization
Products of Tomorrow: February 2021
Next-generation solar panels, 3D-printed composites from NASA, and a new way to sterilize medical devices.
The "polymer of squares” could one day enable the use of plastic products many times over.
Research demonstrates the potential of a solar unit that can hang on the outside of a structure.
RadiBond technology, based on nanometer-thin coatings, provides ultra-strong and ultra-tight bonding between metals and plastics.
Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Products of Tomorrow: December 2020
Robotic exoskeletons, a breath-test for cancer, and plastic-eating enzymes are Products of Tomorrow.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Flexible, Sturdy Robot “Grows” Like a Plant
The robot’s extendable appendage can wind through tight spaces and then lift heavy loads.

Use of thermoplastics can contribute to weight savings for exterior components such as body panels, spoilers, and exterior trim. Some applications present...

The RepelWrap inventors explain why their product is especially valuable as the world confronts a pandemic like COVID-19.

Researchers at Empa and ETH Zurich succeeded in developing a material that works like a luminescent solar concentrator and can even be applied to textiles. This opens up numerous possibilities...

This material could reduce persistent plastic accumulation in the environment.
An environmentally friendly method upcycles carbon dioxide emissions into polymers and other materials.
Tech Talks: Materials
Advances in Thermally Conductive, Electrically Insulated Materials for E-Motor Applications

When plastics are used in electric components, the selection process examines mechanical properties, temperature capability, flammability, thermal conductivity, and moldability, as well as the need for electrical resistance to isolate the system...

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Cost-Effective Printed Sensors for the IoT/IIoT
With accelerated time from design to production, specialized foil sensor arrays will be expanding to many new areas.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Acoustic Monitoring of Laser Welds
Empa researchers were able to demonstrate real-time acoustic monitoring of laser weld seams.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
T-Ray Camera Speed Boosted a Hundred Times Over
Real-time terahertz imaging with a single-pixel detector.
Products: RF & Microwave Electronics
Product of the Month: September 2020 Tech Briefs
InnoSenT introduced the IMD-3000 radar system as an alternative to pushbutton switches.
Application Briefs: Materials
Traverse System Enables Vertical Farming
See how a system feeds plants, delivering about 5,417 gallons of water per hour.
Briefs: Motion Control
Wireless Aquatic Robot Cleans Water
Inspired by a coral polyp, this plastic mini robot moves by magnetism and light.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wraparound Sensors
These sensors monitor electrical loads from household appliances to support grid operations.
The new filament allows low-cost printers to produce parts with mechanical properties competitive with injection molded plastics.
This green process produces pristine graphene in bulk using waste food, plastic, and other materials.

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