March 21, 2023 Volume 19 Issue 11

Mechanical News & Products

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SOLIDWORKS: FeatureManager tips for assemblies

Discover tools to make your SOLIDWORKS assembly Feature-Manager design tree display easier to view and use. Learn options to limit the amount of information in each component listing, combine multiple instances of a component into a single listing, and separate fasteners mates into a new folder. Lots more tips on the SOLIDWORKS YouTube channel.
View the video.


Top die casting design tips: Xometry

Optimize your die casting project's manufac-turability with these 23 top design tips from Xometry. Ensure your work is cost effective too, so you can hit the ground running and have the highest chance of success. Tips include: fillets and radii, wall thicknesses, ribs and metal savers, holes and windows, parting lines, finishes, and more.
Read the Xometry article.


8 top ways to wreck your coupling-driven system

Engineers at Ruland Manufacturing Co. have compiled the eight best ways to consistently sabotage or damage your coupling-driven system -- and how to avoid these pitfalls in the future. Misunderstanding performance criteria such as misalignment, torque, or rpm can be all it takes to cause a critical and costly failure.
Read the full article.


New washer tech for leak-free automotive sealing

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has just launched the Rubore® Washer, a unique solution offering virtually leak-free sealing beneath screwheads to safeguard critical systems in vehicles, especially electric ones.
Read the full article.


How Reell electric wrap spring clutches work

Electric wrap spring clutches are ideally suited for critical timing applications requiring consistent, repeatable engagement and disengagement performance. Wrap spring technology used in Reell clutches provides the capability to transmit a large amount of torque in a small size -- package sizes smaller than other clutch technologies such as friction disk, tooth, or magnetic particle. Reell's technology has very positive engagement characteristics and also limits the effects of wear.
Read this informative Reell article.


New 'breathable' rupture disk tech provides overpressure and vacuum relief

To increase equipment safety and reliability, a new rupture disk technology activates at a set burst pressure, but it can also "breathe" to relieve minor pressure fluctuations. The patent-pending, dual-function device from BS&B Safety Systems is ideal for use on low-pressure vessels that are susceptible to ambient temperature changes.
Read the full article.


Engineer's Toolbox: 9 considerations for specifying a slewing ring bearing

In applications that require a bearing to support a structure while it rotates (e.g., cranes, radar, tank turrets), premature bearing failure can put people and equipment at risk. While slewing ring bearings have proven themselves countless times in such applications, designers must consider many factors when specifying them. According to engineers at Kaydon, the bearing's support structure, mounting (including bolt strength, tensioning, and hole patterns), installation, and even storage are all factors in a bearing's success or failure.
Read the full article.


ClampDisk micro fastener is new alternative for automotive and consumer electronics

Designed as a unique alternative in assemblies for the automotive and consumer electronics markets, the ClampDisk Press-on Fastener is a new offering from PennEngineering that delivers a fast, simple way to achieve sheet-to-sheet clamped fastening while replacing the use of standard screws, nuts, and adhesives. The most common challenges that can be eliminated or reduced by using ClampDisk include over installation, cross threading, stripped screw heads, broken screws, and damaged product. This fastener can be removed easily with a sharp-edged tool.
Learn more and see how ClampDisk works.


New nylon constant torque hinge

Southco has expanded its line of E6 Constant Torque Hinges with a compact, nylon version designed for small applications. The newest addition to the company's E6 50 Constant Torque Position Control Hinge series measures 45 mm with a torque range of 4 to 16 in./lb and is 65% lighter compared to the standard E6 50 Hinge. It provides constant resistance throughout the entire range of motion, enabling users to easily position doors, display screens, and other mounted components and hold them securely at any desired angle.
Learn more.


What injection molding material do I use?

How do you decide what type of plastic to use for your next injection molding project? Xometry can help you narrow your choices. Discover the different strengths and applications for materials that could be ideal for your application by learning about the most common plastic injection molding materials in detail.
Read this detailed Xometry article.


What are carbon composite bellows springs?

The Carbon Composite Bellows Spring (CCBS) from MW Components is a system of carbon fiber elements that combine to work as a high-performance, lightweight, and design-flexible compression spring meant to replace coil springs or metallic Belleville disc springs. A functional spring is made from several individual elements paired and joined to make a stack. The stack spring rate is determined by the number of elements, the base rate of each element, and their series or parallel orientation in the stack. Applications include motorsports, aerospace, and high-performance activities.
Learn more.


