A new family of Diamond-Silicon Carbide composites (Skeleton Cemented Diamond) creates low-cost materials with improved thermal and mechanical properties.
Materials World - all features 2007
The spending budget for metals and minerals exploration in 2007 reached record levels. This may be attributed to the rising costs of drilling, fuel and geologist's services, but also represents a substantial rise in exploration activity on the ground.
A new dry powder impregnantion technique involves charging powder particles which are then impregnated into different materials to enable the creation of new products thus reducing the cost and the ecological footprint.
According to John Menzies CEO of Euromax Resources Ltd the company has employed geological mapping and geochemical sampling techniques to find new and significant levels of minerals in eastern Europe.
Auxetic materials may be exploited in developing enhanced materials to create textiles and fibres for sports garments or energy absorbing equipment.
Ionic liquids are now seen as tunable materials, can be used for a range of applications including lubricants, solvents and thermal fluids.
Following my August column, I am introducing another mathematical anecdote.
Developments in processing technique have made more materials available for use in thin films. The expanding options are considered.
Thin film castings provide a cost-effective way to modify surface properties. They can change chemical stoichiometry, density, porosity and crystallinity.
New technologies are being employed in mining to fast-track mining production recovery processes from minimal capital investment. Michael Forrest talks to Chris Berlet, CEO of Columbia Metals,Toronto, Canada, about a technology that has revived the Lluvia de Oro mine in Sonora State, Mexico.
A consequence of recent developments in microelectronics, optics and nanotechnology is a demand for wear resistant coatings and the enhanced functionality of conductive films. Thin films are key to the production of new materials and devices using this technology.
Ashley Poulter, former Supervising Engineer at Scott Wilson Mining, UK talks about stabilising the Bath stone mines. He discusses some of the ideas for supporting and filling in underground mineshafts, such as concrete infilling, steel bracing and cogging.
Piezoelectric materials involve the generation of an electrical potential in response to applied mechanical pressure, and are used in the construction of as actuators and sensors. Researchers are seeking lead-free alternatives using a high-throughput combichem thin film approach.
Engineering thin organic films and producing layers of known composition is critical to industry. A range of techniques can be employed to determine the depth distribution and build a profile of elements within a material.
Self organisation and self-assembling features of natural structures can be a source of inspiration for reducing the carbon footprint of future sustainable technological materials.
Manufacturing company TISCIS explores the high compressive strength and corrosion resistance of titanium composites used in the production of parts for the European aerospace industry.
An overview of the history and future aims of the Mining Institute of Scotland Ltd, in the amalgamation of similar professional bodies is outlined by Board Member Richard Crockett.
The Nadcap composites accreditation programme is designed to provide continual improvement within the aerospace and automotive industries by using a process of specific job audits to gain from global industry knowledge.
Self-reinforced polymer composites offer lightweight, impact resistant and recyclable materials.
Researchers are examining the outstanding physical properties, in terms of strength, elastic stiffness and thermal and electrical conductive applications of carbon nanotube composites.
Self-healing matrix resins can enhance the structural health of composites. Researchers are developing a feedback loop for self repair.
Michael Forrest, President elect of the London and Southern Counties Minerals Industries Institute (MinSouth), UK, looks at the programme for the coming year and the society's fiftieth anniversary.
I ended my last column by asking how it came about that our electrical power industry, as it evolved in the decade and a half before and after the turn of the century, bec
The role of numerical modelling in developing magnetic storage technologies.
Resonant frequency may result in more accurate sensing equipment. Applications include bio and chemical sensors for use at the micron scale.
After the conflict of the civil war in Sierra Leone ended in 1995, Sierra Rutile Ltd regained control of the country's mined titanium dioxide. Operations continue to revive exports and boost the economy.
Research into the magnetic properties of nanostructures, and the application of nanomagnetism on hard disc drive (HDD) magnetic information storage systems, diagnostics, controlled drug delivery. Methods used include magnetic imaging and modelling as well as characterisation.
