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Corrosion as the “Good Guy”

Image by Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While plenty of industries abhor corrosion and its consequences, another sector has welcomed it as a step in the healing process: medical devices. Devices have evolved over the decades to be less-intrusive during (and after) implantation.The bio-inert nature of titanium (along with its weight and strength characteristics) has made it the go-to material for structural orthopedic implants (hip and knee joints, bone plates and screws, etc.). These implants are made to go into the patient’s body and remain there, hopefully performing well for an extended period of time without the need for replacement. But what about implantable devices that have a finite life of medical functionality, and afterwards can become detrimental to the patient’s quality of life? Read more

The Need for Speed

In the race to get products to market, does risk-mitigation get enough time in the winner’s circle?

What do aerospace, medical device manufacturers, and auto racing all have in common?  Answer: the need to minimize risk of premature/unexpected component failure while crossing the finish line first.  While these industries each have vastly different stakeholders, goals, and success metrics, all look to avoid costly breakdowns in the field.  And speed is key.  Being the first across the finish line in auto racing gives you the largest share of the purse, not to mention first choice of lucrative endorsement deals.  Being the first to market with an innovative or more reliable medical implant or a lighter aircraft component helps in marketing, product launch success, or company profitability and growth.  However, pushing the design limits to gain this speed advantage must be weighed against the possible failure of the component in an unforeseen manner. Read more

SEQUESTERING THE NEXT GENERATION

The hottest word currently being spoken in offices and around dinner tables in the US is “sequestration.” Not since the seminal juror movie 12 Angry Men has the word enjoyed such buzz.  While there are many ongoing debates concerning the political ramifications of this government budget-reduction action (that went into effect on March 1), today we would like to discuss one item in particular: its possible effect on military aviation. Read more