March 08, 2022 Volume 18 Issue 10

Mechanical News & Products

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New 3D-printing resin creates static-dissipative parts

The new xESD resin from Nexa3D, a leading maker of ultrafast professional and industrial polymer 3D printers, is a rigid photoplastic material with a stable carbon nanotube dispersion that delivers optimal static-dissipative performance and isotropic mechanical properties, which are required by the electronics manufacturing industry. The xESD resin allows users to create custom jigs, fixtures, grippers, assembly aides, and enclosures in hours without the risk of ESD damage to high-value electronic components. Available for NXE Pro series printers and the XiP desktop 3D printer.
View the video and learn what else is new from Nexa3D.


Test your knowledge: High-temp adhesives

Put your knowledge to the test by trying to answer these key questions on how to choose the right high temperature-resistant adhesive. The technical experts from Master Bond cover critical information necessary for the selection process, including questions on glass transition temperature and service temperature range. Some of the answers may surprise even the savviest of engineers.
Take the quiz.


Next-gen controlled pneumatics from Festo

Festo's controlled pneumatics combines proportional technology, sensors, and control algorithms to form a control loop. These are mechatronic pneumatic systems with innovative valve and communication technologies that enable digital influence in conjunction with closed-loop control based on a sensor variable. This creates new areas of application, especially for pressure and flow control. Learn about digitized pneumatics in tire manufacturing and how piezo technology increases valve life in wafer manufacturing.
Read the full Festo applications article.


Standard parts in hygienic design from JW Wico

JW Winco has developed a complete product family of special standard parts that combine minimal contamination tendency with optimum cleaning ability to meet the highest sanitary standards. The new GN 6226 spacers, which avoid duplicate mounting surfaces, join the existing range of knobs, U-handles, hand levers, indexing plungers, latches, cover sleeves, leveling feet, and screws. In all cases, stainless steel with vibratory finished or polished surfaces is used as the material.
Learn more.


Small valves prevent big blowups

Smart Products USA says their best example of a true relief valve can be found in Models #103 and #109. Available as a 1/8" Male NPT style, these valves are easily placed into plastic, metal, or other materials with absolutely no tubing involved. While the majority of the company's valves function as both a check and pressure-relief flow control option, Models #103 and #109 are more suited to only relieve pressure. When pressure builds to a designated PSI level, this spring-loaded valve responds and allows flow of liquids/gasses slowly to prevent blowups or damage.
Learn more.


Great Resources: EXAIR Case Study Library

Learn how EXAIR compressed air-operated products improved production rates, lowered defects, increased safety, and provided quick ROI. Each of the more than 40 studies includes an application goal, the process problems before EXAIR, and the final improvements achieved. EXAIR's real-world gains include dollars saved, SCFM saved, decibels lowered, quality improvements, and more.
Check out the case study library.


New igus polymer spherical ball strengthens food safety

To make food-processing facilities and machinery even safer, igus, the Germany-based manufacturer of motion plastics, has launched a new standard in the form of the high-performance plastic iglide A181 as a spherical ball material for the igubal Food Contact (FC) joint system. Moving on stainless steel shafts, the spherical cap is three times more wear resistant than the previous version made from iglide FC180. It also costs 25% less and is self-lubricating, maintenance-free, and FDA and EU 10/2011 compliant.
Learn more.


Photo-chemical etching: What design engineers need to know

Dr. Angel Lopez, director of Business Development at micrometal GmbH, one of Europe's leading photo-chemical etching providers, discusses what considerations design engineers need to bear in mind when working with this versatile and sophisticated metal machining technology that produces complex and feature-rich metal parts and components that are burr and stress free.
Read the full article.


Honing a life-saver for aerospace component maker

Fuse pins are designed to hold a jet engine on a wing, but to break away in emergency situations, allowing the engine to separate from the wing to prevent catastrophic structural failure and fires. Learn how Sonic Industries relies on Sunnen's SV-1000 honing system to produce the 5- to 7-micron ID tolerance and proprietary finish critical to this part's performance. The CNC-controlled SV-1000 allowed Sonic to meet ramped-up customer demand when it replaced a manual honing system, decreasing cycle times dramatically and increasing part production.
Read the Sunnen case study.


Adhesives for titanium: Lap shear strength tests

When it comes to bonding titanium to itself or to other substrates, Master Bond has formulated a range of reliable, high-strength adhesives that yielded excellent results when tested for their lap shear strength using titanium substrates. Titanium is known for its high strength, corrosion resistance, and heat transfer properties. See the results of which epoxies performed the best when also considering different processing and operation conditions.
Read the Master Bond results.


One Touch Fasteners slash set-up times

Quick-release One Touch Fasteners from Fixtureworks provide quick and easy locking and unlocking for fixture plates, covers, machine components, and more. These quarter-turn clamping fasteners have clearly visible ON and OFF markings and are ideal for fast-changeover applications and frequent disassembly, providing reliable hold up to 100 lb. Lots of versions available, including standard, retractable, heavy duty, and knob- and button-locking pins.
Learn more and see case study examples.


Desktop Metal qualifies nickel alloy Inconel 625 for 3D printing on Studio System 2

3D-printer maker Desktop Metal has qualified the use of the nickel alloy Inconel 625 (IN625) for its Studio System, an office-friendly metal additive manufacturing system that prints high-performance metal parts in low volumes for pre-production and end-use applications. IN625 is a high-performance alloy known for high levels of strength, temperature resistance, and corrosion resistance.
Read the full article.


6 advanced FDM 3D-printing tips when adding metal parts to your build

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D-printing machines use thermoplastic resins and strong, tough materials for real applications. Learn from the experts at TriMech how to prepare for incorporating metal parts such as bushings, hex nuts, roller chain, and rods into FDM builds to create complicated parts that need to stand up to repeated use.
View the TriMech video.


