Engineering Materials Features

Delve more deeply in to the world of materials innovation. Our expert editors bring you a host of the latest thinking, innovation, materials views and opinions from industry about how to improve design and what you should be thinking about when it comes to questions about materials in design and engineering.

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01/03/2019

New material development transforms design and manufacturing processes

The use and availability of new materials sometimes not merely enhances an existing design or process, it revolutionises it entirely. As a global leader in materials manufacturing, Morgan Advanced Materials has more experience than most of this phenomenon and has developed a proprietary leachable material which significantly cuts investment casting times in turbine engine blades by up to 20%.  Read More

28/02/2019

The environmental impact of plastic is driving development of bio-based plastics, but these pose their own difficulties

There can be few hotter topics in the materials sector than the use of plastics. For more than 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise. In 2016, the world produced around 335 million tonnes. However, continued support for the introduction of bio-based products continues to gain momentum, suggesting that wider market penetration is around the corner. Market data shared at the 12th European Bioplastics Conference last November indicated: “Global production capacities of bioplastics are expected to grow by 20% in the next five years.”  Read More

27/02/2019

3D printed carbon-composite wind tunnel model

One of the more significant applications in the aerospace sector is the new wind tunnel model of the Leonardo tiltrotor AW609 manufactured by CRP Technology for Leonardo Helicopter Division (Leonardo HD, formerly known as Agusta Westland).  Read More

26/02/2019

NCC's large-scale resin infusion capabilities enable full-scale manufacturing demonstrations

The National Composites Centre (NCC) and Composite Integration have successfully completed a year-long project to design and deliver a state-of-the-art, first of its kind, Large Scale Resin Infusion (LSRI) technology. This innovative system has been designed to meet the R&D demands of both aerospace and wind industry manufacturing where components can range from 17m up to 120m in length.  Read More

02/11/2018

Lighter landings

Aircraft landing gear has historically been manufactured with the same kinds of materials due to high safety records. Now, a UK project will use composites to reduce their weight by nearly a third, whilst also retaining their strength.  Read More

01/11/2018

Coatings boost medical device performance

By applying PVD coatings to surgical instruments, implants and other medical devices, OEMs can increase value and differentiate products with functional properties.  Read More

31/10/2018

Are 3D printing materials sustainable?

With additive manufacturing (AM) techniques being widely adopted in industries worldwide, design engineering and manufacturing are undoubtedly being ushered into a new era of development. But, how environmentally sustainable are AM materials?  Read More

30/10/2018

Live and kicking

Once again, Engineering Materials Live has offered a superb venue for materials suppliers and end users to meet and exchange ideas.  Read More

07/09/2018

Sealing the deal

CeraCon is a foam sealing company, based in the Midlands. it offers a unique foam sealing process as an alternative to self-adhesive, manually applied gaskets.   Read More

06/09/2018

The value of Leading Edge Protection has never been greater now wind power is the largest renewable energy source in Europe

Although it may seem innocuous, the impact of debris and weather (in particular rain) on a wind turbine blade can cause significant damage. Based on a 2mm diameter droplet and an 80m/s tip speed, the pressure imparted by a raindrop is estimated at 120MPa – higher than the yield stress quoted for some blade materials.   Read More

05/09/2018

Composites prototypes can now be tested to the same tolerances as the finished product

In Modena, homeland of supercars and motor valley of Italy, Energica Motor Company has utilised F1 and Le Mans technologies and engineering to produce ‘Energica EGO’, the first high-performance full-electric motorcycle.   Read More

04/09/2018

Attitudes towards additive manufacturing in automotive applications may be changing

When it comes to automotive and other consumer-facing industries focused on producing high volumes of parts at low costs, the current generation of AM processes is considered incapable of meeting these needs.  Read More

03/09/2018

Major improvements in filament fusion and laser sintering using polymer solutions are being demonstrated

