Magic Wheelchair for Halloween; building better homes; cardboard and cars | Plastics News

2022-10-21 16:42:01 By : Mr. Victor Yu

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We're in the countdown to Halloween, which means the hunt is on for the perfect costume for trick-or-treating. For families with kids with special needs, the effort is complicated by the need for items that can be manipulated around mobility aids, helmets, tubing and other items. Fiberglass Roof Panel

Luckily, retailers and volunteer groups have been stepping up to help parents make sure their kids can participate in the holiday with friends.

Disney, for instance, has an entire line featuring princesses, Buzz Lightyear rocket ships and flying carpets made from vinyl to stretch over and around wheelchairs. Target Corp. sells adaptive items online, as do many regional stores such as Meijer in the Midwest.

Software and prototyping specialist Solidworks and 3DExperience Lab (both companies are part of Dassault Systemes) worked with nonprofit association Magic Wheelchair to transform a wheelchair used by Savannah, an 11-year-old girl in Salem, Mass., into a replica of a judge's chair from the television show The Voice. Savannah unveiled the costume during an Oct. 8 event in Salem.

Her costume includes a big red button, similar to ones that judges on the singing competition use, that Savannah can push to call out "trick or treat."

Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. is working with nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity to not only build homes, but also equip them to withstand stronger storms, flooding and fire risks linked to climate change.

The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based company and Habitat's BuildBetter program will build 250 "climate-resilient and energy-efficient homes" over a three-year period. The homes will be reinforced for winds and they will have extra insulation to improve energy efficiency by an estimated 15 percent compared with typical building standards. Whirlpool also will provide energy-efficient appliances to support the new homeowners and all plumbing installations will be designed to reduce the possibility of expensive leaks.

Nine Michigan Habitat homes are set for construction in October as part of the group's "Global Build Month."

When carmakers roll out prototype vehicles, they love to stress the potential of exotic materials, even when it makes absolutely no sense to claim those materials would be used in a production version of that car. (For example, one automaker's brag in the early 2000s that carbon fiber would be used in an entry-level compact car.)

So Citroën's Oli concept is an interesting twist. The roof, trunk and hood of this all-electric, ultra-lightweight car would be made with a honeycomb sandwich structure with an inner core of corrugated cardboard with reinforcing fiberglass on either side using BASF Elatoflex PY resin.

"The panels are strong enough for an adult to stand on them, but are 50 percent lighter [than] the equivalent steel constructions," Sarah Houlton from our sister paper Urethanes Technology International writes.

An open lattice design for the 3D printed seats also would use BASF materials, allowing even lighter interiors.

In total, the car would weigh about 1,000 kilograms. Stripping weight, Citroën says, allows it to go further on each charge, covering an estimated 250 miles.

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