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Materials Monthly

The latest information on engineering materials

November 1, 2011
A nifty design aid for plastic resins
Technology helps heal chronic wounds
Materials fit for micromolding
Rust preventatives
PEEK-rubber composite seals
Solar inverter materials
Material facilities expansions
Society of Plastics Engineers conference news

Should a car's green credentials depend solely on its tailpipe emissions statistics?

Steelmakers don't think so. The automotive group of the World Steel Association, with support from the Steel Market Development Institute, an industry trade group, is pushing for vehicle emissions regulations to shift to a total life cycle assessment (LCA) model. LCA includes not only operational emissions, but also material and vehicle production and end-of-life-recycling. The group says focusing only on tailpipe emissions skews automakers' focus toward cutting out weight, even if producing lighter materials like aluminum, magnesium, and carbon fiber creates 5 to 20x more greenhouse gasses than steel prodcution.

A recent study funded by the group showed that fully engineered steel body designs for electrified vehicles reduce total lifecycle emissions by nearly 70% and vehicle weight by 35%compared to a benchmark.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts at, on our discussion forums, or by email.

Jessica Shapiro


A nifty design aid for plastic resins

Balancing the conflicting demands of design - for example weight versus strength - can be difficult at best. So most companies build prototypes early in the development process. When Proto Labs in Maple Plain, Minn., recently faced a thorny design challenge, it built 21 prototypes for what would be a hinged, injection- molded “design aid.” The structure’s 30 individual pieces would go into a kit to be assembled by end users. The design aid would show users how six different resins would look with each of four different finishes.

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Automotive Electrical and Electronics Innovative resin solutions for every application
DSM has a resin solution that's ideal for every application in automotive electrical and electronics systems. Our innovative materials support the industry's three biggest trends: mass reduction for cost savings, miniaturization, and design flexibility. As we move to make vehicles lighter and more efficient, we need durable materials that maintain their strength in thinner-walled components at higher service temperatures. Learn more about DSM's portfolio of innovative resin solutions and how they can improve electrical systems in automotive applications.

Technology helps heal chronic wounds

Physicians have been taking advantage of technology to help wounds heal for centuries by using bandages, stitches, and more recently, staples and adhesives. More recently, biomedical engineers and material scientists have developed several new devices and therapies that work on chronic wounds, those that show no improvement within 30 days.

One approach is bioceramic dressings from Cerdak, a South African company. A sachet of loosely packed, porous alumina-oxide spheres 0.2 to 1 mm in diameter generate capillary suction forces of about 56 kPA when in contact with liquids. They remove older fluid from the wound, prompting the body to supply more with fresh antigens and the growth hormones and proteins needed to fight infection, grow new tissue and blood vessels, and heal the wound.

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Materials fit for micromolding

Today’s engineers are often unaware of the chemical or biological properties of resins used in injection molding. But asking several questions can help with resin selection. The next step is to review some commonly used resins. In addition to material properties, many other variables affect molded-part performance.

For example, most thermoplastics come in a variety of grades that mold differently from each other. And additives such as glass, carbon, and other fibers change molded-resin properties and affect how the resin melts, flows, and fills a given geometry. Resin data sheets generally show information on larger sample bars. Micromolded parts — typically those with features measured in microns and total part size 0.25 in. or less — may require different processing parameters, such as gate size, than manufacturers suggest. Knowing what resins have the best chance for success can help when matching material properties to project requirements.

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Teflon Coatings - Dry Film Lube - Solid Film Lube
Donwell Company provides high-performance industrial coating application services, working with such coatings as Teflon®, Dry Film Lube / Solid Film Lube, Xylan® and Everlube®. Donwell is approved to apply coatings to meet many aerospace, medical, industrial and military specifications. Our versatile processing equipment accommodates parts from miniature to 20 feet (6 meters), from a single piece to large production runs.

New Products

Rust preventatives

Twelve different aqueous and solvent-based inhibitors and sealants prevent rust and corrosion on metal surfaces. The different product formulations provide different levels of protection on different metals and address handling, shipping, storage, removability, and post-treatment situations. Eight of the products are solvent based and provide up to 120 hr of salt-spray protection per ASTM B117 and/or ASTM D1748 with slightly oily water-displacing films, dry-to-touch, non-oily sealants, and soft-waxy, self-healing films including some low-VOC versions. A water-dilutable oil, a satin-gloss acrylic wax, a high-gloss urethane polymer sealant, and a high-gloss acrylic polymer emulsion are water based and offer up to 48 hr of salt-spray protection with minimal VOC content and no flash point.