PEEK polymer pioneer Victrex is preparing newly developed materials for Additive Manufacturing (AM). The first of these is a high strength material for laser sintering (LS) which attains lower refresh rates, resulting in improved recycling for unsintered powder. The second is a filament with better Z-strength than existing PolyArylEtherKetone (PAEK) materials and better printability for filament fusion (FF). The detailed technical results are expected to be presented at the bi-annual Additive Manufacturing conference of the University of Exeter Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM), in September 2018.  Read More

11/06/2018

Class knuckle

Ford C-segment cars, such as the Focus, could become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly thanks to a lightweight rear suspension component designed by the CLASS (composite lightweight automotive suspension system) research project team.  Read More

11/06/2018

Slashing titanium production costs allows broader range of applications

In many senses, titanium fulfils the criteria one might expect of a ‘wonder material’. It is significantly stronger than most commonly-used grades of steel, but is approximately half the density (and thus weight), meaning it is of huge value in any application where robustness, corrosion resistance or weight reduction are critical factors. These attributes mean that titanium has seen extensive use in applications such as aerospace, defence and motorsport.  Read More

11/06/2018

Online databases make the sourcing and supply of materials a less daunting task

As with all industries, digitisation is transforming the materials sector. The ability to identify, specify and source the right material for the right task without having to wade through endless documentation is one way that digitalisation is having an effect.  Read More

11/06/2018

New bonding applications require better, more robust materials

The increasing incidence of sophisticated additive manufacturing applications means that better and more sophisticated material and bonding technologies are having to be developed in order to keep up.  Read More

11/06/2018

Materials take centre stage

Another successful Engineering Materials Live event was held in May, with visitors able to access some hugely valuable information to aid them in their materials selection.  Read More

12/03/2018

Is the automotive industry about to give up on advanced materials?

The automotive industry is on the cusp of some drastic changes. According to a recent report by analyst IHS Markit, changes in personal transportation over the next 20 years will be more profound than anything experienced over the past century. The signs are clear as electric vehicle (EV) production increases, ‘mobility-as-a-service’ – such as ride-hailing app Uber – continue to disrupt and autonomous vehicles (AVs) begin to emerge.  Read More

09/03/2018

Shape memory alloy allows for foldable wings without actuators

Nasa has successfully applied a new technology in flight that allows aircraft to fold their wings to different angles while in the air.  Read More

08/03/2018

Rail engineers are using advanced materials to improve operational efficiency

The buzz around metal replacement and lightweighting has become synonymous with automotive developments, with carmakers now spending millions to strip out excess kilos. The ultimate driver is, of course, efficiency and the push to meet impending EU tailpipe emission limits of 95g of CO2 per km across a manufacturer’s fleet. It is, and continues to be, a mammoth challenge.  Read More

07/03/2018

How a German automotive giant helped the country’s downhill sledging team to success at the Winter Olympics

The German Bobsleigh and Sled Sports Federation (BSD) athletes had a score to settle at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, last month. Four years ago, the bob athletes came away without a medal. But, at the three world championships that followed, Germany returned to winning ways and appears to be ready for the Olympics. So, what’s changed?  Read More

06/11/2017

When bonding dissimilar types of materials, surface treatment can be used to improve adhesion

Whether bonding metal to plastic, silicon to glass, polymers to other polymers of different durometers, biological content to polymeric microtiter plates or even bonding to polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), plasma can be used to promote adhesion.  Read More

06/11/2017

Lightweighting process developments are helping automotive engineers to meet incoming legislation

According to the European Commission, cars are responsible for around 12% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. However, by 2021, phased in from 2020, the fleet average of all new passenger cars needs to produce no more than 95g of CO2 per km, which is a 40% reduction in comparison to the 2007 fleet average of 158.7g of CO2 per km. This demands a fuel consumption of around 4.1L per 100km (65mpg) for petrol and 3.6L per 100km for diesel (57mpg).  Read More

06/11/2017

Assessing the impact

The plastics industry is one of the UK’s largest sectors with strong links to the EU. Here, James Bakewell finds out from the British Plastics Federation about what Brexit means and if manufacturers should be worried.  Read More

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