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  1. Polymer composites are becoming an important class of materials for a diversified range of industrial applications due to their unique characteristics and natural and synthetic reinforcements. Traditional methods of polymer composite fabrication require machining, manual labor, and increased costs. Therefore, 3D printing technologies have come to the forefront of scientific, industrial, and public attention for customized manufacturing of composite parts having a high degree of control over design, processing parameters, and time. However, poor interfacial adhesion between 3D printed layers can lead to material failure, and therefore, researchers are trying to improve material functionality and extend material lifetime with the addition of reinforcements and self-healing capability. This review provides insights on different materials used for 3D printing of polymer composites to enhance mechanical properties and improve service life of polymer materials. Moreover, 3D printing of flexible energy-storage devices (FESD), including batteries, supercapacitors, and soft robotics using soft materials (polymers), is discussed as well as the application of 3D printing as a platform for bioengineering and earth science applications by using a variety of polymer materials, all of which have great potential for improving future conditions for humanity and planet Earth. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    X-ray CT imaging provides a 3D view of a sample and is a powerful tool for investigating the internal features of porous rock. Reliable phase segmentation in these images is highly necessary but, like any other digital rock imaging technique, is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and subjective. Combining 3D X-ray CT imaging with machine learning methods that can simultaneously consider several extracted features in addition to color attenuation, is a promising and powerful method for reliable phase segmentation. Machine learning-based phase segmentation of X-ray CT images enables faster data collection and interpretation than traditional methods. This study investigates the performance of several filtering techniques with three machine learning methods and a deep learning method to assess the potential for reliable feature extraction and pixel-level phase segmentation of X-ray CT images. Features were first extracted from images using well-known filters and from the second convolutional layer of the pre-trained VGG16 architecture. Then, K-means clustering, Random Forest, and Feed Forward Artificial Neural Network methods, as well as the modified U-Net model, were applied to the extracted input features. The models’ performances were then compared and contrasted to determine the influence of the machine learning method and input features on reliable phase segmentation. The results showed considering more dimensionality has promising results and all classification algorithms result in high accuracy ranging from 0.87 to 0.94. Feature-based Random Forest demonstrated the best performance among the machine learning models, with an accuracy of 0.88 for Mancos and 0.94 for Marcellus. The U-Net model with the linear combination of focal and dice loss also performed well with an accuracy of 0.91 and 0.93 for Mancos and Marcellus, respectively. In general, considering more features provided promising and reliable segmentation results that are valuable for analyzing the composition of dense samples, such as shales, which are significant unconventional reservoirs in oil recovery. 
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  3. null (Ed.)