On annual visits to Scotland, driving just north of the border along the A74(M), I always slow down at the sign to the Scottish Museum of Lead Mining, but then resolve to visit it on the next trip.
Materials World - all features 2005/2006
Students on an Advanced Materials course at Cranfield University, UK, have developed a solution for the automotive industry that reduces weight, lowers fuel costs and reduces carbon emissions, by using alternative materials for engine mountings.
Nadcap is a scheme that shares expertise and best practice information within the aerospace industry and its suppliers, to achieve consensus on quality and create standards that are universally accepted by the industry.
Reliable, high temperature, nanoscale measurements have been developed to test materials at elevated temperatures. This is vital to determine the failure of materials from fatigue and overload, and can lead to the creation of advanced materials that can operate in extreme environments.
A survey by the Metal Economics Group of the impact of global exploration expenditure by the mining industry details the changes in exploration budgets, and determines the specific areas and at which stage the money has been spent. Companies then use this trend data to determine the best use of resources and reserves needed to attract investment funding and achieve maximum return.
SDP Pty the exploration consultancy, is using the mineralisation of gases, a geophysical sampling and identification technique, to offer an analysis and interpretation service that assists in the discovery of iron ore deposits.
The Materials Data Management Consortium has come together to identify critical issues in materials information management. They have worked with Granta Design to create software so that materials selections can be made from materials analysis information contained within a single source repository.
Friends ring me up or stop me in the street to tell me how pleased I must be that nuclear power looks as though it’s in for some sort of renaissance. In fact, I am not in the least elated.
The government of Madagascar has launched an economic revival plan, which together with a World Bank/IMF funded programme, is designed to attract mining investment and provide a favourable environment for the island to reach its mining and mineral potential.
Plastics injection moulding manufacturing companies in the UK and the USA have used innovation and diversity to develop specialised processes and products in the plastics industry, in order to match the competition from developing countries.
At the European Aluminium Award in 2006 an international jury met in Essen, Germany to assess entries and select winners after considering criteria on materials original and functional use, product functionality, design solutions, recyclability, durable lifecycle costing, and the representational and promotional value of aluminium.
Pan African Mining Corporation has aquired the largest exploration holding in Madagascar. The Canadian based company has recognised the untapped mining potential and together with new government legislation has implemented advanced projects to exploit the country's reserves.
A real-time measurement and control system utilising intelligent 'soft sensor' technology has been designed to improve the polymer extrusion method used in the manufacture thermoplastic products. The ultimate aim is to develop an overall control strategy for a polymer extrusion plant that will quickly optimise the process of creating high performance polymers.
David Bott talks about his new role as Chief Executive of Materials UK and his previous career in the world of materials. He also discusses the aims of the organisation, his initial interest in materials, past projects that he has worked on and the importance of materials on design.
The Surface Engineering Group at Rolls-Royce, has developed a freestanding coating test process. This method for producing thermally sprayed coating data is designed to show how materials science can be applied to the 'black art' of abradable coatings.
There are many factors involved in the design and production of modern versions of crucibles, used for the holding and melting of metals in the casting industry. Today's vessels are made from highly complex composite materials using specific metallurgical treatments and different alloy/temperature combinations.
It was Jean Fourier who, in 1827, first realised that it was the atmosphere that protects us from the coldness of space.
Planning constraints on architects and planners, designed to minimise the environmental impact from industry from the erection of new buildings, have highlighted the benefits of green roofs. A vegetated rooftop combines layers of aggregate with some organic matter and can promote the growth of plant and wildlife biodiversity.
The need to recycle may prompt a new approach to the selection of materials used by designers and manufacturers of components in the automotive industry. Legislation such as the New End of Life Vehicles Directive, and the European New Car Assessment Programme are aimed at addressing the safe use of materials in the construction of vehicles for better road safety and identify the best materials for cars.
The 2006 Hopley lecture, described sixty years of mining and mineral processing by the Cavendish Mill plant, in Derbyshire, UK for the recovery of barytes and fluorspar for the coal industry.
