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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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


Additive manufacturing finds increasing applications

While additive manufacturing continues to be used to produce mould tooling, research is pushing towards production volumes of metal parts, while quirky low volume consumer design applications continue to surface. Andrew Allcock explains.   Read More


Time to ban biodegradable plastic?

Colin Williamson explains his plea to stop using biodegradable plastic: ‘Please don’t use them, don’t recycle them and don’t tell me how wonderful they are.’  Read More


The membrane marvel

Smartphones are being used for evermore varied applications, so protecting the delicate components inside from the elements has become vital. Engineering Materials takes a look at how a membrane technology designed for clothing is now being used to ruggedise electronic devices.  Read More


Auto-meshing for CFD is here... and it actually works!

Despite being used by many engineers, CFD is far from straightforward. So when someone claims to have made the process easier, it is understandably met with scepticism.  Read More


Composites ready for mass production of auto industry

Composites and the automotive industry are yet to answer the volume question. So will thermoplastics allow lightweight structures be produced in their millions quickly and at the right price? James Bakewell finds out.   Read More


Leading composites innovations for 2015 announced

As Europe's biggest composites show approaches, we look at the innovations that have been making the headlines.  Read More


Is carbon fibre unravelling?

The use of carbon fibre is proliferating throughout industry. But is the supply chain ready to respond to the expected increase in demand? Or is the wonder material about to unravel?   Read More


Serious wheel spin: Making sure the Bloodhound SSC's wheels are up to the job

It is perhaps one of the most ambitious engineering projects of our time. For the last six years, Bloodhound SSC has been steadily and methodically developed, and it is now coming together ahead of initial test runs earmarked for September next year.   Read More


Single part foam sealant helps produce a better gasket

It might not have the glamour of carbon fibre, but effective seals and gaskets play a vital role in product reliability and longevity. Yet, like mechanical fasteners, specifying them is often done with little thought. Gaskets and seals are not typically associated with innovation, with the default often being whatever was used last time.  Read More


Graphene: What does the future hold outside of the lab?

The 2010 Nobel Prize catapulted Graphene onto the world stage, and it's since captured the attention of the materials world. No doubt there are extraordinary opportunities.  Read More


Process brings colour to carbon

Carbon fibre has taken a leaf out of Henry Ford's book. You can have it in any colour you like, as long as it is black. By its very nature, carbon is black, and consequently as nice as any lacquered finish might look, if you want it in any other colour you have to resort to painting over the surface.  Read More


The materials innovation that make the XE saloon Jaguar's most important car yet

This, the aluminium intensive XE, is arguably the most important car that Jaguar has launched in its 92-year history. There have been more iconic, notably the E-Type, but it's fair to say Jaguar's future hinges on this new mid-size saloon poised to take on the might of German rivals like the BMW 3-series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-class.  Read More


Composites set to benefit transportation industries

Introducing exotic materials into industries where metallic's have ruled is an ongoing challenge for the composites sector. The materials' inherent low-density has always been its best selling point.   Read More


Engineering Design Show preview

Next month the Ricoh Arena in Coventry will host the award winning Engineering Design Show, now in its third year.  Read More


Contamination concers: E-cigarettes

One of the most successful consumer products in recent years is also one of the unlikeliest. Electronic cigarettes provide an alternative for smokers based on inhalation of water vapour instead of toxic smoke. In 2012 alone, UK sales rose dramatically from £2.5million to £23.9million.  Read More


Changing consensus: Modern magnesium alloys

Everyone remembers holding a piece of magnesium foil over a Bunsen burner and watching it rapidly combust in to a brilliant white flame. It's a powerful demonstration that is etched on the mind, leaving many to automatically equate magnesium with flammability.  Read More


Should engineers be nervous when specifying recycled materials?

As raw materials get more expensive and scarce, why not take materials in the existing supply chain, all be it at the end of their life, and use those instead? It's a nice idea as it cuts down on the amount of material that has to be sent to landfill and can make the lifecycle of materials much more sustainable and economical.  Read More


3D printed organs a step closer

An unfortunate dichotomy is emerging from breakthroughs in 21st Century medicine. With better medical treatment people are living longer, but with an aging population comes an increase in failing organs. Coupled with unprecedented population growth, the shortage of donor organs is in a critical state.  Read More

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