Electromagnetic interference O-rings case study

Specialty Silicone Products (SSP) recently supplied hot vulcanized EMI (electromag-netic interference) O-rings to a company that needed to replace EMI gaskets that had failed EMC testing. EMI O-rings made of electrically conductive silicones combine reliable environmental sealing and broad temperature resistance with proven levels of shielding against EMI. Learn how hot vulcanizing with a conductive adhesive, the joining process that SSP uses, eliminates EMI leakage and a "hard spot" where ends are joined using a non-conductive adhesive.
Read this informative SSP case study.


5 new manufacturing options from Xometry

Get the parts you need made fast and at a great price. Xometry has added five new manufacturing options to their quoting engine: Die Casting, Metal Extrusion, Metal Stamping, Laser Tube Cutting, and Tube Bending. Experts will manually quote these options and work closely with you to ensure the best outcome and success. Get your quote today, and get started on your next metal production order.
Learn more.


New and inexpensive catalyst speeds production of oxygen from water

The material could replace rare metals and lead to more economical production of carbon-neutral fuels.

By David L. Chandler, MIT

An electrochemical reaction that splits apart water molecules to produce oxygen is at the heart of multiple approaches aiming to produce alternative fuels for transportation. However, this reaction has to be facilitated by a catalyst material, and today's versions require the use of rare and expensive elements such as iridium, limiting the potential of such fuel production.

Now, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have developed an entirely new type of catalyst material, called a metal hydroxide-organic framework (MHOF), which is made of inexpensive and abundant components. The family of materials allows engineers to precisely tune the catalyst's structure and composition to the needs of a particular chemical process, and it can then match or exceed the performance of conventional, more expensive catalysts.

The findings are described in the journal Nature Materials in a paper by MIT postdoc Shuai Yuan, graduate student Jiayu Peng, Professor Yang Shao-Horn, Professor Yuriy Román-Leshkov, and nine others.

Oxygen evolution reactions are one of the reactions common to the electrochemical production of fuels, chemicals, and materials. These processes include the generation of hydrogen as a byproduct of the oxygen evolution, which can be used directly as a fuel or undergo chemical reactions to produce other transportation fuels; the manufacture of ammonia, for use as a fertilizer or chemical feedstock; and carbon dioxide reduction in order to control emissions.

But without help, "these reactions are sluggish," Shao-Horn says. "For a reaction with slow kinetics, you have to sacrifice voltage or energy to promote the reaction rate." Because of the extra energy input required, "the overall efficiency is low. So that's why people use catalysts," she says, as these materials naturally promote reactions by lowering energy input.

But until now, these catalysts "are all relying on expensive materials or late transition metals that are very scarce, for example iridium oxide, and there has been a big effort in the community to find alternatives based on Earth-abundant materials that have the same performance in terms of activity and stability," Román-Leshkov says. The team says they have found materials that provide exactly that combination of characteristics.

Other teams have explored the use of metal hydroxides, such as nickel-iron hydroxides, Román-Leshkov says. But such materials have been difficult to tailor to the requirements of specific applications. Now, though, "the reason our work is quite exciting and quite relevant is that we've found a way of tailoring the properties by nanostructuring these metal hydroxides in a unique way."

The team borrowed from research that has been done on a related class of compounds known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which are a kind of crystalline structure made of metal oxide nodes linked together with organic linker molecules. By replacing the metal oxide in such materials with certain metal hydroxides, the team found, it became possible to create precisely tunable materials that also had the necessary stability to be potentially useful as catalysts.

"You put these chains of these organic linkers next to each other, and they actually direct the formation of metal hydroxide sheets that are interconnected with these organic linkers, which are then stacked, and have a higher stability," Román-Leshkov says. This has multiple benefits, he says, by allowing a precise control over the nanostructured patterning, allowing precise control of the electronic properties of the metal, and also providing greater stability, enabling them to stand up to long periods of use.

Illustration depicts an electrochemical reaction, splitting water molecules (at right, with oxygen atom in red, and two hydrogen atoms in white) into oxygen molecules (at left), taking place within the structure of the team's metal hydroxide organic frameworks, depicted as the lattices at top and bottom. [Credit: Image courtesy of the researchers]

 

 

 

 

In testing such materials, the researchers found the catalysts' performance to be "surprising," Shao-Horn says. "It is comparable to that of the state-of-the-art oxide materials catalyzing for the oxygen evolution reaction."

Being composed largely of nickel and iron, these materials should be at least 100 times cheaper than existing catalysts, they say, although the team has not yet done a full economic analysis.

This family of materials "really offers a new space to tune the active sites for catalyzing water splitting to produce hydrogen with reduced energy input," Shao-Horn says, to meet the exact needs of any given chemical process where such catalysts are needed.

The materials can provide "five times greater tunability" than existing nickel-based catalysts, Peng says, simply by substituting different metals in place of nickel in the compound. "This would potentially offer many relevant avenues for future discoveries." The materials can also be produced in extremely thin sheets, which could then be coated onto another material, further reducing the material costs of such systems.

So far, the materials have been tested in small-scale laboratory test devices, and the team is now addressing the issues of trying to scale up the process to commercially relevant scales, which could still take a few years. But the idea has great potential, Shao-Horn says, to help catalyze the production of clean, emissions-free hydrogen fuel, so that "we can bring down the cost of hydrogen from this process while not being constrained by the availability of precious metals. This is important, because we need hydrogen production technologies that can scale."

The research team included others at MIT, Stockholm University in Sweden, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and the Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research in Dresden, Germany. The work was supported by the Toyota Research Institute.

Published March 2022

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