The perception in civil engineering that the use of stainless steels for bridge construction is expensive is changing. In times of high alloy prices duplex steels have become more economically attractive. These newer lean alloys can provide corrosion protection over a wide range of environmental conditions typical of bridge structures.
Selecting materials for en vivo use has moved away from tissue replacement implants to using materials that stimulate the body's own regenerative mechanisms. The two main strategies are in situ tissue regeneration and tissue engineering, both techniques grow cells on bone scaffolds which are directly implanted into the body.
The nuclear power cognoscenti welcomed the election of Jimmy Carter as President of the USA at the end of 1976.
In the summer of 1944, coinciding with D-Day and the arrival of the first ‘doodle-bug’ flying-bomb, I learned that I had passed the 11 plus exam and had secured a place at Chepstow Grammar School.
As promised, I return to the subject of James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis which considers the Earth as an intimately linked system of physical, chemical and biological processes, interacting in a se
Imagine you are a student with GCSEs in geology, geography and biology and view the massive white cliffs of Dover on returning from a school trip to France.
The MineMatch system uses language standards to explore and document similarities between deposits using language and computer techniques. The computer system was developed against the background of the new Canadian legislation requiring geologists to demonstrate the validity of their exploration targets to shareholders.
Packaging developments are discussed in relation to papers presented at the Institute's Materials Congress 2006, and the Smart.mat and Waste and Resources Action Programmes. There needs to be improved dialogue between packaging machinery experts and packaging materials producers/converters, increased training and greater awareness that good packaging can save money.
The adoption of colour-change chemical time-temperature indicators on some perishable foods could help consumers better manage their food inventories, preventing unnecessary wastage of food and reducing food-related illnesses caused by eating food past its use by date.
Research into the use of plastics in electronics includes solid state polymer electrolyte battery systems, single transistor organic memory devices, organic light-emitting diodes and micro and nano patterned organic materials. Plastics are cheaper than metal or silicon, can be easily deposited and are flexible.
RFID offers strategic advantages by providing greater visibility and tracking in the supply chain and is more sophisticated than bar code systems. The need for standardisation and legislative issues to be resolved are discussed with reference to the activities of GSI, EPCGlobal, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute and the EU.
Alternative approaches for determining the economic viability of a mining project are discussed including net present value (NPV), discounted cash flow NPV and real options NPV, with examples presented for an undeveloped goad mine and an Alberta Sands, Canada, oil recovery project.
The development of native title and indigenous land use agreements are discussed. Nowadays the focus is on building relationships, respect and mutually beneficial agreements rather than legislation.
Technical and non-technical opportunities in the energy industry, which has a shortage of engineers with a materials background, are discussed. Issues to be considered when deciding on a career path include skills development, employer status, job security, location and remuneration.
Support provided by the Welsh Development Agency, Wales Trade International and the Manufacturing Advisory Centre is described. Case studies are presented covering CINTEC International (embedded stainless steel reinforcement for buildings), Tubex (polypropylene tree shelters) and Spiral Scratch (3D imaging scanners).
Plans to re-open the Black Angel mine in Greenland are described. About 1.7 million tonnes of ore have so far been identified, grading 9.7% zinc, 3.1% lead and 21 g/t silver.
It is suggested that, while prosecution is appropriate for reckless and dangerous behaviour in the industry, 'honest' mistakes should be dealt with through enforceable undertakings which would foster safety through an immediate restorative justice process.
E-noses analyse gas samples by passing them over an array of electrodes coated with different conducting polymers. Each electrode reacts to a particular substance by changing its electrical resistance. An e-nose has been developed at the University of Warwick, UK, to identify patients with Staphylococcus aureus infection.
Typically only two to three per cent of engineering expert witness reports are presented at Court and valuable information does not reach those who need it most. Delays in instructing expert witnesses subsequent to events involving physical injuries and fatalities can result in the deterioration or loss of forensic evidence. Case studies are presented.
