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Plastics Fabrication

The Plastics Fabrication Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about materials and components, molding machinery and processes, extrusion and machining, and energy and environment in the plastics industry. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Sunlight Powers Oscillating Film

Posted September 03, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Scientists are working on a film that oscillates when exposed to visible, unprocessed sunlight. What makes this film different from others, however, is how it reacts to the light (video). Instead of using sunlight as a stimulus, the film taps sunlight as a continuous energy source. This feature could lead to applications such as soft actuators or self-cleaning coatings.


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1 comments; last comment on 09/03/2016
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Printing into Thin Air

Posted August 22, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Harvard researchers are 3D printing directly into the air without the need for a substrate. The technique uses a silver nanoparticle ink sent through a standard 3D printer nozzle. The ink is immediately annealed using a laser. The research team has created complex architectures, curves, and spirals, and believes they will also be able to make sharp angles and turns. The technique may open the door to applications in electronic and biomedical devices that depend on customized metallic architectures.


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Houston, We Don't Have a Problem

Posted October 25, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

With the ability to heal itself from the penetration of a bullet in less than one second, a new material developed by a team at the University of Michigan could be a means to keep astronauts alive in the event of a puncture to their gear. Even the smallest puncture in a space suit means certain death for astronauts. Most self-healing polymers take minutes to repair which is far too long to survive. The new material uses oxygen to speed up the healing process to virtually seconds, assuring safety for suits as well as habitats in space.


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3 comments; last comment on 10/28/2015
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Chip Off the New Block

Posted September 15, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Researchers at Duke University are telling the world that integrating lasers on silicon chips is so yesterday: instead they've developed a method to use nanopatch plasmonic antennas(NPAs) for optical computing. Rather than trying to solve the problem of laser incompatibility with silicon, the NPAs, made with quantum dots, can transmit at speeds up to 90 GHz today, and their plan is to hit terahertz speeds in the future. They've shown ultrafast spontaneous emission source and emission speed, and can precisely tune frequencies.


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Scientific Scandal

Posted May 01, 2015 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

The international scientific community is responding to a serious breach of ethics in the publication of several papers from University of Texas researchers. Published in several journals over the last three years, the research purports to document findings on polymer mechanochemistry. Many publications recently retracted these papers in light of an Angewandte Chemie notice that one of the authors had admitted to fabricating and/or falsifying data. While some have used the data successfully, the breach is of serious concern.


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25 comments; last comment on 05/11/2015
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