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

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 : Materials
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.

Briefs : Materials
Multistep Self-Assembly for Reconfigurable Materials

Self-assembling synthetic materials come together when tiny, uniform building blocks interact and form a structure; however, nature lets materials like proteins of varying size and shape assemble, allowing for complex architectures that can handle multiple tasks.

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Design of an Energy-Efficient Critical Angle Lens Reflector
Design of an Energy-Efficient Critical Angle Lens Reflector

The critical angle lens reflector has commercial applications that supersede ordinary mirrored reflectors. The physics of the critical angle lens reflector are based on the optics...

Design of an Energy-Efficient Critical Angle Lens Reflector
Question of the Week : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Would You Use a Device That Bonds Metal and Plastic in Seconds?

The connection of plastics and metals poses a challenge due to the different physical properties of the two materials. A joining gun from Fraunhofer Institute bonds metal and plastic in seconds.

Special Reports : Materials
Lightweighting

Demands for weight reduction and better fuel efficiency in the automotive and aerospace industries are driving design innovations and the development of new lightweight, high-strength materials. To help you keep pace with the latest advances, we present this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Automotive Engineering,...

Motion Design : Transportation
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair
Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair

For wheelchair users, the feeling of uneven ground can seem all too familiar. Determined to make ride discomfort a thing of the past, Israel-based SoftWheel has completely reinvented the wheel for a...

Plastic Bearings Redefine the Wheelchair
Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Joining Gun Bonds Metal and Plastic in Seconds
Joining Gun Bonds Metal and Plastic in Seconds

The connection of plastics and metals poses a challenge due to the different physical properties of the two materials. All conventional joining options, such as bonds using adhesives or rivets,...

Joining Gun Bonds Metal and Plastic in Seconds
Briefs : Materials
Self-Powered, Washable, Wearable Displays

Clothing usually is formed with textiles and has to be both wearable and washable for daily use; however, smart clothing has had a problem with its power sources and moisture permeability, which causes the devices to malfunction. To solve this problem, a textile-based, wearable display module technology...

Briefs : Energy
Material Could Make Plastic Manufacturing More Energy-Efficient
Material Could Make Plastic Manufacturing More Energy-Efficient

Anew material was developed that can extract the key ingredient in the most common form of plastic from a mixture of other chemicals while consuming far less energy than usual....

Material Could Make Plastic Manufacturing More Energy-Efficient
Blog : Transportation
Higher-Strength Plastics: How to Turn Polyethylene into ‘Transparent Aluminium’
Higher-Strength Plastics: How to Turn Polyethylene into ‘Transparent Aluminium’
Researchers created transparent polythene sheets that have a strength greater than aluminum – at a fraction of the weight.
Higher-Strength Plastics: How to Turn Polyethylene into ‘Transparent Aluminium’
Briefs : Motion Control
Multimaterial 3D Printing Used to Develop Fast-Response, Stiffness-Tunable, Soft Actuator
Multimaterial 3D Printing Used to Develop Fast-Response, Stiffness-Tunable, Soft Actuator

Fast-response, stiffness-tunable (FRST) soft actuators — or movable machine elements — were developed that could be used in soft robots.

Multimaterial 3D Printing Used to Develop Fast-Response, Stiffness-Tunable, Soft Actuator
Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials
Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials

Making electric cars lighter also involves reducing the weight of the motor. One way to do that is by constructing it from fiber-reinforced polymer materials. A new cooling concept...

Directly Cooled Electric Motor Made from Polymer Materials
Briefs : Materials
Plastic-Degrading Enzyme

Eight million metric tons of plastic waste, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, enter the oceans each year, creating huge manmade islands of garbage. Experts estimate that by 2050, there will be as much waste plastic in the ocean by mass as there are fish. A bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, can...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Extrans Permeation Measurement System
Extrans Permeation Measurement System

Many applications in science and industry require an apparatus that creates a controlled amount of a fluid introduced into another fluid. For instance, some material corrosion testing applications...

Extrans Permeation Measurement System
Briefs : Test & Measurement
Laser Ranging Can See 3D Objects Melting in Fires
Laser Ranging Can See 3D Objects Melting in Fires

Optical range measurements, already used in manufacturing and other fields, may help overcome practical challenges posed by structural fires, which are too hot to measure with conventional...

Laser Ranging Can See 3D Objects Melting in Fires
Briefs : Materials
“Metallic Wood” Has the Strength of Titanium and the Density of Water
“Metallic Wood” Has the Strength of Titanium and the Density of Water

Titanium is as strong as steel but about twice as light. These properties depend on the way a metal's atoms are stacked, but random defects that arise in the...

“Metallic Wood” Has the Strength of Titanium and the Density of Water
Briefs : Materials
Composite Advances Lignin as Renewable 3D Printing Material

Lignin is the material left over from the processing of biomass. It gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products. Researchers combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fiber to...

Briefs : Power
Electronics Withstand Extreme Heat
Electronics Withstand Extreme Heat

Most electronics only function within a certain temperature range but blending two organic materials together creates electronics that withstand extreme heat. The new plastic material could reliably conduct...

Electronics Withstand Extreme Heat
Q&A : Energy
Q&A: Columbia University’s Jyotirmoy Mandal Creates a Cooling Polymer

Mandal, along with Professors Yuan Yang and Nanfang Yu, built upon earlier work demonstrating that many simple plastics and polymers are excellent heat radiators that could be used for passive radiative daytime cooling (PRDC). Their challenge was to get these normally...

Briefs : Materials
Method Increases Adhesive Properties of Silicone
Method Increases Adhesive Properties of Silicone

Geckos, spiders, and beetles have special adhesive elements on their feet, enabling them to easily run along ceilings or walls. The science of bionics tries to imitate and control such...

Method Increases Adhesive Properties of Silicone
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Printing Technology Uses Sound Waves to Control Size of Liquid Droplets
Printing Technology Uses Sound Waves to Control Size of Liquid Droplets

Liquid droplets are used in many applications, from printing ink on paper to creating microcapsules for drug delivery. Inkjet printing is the most common technique used...

Printing Technology Uses Sound Waves to Control Size of Liquid Droplets
Briefs : Aerospace
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) 370 Resin for High-Temperature Applications
Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) 370 Resin for High-Temperature Applications

RTM370 imide resin was developed to address the limitations of conventional imide resins, which are generated from commercially available symmetrical biphenyl...

Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) 370 Resin for High-Temperature Applications
Articles : Medical
Products of Tomorrow: December 2018
Products of Tomorrow: December 2018

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Products of Tomorrow: December 2018
Briefs : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones
Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones

A process has been developed that enables the production of a 2-mm flat camera. The lens is partitioned into 135 tiny facets, similar to the eyes of an insect. The facetVISION camera is...

Compound-Lens Camera for Industry and Smartphones
Articles : Materials
Simulation for Everyone
Simulation for Everyone

With the computational power and software available today, numerical simulation is a real option to quickly get answers to complicated technical, scientific, and engineering questions. Not only has the hardware...

Simulation for Everyone
Blog : Materials
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are trying to solve the problem of plastic waste by converting it into something useful: Aerogels.
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
5 Ws : Materials
5 Ws of the SAFIRE Lithium-Ion Battery
5 Ws of the SAFIRE Lithium-Ion Battery

Who

The Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte (SAFIRE) fire-resistant battery can be used in consumer electronics such as cellphones, in drones and cars, and in soldiers’ packs.

5 Ws of the SAFIRE Lithium-Ion Battery