The development of novel magnetic materials that can be used in extreme environments requires a number of measurement techniques that can determine the properties for conditions of use.
As iron ore underpins the steel manufacturing industry and the global economy. Here we consider recent trends in production and pricing.
Presenting the challenges of magnetic materials research and associated funding opportunities.
‘Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude, giant girls that have no secrets'
Ken Hall, of electronic design company Triteq considers the challenges of complying with the EU Medical Device Directive, when designing safety critical systems for medical products.
Organic semiconductors can provide photodynamic therapy, an attractive alternative to invasive surgery, where a light-emitting sticking plaster, together with a pharmaceutical cream, is used to kill tumour cells and treat skin cancers.
Articulated materials can be used to support injured body parts bringing splint and brace support, immobilising and protecting limb fractures.
The need for improved and earlier diagnoses has fuelled the demand to create detection systems and miniturised devices that use molecular nanoparticles for diagnostics.
Damaged nerve endings could be repaired by inserting a Neurotex silk conduit, a sheath made from a silk tube that contains luminal fibres and a proprietary silk biomaterial called Spidrex, to restore nerve function between two severed nerve endings.
Computer technology developed for the production of solid gun and rocket propellants has been tailored to enable pharmaceutical pills to be released in multiple applications.
A look at the process to set standards in the reporting of ore reserves around the world, and the effort to ensure that mining reports issued by companies are accurate.
In the early 1990s many countries, particularly developing nations, modified their mining codes to stimulate international investment and reversing the policy of nationalisation. To achieve investment today, it is necessary to develop an effective mining code with the state as the facilitator and regulator.
My article in the April 2007 issue of Materials World on the average number of acquaintances between any two random individuals has stimulated more interest than
In my November 2006 column, I responded to news that the University of Reading's physics department was to close in a piece entitled ‘Physics at crisis point'.
Lower capacity usage of alternative fuel sources means that the role of coal will increase until renewables can reach a higher proportion of supply or nuclear power is expanded.
Due to the rise in future energy needs and dwindling supplies of fossil fuels research investment is needed in alternative fuels. Fuel cells are touted as a possible solution. The UK's National Physical Laboratory is stepping up research in an attempt to commercialise fuel cells, and highlights the problem of the technology, the relatively high cost of the materials to complex engineering challenges.
An outline of the recommendations of the Materials Innovation and Growth Team report of 2006. Materials UK's plan is to implement a long-term national materials strategy for energy materials in the UK.
Research projects involve a multi-disciplinary approach into systems and processes that produce energy. Topics of study include: fuel cells, coal and biomass combustion, gas turbines, solar cells, nuclear power and alloy processing.
The importance of the improvement of energy technologies. The article highlights issues such as wasting energy, the use of renewable energy sources, controlling energy by storage and transportation, and possibilities for future use.
Due to EU legislation (RoHS) on the need to remove hazardous substances and importantly toxic lead from electrical and electronic equipment there is a search for a replacement for traditional lead-tin solder. In 2001 Professors Herbert Ipser and Adolf Mikula, University of Vienna, Austria, submitted a proposal to COST, the European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, on research efforts to find lead-free solder materials.
Platinum is a rare metal. The main use of platinum is in the manufacture of autocatalysts. The second largests use is in jewellery, and then there is its use in the electronic, chemical and refining industries. Due to the high demand for platinum its price has risen, and this has highlighted the need for recycling and the switch to other precious group metals such as palladium.
The latest figures in the World Gold Council's quarterly report Gold Demand Trends show demand for gold has risen from the first quarter from 2006 to 2007. Richard Holliday of the World Gold Council talks about the current trends in the demand for gold jewellery, the emerging technologies that employ gold and its use as an investment.
