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80 The PCB Magazine • November 2015 as disruptive, but there is no doubt that breakthrough technologies and novel usage of conductive polymers is occurring. Conductive plastics conduct electricity in comparison to normal insulating plastics. Conductive plastics are used in countless applications in many in- dustries because they are easy to extrude or in- jection mold into desired shapes and sizes. "Conductive polymers are already used in fuel cells, computer displays and microsurgical tools, and are now finding applications in the field of biomaterials," reports Acta Biomateria- lia magazine. "These versatile polymers can be synthesized alone, as hydrogels, combined into composites or electrospun into microfibres. They can be created to be biocompatible and biodegradable. Conductive polymers are be- ing used as biomaterial for tissue engineering. "Their conductive nature allows cells or tissue cultured upon them to be stimulated, the poly- mers' own physical properties to be influenced post-synthesis and the drugs bound in them re- leased, through the application of an electrical signal. It is little wonder that these polymers are becoming very important materials for biosen- sors, neural implants, drug delivery devices and tissue engineering scaffolds." To date, conductive polymers have had few large-scale applications; however, advances in the technological development of conductive polymers are leading to their incorporation in batteries, super capacitors, biomaterial, solar cells, flexible transparent displays, electromag- netic shielding, stealth aircraft coatings and more. The automotive industry has been subject to dramatic disruptions since the first steam powered automobile debuted in 1768. A prime example of a disruptive trend is the Ford Mod- el T. When the Model T was first available to the public in 1908, the market for horse-drawn carriages diminished, and the market for auto- mobiles took off. Today an average new car has 30 computer processors with assisted parking, voice recognition, and GPS functions more and more common. Hybrid and electric cars are on the rise and automotive design is benefitting from modern materials and improved metals. The automobile companies that will thrive in the coming decades are the ones that embrace technological advances. Consumers now crave a vehicle loaded with all the electronic goodies it can hold. To satisfy this craving, manufactur- ers have been loading up even standard models with on-board GPS systems, hands-free phone consoles, wireless Internet, satellite radio, cam- eras and DVD monitors. In the process, they are also packing on the pounds. At the Consumer Electronics Show, Ford CEO Mark Fields said "we view ourselves not just as a car and truck company but also as a mobility company." Today, the trend of lightweighting holds heavyweight importance. Analysts predict that lightweighting, the process of reducing weight for improving performance and improving fuel efficiencies, will become a $300 billion annual market as global trends point to CO 2 reduction and resource efficiencies as being vital to meet- ing regulatory and industry mandates in the transportation sector. New materials develop- ment will be the driver in this trend. For example, Ford's 2015 model F-150, which accounts for 1 in 20 cars sold in the U.S., is now 700 pounds lighter than its 2014 model with aluminum alloy replacing the heavier steel frame. The federal government's new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFE) require automakers to raise the average fuel efficiency of new cars and trucks to 54.5 mpg by 2025. The electrically assisted vehicle can certain- ly meet or exceed the CAFE requirements, but these vehicles carry their own weight issues, as CAn TeCHnoLoGy Be Too DISrUPTIVe? ArTiCle " The automobile companies that will thrive in the coming decades are the ones that embrace technological advances. Consumers now crave a vehicle loaded with all the electronic goodies it can hold. "

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