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[Image above] Credit: NIST

NASA tests aircraft wing coatings that slough bug guts

Bug guts create drag, and drag increases fuel consumption. But aircraft of the future could be made more fuel-efficient with non-stick coatings NASA recently tested on Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757. NASA and Boeing engineers spent about two weeks testing non-stick wing coatings designed to shed insect residue and help reduce aircraft fuel consumption. Researchers with the Environmentally Responsible Aviation Project assessed how well five different coatings worked to prevent insect remains from sticking to the leading edge of the airplane’s right wing.

Saving money and the environment with 3-D printing

A Northwestern University team has confirmed a new way to help the airline industry save dollars while also saving the environment. By manufacturing aircrafts’ metal parts with 3-D printing, airlines could save a significant amount of fuel, materials, and other resources. The team used aircraft industry data to complete a case study of the lifecycle environmental effects of using 3-D printing for select metal aircraft parts and concluded that 3-D printing the lighter and higher performance parts could significantly reduce both manufacturing waste and the weight of the airplane.

Trees are source for high-capacity, soft batteries

Researchers have unveiled a method for making elastic high-capacity batteries from wood pulp. Using nanocellulose broken down from tree fibers, a team from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stanford University produced an elastic, foam-like battery material that can withstand shock and stress. One benefit of the new wood-based aerogel material is that it can be used for 3-D structures, which enable storage of significantly more power in less space than is possible with conventional batteries.

Engineers develop ballistic wallpaper to reinforce temporary shelters

Engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center came up with a novel idea of fortifying temporary military defensive structures with rolls of lightweight ballistic wallpaper with adhesive backing that can quickly be put up on the inside of the walls. The wallpaper consists of Kevlar fiber threads embedded in flexible polymer film. When a blast occurs with the wallpaper installed, it acts as a “catcher’s net,” containing the rubble and preventing debris from injuring soldiers.

An inexpensive rival to graphene aerogels

A team of researchers in China set out to design a cheaper material with properties similar to a graphene aerogel in terms of its conductivity, as well as a lightweight, anticorrosive, porous structure. The team tapped into organic chemistry and conducting polymers to fabricate a 3-D polypyrrole aerogel-based electromagnetic absorber. They chose to concentrate on this method because it enables them to “regulate the density and dielectric property of conducting polymers through the formation of pores during the oxidation polymerization of the pyrrole monomer.”

New TMS study addresses major challenge to accelerating innovations in materials

Computational modeling holds tremendous promise for accelerating the design and development of advanced materials. This approach typically requires the development of models for individual length scales and time increments. However, there is a significant need for effective strategies to link these models and pass materials-related data and information across the length and time scales in order to achieve a highly accurate and comprehensive analysis. Practical guidance for overcoming this obstacle is the focus of Modeling Across Scales, a roadmapping study recently released by The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.