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

Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Using Lasers in the Automotive Manufacturing Industry

Ever since Henry Ford introduced the first moving production line to the industry in 1913, automotive manufacturers have been constantly striving to streamline their processes,...

The lasers are small and efficient enough to fit on a microchip.
David Kaplan is solidifying silk to make products like rods and plates for medical implants.
This system protects workers on lightning and telecommunications towers, and on oil and gas platforms.
Briefs: Materials
3D Printing Technique Produces “Living” 4D Materials
3D/4D printing is merged with a chemical process to produce “living” resin, which has potential for recycling and biomedicine.
This innovation could lead to better drones, satellites, and biomedical devices.
The flat structure morphs into another shape when temperature changes, enabling self-deploying tents or adaptive robotic fins.
With the new microlattice pads, players will have greater protection from both single hits and a series of impacts.
The films could be used in impact-resistant glazing, windscreens, and displays.
Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New on the Market: February 2020
Low-viscosity plastic; coin cell holders; oxidation-resistant coatings; and more.
Special Reports: Materials
Advanced Materials - February 2020

Breakthroughs in plastics, composites, metals, and other materials technologies are enabling exciting new applications in industries ranging from aerospace to automotive to medical. Read more in this...

NASA is using the International Space Station as a testbed for 3D printing.
RFID-based devices work in indoor and outdoor lighting conditions and could transmit data for years before they need to be replaced.
A team in Germany has a quicker, cleaner approach to welding metal to plastic: The HPCI® Joining Gun.

By mimicking the outer coating of pearls (nacre or mother of pearl), researchers created a lightweight plastic that is 14 times stronger and eight times lighter (less dense) than steel. It could...

Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
High-Speed 3D Printer for High-Performance Plastics

3D printers that build small parts layer by layer from melted plastic can take up to an hour to produce a pocket-sized piece. This process is far too slow for the mass-production of...

A method was developed that enables information to be contained in simple plastic foils with a thickness of less than 50 μm, which is thinner than a human hair. Organic luminescent molecules...

Question of the Week: Materials
Are You Lightweighting with Plastics and Composites?

A Tech Briefs webinar this month focused on the idea of lightweighting – or replacing traditionally metal parts, like engine components, with plastics and composites.

How do thermoplastic composites compare to the thermoset composites already in use for several decades? A Tech Briefs reader asks.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnetic Metamaterial Amplifies MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues in the human body, helping doctors diagnose potential problems or diseases. Doctors use MRI to...

Your new industrial electronic product has been designed and the board components specified. It has been prototyped, either on a development board to check...

Semi-Liquid Metal Anode for Next-Generation Batteries

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a semi-liquid lithium metal-based anode. Lithium batteries made using this new...

While different approaches have been used to create artificial muscles — including hydraulic systems, servomotors, shape-memory metals, and polymers that respond to stimuli — they all have limitations such...

A 3D-printed polymer-based foam structure was developed that responds to the force of a shock wave to act as a oneway switch, a long sought-after goal in shock research. The...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
3D-Printed Soft Mesh Robots

Researchers have created 3D-printed flexible mesh structures that can be controlled with applied magnetic fields while floating on water. The structures can grab small objects and carry water droplets, giving them...

On-Demand Webinars: Materials
Lightweighting with Composites and Plastics

The automotive and aerospace industries, in particular, are increasingly looking for innovations that reduce weight, resulting in greater fuel efficiency. From car bumpers to airplane interiors, composites and plastics are being used more commonly for functional components that are lightweight...

Organic semiconductors (OSCs) have emerged as a new class of electronic materials promising a wide range of applications including organic field-effect transistors...

Briefs: Materials
Fire-Retardant Coating Uses Renewable, Nontoxic Materials

Researchers developed a new kind of flame-retardant coating using renewable, nontoxic materials readily found in nature. The coating could provide more effective fire protection for several widely used materials. The coatings offer the opportunity to reduce the flammability of...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smartphone Test Spots Poisoned Water Risk

Researchers have developed a biosensor that attaches to a smartphone and uses bacteria to detect unsafe arsenic levels. The device generates easy-to-interpret patterns similar to volume-bars that display the level of contamination.

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