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The latest information on engineering materials April 7, 2010

Have you tested your mettle at the World's Smartest Design Engineer yet? Competition for March's prize was fierce toward the end, but the scoreboard has just turned over for an April winner. Try it today! And don't forget, the world's first dry-steam geothermal plant opened in 1904.

We're getting back to basics this month and looking at four elements. Read up on generating energy with thorium, making magnetic paper with iron, spinning fabrics from boron, and keeping ice off UAVs with carbon. Don't forget to scroll down for new products, news from Machine Design, and industry updates.

Join some lively discussions in the comments sections of articles on or on our discussion forums, or send us email.

Happy spring,
Jessica Shapiro


Thinking nuclear? Think thorium
After a promising start at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1950s was halted by political pressure, interest in thorium reactors has undergone a significant resurgence in the last few years. Thorium is a naturally occurring, mildly radioactive element that absorbs neutrons and converts to fissile uranium-233. Fission of U-233 releases two or three neutrons plus a million times more heat (energy) than burning an equivalent mass of fossil fuel.
Read the full article.



Increase the life of metal components with a FREE CD-ROM from General Magnaplate. The easy-to-use CD assists design engineers in selecting permanent coatings that prevent wear, friction, corrosion, sticking, galling, and chemical attack on ferrous and nonferrous metals. The CD resource compares the static and kinetic coefficient of friction (COF) of numerous metals with 20 Magnaplate-applied 'synergistic' coatings.
General Magnaplate's surface enhancements become an integral part of the metal providing permanent, superior performance.

Perdue researchers invent ferropaper
Researchers at Purdue University, impregnated a piece of ordinary paper with a mix of mineral oil and nanoparticles of iron oxide. The result, dubbed Ferropaper, can be moved using a magnetic field, possibly making it useful in speakers, tweezers capable of moving a single-cell, low-cost micromotors for surgical instruments, and other applications. Researchers made a small cantilever out of the new paper which moved or vibrated in a magnetic field.
Read the full article.

What to wear: Nanotube fabrics? It could happen.
Scientists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Newport News, Va., have developed a new technique for turning boron into highly crystalline boron-nitride nanotubes with small diameters that can be spun into usable yarns.

Researchers are still determining the properties of the new nanotubes and investigating methods of scaling up production. They plan on blending the yarns into items such as body armor and solar cells.
Read the full article.


Carbon nanotubes stop icing on UAVs
Bleed-air systems that heat the leading edge of the wing to melt ice, mechanical boots that inflate to break off ice, or weeping-wing devices that release antifreeze onto the wings are too complex or heavy for UAVs. Engineers at the Battelle Memorial Institute coated at-risk surfaces with carbon nanotubes and energized them with the aircraft’s electrical system to stop ice from forming or get rid of any existin ice. The technology could also find use windmill blades ice-free.
Read the full article.

New Products

Silver conductive epoxy
EP77M-F, a two-component, silver-filled, electrically conductive epoxy adhesive sets up in 5 to 10 min and cures in 8 to 12 hr at room temperature. It has a volume resistivity of 10-3 ohm-cm. Electrical conductivity develops rapidly and is detectable in 30 to 60 min. The adhesive bonds to metals, glass, ceramics, vulcanized rubbers, and most plastics and resists temperatures from 4 to 373K, thermal cycling, and chemicals including water, oil, and organic solvents.

EP77M-F has a one-to-one mix ratio by weight or volume and is 100% reactive and diluents and solvent-free with low outgassing. The adhesive comes in glass jars, metal containers, and syringes.
Master Bond, Inc.

Domestic cupronickel alloys
Domestically produced C71500 and C70600 cupronickel alloys resist sea-water erosion and corrosion and biofouling. C71500 is a moderate to high-strength, copper-nickel alloy, and C70600 is a moderate-strength, copper-nickel alloy.

Both alloys come in rod and round forms as well as customer-specified machined parts. Datasheets are available at Brush Wellman Inc.

Safer mixhead mount
BAYonet rapid mixhead mount system helps center mixheads onto molds and hold them firmly during reaction injection molding (RIM). It locks into position after the operator accurately centers the mixhead, letting the operator move away from the injection point. The mobile system can work with multiple molds.
Bayer MaterialScience LLC (800) 662-2927,

News from MD

Mark May 6th, 2010 on your calendar!

The Energy Efficiency Technology Conference and Expo is a one-day event featuring technical sessions aimed at engineers and technologists engaged in projects involving energy efficient products and processes. Sessions will cover topics in LED lighting, energy harvesting, energy efficient motor and drive technology, energy monitoring, smart grid applications, energy efficient power supplies, legislated energy mandates, and related subjects. Breakfast, sessions, lunch, product exhibition, networking opportunities and a cocktail reception are included throughout the day. Special keynote: Where Are The Government Grants/Subsidies presented by Roland Riser, Program Manager, U.S. Department of Energy.

Machine Design’s WORLD’S SMARTEST DESIGN ENGINEER online video contest is off and running. Players from across the globe are competing for fun, education, prizes and the ultimate bragging rights. Thanks to our sponsors for their support of the exciting online opportunity for engineers!

