The world around us, and hence our lifestyle and the way we work, are changing at breakneck pace. Who would have thought just 20 years ago that computers and mobile phones would now be a part of everyday life? Who could have imagined a 3-litre car engine? And who could have dreamed of detachable adhesive strips which do not tear away the wallpaper when a poster is removed?
The constantly increasing requirements being put on new consumer products is the driving force for technological progress: Nowadays, each new product that is developed must – as in the past – not only be better and more favorably priced than its predecessor, but must also meet the requirement of sustainability. The consideration of environmental aspects means that the development of new products is becoming ever more demanding and that manufacturers must take into consideration more complex requirements for their new products. The increasing requirements put on products has since time immemorial been the key driving force for the development of advanced and new materials.
In addition to the classic metals, these materials include special alloys, plastics and also ceramics and glass. So-called composite materials, produced by combining different materials, have played a major role in this development.
Reinforced concrete is a well known composite material that has been around a long time. Newer composite materials are glass-fiber reinforced plastics and carbon fiber reinforced plastics which are used, for example, for constructing speed boats and yachts and increasingly also for car, rail vehicle and aircraft manufacture.
Another good example of the development and use of new materials is the wheel and tires.
Materials and Technology Development - The Wheel
Wood Chariot (Tutankhamun) 14th Century B.C.
Wood Disc Whee 3rd Millennium B.C.
Wood and Iron Roman Spoked Wheel2nd Century A.D.
A car tire today utilizies rubber, synthetic fiber, steel cord, fabric and aluminum.
Spoked wheels made of wood met the requirements of the ancient Egyptians. Today, the manufacture of tires for modern means of transport can no longer be achieved using even natural rubber. The high speeds we now expect of a car can only be achieved using composites of different materials – and a car tire is nothing more than that.
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