The public perception that synthetic plastics are all bad and 'bioplastics' are the only answer to environmental packaging concerns is incorrect, says Wilfred Haensel, Executive Director of PlasticsEurope, the association of plastics manufacturers.
Technical ceramic materials are being used by the defence and space exploration industries, and in the manufacture of critical components used in commercial aircraft. Advanced ceramics are seen as cost efficient, and reassure manufacturers safety concerns due to their powerful physical, thermal and electrical properties under extreme conditions.
Due to the continued reliance on nuclear power and its ability to generate large amounts of energy there is a rising demand for uranium. The Ross-Adams mine, and the large amount of uranium found by prospector Robert Dotson at Bokan Mountain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, USA, are discussed.
Cathodic methods are being used to prevent corrosion in steel-reinforced concrete. The process involves the use of sprayed zinc anodes, a recently developed alloy of zinc, aluminium and indium to give up to 20 years of protection, and this coating needs little maintenance and upkeep.
The economic cost to corporate assets, machinery, equipment and buildings from corrosion is high. Corrosion control at its most basic uses thermoplastic or thermosetting polymers in applied organic coatings to extend the lifetime of a material. Corrosion control requires and ‘asset management approach'.
Processes to protect buildings from the structural degradation caused by pollution are described, and highlights the damage to masonry due to some cleaning methods while describing alternative techniques used in conservation efforts.
There is a scene in the recent TV docudrama on the last days of Robert Maxwell in which he tells his Board he is not worried by a £4 billion debt to the bank because his a
Steven Poulton, winner of the Young Achiever of the Year Mining Journal award in 2006, talks about being a player in the minerals resource sector.
Bone meal is being used in the remediation of land from the environmental impact of waste materials produced from mining activities. The substance, a good source of phosphates, is used to create an engineered nanobarrier around the site to protect the immediate environment.
The UK-based Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology has been actively developing rheoforming or melt processing technologies. This technology is used to promote the transformation of liquid alloys into solid products. Components produced from rheoformed technology have an improved mechanical performance and this process could reshape the metallurgical industry.
Three mill types have been developed - Tower, IsaMill and Detritor which are designed to reduce the enormous energy requirements needed by mills to produce the fine and ultra fine grinding that enables metals to be recovered from minerals.
The lightweight, high strength biocompatibility and unmatched corrosion resistance attributes of titanium components can be used to replace other metals. Electrochemical reduction processes are reducing production costs making the metal cheaper and more widely available.
As China's economy grows it has led the world in primary aluminium consumption, the expansion of the countries transport sector and increased use of aluminium semis or interim products and automotive body structures has driven increased demand.
To meet proposed European regulations on carbon emissions produced by road transport, the weight of vehicles is being reduced. To reduce costs aluminium is being used by manufacturers as it takes much less energy to recycle than to produce. Old aluminium beverage cans and post-consumer scrap is being turned into aluminium sheet to create a new generation of affordable, low carbon cars that meet the desired safety and durablity standards.
The Royal Academy of Engineering has found a new home at 3 Carlton House Terrace, London, UK.
The benefits and drawbacks of commodity hedging to the various stakeholders in copper and gold mines are analysed.
During the past decade and a half I have written about 160 columns for Materials World and its predecessors, and I am beginning to wonder how much longer I can co
Mineral deposits and their formation in the Mount Isa area are described, including lead-zinc-silver and copper mineralisations. Geochemical exploration and modelling is being used by Summit Resources Ltd to identify iron oxide-copper-gold and uranium deposits.
Nadcap is a cooperative programme of major aerospace and automotive companies to manage a cost-effective consensus approach to special processes and products. Fountain Plating presents the supplier perspective.
Greatland Gold is carrying out exploration drilling to increase reserves at its Firetower project in Australia where 2.5 g/t of gold has been measured in rock chip samples. The company has listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM market.
Lightweight composites applications are reviewed for the automotive, marine, railway locomotive and aerospace industries. Materials include reinforced thermoplastics, long-fibre composites, sheet moulding compounds, alumina trihydrate formulations, fire-resistant thermoset resins and carbon fibre composites.
