Entrepreneurs and existing manufacturers are making 3D printers that automate production of composite parts, and are unique in their design.
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It’s been almost two decades since the C5 Corvette hit the streets with its groundbreaking chassis built around hydroformed steel bumper-to-bumper frame rails. The technology gave engineers a chance to create components that were both lighter and stiffer than traditional stamped and welded assemblies.
Researchers at Rice University (Houston) have discovered a titanium-gold (TiAu3) alloy that is harder than most steels and may be an optimal choice for use in orthopedic joint replacement surgery.
Lightweighting is so established it’s now part of marketing for new vehicles. Automakers routinely detail how much less models weigh than their predecessors. General Motors Co., for example, has said a range of its vehicles is anywhere from almost 250 lb (112.5 kg) to 700 lb (315 kg) lighter.
Friction welding may be just the recipe for joining lightweight materials
Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite materials deliver the important performance advantages of high strength-to-weight ratio, durability, and extreme corrosion resistance in lightweight structures, valued especially for demanding aerospace and oil and gas industry applications.
Daimler may be the first vehicle maker to offer 3D-printed replacement parts, but racing enthusiasts and car collectors like Jay Leno have been using additive manufacturing and 3D scanning for many years to replace worn-out parts or to enhance their rides.
There’s an old saw that if bumblebees were aeronautical engineers they would know they can’t fly. Quite apart from the miracle of their flight, bees also happen to make a lightweight structure of surprising strength, just the sort of thing you’d want if you were building aircraft: honeycomb.
Titanium aluminides possess many characteristics that make them highly attractive for high-temperature structural applications in automotive and aerospace industries. Their high specific strength, high-temperature stability and oxidation resistance relative to conventional titanium and nickel alloys make them beneficial for use in low-pressure turbine blades for aerospace engines, as well as turbochargers and exhaust values in automotive engines.
3D printing has become the medium of the new technological revolution as its applications diversify from printing food to weapons, from clothing to industrial products. It is also finding more uses in the medical space, including Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P).