Conductive Brush Ring overcomes current leakage in EV powertrains

SKF's new Conductive Brush Ring paves the way to greater reliability and longer life in high-performance electric vehicle powertrain systems. Using pure carbon fiber bristles, it provides a reliable electrical connection between an EV eAxle rotor shaft and its housing. When used in combination with SKF Hybrid ceramic ball bearings, it helps to alleviate parasitic current effects that can lead to premature failure in bearings and other components. Available in different configurations for wet (oil-lubricated) motor designs -- and soon for dry (sealed) applications.
Learn more.


hyperMILL 2024 CAD/CAM software suite

OPEN MIND Technologies has introduced its latest hyperMILL 2024 CAD/CAM software suite, which includes a range of powerful enhancements to its core toolpath capabilities, as well as new functionality for increased NC programming efficiency in applications ranging from 2.5D machining to 5-axis milling. New and enhanced capabilities include: Optimized Deep Hole Drilling, a new algorithm for 3- and 5-axis Rest Machining, an enhanced path layout for the 3D Plane Machining cycle, better error detection, and much more.
Learn more.


One-part epoxy changes from red to clear under UV

Master Bond UV15RCL is a low-viscosity, cationic-type UV-curing system with a special color-changing feature. The red material changes to clear once exposed to UV light, indicating that there is UV light access across the adhesive material. Although this change in color from red to clear does not indicate a full cure, it does confirm that the UV light has reached the polymer. This epoxy is an excellent electrical insulator. UV15RCL adheres well to metals, glass, ceramics, and many plastics, including acrylics and polycarbonates.
Learn more.


SPIROL Press-N-Lok™ Pin for plastic housings

The Press-N-Lok™ Pin was designed to permanently retain two plastic components to each other. As the pin is inserted, the plastic backfills into the area around the two opposing barbs, resulting in maximum retention. Assembly time is quicker, and it requires lower assembly equipment costs compared to screws and adhesives -- just Press-N-Lok™!
Learn more about the new Press-N-Lok™ Pin.


Scientists develop 'cosmic concrete' that is twice as strong as regular concrete and could be used on Mars

Scientists in the UK have formulated a strong concrete material that can be used on Mars or the Moon. [Credit: Aled Roberts]

 

 

Scientists at the University of Manchester in the UK have created a new material, dubbed "StarCrete," that is made from extra-terrestrial dust, potato starch, and a pinch of salt -- and could be used to build homes on Mars.

Building infrastructure in space is currently prohibitively expensive and difficult to achieve. Future space construction will need to rely on simple materials that are easily available to astronauts, StarCrete offers one possible solution. The scientists behind the invention used simulated Martian soil mixed with potato starch and a pinch of salt to create the material that is twice as strong as ordinary concrete and is perfectly suited for construction work in extra-terrestrial environments.

In an article published in the journal Open Engineering, the research team demonstrated that ordinary potato starch can act as a binder when mixed with simulated Mars dust to produce a concrete-like material. When tested, StarCrete had a compressive strength of 72 Megapascals (MPa), which is over twice as strong as the 32 MPa seen in ordinary concrete. Starcrete made from moon dust was even stronger at over 91 MPa.

This work improves on previous work from the same team where they used astronauts' blood and urine as a binding agent. While the resulting material had a compressive strength of around 40 MPa, which is better than normal concrete, the process had the obvious drawback of requiring blood on a regular basis. When operating in an environment as hostile as space, this option was seen as much less feasible than using potato starch.

"Since we will be producing starch as food for astronauts [on Mars], it made sense to look at that as a binding agent rather than human blood. Also, current building technologies still need many years of development and require considerable energy and additional heavy processing equipment, which all adds cost and complexity to a mission. StarCrete doesn't need any of this, and so it simplifies the mission and makes it cheaper and more feasible," said Dr. Aled Roberts, Research Fellow at the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, and lead researcher for this project. "And anyway, astronauts probably don't want to be living in houses made from scabs and urine!"

The team calculated that a sack (25 kg) of dehydrated potatoes contains enough starch to produce almost half a ton of StarCrete, which is equivalent to over 213 brick's worth of material. For comparison, a three-bedroom house takes roughly 7,500 bricks to build. Additionally, they discovered that a common salt, magnesium chloride, obtainable from the Martian surface, significantly improved the strength of StarCrete.

The next stages of this project are to translate StarCrete from the lab to application. Dr. Roberts and his team have recently launched a start-up company, DeakinBio, which is exploring ways to improve StarCrete so that it could also be used in a terrestrial setting.

If used on Earth, StarCrete could offer a greener alternative to traditional concrete. Cement and concrete account for about 8% of global CO2 emissions, because the process by which they are made requires very high firing temperatures and amounts of energy. StarCrete, on the other hand, can be made in an ordinary oven or microwave at normal "home baking" temperatures, therefore offering reduced energy costs for production.

Source: University of Manchester

Published March 2023

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