All Motion
Altech Corp.
Avago Technologies
Digi-Key Corporation
Dynaflo Vacuum Pumps & Compressors
Forest City Gear
Hewlett Packard
KNF Neuberger
Lemo USA, Inc.
Nippon Pulse
R+W America L.P.
Shimpo Drives, Inc.
Smalley Steel Ring Co.
Wittenstein, Inc.

Efficiency Loss & Capture in Mechanical Gearboxes and Motor Systems
Sponsored by Wittenstein
DATE: April 15th, 2010
TIME: 2:00pm ET/11am PT

Make a large impact on system efficiencies through gearbox and motor – whether in new designs or existing machines. The heart of any motion system is the motor and delving into the mechanical components around it play an integral part in optimizing overall system efficiencies, providing designers with energy and cost savings. Having introduced the world’s first low-backlash planetary gearbox, Wittenstein has spent 25 years on developing and identifying mechanical and electrical specifications.

Click here to learn more and register!

Cable Basics: Sizing and Selection
Standard vs Custom Cable for OEM Applications

Sponsored by Northwire Inc.
DATE: April 22nd, 2010
TIME: 2:00pm ET/11am PT

OEMs are pushing engineering teams for the fastest development cycle possible. Component selection errors can cause big delays and reliability issues after the products are in the hands of customers.

To help engineers make the best cable decision for their projects, Northwire is teaching a technical course that dives into the key issues that affect cable performance and the final cable solution attached to the project.

Click here to learn more and register!

Webinar: Hose Construction, Performance and Proper Selection
Date/Time: April 29, 2010 at 2:00pm ET / 11:00am PT
Speaker: Gates

There are many hydraulic hoses on the market today geared toward a variety of situations, uses and environmental conditions. Knowing which hose to choose for your application may seem daunting.

Join Tim Deans and Tim Saupe of Gates Fluid Power as they offer an overview of hose construction basics including tubing, reinforcement and covers. Learn why not all hoses work in all hydraulic applications and why making the correct hose selection can prevent premature hose failure and downtime to save you money.

Attend this Webinar to ensure safe, long-lasting hydraulic hose systems.

Register Now for This Live Webinar


Click Here for a list of archived Machine Design webcasts.

Industry Update

Quickparts offers Bluestone
Quickparts, Atlanta, now offers Accura Bluestone, an accurate, strong, high-temperature stereolithography (SLA) material for rapid prototyping from 3D Systems Corp., Rock Hill, S.C. The 1.78-g/cc material has 9.6 to 9.8-ksi tensile strength, 1,100 to 1,700-ksi tensile modulus, 18 to 22-ksi flexure strength, 1,200 to 1,400-ksi flexure modulus, and heat deflection temperatures of 150°F.
For more information and online quote requests, visit Quickparts.

PET News
Octal Petrochemical LLC’s proprietary direct-to-sheet (DPET) process for production of PET sheet provides a lower carbon footprint, 3.023 kg CO2 equivalents, than traditional PET (4.173 kg CO2 equivalents) and recycled PET (rPET) processes, according to a recent independent study by PIRA International. Octal’s PET resin and DPET sheet plant in Salalah, Oman, which opened January 2009 and can produce 330,000 metric tons/yr of molten PET resin, makes calendered PET sheet using melt directly from the reactor, bypassing compacting, drying, and melting steps that add cost, heat histories, and degradation. DPET offers better forming, flow, clarity, and toughness than standard PET sheet.
For more information, visit Octal Petrochemicals LLC.

Amcor Rigid Plastics, formerly Amcor PET Packaging, launched a 12-oz, 29-gm, ring-neck, PET bottle to replace glass in food and beverage packaging. The stock hot-fill container tolerates up to 185°F. A diaphragm in the base absorbs vacuum without side panels that can make labeling difficult.
For more information, visit Amcor Rigid Plastics.

W. Amsler Equipment Inc., Richmond Hill, Ont., has introduced the five-cavity L515 convertible reheat stretch-blow molding machine for 1.5-L PET-container production at up to 7,000/hr. It can also run one and two-cavity molds for 2-L to 4-L containers and neck sizes up to 43 mm. The machine uses servo-driven electric stretch rods, 50-ton, servo-driven, mold-clamping system, and a servo preform-indexing system.
For more information, visit W. Amsler Equipment, Inc.

Featured Links

Free Machining Tips
Would you like helpful advice about designing your parts for CNC machining? Our new First Cut Machining Tips email newsletter will arrive in subscribers' inbox and will deliver tips or suggestions for efficiently and cost-effectively machining prototype parts. Sign-up today!

Boker’s 2010 Washer Catalog
Boker's free 2010 Washer Catalog features over 24,000 non-standard flat washer sizes with ODs of 0.080" to 5.140"; numerous IDs and thicknesses; 2,000 materials; and no tooling charges. ISO 9001:2008 Registered.

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 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.

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Contact Information
Editorial questions:   Jessica Shapiro 216-931-9850
Advertising/sponsorship opportunities:   Virginia Goulding 216-931-9893

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