The products come in 5 and 55-gal containers. A reference chart can help users select the product that provides the best protection, lubricity, dryness, and aesthetics for the application.
Birchwood Casey

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PEEK-rubber composite seals

A composite of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) film, acrylonitrile butadiene rubber (NBR), and fluoroelastomer (FPM) is for low-permeability seals. PEEK provides strength and rigidity with minimal creep while the rubbers resist heat and chemical corrosion. The resulting composite has low creep under high mechanical loads, little expansion in the presence of fluids and steam, high chemical resistance, and very low permeation.
Victrex Polymer Solutions

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Solar inverter materials

Electrical insulation, heat dissipation, and EMC/EMI materials can be custom manufactured for solar inverters. Discrete or multilayer insulation products can be tailored for dielectric strength, temperature resistance, and resistance to tearing and puncturing during assembly. Materials include electrical grade papers, films, coated cloths, laminates, and tapes for core, barrier, layer, and magnetic wire insulation; lead pads; and phase separators.

Thermal management materials including foil tapes, metal-filled elastomers, and wire mesh help transfer heat away from components. Electrical tape with aluminum and copper backings for grounding, bonding, and EMI shielding as well as conductive and nonconductive adhesive systems are available as is, custom die-cut, or laminated to other materials.

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News from MD

New white papers from HP and Intel:

Realistic User Productivity Comparisons for Upgrade Decision Making

AutoCAD® users can appreciate the rock-solid dependable performance they demand from HP and Intel® processor-based workstations. The Intel® Core™ and Xeon® processor-based workstation portfolio includes a wide range of machines that fit multiple user segments, from entry, mobile, essential, and digital workbench users.

Return on Innovation: Making Individuals More Productive

The value proposition for equipping technical and creative professionals has drastically changed. The unprecedented combination of economic pressure and technological advancement has rewritten the rules of how to do more with less. Teams may forego new hires or do the same work with fewer staff, yet they can avail themselves to new tools and techniques. The challenge then becomes how to equip these valuable and fewer number of professionals to be more productive and innovative.

Click here to register and download

The 2nd season has begun! Players from across the globe are still competing for fun, education, prizes and the ultimate bragging rights. Thanks to our sponsors for their support of the exciting online opportunity for engineers! Play Now!

Altech Corp.
Bimba Manufacturing Co.
Maxon Motors
R+W America
Smalley Steel Ring

Also, please download our first World's Smartest Design Engineer Study Guide, provided by Maxon Precision Motors, Inc. Brush up on motion control basics and learn more to help you excel at the game.

Click Here for a list of archived Machine Design webcasts.

Industry Update

Material facilities expansions

CS Energy Materials Ltd (CSEM), a joint venture of H.C. Starck, Goslar, Germany, and Japan New Chisso (JNC) Corp., Tokyo, has broken ground for a new plant in Minamata, Japan, scheduled to commence operation by mid-2012. The joint venture was created in Sept. 2010 to develop and produce cathode materials for high-performance lithium-ion batteries used to power electric and hybrid cars.

Smith Metal Products, a division of Plastic Products Company, Inc., Lindstrom, Minn., manufactures products through the metal injection molding (MIM) and ceramic injection molding (CIM) processes. The company broke ground for a 60,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Center City, Minn. The company said the new facility, located 3 mi from its current Lindstrom plant, is needed to meet future growth. The company’s parts are used in long-term implant devices, surgical devices, electronics, military, aerospace, firearms, and everyday consumer products.

Trexel, Wilmington, Mass., announced it has moved into its new 19,000 ft2 headquarters in Wilmington's MA Research Park from Woburn, MA. The new facility has a larger manufacturing area designed for better workflow and a new, 6,000 ft2 technology center for customer process and application development, including three injection-molding machines.

Society of Plastics Engineers conference news

SPE has announced technical sessions for Eurotech 2011, Nov. 14 to 15, 2011, Barcelona. Listings for bioplastics, color and additives, medical polymers, and other specialties are available in the conference's final program.

The society will host Thermoset 2012, Jan. 24 to 25, San Antonio, Texas. The conference will focus on how thermosets address energy concerns including efficient use, extraction, lightweighting, and durability. Register online at by Nov. 10 for discounted fees.

The SPE Thermoplastic Elastomers special interest group has issued a call for papers for its 10th Thermoplastic Elastomers Topical Conference, Sept. 10 to 12, 2012, Akron, Ohio. Those in the industry are invited to submit abstracts on TPE market trends and ecomonic outlook and TPE material, application, and processing developments by Jan. 31, 2012. Submissions should include paper title, abstract, and author/presenter name and affiliation and papers must be completed by June 30, 2012. Please submit abstracts to Bill Blasius or Stephane Morin.

Featured Links

"Insource" Needed Expertise & Capabilities
Plastic, silicone, ceramics and metals can all be molded into custom components for OEM applications. Phillips Plastics has staff expertise in each area to make sure your component is a perfect fit for your project. Learn More

Precision Molding for Tight Tolerances
Precision plastic molding and micro-parts are quickly becoming an OEM standard. Learn more about the technology and how it can be used in OEM applications.

Boker's 2011 Washer Catalog features over 25,000 non-standard flat washer sizes, available with no tooling charges, outside diameters of 0.080" to 5.140" and over 2,000 material options for endless possibilities.

Dexmet Corporation Expanded Foils & Polymers - The smart alternative to perforated and woven material for gaskets, filters, shielding, bearings, heating elements, structural composites, fuel cells & other products.

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