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MM: Nanoparticles & Metalworking; Hybrid Ford Transits In London

In this Manufacturing Minute episode, why these nanoparticles could lead to more efficient metalworking and a new partnership between Ford and the city of London.

Nanoparticles Lead To Better Metalworking

The addition of tiny particles to conventional metals could lead to significantly more efficient metal fabrication, according to a new study from engineers at UCLA.

Researchers added nano-scale particles of aluminum oxide and silicon carbide to nickel, which reduced heat dissipation during the melting process.

As a result, they were able to create a deeper layer of metallic liquid — which could be easily shaped and formed by manufacturers — along with a smaller amount of nearby metal that could be deformed by the high temperatures.

Ordinarily, a larger melting zone would correspond to a larger area that could deteriorate in conventional melting processes such as welding or 3D printing.

Nanoparticles could eventually provide metalworkers with more control over the melting process, which could lead to more efficient, reliable and cost-effective manufacturing.

UCLA engineers suggested that their system could impact the auto and aerospace industries — including new lightweight, high-performance components — and could eventually affect the pharmaceutical and energy markets as well.


Is UCLA's proposal practical for today's manufacturing sector? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

London Calling

As one of Europe’s most populated cities, it’s no surprise that emissions pollution caused by commercial traffic vehicles is a problem. So, in an effort to help Londoners curb emissions, Ford and the city of London have teamed up together to introduce a fleet of 20 plug-in hybrid Ford Transits.

In a year-long trial, local businesses will use the hybrids for deliveries or whatever other short-term needs they have. And while 20 vans won’t exactly have an obvious immediate impact, the potential impact of widespread use of hybrid or plug-in vans could make a huge difference traffic-heavy cities like London or even Beijing, for instance.

Trials like this also aren’t new. Automakers like Audi and Volvo have also performed similar studies, which just goes to show that this focus on energy-efficiency and low emissions likely won’t shift any time soon.

London’s trial with Ford’s hybrid vans is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

What do you think about Ford’s partnership with the city of London? Do you think other congested cities across the world could benefit from more partnerships like this one?

Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or leave your comment in the section below.

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