The role of materials auditors is discussed, with case studies, and the activities of Nadcap, an international, industry-managed approach to conformity assessment, are described. Nadcap is administered by the Performance Review Institute and brings together technical experts from industry and government.
A few weeks ago, over pre-dinner drinks at the Royal Society, I was debating with two old friends whether Fred Hoyle or Desmond Bernal had been the more deserving of a Nobel Prize, when I noticed o
In the December 2005 issue of Materials World, I wrote about Britain’s failure to invest in industrial R&D.
The surface and near-surface regions of solids are becoming increasingly important in modern materials technology, an example being the surface modification of medical implants to increase their biocompatibility. The development of the ARXPS technique to study these regions is described.
Ariana Resources, UK, has compiled a substantial geographical database on Turkey, including geological, mineral occurrence and structural and mineral alteration data derived from open file sources. The system underpins the company’s exploration strategy and has resulted in a portfolio of prospective licences including promising gold projects at Kiziltepe and Kinik.
Research is being carried out at the Physical Electronics and Materials section at London South Bank University, UK, to address the microwave losses in ferroelectic films, in particular the extrinsic loss limit part caused by fabrication technique, electrodes and thermal and mechanical treatment which limits the application of ferroelectric devices.
A chromium terephtalate based solid with unusually large pore volumes and surface area has been developed by researchers at the Université de Versailles, France. Potential applications include molecular sensors, electronics and gas storage.
The PowdermatriX Faraday Partnership leveraged its familiarity with the technological terrain and the concerns and capabilities of its members to lead teams building technology roadmaps for four main sectors, advanced ceramics, hard metals, powder metals and magnetics. The roadmaps have established priorities which help to align research to business drivers.
European Nickel, UK, is developing the Çaldag deposit in Turkey, which will be mined by open pit methods. Nickel concentrate will be produced through a cost-effective and simple heap leach process using dilute sulphuric acid, and good results have been obtained with trial heaps.
In an interview in the Guardian, Woody Allen said that he was amazed that so few people recognise the dominant role that luck plays in their lives.
Much of the UK's architectural heritage reflects its rich local geology, but access to these resources is becoming problematic. The local building stone industry is in many cases too small to maintain quarries and this has had a serious impact on the ability to repair historic buildings.
The use of unfired clay as a binder in building materials results in a healthy indoor environment and low environmental impact over the lifecycle of the material. A research project funded by the DTI Partners in Innovation programme showed the technical advantages and practical implications of their use.
The process developed for the treatment of ores from the Panton, Western Australia, deposits involves calcining at 400-450ºC. Included in the process is the treatment of the products recovered through flotation, with calcination of the rougher concentrate providing superior results than those obtained from the whole ore.
Challenges facing the region in dealing with the waste created by the 2004 Tsunami are discussed, and solutions considered including the construction of a large regional landfill coupled with improved waste recycling facilities.
Recruitment, retention and development of high-calibre scientists is discussed with reference to the SET 2005 awards. Projects in the materials trophy judged by IOM3 were Self assembled peptide hydrogels for tissue engineering, Effect of grain refiner poisoning on intermetallic phase selection in 6XXX aluminium alloys and Superplasticity in magnesium alloys.
Issues relating to eco-design are considered with reference to the producer responsibility laws being globally enacted, focusing on electronics, cars and packaging, the need to develop internal business cases for eco-engineering and the increasing influence of products from China and India.
There are about 1012 tonnes of uranium in the top kilometre of the earth's crust.
In the second of two articles looking at superplastic forming in the UK, Richard Curtis reports on work being carried out at King’s College London and in Japan that has enabled the formation of complex medical and dental prostheses.
Superplastic forming is a process that has been used since the 1960s for manufacturing complex, lightweight and strong components. In the first of two articles looking at the process, Materials World reviews the commercial growth of the technique in the UK and its use in the transport sector.