In this final installment in our series examining various lightweight materials for cars, we look at the use of magnesium, which is gaining increased attention from carmakers. In part one, we examined new advances in steel and their potential for weight reduction. The following week we looked at the benefits of aluminum. Last week, we explored carbon fiber composites, also known as carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The use of magnesium in automobiles goes back to the 1920s when it was used in racing cars because of its high strength and light weight. Magnesium has the highest strength to weight ratio, or specific strength, of all common structural metals. It is lighter than aluminum by a third and considered particularly easy to work with, both in machining as well as die-casting applications, though not so good for roll-forming. Magnesium is also valued for its specific damping capability, which makes it well-suited for speaker diaphragms and acoustic cable shielding. Read More
In this episode of Product Design Show, Vince Penman and Allison Toepperwein report on important examples of biology in design, from birds in flight to a new car whose shape was inspired by a box fish. Read More
Manufacturing education is imperative to the strength of American industry and the restoration of its outdated image. Initiatives to educate the future workforce come in many forms, from high-tech classroom learning to companies opening their doors to students during such events as next week's national Manufacturing Day (MFG Day). Read More
A report released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a stark new picture of global warming's effects on the environment. It also includes a revised "carbon budget" that could have dramatic ramifications for the global economy.
The carbon budget is the amount of carbon dioxide that climate scientists say humans can emit and still keep global warming below 2°C -- a target that nearly every country on Earth, including the United States, has agreed to meet. IPCC has set the world's carbon budget at 1 trillion tons. Read More