Advanced Materials & Processes

FEB 2015

Covers developments in engineering materials selection, processing, fabrication, testing/characterization, materials engineering trends, and emerging technologies, industrial and consumer applications, as well as business and management trends

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Better BamBoo Buildings Scientists at Massachusetts Insti- tute of Technology, Cambridge, along with architects and wood processors from England and Canada, are looking for ways to turn bamboo (shown above) into a construction material more sim- ilar to wood composites, like plywood. The idea is that a stalk, or culm, can be sliced into smaller pieces, which can then be bonded together to form sturdy blocks—much like conventional wood composites. A structural product of this sort could be used to construct more re- silient buildings—particularly in places like China, India, and Brazil, where bam- boo is abundant. The goal is to gain a better understanding of these materials, so bamboo can be used more effectively. Researchers have analyzed the micro- structure of bamboo and found that it is stronger and denser than North Ameri- can softwoods like pine, fir, and spruce, making it a promising resource for com- posite materials. Photo courtesy of Jen- nifer Chu/MIT. 3d printing is old hat in shower heads Water Pik Inc., Fort Collins, Colo., has been using 3D printer technology for nearly 20 years to speed design pro- cesses and create high-performance products. 3D printing allows designs to be fine-tuned and is up to 10 times faster than traditional prototyping. This gives engineers time to refine designs to meet rigorous performance requirements and address consumer needs. The company recently released a video highlighting the prototyping process, which provides an inside look at the 3D printer technology in place. The video also demonstrates how shower heads are tested to meet rigorous OptiFLOW (the power behind Waterpik shower heads) technology performance standards. shower-head/blog/3d-printer-video. star of david shines as molecular discovery Consisting of two molecular trian- gles, entwined about each other three times into a hexagram, the Star of David's interlocked molecules are tiny—each tri- angle is 114 atoms in length around the perimeter. The molecular triangles are threaded around each other at the same time that the triangles are formed, by a process called self-assembly—similar to how the DNA double helix is formed in bi- ology. The molecule was created at The University of Manchester, UK, by Alex Ste- phens. Professor David Leigh says, "It's the next step on the road to man-made molecular chainmail, which could lead to the development of new materials that are light, flexible, and very strong. Just as chainmail was a breakthrough over heavy suits of armor in medieval times, this could be a big step towards mate- rials created using nanotechnology." omg! outrageous materials goodness A Waterpik shower head design is prepped for 3D printing. Are you working with or have you discovered a material or its properties that exhibit OMG - Outrageous Materials Goodness? Send your submissions to Julie Lucko at Atoms in the Star of David molecule. Courtesy of The University of Manchester. A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 5 7

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