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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06/03/2015

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

06/03/2015

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

06/03/2015

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

06/03/2015

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

06/03/2015

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

06/03/2015

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

13/11/2014

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

13/11/2014

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

13/11/2014

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

13/11/2014

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

13/11/2014

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

13/11/2014

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

15/09/2014

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

15/09/2014

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

15/09/2014

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

15/09/2014

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

15/09/2014

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

15/09/2014

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

06/08/2014

F1 changes the world

The Science museum pays homage to the technology that has come out of Formula One. Justin Cunningham pays it a visit  Read More

13/06/2014

Lightweight composite material could be a 'game changer'

An anonymous industrial estate on the outskirts of Basingstoke might not seem the place for the start of a revolution in lightweighting, but if the partnership between Composite Metal Technology (CMT) and C&J Antich & Sons lives up to expectations, then perhaps the town best known for its plethora of roundabouts will have another, more impressive, claim to fame.  Read More

13/06/2014

Carbon fibre composites continue to proliferate throughout industry

Over the last decade, the civil aerospace industry has pioneered the manufacture of large composite components, taking the material from being considered exotic and destined for military and space bound applications, to the relative mainstream. And this has sparked interest from a number of different sectors including automotive and sporting equipment manufacturers looking to take out weight while improving strength.  Read More

13/06/2014

Aerospace industry moves to carbon fibre wings

The superior strength to weight ratio of carbon fibre reinforced polymers has made the material a popular choice for aerospace applications, as engineers look to make more efficient – and therefore lighter – aircraft structures. But, while the material offers improvements in some key properties, others are not always desirable.  Read More

13/06/2014

Physical testing optimises material properties

Many industries are currently re-evaluating the materials used in products, generally to improve upon cost, weight and performance. However, with this wave of change comes a need for thorough analysis. And while this has seen design engineers make intensive use of simulation software, the need for physical test data to correlate virtual predictions against has become another vital tool in the development process.  Read More

13/06/2014

Polymers find use in engine transmissions

Boston and Toronto based BPG Werks has created an innovative mode of personal transport, dubbed the 'Shredder'. Resembling the love child of Robot Wars' Sir Killalot and a Segway PT. The all-terrain stand-on dual tracked vehicle (DTV) definitely has the cool factor. The DTV allows users to go from zero to a top speed of 25mph, even on steep uneven terrain or through water, in just a few seconds.   Read More

13/06/2014

Polymers give longevity to components in the oil and gas industry

The word 'plastic' can sometimes be a vague term, with many perceiving it as an inferior, low grade material generally used for large volume production of simple everyday items from toys to carrier bags. However, when taking into consideration the extreme and arduous environment faced daily by the oil and gas industry, it is clear to see why engineering plastics are used across the industry on applications varying from the subsea sector through to LNG transportation and offshore.  Read More

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