Sep 20, 2017

New method solves metal's 3D-printing problem

Erica Pandey, author of @Work

The nanoparticle-functionalized powder is fed into a 3D printer, which layers the powder and laser-fuses each layer to construct the object. Photo: B. Ferguson

A new method of 3D-printing reported in Nature today could churn out weldable aluminum alloy parts to make lightweight and speedy planes and cars.

  • How it works: In 3D-printing, metal parts can be constructed layer by layer but most metal alloys can't be printed this way because current processes cause them to crack. By coating aluminum powder with nanoparticles of zirconium, the researchers were able to print aluminum alloy without it cracking. The printing process is similar to welding so the researchers think they can turn unweldable alloys into weldable ones.
  • But, but, but: "There is still some way to go ... before this becomes the 'go-to' manufacturing technology for aerospace applications," the researchers wrote. One additional problem to address is making metal parts that are strong but also resilient after repeated use.
  • What's next: Researchers said the technology could eventually be expanded for use in building cars and trucks.

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Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews were in force in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — where police used pepper spray and flash bangs on a group throwing projectiles at them during an "unlawful assembly," per KATU. Portland police said this group was separate to the thousands of demonstrators who protested peacefully elsewhere in the city.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.