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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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


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


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


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


Recycling permanent magnets

The Fraunhofer Institute in Germany has developed a process to recycle permanent magnets. Up until now, extracting rare earth elements from magnets has been both laborious and expensive.  Read More


Largest diamond in a century

The second largest diamond ever has been extracted from a mine in Botswana.   Read More


Additive metal parts

Laser manufacturer TRUMPF has increasingly established itself in the field of additive manufacturing. Its laser metal fusion (LMF) and laser metal deposition (LMD) machines have been well received by those looking to prototype and make small volume parts.   Read More


The aluminium industry and metal replacement

While many associate exotic materials with weight reduction, the aluminium industry is keen to remind engineers it is also part of the solution. Justin Cunningham reports.  Read More


The testing and analysis of wind turbine blades

We talk to an engineer whose day job it is to bend and even break goliath wind turbine blades, and find out what can be learnt as the materials are put through their paces. Justin Cunningham reports.  Read More


Productionising 3D printing

Additive manufacturing is having a profound effect on the way some engineers produce plastic parts. Ben Hargreaves and Justin Cunningham look at some pioneering aerospace examples that could see the technology exploited more widely.  Read More


Resurrecting the plastic engine

We catch up with the inventor and instigator of the original Polimotor to see what has changed, and why the project is returning to frontline development. Justin Cunningham tells the story.  Read More


Composites UK calls for skills overhaul

With composite manufacture relying heavily on skilled individuals, the industry is making moves to standardise training and increase its workforce.  Read More


Early graphene adopters lead way for greater commercialisation

After years of development, graphene is set for commercialisation. Here, we find out the applications that are likely to benefit and the techniques that have been developed to make series production possible. James Bakewell reports.  Read More


Is building bigger, better?

As the demand for wind power continues to rise, manufacturers are having to build ever larger wind turbine blades. But can the materials cope, or does it require a rethink?  Read More


Options and opportunities

The proliferation of engineering plastics in to all industrial sectors continues at speed. These days, nothing seems to be off limits and some incredible products have come to market replacing components traditionally made from metals. The automotive market seems to be on the frontline of this materials sea change, with everything from interior panels to structural parts being made from polymers.  Read More


Physical vs Virtual testing

While simulation has become a vital development tool, it still can't do everything. But with the high cost of physical acting as a barrier, it seems neither is ideal. Engineering Materials looks at how both are upping their game to offer more.   Read More


The (long) road to qualification

While parts are being flown on aircraft made from additive manufacturing processes, what are the challenges in getting the material flying. Justin Cunningham finds out.   Read More


Functional Chameleon

Could a colour changing nano coating provide changing properties and functionality to non-metal parts?  Read More


Building colour confidence

Carbon fibre uses the Henry Ford attitude: ‘You can have any colour, as long as it’s black’. And it’s here designers and engineers face a challenge. But, is that about to change?  Read More


Technology built on industry

In the build up to the launch of the Manufacturing & Engineering North East event in July 2015, we asked John Pullin to look at how the past has influenced the present to make this such a vibrant region for the technology sector.  Read More


WMG invests in low carbon mobility research

Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick has invested in an LDS V8 combo shaker, to support its government-funded research into low carbon mobility.   Read More


Robot has elevated payload

With a load capacity of 650kg and a reach of 2.7m, the Smart NJ 650 has been added to the range of robots available from Comau.  Read More


Hydraulic training area marks National Apprenticeship Week

An engineering training facility was unveiled, by The JCB Academy and Parker Hannifin, to mark National Apprenticeship Week.  Read More


Raising the BAR

If you have the best sailor in the Olympic history, sailing the best boat available, then the long wait for a British victory in the America's Cup will be over. Easier said than done of course  Read More


The difficulty of qualifying exotic materials and processes for flight

The rise of non-standardised materials means the process of qualification has become a daunting and expensive task that’s in danger of suffocating further innovation. Chris Shaw asks, is there an answer?  Read More

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