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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06/06/2016

Understanding failure

Joining composite together poses a number of very different issues from traditional materials. In automotive and those more use to working with metals the reliance on welding is no longer a turn to design staple. It is also not possible to drill and tap composite and honeycomb panels so standard fastener can be difficult to use too. And while bonding is also a popular option, it doesn’t bode well later in life for disassembly.  Read More

06/06/2016

Process innovation now the focus of the composites industry

The JEC Show in Paris has become the annual must go to event for composite manufacturers. The talk was once all about the possibilities but this year that turned firmly on the practicalities. While the composites industry has always been inextricably linked to lightweight parts, this year’s show was keen to highlight that high volume composite parts aren’t a pipe dream, but a production ready reality.   Read More

06/06/2016

Quartz fibre prepreg

To enable the manufacture of an intricately-shaped watch case for prestigious Swiss brand Richard Mille, North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) has developed a unique thin ply quartz prepreg. The 52g/m2 material made its debut in the exclusive RM 27-02 Rafael Nadal watch first worn by the Spanish tennis player at the French Open in May 2015.  Read More

06/06/2016

Staring at a tumour

Additive manufacturing is changing the way many sectors approach product development. However, outside of engineering, it is also being used by surgeons to revolutionise the way they approach major operations.  Read More

09/03/2016

Printed sensors for real time monitoring of metal cutting tools during production engineering and manufacturing

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is part of a UK based collaboration that aims to develop novel sensing technologies for the real time monitoring of machined metal parts.  Read More

08/03/2016

Clean skies: Nasa research for green future aircraft and plane design

Nasa targets some ambitious reductions in aircraft emissions and has piloted some seemingly bizarre to outright amazing concepts. In all cases, materials innovation remains key.  Read More

08/03/2016

Natural fibre composites vs carbon fibres: Engineering lighter cars

A UK funded project is aiming to develop automotive structures using flax fibres and a bio-epoxy resin intermingled with carbon fibres. The project called CARBIO, is developing hybrid composite materials to produce lighter, cheaper, and environmentally sound parts.  Read More

08/03/2016

Cheaper carbon fibre: injection moulding thermoplastic and recycled carbon fibre to make BMW clutch pedal

Carbon fibre remains a premium and expensive material, out of reach for most mainstream automotive manufacturers. However, recycling virgin fibres and mixing them with a thermoplastic offers an affordable alternative.  Read More

08/03/2016

Composite volume production: lightweight material challenge

While everyone agrees composites could be a good fit for automotive – at least when it comes to lightweighting – producing parts in the volumes needed is an area that continues to challenge.   Read More

08/03/2016

Engineering micro structure of steel and other metals by bi-axial deformation tests and analysis

Recreating the bi-axial deformation experienced by steel during stamp forming is allowing researchers to engineer the microstructure and yield lighter parts.  Read More

08/03/2016

Plastic pollution: project set to clean the ocean in 10 years

The oceans do a good job at hiding rubbish, but they are struggling with the overwhelming quantity being dumped in them. Tackling the problem over such a vast area is a mind boggling challenge. So, who better, than a teenager to try and tackle it.  Read More

08/03/2016

Graphene in car engine's oil benefits lubrication and reduces fuel consumption

The use of graphene balls in oil could yield significant engine efficiency improvements in coming years.   Read More

08/03/2016

Polymer embedded damage detection

Detecting micro-cracks or damage to structures has always been the bane of engineers. Here, Engineering Materials looks at research that could make hidden damage visible, as it happens.  Read More

08/03/2016

Metallising plastic: High temperature polymer gets metal finish

A high temperature plastic has been metallised by Albis Plastic to make a car reflector. Using vapour application, a thin metal layer is applied to the surface of the thermoplastic inside a vacuum.  Read More

08/03/2016

Fluorescent oil on Nasa plane to visualise flow

Researchers in the US have sprayed a fluorescent oil on a wind tunnel model to visualise the flow of air over the wing and body of an aircraft.  Read More

08/03/2016

Ballistic helmet for special forces has bulletproof aesthetics

UK product design consultancy 3form Design has designed a helmet for US ballistic protection equipment manufacturer United Shield. The helmet known as RAID needs to carry and hold numerous pieces of equipment, meet ballistic requirements while also ‘looking good’. It should be so cool, says 3form,that Tom Cruise will be wearing it in his next movie.  Read More

09/12/2015

The Weighting Game

Automotive researchers and engineers are looking for ways to knock the fat off nearly every part of a vehicle in their efforts to achieve higher fuel economy.  Read More

09/12/2015

Computational Chemistry

Computer giant IBM has used its computational nous to develop a new type of polymer that is stronger than bone, self healing and fully recyclable. Engineering Materials charts the progress of this breakthrough.   Read More

09/12/2015

Changing demand

As testing equipment gets ever more capable, manufacturers also have to make it flexible to respond to the cross-industry trend of changing material choices.  Read More

09/12/2015

Ceramic composites eye applications

The development of silicon carbide matrix composites is giving rise to host of initial applications in the aerospace industry and beyond. For example, General Electric (GE) is to ‘mass-produce’ ceramic matrix composites (CMC), following an announcement that the company will build two CMC factories in Alabama at a cost of $200million.  Read More

09/12/2015

Quantum dots already in trouble

Despite manufacturers already experimenting with quantum dots, legislative change in the EU could stop a boom in uptake before it ever started.   Read More

09/12/2015

Materials increasingly self repair

Self repairing materials are showing evermore impressive results. Here we look at two recent impressive examples that could soon be set for real world application.  Read More

09/12/2015

None more black

In the immortal words uttered by Nigel Tufnel of spoof 80s band Spinal Tap, “It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is, none. None more black.” Justin Cunningham finds a material that is laying claim to the sentiment.   Read More

09/12/2015

Sintering glass

What started off as a course project has developed in to a process of printing glass that is both transparent and structurally sound.   Read More

09/12/2015

Weaving the future

There is a global trend to lightweight parts across all industries. But while the materials have existed for decades, the manufacturing processes are only just coming of age.  Read More

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