Optical films have been developed which eliminate problems associated with reflection and glare. An example is a product designed jointly by MacDermid Autotype (USA) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (Germany) which replicates the nanostructures found in the eyes of moths.
Forty years after her launch, the Asperida sailing yacht is proving that copper-nickel hulls have the longevity required for the open waves. The 70:30 copper nickel hulled boat was assessed using ultrasonic thickness measurements and visual methods.
In Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem, ‘The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay', a horse-drawn carriage was designed to run ‘for a 100 years to the day', and, indeed, on its 100th anniversary a parson riding in the
A new journal, Materials, Surfaces and Interfaces, will be published by IOM3 and Maney Publishing in 2007 and will include a range of multidisciplinary papers covering a broad spectrum of engineering tribology and applications. The first issue will cover the use of advanced surface analysis techniques for boundary lubricated surfaces.
The centre was opened in October 2006 and is part of the Textiles and Paper department within the School of Materials. The facility includes inkjet fabric printers, dedicated workstations and CAD/CAM software, and the printers can output designs created in various CAD packages.
Exploration drilling at the Spinifex Ridge project has identified measured resources of 187 Mt at 0.07% Mo, 0.1% Cu and 1.8 g/t Ag and a bankable feasibility study is being completed. The prospects are discussed in relation to increasing demand for Mo in stainless and other steels.
Design issues are discussed in relation to modelling studies carried out the University of Limerick for two EU Framework projects on aircraft component design. The studies examined the energy absorption and damage behaviour of a helicopter subfloor structure and a continuum damage mechanics approach to modelling leading edge wing structures.
A lightweight, metallic, diffusion bonded, sandwich sheet material can be prepared by evenly depositing a layer of melt-spun 304 stainless steel onto a sheet of this stainless steel, placing a second sheet on top of the metallic fibre layer and diffusion bonding the assembly under vacuum. The material is being evaluated for crash resistance in automotive and defence applications.
A look at the role of phase diagrams in research and thermodynamics. They fall under the Institute's Materials Chemistry committee, which also covers their use in polymers, semiconductor systems, electroceramics and superconductors.
The benefits of standards for computerised data representation are discussed with reference to ISO Committee TC184/SC4 and the development of the STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Information) family of standards, which includes ISO 10303-235 covering the aerospace industry. Standardisation of environmental and nuclear-decommissioning data will assume increasing importance.
Like the radioactive element itself, the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, is an affair which is pervasive and persistent - accounts of polonium contamination of even mor
Details are given of the papers presented at the meeting, which focused on processing and in situ leaching methods and environmental remediation programmes.
Traditional materials are increasingly being used due to their low environmental impact. Earth building methods discussed include cob, wattle and daub, clay and dabbins, wychart and rammed earth and chalk and other materials include hemp and lime, and a current research projects include the production of hemp/lime masonry blocks.
The absorption mechanisms of water into brick, stone and concrete are discussed together with factors that control evaporation and drying processes in buildings. The use of sorptivity measurements for future design standards is considered.
Polycarbonates weigh 50% less than glass and have high strength and elasticity, and coatings can be used to increase their heat insulation and reflection properties. The use of panels made by Bayer Sheet Europe for the roofing of a shopping centre atrium in Naples is described.
Reviewing the activities of the Materials and Engineering Research Institute at the University, which is divided into four research centres covering advanced composites and coating (including nanotechnology and PVD research), structural materials and integrity (including corrosion research), electronic devices and materials and modelling.
Riverside Mining has been carrying out exploration drilling to increase reserves at the mine in South Africa, and the 10-year mining plan has been developed which will match the run of mine coal from the main Deep E seam with that of other mining areas.
Following the poisoning and death of the former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, I have been assailed by kith and kin to give an account of the poisoning agent, polonium