Planning & Strategy.
- I'm reading The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, a history of the complicated romance/rivalry between the US and China. It's a really interesting history; if you're looking for the short version listen to this two-part (1, 2) interview with the author.
- A good, long profile of Harry Brearley, the dogged metallurgist credited with inventing stainless steel.
- The DOD's guide to manufacturing readiness level.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A long awaited blog post on metal 3D printing by yours truly. As you may be aware, these processes are *not* plug and play, and a lot of additional work goes into making printed parts look & work as intended. One aspect of that is surface finishing - in this case, chemically accelerated vibratory finishing. It's space age shit!
- 3M figured out how to print PTFE, which you'll know of from its DuPont incarnation, Teflon. Fun facts about PTFE include that it's the second slipperiest material on earth, to diamonds. It also resists Van Der Walls forces; hence, geckos cannot stick to it.
- How coated carbide inserts are made.
- The kraft process is how kraft paper is made. Note: kraft is German for strong!
- Using CVD to grow nanotubes on carbon fiber, in order to improve adhesion between the carbon and its polymer matrix.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A bunch of power grid stuff:
First, I blasted through The Grid this week. It's a good overview of electrical infrastructure in general. Second, Vaclav Smil on the need for grid scale batteries. He references this Economist piece, which has some good stats on efficiency and prospects for pumped hydro and compressed air energy storage systems. And lastly, a pretty awesome calculator that shows the cost to build new power generation, county by county, in the US.
- An awesome video of a container ship in rough seas. The long shots down the passageway, showing how the boat bends, are pretty cool.
- Tesla will begin billing customers if they leave their cars parked at superchargers.
Inspection & Testing.
- Priceonomics on the Challenger disaster, and how easy it is to get the wrong point from otherwise good data. Related, I recommend Tufte on the reports that Boeing wrote for NASA before the Columbia disaster.