Tag: materials

Breakthrough In Self-Healing Materials

Marek Urban and his team wrote about how they were able to give self-healing qualities to polymers that are used in relatively inexpensive commodities, such as paints, plastics and coatings.

The next step is to go from making small amounts in a lab to producing large quantities.

It’s not available at the industrial scale, but it’s very close,” said Urban, who is the J.E. Sirrine Foundation Chair and Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson.

Researchers have been making small batches of self-healing polymers for the last two decades, but producing them on a commercial scale has so far been largely cost prohibitive.

Urban said he and his team took advantage of interactions between co-polymers that he likened to spaghetti strands with little brushes on the side.




The longer the spaghetti strands get, the more they become entangled, he said. The side groups interlock like two interlaced hands, making it harder to pull them apart, Urban said.

At the same time, they like each other,” he said. “So, when you pull them out, they come back together. It becomes self-healable at that point.

As simple as this may sound, these studies also revealed that ubiquitous and typically weak van der Waals interactions in plastics, when oriented, will result in self-healing.

“This discovery will impact the development of sustainable materials using weak bonding which becomes collectively very strong when oriented.

Plants self-repair naturally.

What’s significant about his latest breakthrough is that if a company wanted to bring the technology to market, it would no longer have to build a new factory to produce self-healing polymers, Urban said.

Urban estimated that increasing the scale to make polymers or paints by the hundreds of gallons could be done in six to 12 months.

For anybody who wants to make these types of self-healing materials, they would have to essentially design a synthetic process and scale it up,” Urban said.

The key is that the scale-up process would have to be precisely controlled. There is a huge difference between making something in the lab and scaling it up. We know the technology is available for them.”

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Rolls-Royce Reveals Its New Phantom: ‘The Most Silent Car In The World’

Rolls-Royce revealed its new £350,000 Phantom in London tonight – describing it as ‘the most silent motor car in the world’

Whisper it softly, but the quietest and most technically advanced Rolls-Royce Phantom ever was launched in London tonight.

The flagship Rolls-Royce is designed to whisk the world’s wealthiest around in near silence and the lap of luxury – and it comes with its own dashboard art gallery for those who can afford the £350,000 price tag.

The new Phantom even paves the way for a future all-electric Rolls-Royce, ready to comply with Government moves to ban the sale of new ‘conventional’ petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040.




On the basis that silence is golden and the new Phantom limousine is ‘a work of art’, Rolls-Royce say their new Phantom is ‘the most silent motor car in the world’ and the quietest Rolls-Royce ever made –at least for the pampered chauffeur-driven occupant in the back.

The launch was hailed as another big vote of confidence in Britain – with the big Roller exported around the globe and considered the pinnacle of British automotive craftsmanship

The new Phantom even paves the way for a future all-electric Rolls-Royce, ready to comply with Government moves to ban the sale of new ‘conventional’ petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040

Bosses at Rolls-Royce’s parent company BMW – which earlier this week announced they were building an electric Mini in the UK – said the new Phantom demonstrated that they remain ‘fully committed to the future of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’, based at Goodwood, in West Sussex.

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Nike’s Vaporfly Elite FlyPrint Leans Hard Into Computational Design

Computational design is the hottest phrase in manufacturing and 3D printing at the moment.

It’s changing the way people make all kinds of goods, and Nike used it to design and manufacture its new Vaporfly Elite FlyPrint shoe, which it’s announcing today.

The shoe is a specialized edition of its Zoom Vaporfly Elite 4%, which was used by elite runner Eliud Kipchoge during Nike’s Breaking2 event, which resulted in the fastest marathon ever run.

The special sauce in this edition is the FlyPrint upper, which is printed on the fly by a specially customized 3D printer out of a proprietary Nike polymer.

The material is printed out in a pattern specifically designed for a given athlete’s needs and attached to the much hyped Zoom X foam midsole from the 4% model.

The process, which Nike is calling FlyPrint, has some similarities to Nike’s other famous ‘fly’ process, FlyKnit, hence the name. The printing process, says Chen, is a lot like painting the material.

The uppers look a lot like a regular butterfly upper, with the same kind of flexibility you’re used to seeing from fabric or other polymer-based upper materials. This is not a hard-shell 3D-printed material, it’s a fabric of sorts.




This is reinforced by the fact that several components of the shoe are still made of FlyKnit including the tongue and collar. Those parts are so similar in chemical composition that there is no glue needed to attach them.

Instead, the FlyPrint material is bonded seamlessly with the FlyKnit, making for a one-piece design that is stronger and lighter.

The process of computer aided design in consumer products has a long history — but computational design is an evolution of this concept and has begun to gain steam lately with production-ready 3D-printing processes like Carbon’s

Carbon’s M-series digital light synthesis printers and Desktop Metal’s Production System.

The guiding force behind computational design is that you feed parameters and physical properties into a model — basically limitations and desired outcomes — and get designs that would either be impossible or incredibly time consuming for humans to produce.

In the case of the new FlyPrint upper, the constraints are the properties of the material and the forces that Kipchoge’s feet were exerting on that material.

With that data, along with the chemical composition of the polymer, a computational model allowed Nike to tweak the design for support, flexibility, reinforcement or relaxation on a much more granular level than they could ever accomplish with FlyKnit.

Nike is using an established 3D printing process called fused deposition modeling, basically painting shapes onto a surface with production-ready TPU materials.

Neither will say what printers Nike is using but note the company’s history in ‘hacking’ manufacturing tools to get the job done. As an industry note, Stratasys is one of the more established players in FDM printing.

Computational design and production ready 3D printing are changing footwear as we speak. Adidas and Carbon are focusing on the midsole in fashion and basketball, Nike is reinventing the upper for elite runners.

But the real gem here might not be the speed or customization — both important advancements.

The Vaporfly Elite FlyPrint is a product for elite runners only, and a small amount of them will be available at an event in London soon, as well as on the feet of Kipchoge and other Nike runners.

But there is an epochal shift in the way shoes (and other products) are made coming, and this is one of the harbingers of that shift. Pay attention.

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